While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, Jesus said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” – Luke 24:41 (NRSV)
One thing you can say about Jesus with pinpoint precision: He liked to eat.
He’s eating with sinners at their parties. He’s eating with Pharisees in their homes. He’s hosting fish and bread meals for multitudes on hillsides. And, to give us something to remember him by, he sacramentalized a last supper in an upper room.
He’s even eating on the other side of the cross. He greets the disciples on the shoreline with baked fish. He also surprises them in a room then, to prove it’s him, asks, “Have you anything here to eat?”
It sounds like he had an eating disorder. Yet, though he enjoyed food, he enjoyed people more.
There was no fast food, no McHebrews, in his society. Eating was a slow experience, usually while lying on your side, and talking easily and comfortably with people. Eating back then gave you an opportunity to take time out and focus on what’s ultimately important: the people with whom you’re eating.
When you think about it, eating also connects you to people with whom you used to eat.
My favorite meal continues to be fried chicken, mashed potatoes with cream gravy, black eyed peas, and apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. No fat in that. But plenty of memories. Since this is the meal Mom made me on special occasions, whenever I eat it now, it’s as if I’m eating it back then. I remember Mom. She returns to the room, reminding me to clean my plate (as if that’s a problem).
Eating is sacred. Jesus knew it, indulging deeply into this ritual that affirms life, and that life goes on.
With whom will you eat today?
With whom did you eat yesterday?