Reflections on the Gospel and food, part 2. In the first post about John 6:55, we considered the broader meaning of Jesus’ statement that he is true food and true drink. The aspect we underlined was the idea of spiritual nourishment and sustenance of which, in a way, earthly food is a mirror.
But I believe there is more to see in this section. In the ancient world, people were very much aware where their food came from. There was no Walmart or Costco around that offered rotisserie chicken. People knew first hand that meat on their plate meant the death of an animal. They knew it first hand because they had witnessed the death of an animal many times. In the same way, bread on their plate meant the “death” of the seed it came from (cf. John 12:24).
To eat of Jesus is thus linked to his death; his instead of mine. When I receive a meal – any meal really, this has nothing to do with communion in particular – I am reminded that the food “died” instead of me. To me, this adds a lot of depth, when it comes to praying before a meal. It is precisely this link between the food God provides in Creation and the Jesus God provides in salvation, that adds a Christian dynamic to the prayer before a meal. It gives a thankful heart and signifies the holiness of the meal (cf. 1 Tim. 4:5).
During your meals and snacks today, remember Jesus who said:
“Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.”