Lenten Blog -- Day 24
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
“I am the bread of life.” (v.35, 48)
This Lent, I am fasting from meat. It’s not because of some sort of pietistic denial nor even a ritualistic observation. For me, these 40 days leading up to Easter of the historic church calendar are an opportunity for an inward journey of contemplation and self-reflection. In some ways, it’s an exercise of Gospel liberty for me to peel back layers of superficiality in loving and becoming more like Jesus. I freely chose meat this year for a number of levels. First of all, health. Growing up in Toronto has blessed me with opportunities to enjoy all and any cuisine; I just love food from all over the place as a way of exploring another culture. It includes a lot of meat, to my happiness, but probably not to my health. There was a study in the news recently, that affirms suspicions that red meat decreases life expectancy. I am feel that my current meat and potatoes context makes it more difficult to stay healthy, but this is something I need to be more mindful towards in my life in general. Secondly, creation care. The livestock industry globally has contributed to land degradation, air/water pollution, and a loss of biodiversity. Particularly, in North America, cattle raising suffers from some uncomfortable eco-sustainability issues. Resources required to fulfill my burger fix are vast. I’m not saying that I’ll go vegetarian, just that I need to be more mindful of what I put in my body and the larger impact upon creation.
Final reason, it’s about hunger. Sometimes I find myself enjoying meat more than for its taste. It satiates, it fulfills, it restores, it makes me happy. Nothing wrong when it’s restricted to my taste buds, but something at least a little wrong when it goes to places a little deeper within me. Not just to satiate the gastro grumbles, but the growls. Certainly, kalbi is not the only way that I feel happy, there’s plenty of ways that I don’t find my fulfillment in relationship with God. But at least I could choose to become more self-aware of one way.
When Jesus talks about hunger, this takes on a whole richer meaning for me this Lent. I am hungry indeed and there is no sense in using anything in my life to satiate that growl. I understand what it means that Jesus is the Bread of Life because I catch a glimpse of who I am and the meat I eat.
“This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that comes down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.”