By Most Rev. Richard W. Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton

Monday, June 8, 2015

Eat Healthy!

How many times do we hear that, or say it to others? We hear it all the time from our doctors, and rightly so. What we eat has a profound effect upon our health. More and more people seem to be heeding this message, if only to judge by the wild popularity of diet programs constantly advertised in the media.

When we celebrated yesterday the Solemnity of The Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), we heard from Sacred Scripture the same message - eat healthy! - but at an entirely different level. God's Word was addressed to the nourishment we give to our soul, that is to say, to our relationship with Christ and with His Body, the Church.

In this perspective, we can recognize the prevalence of a diet which is very unhealthy, indeed. Think of the banality and emptiness of the messaging in television programming today; think of the pornographic imagery that comes to us across television and computer screens or via material on magazine racks in grocery stores; think of the wanton violence portrayed in video games; or consider the way social networking has become the new form of sometimes malicious gossip.

What happens when we "consume" all this, and allow it to form our mindset and behaviour? Clearly, it moves us away from Christ and his teachings, and distances us from His Church. Anything that produces such an effect is junk food and should be shunned.

By way of dramatic and beautiful contrast, Sacred Scripture speaks to us of the sacrament of the Eucharist, the true Body and Blood of the Lord. This is true nourishment; it produces real spiritual health. It was Jesus himself who said: "For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink." (John 6:55) This is a wondrous mystery that affirms the love of Jesus for his people. He gives himself to us as the nourishment that brings forgiveness and leads to eternal life! 

On Sunday I participated in our annual eucharistic procession through the streets of Edmonton. This traditional Corpus Christi practice is a wonderful way to announce to our city and world the hope that is ours in Jesus, who gives himself to us in this manner and remains with us through his abiding presence in the Blessed Sacrament. As I've said before, this should also be a reminder to believers to make of our lives a "eucharistic procession", by serving others as agents of love and mercy, and thus of hope.

Let's be very attentive to our "diet". Physical health is good; spiritual well-being is better.