Food and Faith

Fr. Joy came to our foods class on Thursday, March 12. We had the opportunity to ask Fr. Joy any questions we wanted about the church and how it related to food. One of the questions we asked was what was the bread and wine was made out of. He told us that for the bread it was made with flour, water and pure wheat. For the wine it is made out of grape not made with juices real grapes.

How are Eucharistic bread and wine made?

Christians have used food and its associative practices in a wide variety of ways to shape, strengthen and spread the faith. Food is no insignificant in the Catholic faith food plays an important role in the scriptures. A few examples would be when Adam and Eve ate the apple, the last supper, when Jesus fasted in the desert. It is important not to overlook the symbolic importance of food.

Have you ever wondered why we can’t eat meat on Good Friday but we can eat fish?  In fact most Christians, especially Catholics, won’t eat  meat on any Friday.  Meat was seen as a worthy sacrifice as it was linked with feasts and celebrations. Fridays were seen as a day of penance so eating meat on a Friday to “celebrate” the death of Jesus didn’t sit well with the Church. The reason you don’t eat meat on Fridays is because the church’s law specifically says “Land animals” and as you know fish are not land animals.

Fasting, which is not eating any solid food and abstinence, which  is refraining from particular foods is often part of Catholics’ lives during Lent, for a brief period before receiving communion, and in some instances on the eve of a feast, as an act of spiritual discipline and preparation. The degree to which this is observed varies significantly. Historically it has often had a more important role than it does today in most places. For what you give up for Lent doesn’t always have to be food you can give up whatever you think you need too. Some examples may be playing video games, or trying to be on social media less.

Food plays a hugely significant role at Catholics’ weddings and often after funerals, at the celebrations of first communions and confirmations, where the special choices of food and the act of dining together validate and seal the occasion. Banquets and food fairs are major events at many parishes and lay associations. Specific foods such as fish, turkey, ham, lamb, eggs or hot cross buns are sometimes tied to believers’ deeply wired understanding of the “proper” way to celebrate Christmas or Easter, and are among the things that make the feasts most memorable and develop among the diners a sense of shared identity and belonging. Mealtime is often regarded as an especially important time for prayer and gratitude.

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