IN HIS MEMORY

A Christian Diet for the Heart and Soul
With Recipes from the Menu of Life


A Christian Diet for the Heart and Soul
With Recipes from the Menu of Life

My perspective is that of one called to follow Jesus Christ,
as all of us are who consider ourselves Christian.

During the Last Supper with His disciples, Jesus said
certain nutrition and dietetics words:
TAKE AND EAT.
THIS IS FOR YOU.
THIS IS FOR ALL.
DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME.
IN MY MEMORY.

Taking this scene as starting point, we go backward and
forward into some of the words and deeds of Jesus, and
draw for ourselves some lessons for living.

1. RECIPE FOR LEARNING

COME and SEE is our first recipe.

In John 1:35 ff, This is what Jesus said to two disciples
who, following Him and suddenly being asked why,
could only blurt out,
“Rabbi, where do you live?”

So Jesus said what He said.
“COME, AND SEE.”

It is not related where they went or what they saw,
but the next day, one of them, Andrew, invited
his brother Simon, to come with him, saying
that they (and the other companion)
had found the Messiah.

Come and See is our first recipe for learning
— not just the life of a Christian, but anything.

We must come and see.
We must be open.
We must absorb.

Andrew and John, these first followers,
became disciples of Jesus,
not BECAUSE they physically walked behind Jesus,
but BECAUSE THEY CAME AND SAW WHO HE WAS,
where He lived, what He did,
AND,
SEEING THESE,
FOLLOWED,
AND LEARNED.

Later, the invitation would become explicit:
“COME, FOLLOW ME.”

This is what we need to do.
We must learn to see.
To see and to learn.

This seeing is a gift of God,
a gift which we must not just be open to
and receive
but must cooperate with.

It is a gift that will make us be born again
of water and the Spirit.

Once we have seen how God operates,
we accept what Jesus also said:
Unless you become like little children,
you will never enter the Kingdom of God.”
Matt. 18.3

COME and SEE.
COME, FOLLOW ME.
BECOME AS A CHILD.
RECIPE FOR LEARNING.

2. RECIPE FOR SERVING

Once, when Jesus preached to thousands, the setting sun
prompted one of the disciples to tell Jesus to send the crowds
away to find food for themselves.

But Jesus replied,
“You give them something to eat yourselves.”

What the disciples could put together,
Jesus blessed and broke and multiplied.

But the disciples STILL HAD TO SERVE,
distributing the bread and the fish
to the thousands sitting on the grass.

And leftovers from this miracle still filled twelve wicker baskets.

A personal task and challenge was given the disciples then,
and us today.

We must learn to serve one another
not by proxy but personally,
by ourselves.

The further challenge is to aim to serve
not just those we know and like but EVERY woman and man.

The lesson of the Parable of the Good Samaritan
is to NOT ASK FIRST who my neighbor is
before I help,
but to FIRST BE A NEIGHBOR
to anyone and everyone in need,
whenever I can, wherever I am.

This is the RECIPE FOR SERVING.
You give them something to eat yourselves.

Be neighbor even to the nameless,
voiceless,
faceless ones.

Do good not only to those who will be able
to repay you, but especially
to those who do not have
and may never have the ability or resources to repay,
sometimes, not even to say Thank You.

To them we are to be and to act NEIGHBOR.
We learn to serve.
Like Jesus.

RECIPE FOR SERVING.

3. RECIPE FOR REST

It’s not going to be easy –
this challenge and task to learn: to serve.

There are times when we might like it and enjoy it.
But it will tire us.

Once, the disciples of Jesus were sent,
two by two, to preach.

When they returned, excited at what they had done,
Jesus, while supporting them, said,
“Let us go off by ourselves to some place
where we will be alone, and you can REST a while.”
Mark 6:31.

You and I, we need this rest, too.
Some of us, without our realizing it, are workaholics.
We get sick if we cannot work.

We have forgotten to relax.
Oh, we need not and should not be lazy, of course.
But we need to pace ourselves,
to carry our tasks and responsibilities,
but not to carry the burden of the whole world
our shoulders every day.

Some years ago, in India,
I saw plastered over the Red traffic light
the word RELAX.
Amusing but practical.
Many drivers hate to wait.
So, RELAX.

We, too, need to put on the brakes and do the same.

While we are relaxing, we get refreshed,
and we respond to the loving
and understanding invitation of Jesus,
“Come to me, all you who labor
and are heavily burdened,
and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke, and put it on you.
Learn from Me,
because I am gentle and humble of heart,
and you will find REST.” Matt. 11:28-30.

We need to take a breather regularly.
If there is a RUSH HOUR,
we need a HUSH HOUR;
not just a PUSH Button,
but a PAUSE Button as well.

4. RECIPE FOR HOPE

In a world full of anger and hatred,
war and poverty and destruction,
of heartaches and headaches,
of betrayals and infidelity,
is there reason for hope?

I still say YES.

And we who want to continue
to follow Jesus have His words:

“Do not be worried about the food and drink
you need in order to stay alive,
or about clothes for your body.

Is not life worth more than food,
and the body worth more than clothes?

Look at the birds in the air.

Look at the lilies in the field…”

God’s Providence is our reason for hope.

I know that very often our faith is tested, our reason for hope.

Often we cry and pray, but help takes so long to come.

We need to remember Jesus saying
“In the world you will have trouble.
But DO NOT BE AFAID.
I HAVE CONQUERED THE WORLD.”
John 16:33.

I remember, too, that prayer-poem of my
Mexican friend Andres Delgado Hernandez SDB
(who is now, I assume, in the heavenly Kingdom):

“En la lucha, Senor, invade mi alma tu silencio.
Pero esperare tranquilo, permanecere velando
como el horizonte espera ser incendiado por la aurora.

SE QUE VENDRAS.

“In the struggle, O Lord, Your siience invades my soul

But I will hope calmly, ever expectantly, keeping vigil —
like the horizon that waits to be set aflame by dawn.

I KNOW THAT YOU WILL COME.”

This is the RECIPE FOR HOPE.

5. RECIPE FOR TEACHING

This is the companion pole of our first offering,
RECIPE FOR LEARNING.

When we shall have learned to serve, to rest, to hope,
we must also strive to learn to teach.
To share with others what has enriched us,
even if at times,
the learning was through blood, sweat, and tears.

Three Gospel texts inspire me.

The first is in Calvary when the dying Jesus says to John
at the foot of the cross, “Here is your Mother.” John 19:27.

He will go. He will send us His Spirit.
But for now,
He leaves us His mother.

The second is where Jesus tells Simon Peter:
“I have prayed for you, that your faith will not fail.
And when you turn back to Me,
you must strengthen
your brothers.
Luke 22:31-32.

I find this very loving and very hopeful.
You and I will not always be successful.
We will have our off-days, our dry nights,
our failing and disappointing moments.

But may they not keep us down.

And when we recover,
let us strengthen our sisters and brothers.

The third is Matt 28:18 ff.

Jesus commands His disciples to go and teach
all nations everything that He had taught them.

He assures that whatever happens anytime anywhere,
“I am with you ALWAYS, till the end of time.”

These thoughts are drawn from Someone
who may not have been a dietician or a chef
but who knew about food and drink and life.

Someone who even gave Himself for us to eat.

From His life are these
Recipes from the Menu of Life.
Towards a Christian Diet for the Heart and Soul —

IN HIS MEMORY.

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