Fourth Sunday of Easter
Body image is everything in our culture. How we look, how we dress, how and what we eat, and the time we spend throughout our days worrying about our image, shape, and appearance is so important. And, because we have such a fascination with our appearance, with the new phone-camera we can now take an infinite number of photographs of ourselves; the selfie! How do I look in front of the church, while studying, eating, laughing, with certain people? As a culture, we are captivated by this outward appearance of ourselves. The dangerous aspect of this selfie sensation is the self-imposed judgments that can come into play. I am too fat. I am ugly. I am too pale. I do not fit in this shirt. I do not look good with this hat…. And on and on. Then, because of this, we are taken into diets, we go to tanning parlors, we get into exercise kicks, all of our actions become carefully monitored so as to eventually portray the best appearance, image, and outward perception that we can manage. Why I go into all of this is because our obsession with image can make our perception of food and that which nourishes us into that which should be avoided or at least treated with moderation, limitation, disciplined, regulated. Common advice tells us that when it comes to eating, drinking, desserts, exercising, and playing; moderation with everything. Discipline and moderation is a good and virtuous habit to practice. However, is there ever an exception to this moderation?
We know that too much of a good thing or a favorite food is actually harmful, dangerous, and unhealthy. Well, when it comes to receiving the Eucharist is it okay to indulge? Is it okay to get fat on Christ? YES! Because the more full we are of Jesus, the more complete or whole or holy we become. By opening ourselves to Jesus and receiving the Body of Christ every week, even every day, we as human beings become whole and complete, in other words, we become holy, we take on the identity of Jesus. Alternatively, on this Good Shepherd Sunday, with the Eucharist, we allow Christ, our Shepherd, to take care of us. Moreover, when it comes to body image that we can spend so much time worrying about, with Christ, our body, mind, and soul takes on a fullness, a nourished, healthy state that is exhibited by a disposition of joy or enthusiasm, or quite literally, the infusion of the Spirit. By being full of the Eucharist, we are changed from doubt, despair, sadness, loneliness, and fatigue to that of joyfulness, peace, excitement; life, life to the full, life in union with the Father. Partake of the Bread of Life. Become full of Christ so as to be strengthened and energized to walk the path of virtue and holiness.