Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Yesterday while walking through San Francisco’s picturesque Noe Valley Neighbourhood, I was stopped by a very fervent woman selling bottled water from her storefront. “Did you know” she began the monologue, “that the human body is composed of at 60% water?” Having seen this or a similar statistic, I agreed with her “with the stipulation that proximate conclusions drawn from the first premise allow for a variation of that premise.” Being in San Francisco, she was used to about anything and proceeded to argue that although water comprises most of our body we tend not to pay attention to what we drink and therefore (jumping a head a few steps) paying $5.75 for a quart of water would make perfect sense. The fundamental logic of course sound. We are what we eat, or, what we consume certainly has an effect on our physical health.
What we consume does have effect on our lives. Dieticians have noted that we should eat for what the body needs, not what advertising has established.
In today’s Gospel Jesus speaks of himself as the bread that has come down from heaven, bread that must be consumed if one is to have eternal life. If we follow the logic of those who, and rightfully so, are concerned about the body, should we not be equally be concerned about what nourishes our soul? The distress over trans fats, the anguish over sugars, and the anxiety over cholesterol is of course warranted, but perhaps today’s gospel reminds us that our spiritual diet requires equal, if not, more, attention.