Bishop Banda’s Homily, Wednesday, 5th Week, Year 2.
Food is one of the basic needs of mankind. It is the most fundamental need of all creatures. Due to its importance, it has its own decorum. In our cultural set up to share a meal has a deeper meaning than what meets the eye. That is the more reason why one would only eat with family members, friends, and other close persons. Sharing a meal with a stranger would be considered a taboo. However, as a sign of welcome, a guest would be given some food or a cup of water.
Similarly, in the Bible, “to eat” has a deeper meaning than just consuming food. To eat means to be in communion with the other person or persons, or to be in an intimate relationship with the other. So for the Jews, with whom they ate the food with was important and significant just like in our cultural set up.
Further “to eat” meant to have knowledge of something or someone. For the Jews, they had a long standing tradition of knowledge of what was ritually clean and unclean. They knew what was evil and sinful; and they also knew what was good and holy. So when Jesus said that nothing which goes into a man from outside can make him unclean; He was actually saying that only God knows what is good or evil for man; and the rest of us can only search in the light of God Himself.
Equally when God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2: 17), it meant that man in himself has no idea, no knowledge of good and evil but God. Only God is all knowledgeable and immortal as opposed to mankind. That is why we need to constantly sit at His feet to learn and to discern in order to understand and to distinguish good from evil.
The Eucharist we partake ought to help us in the discernment of good from evil because we partake of Him who is God, all knowledgeable and immortal. In communion with Him, we become knowledgeable of His will for us and we become filled with His life and His Spirit; and in turn we are meant to transmit His goodness to others. He gives us life and reveals Himself – as immortal and all knowledgeable of what is, of what was and what is to come.
However, when we do not partake of Him in the Eucharist, we miss out on our spiritual knowledge and spiritual nourishment (life). As a result our hearts starve and become weak. Our hearts become doubtful and filled with evil and destruction. The evil that we see (evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly etc.) is the aftermath of our own spiritual death from within which shows its ugly face in our evil deeds. Let us therefore hasten to the table of the Lord, so that we may be empowered and be able to distinguish good from evil