Rich and juicy
The First Reading says that the Lord of hosts will provide a feast for his people, a feast of choice wines and rich and juicy food.
Rich food is the kind that our culture warns us against. Everything shouts at us that if we want to look good and be healthy, the one thing we should be sure to avoid is rich food. And what can we say about choice wines? They cost a lot of money, which could be better spent on other things; and nobody can exercise hard or work well who is full of choice wines.
Furthermore, almost everybody is dieting or has been dieting. But we all know that even successful dieters fail in the long run. Often, a person diets just long enough to get rid of excess weight and then happily goes right back to his old habits of eating rich and juicy food. That’s how diets fail.
We seem pressed, then, to give up rich and juicy things forever. And it isn’t just a matter of food. Work, marriage, children—all these things can give the same impression. Give unstintingly, labor ceaselessly; but, please, please, nothing rich and juicy! At least, not if you want to be healthy, attractive, and successful.
This is a grim and grinding picture of human life.
But it is not the Lord’s picture. We are made by him to be fed till full on the very best, the most rich and juicy of all. The Lord himself will provide it for us in heaven, in the wedding supper of the Lamb. But, in this life too, the Lord feeds us with the best—and that is himself, in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. There is no choicer wine or richer food.
And so, as the First Reading shows us, we are not commanded to a life of grimness. We are called to joy.
Eleonore Stump is Professor of Philosophy, Saint Louis University
**From Saint Louis University