Eating God

Published June 2, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Fr. Rolando V. Dela Rosa, O.P.
Fr. Rolando V. Dela Rosa, O.P.

By Fr. Rolando V. Dela Rosa, O.P.

 

Imagine God, who, in His desire to be loved, gave Himself to us as FOOD.Jesus must have known the saying: “The fastest way to a person’s heart is through the stomach.”

His first miracle was at a wedding party. He invented fast food when he quickly multiplied the few loaves and fish into quantities enough to feed five thousand. He attended luncheons and dinners prepared by His friends, as well as by sinners and tax collectors. And when He was about to definitely leave His disciples, He chose to give them a remembrance, a living sign of His presence — the Eucharist. And what is the Eucharist? Basically, it is food.

St. Thomas Aquinas describes Christ’s presence in the Eucharist as visus, tactus, gustus. This means that, when we behold Him in the Blessed Sacrament or receive Him in Holy Communion, His presence is real, not imaginary. We actually see, touch, and even taste Him. Out of His love for us, He made Himself not only visible, credible, audible, and lovable; He also made himself edible!

When Christ told the Jews that He was an edible God, the Jews were naturally shocked. “What do you think of us? Cannibals?” they must have murmured to themselves. For them, there was no way for a transcendent God to be “eaten” by human beings. It was incredible, even scandalous, to think of God as food. But as always, love can do the unthinkable. Besides, Jesus made Himself edible because He knew that our heads and hearts are oftentimes in our stomachs.

I remember the story about St. Benedict’s encounter with a farmer. The farmer told him: “I envy you because you have an easy life. All you do is pray while all I do is work, work, work.” St. Benedict replied: “Believe me, praying is not easy. If you can pray the Our Father without being distracted, I shall give you my horse.”

The farmer was delighted. So, with eyes closed, he began to pray aloud: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread…”

After uttering the word “bread” he suddenly opened his eyes, looked up to St. Benedict and asked: “May I also have, not only your horse, but also the bread and cheese you are carrying?” St. Benedict then said: “See, you are already distracted.”

Like the farmer, most of us think and feel in terms of what our stomach tells us. This is perhaps why, when the devil tempted Adam and Eve, he struck first where all human beings feel weakest – the stomach. He offered them an appetizing fruit, difficult to resist. Most of our fears stem from our fear of starving.

In the desert, Jesus realized that what really kills is not thirst or hunger, but our fear for these. And our fear is directly proportional to our lack of faith and confidence in God who says: “Even if a mother forgets her child, I shall never forget you.See, I have engraved your name on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16).

Today we solemnly celebrate the living memorial of God’s love – the Eucharist. Let us ask the Lord to intensify our hunger for this heavenly food, and to receive it often. After all, we become what we eat.

 
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