A couple weeks ago I felt one of my teeth were really sensitive. It wasn’t painful, it just felt really weird. I told my wife about it, and she told me to drink some cold water. And now that tooth actually hurts (thanks, wife). But before I get the droves of advice to see a dentist, I will, I just don’t have the time to go now (that, and the fact that my regular dentist is out of town for like a month).
Although we’re only talking about one tooth on one side of my mouth that is causing me issues, it has greatly changed the whole eating experience for me. Food tastes different when you only use one side to chew. The textures aren’t as pleasing when the food isn’t shared with your whole mouth. Eating in general isn’t as enjoyable when you chew in constant fear of a stray morsel travelling to the wrong side of your mouth and causing you to wince in pain.
That led me to thinking, eating is a huge part of our lives, huh?
We do it practically everyday. Sometimes more than once. We eat to live, we eat to feel comforted, we eat together to build relationship. Eating is our way of connecting, relating, and understanding. Eating can be a way to cope, to reflect, and to heal. Eating is also celebrating, enjoying fellowship, and building up bonds.
Great, now I’m hungry. Good thing I often have a bag of sunflower seeds stashed away in my office (wait… I think I just figured out what may be giving my tooth these problems…)
Or, instead of sunflower seeds, I wonder if I can find a kid with some fish sandwiches…
The gospel story we find from Matthew is familiar. Jesus feeds a bunch of people. The interesting thing is that it says Jesus does it out of compassion. He sees the people in need of a great many things, and one way that Jesus meets those needs is to feed them. He feeds them with his care for them, he feeds them with his teaching, and then he feeds them with actual food. And above all, he feeds them with community, support, and love.
See, when I was listing off all the hunger-inducing reasons and results of eating, I left out the fact that feeding (as in providing food for others) is giving all those things and more to the recipient. Feeding is our way to reach out, to console, and to welcome. And Jesus does this.
On that hill so long ago with 5000+ people. Today in our churches around the Eucharistic table. Throughout our lives in our families, among our friends, and within the communities in which we can see the love of God, the support of the Spirit, and the nourishment of Jesus Christ our Lord. Thanks be to God!
Have a great week, everyone!