Prepare for Sunday Mass: 'You are what you eat.' And, of course, what you drink.

Each week in OSV Newsweekly, Carl Olson provides a thoughtful, relevant reflection on the Mass readings for Sunday in his "Opening the Word" column. The following is just an excerpt, but you can read the entire column here.

From Carl Olson:

You are what you eat.” And, of course, what you drink. Without food and water, we eventually perish. But if we eat and drink unhealthily, we can harm ourselves. This is common sense, even if a cheeseburger, fries and large soda occasionally shove good sense out the door. During Lent, we are challenged to consider more closely what we put into our bodies; the Great Fast is meant to transform the way we understand our existence in this world and, thus, change how we approach our spiritual lives.

Scripture is filled with stories about food and drink. Many of those stories are about conflicts and temptations. The very first conflict in human history, as we all know, involved the eating of forbidden fruit. Father Alexander Schmemann noted that in the account of the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden, “man is presented, first of all, as a hungry being. ...” Man’s greatest hunger — his essential hunger — is for God. This has been expressed in many ways, but this sentence from the opening of St. Augustine’s “Confessions” captures perfectly this deep hunger: “Our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.”


The saint later writes: “I was not in love as yet, but I was in love with love; and, from a hidden hunger, I hated myself for not feeling more intensely a sense of hunger.” Like Adam and Eve, the young Augustine tried to satisfy his Godly hunger with godless things. And so it has been through time. The Hebrews, liberated from hundreds of years of slavery in Egypt, soon complained of hunger and thirst. “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt?” they grumbled to Moses. “Was it just to have us die here of thirst?”

Read Olson's entire column to prepare for Sunday Mass.

Jennifer Rey is the web editor of Our Sunday Visitor Publishing.