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Why go to Mass? We are what we eat | Love Digest

Julian Paparella

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Photo by Eric Mok on Unsplash
“You are what you eat.” Back in the day, the original phrasing went like this: “Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.”
Of course, eating is a basic human need. It is easy to see how what we eat has an impact on our body. So what about our soul? If our bodies depend on the food we eat, isn’t it the same with our souls? Without physical nourishment, our bodies shrivel up. Same thing with the soul, it needs to be spiritually nourished to grow and be healthy. So what do you feed your soul?
We can feed our souls in many ways. A good book. A long walk in the woods. Beautiful music. Quality time with family and friends. All of these feed the stomachs of our soul.
There’s one kind of nourishment that we can often overlook. It can be seen as countercultural in today’s day and age. Yet it is the most high-octane sustenance we could give to our souls. It is God who gives Himself to us as food to literally eat.
That is the Eucharist. It is eating God. It is eating love. Because God is love, and that’s why our souls long for love. They long for God. And God gives Himself to us to be eaten. How incredible is that?
God is a good parent who wants to feed His children. He feeds us in many ways. Most mysteriously of all, He gives us Himself to eat. As Jesus said:
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.” (John 6:51, 54-56)
After being away from church because of COVID, it is good for us to revisit why we should go to Mass anyways. It may be so much more convenient to just watch it livestreamed, and tempting to simply not go at all.
But God wants us to eat Him. This is perhaps the deepest reason for going to Mass. God delights in giving Himself to us in this way. Even when the music, the homily, or the sense of community may be mediocre, the Eucharist never changes. It is Jesus who gives us His body so that we can become His body. It is God who is love who wants to transform us into His likeness. Let us be nourished by God to go out and nourish the world. For we are what we eat. Letting God feed us, eating His very self, we are transformed more and more as His children.
Don’t take my word for it, experience it for yourself. What are your plans this Sunday? Together, let’s accept God’s invitation to let Him feed us with Himself and extend that offer to others. Jesus wants us to eat Him. And eating Him transforms us and the world. Let us eat love, for the life of the world.
Father, feed us with Your Son so that we may be more and more Your children, overflowing with Your love for the whole human family.
Julian would be happy to hear from you, with any questions, insights, or suggestions you may have regarding this blog series. He can be reached at jpaparella@slmedia.org.


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