Both readings from today’s liturgy speak about eating. In the Book of Exodus, God instructs Moses about the eating of the Passover lamb. In the Gospel, Jesus is upbraided by the Pharisees for allowing his disciples to pick and eat grain as they are walking through the fields.
Eating is one of those activities that is necessary for us to sustain life. We must ingest a certain number of calories every day in order for our bodies and our organs to function correctly. Of course, there is the danger, one that I know all too well, of consuming more calories than we really need. We all know what this leads to.
Both the New and the Old Covenant are “eating covenants.” The children of Israel consumed the Passover Lamb while dressed for a journey. They are expected to be ready to move on a moment’s notice. The food for this journey is very basic: unleavened bread, herbs, and a lamb that has been roasted whole. The New Covenant involves eating the Paschal Lamb, the flesh and blood of Jesus, our Savior. When we gather for this meal, we remember what Jesus has done for us much the same as our Jewish brothers and sisters remember what God did for them as they eat the Passover lamb.
Just as food is necessary for our bodies, the Eucharist is necessary for our spirit, our souls. If we wish to remain close to the Lord, we need to gather around the table of the Eucharist often so that we will have the strength necessary to resist the temptation to forsake our covenant relationship with Jesus. Passover lamb and Paschal Lamb – different and yet the same – food for the journey.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator