Last year for this feast of Corpus Christi I wrote about the student kitchen which is very much the hub of our house and of community building. One of the students is now in the process of creating a recipe book (front cover on the left), with contributions from current residents plus several former ones. It will certainly reflect the diversity of the house, with daal, cornbread, peperonata, Irish apple cake, teriyaki, curry and Mars bar cake as examples of the extremely eclectic mix!
In sharing our recipes we are of course sharing much more than a list of ingredients and instructions... we are sharing our treasures, sharing something of ourselves: food which has nourished us since childhood; nostalgic memories of grandma's kitchen; something inextricably linked with our cultures; comfort food or "signature" dishes... even recipes handed down from housemate to housemate! The notes accompanying some of the recipes testify to this: they speak of the dish's place in our personal history, family or nation; of the person who first cooked it for us; the place we learnt it, or simply our enjoyment in preparing and sharing it.
Jesus undoubtedly understood the significance of food - not just as fuel for life's journey but as nourishment for the soul - and the pleasure of preparing and sharing good food with those we love. And in the Eucharist Jesus gives himself that pleasure, as he shares so much more than a favourite dish with us! And the beauty is that he shares his very self, as food, to nourish and sustain us and satisfy our hunger - and to encourage and challenge us to do likewise. If we delight in sharing recipes and delicious food, how much more delight there must be in sharing that life and love which truly nourishes and satisfies us at the deepest level!
Give them something to eat yourselves Jesus says to his disciples in today's Gospel, and continues to say to us all. Feed the physically hungry by acting that bit more justly, living that bit more simply, becoming a wiser steward; and feed those who hunger for love, inclusion and compassion, whose hearts are empty and whose hope needs nourishment. Share the treasures you have received, and discover that your enjoyment will be multiplied when you do so, just as loaves and fishes were. That is what being the Body of Christ is all about.