Wednesday after Epiphany
(I John 4:11-18; Mark 6:45-52)
Americans have been said to gain on the average a pound of body weight over the holiday season. That may not sound too bad, but a problem emerges when the added pound accumulates over years. Yet as great a threat as obesity presents to health, there is still a greater danger in holiday feasting. Like the disciples in the gospel today, we may not understand what the abundance of food means.
We share our food during Christmas as a means of anticipating the eternal feast in heaven. At the Incarnation we receive in our midst the one with the place of honor at the eternal banquet. Of course, this image of a heavenly feast is speculative. Since we do not know what eternity is like, we imagine it in terms of a wonderful communal experience. We say it is like a banquet with the best of company and of food. Scripture often projects this image of a banquet table for the fulfillment of God’s plan. St. Paul, however, is more discreet in describing heaven. Citing Isaiah, he writes, ‘“…eye has not seen, and ear has not heard…what God has prepared for those who love him.’”
Feasting, of course, does not continue throughout the year. Most days we exert ourselves carrying out the mandates Christ has given us. On some days we fast to show our love for God. In these ways we also guard against the threat of obesity.