20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Proverbs 9.1-6 | Psalm 34 | Ephesians 5.15-20 | John 6.51-58
While waiting for his supper a young child, thinking he is out of his mother’s sight, reaches for the cookie jar. The child’s mother catches a glimpse out of the corner of her eye and chastises him with care, “You know better than that, no cookies before dinner.” Why do we have a rule like that, and why do mothers know it so well? We don’t want to ruin our appetite before eating a delicious dinner, we don’t want to disappoint someone who has worked hard to prepare a meal for us but, most importantly, we don’t want to fill ourselves with junk food when there is good nutritious food on its way. Cookies are a treat but we need real food to be healthy and active.
It is this basic wisdom of nutrition that is tapped into in today’s readings and applied to our spiritual well-being. We are asked not to fill ourselves with spiritual junk food but rather to take part in nourishment for our soul that will fill us with joy and the goodness of life.
The wisdom figure of the first reading invites us to a dinner that will lift us up and help us to understand that living a good life is not complicated. It is simply a matter of tapping into that which is good and healthy. She wants us to take part in the wine of knowledge and of right living. The letter to the Ephesians raises the bar and asks that everything we take part of be Christ centered and that we not get caught up in the temptations that the world offers. We are no longer children, we are expected to understand that we can’t fill our lives with sweet temptations but would be better served dining on the richness of a banquet that will be more sustaining.
This banquet is offered to us in the Eucharist which we gather to share each Sunday. Jesus offers us his body as food for our journey, food which will nourish and strengthen us and not leave us spiritually hungry and unsatisfied.