Many who know me know that I love to play with food. Not “playing” like my sons have a tendency to do, if left alone at the table with their dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets. I enjoy learning about food, how to prepare it, how it affects our health and our moods, planning menus, and sharing my experiments – successes and failures alike – with others. Food, in all its forms and facets, with its ability to fuel us and give us pleasure, is an important topic to me.

Likewise, of all the rich and beautiful facets of our Catholic faith, the sacrament of nourishment is tremendously important to me. It is the certainty of Christ made flesh being offered for us and to us again and again, that first drew me back into loving relationship with God. It is this promise that anchors me here.

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) As it relates to the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, there are two implications.

The first is a comfort – God took on human life in all of its fullness and with all of its limitations, to share our hopes, weaknesses, sufferings, joys, rejections, enemies, friendships, work and even death.

The second is sometimes much harder for us to reconcile ourselves with – God became our neighbor. He is in the house next door, the kids who keep us up with their loud music, the woman we know who always has a complaint, the drug dealer on the corner, the lonely widow no one visits, the child with leukemia, the family in the back pew with the crying toddler, and others so unknown to us we don’t even consider them. I suspect that, like me, the tragedies and challenges of the last few months, have you steeling yourself before opening the morning paper, turning on the TV news, or scrolling through your Facebook feed. What might have happened now? Will there be any evidence of remedy? How many of my friends will I be compelled to block from my news feed today, because I can’t read one more negative post or article that chooses one side over another and disregards anyone who doesn’t see the world exactly as they do?

I see a few things happening that cause me to ponder the disconnect that I see every day among the people I know and encounter.

The first is that more of them are growing increasingly hopeless that much is going to change, while simultaneously digging their heels into the ground of their opinions. It is hard to fault them, because everyone is dug in, and so we – all of us – are less confident in soft landing on the field of debate and conversation.

At the same time, I see on Facebook, read on blogs and even hear in Weight Watchers meetings, the modern version of chain letters and bumper stickers with flowery and appealing sayings about loving God and being kind to one another. People who don’t even know they are hungry – starving- for Jesus Christ are nonetheless at least moved to find sparks of hope.

However, the third and most disturbing thing I see in this is that very few are coming to the realization that the answer to the growing hopelessness they feel is there in the easily copied, stripped down but appealing one-off daisy posts we scroll by every day. What if we were all to truly take His Word to heart and read those words through that lens? What if every news article, commentary and internet post was interpreted only in the context of God’s great sacrifice and plan, whatever its source and level of agreement with our own views?

This then, I believe, is what the world needs from us today. We, those who not only believe but are nourished by Him day after day, have a unique and privileged opportunity to share what we know is the answer.

Embracing the story of God’s coming among us carries the responsibility to reflect upon what meaning it has in our own lives. We must ask ourselves, “Am I truly allowing myself to be affected by the Food of my faith?” If so, then we will be driven to respond differently, to redefine “neighbor,” to be less prone to dig in, to read and watch, touched from the inside outward as Christ, to choose not to scroll by but to say, “There is Hope. His name is Jesus, and He has already saved you.”


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