As a lover of food-related matters, I like to read up on different cuisines, styles of cooking, ethnic variations, and travel shows that cover the different kinds of food around the world. I also enjoy watching TV shows that are food-related, and one of the past shows that I came to enjoy is named The Chef’s Table. In this series, the producers highlight a different chef with his or her own episode, and these are chefs who paved the culinary paths with their own creativities, inventive ideas, and artistic skills.
To be honest, these chefs are so talented. They are avant-garde in their own rights! They create beautiful works of art by cooking. They have a passion, discipline, and commitment to what they are doing. They are geniuses, and at times, a bit crazy, too! However, they have chosen not simply to cook to earn prestige and make money, to run a typical fancy restaurant, but to create their own vision and mission with their distinctive cooking style. In other words, they look at cooking as the expression of who they are, the extension of beauty, and the manifestation of discipline and workmanship. Perhaps that is why many people are willing to make long treks, extra efforts, and at times, having to wait a long time and pay a lot of money to be at these places that are often out of the way, in the middle of nowhere, or can only be known if they are looking for them.
By this time, many of us will say, that is crazy and we would never do that! However, we have seen many people who are willing to stand in line, camp out, and wait for hours to get a taste of a famous restaurant, shop, or bakery. We have seen people who are willing to go the extra mile and spend a tremendous amount of time to taste what others say is worth having, or to simply take pictures and tag themselves as being there and having what others are envious of or wanting to try! People are willing to do many outrageous and extraordinary things so they can be like others or taste what other people are hyping up through social media or popular means.
If so many people are willing to take the extra effort to taste or try beautiful works created by humanity, I wonder how many are willing to go out of their ways to come to the Eucharistic Banquet? At times, I am discouraged by the actual number and tired of hearing excuses. It is unfortunate that so many of us would rather spend time chasing and attaining trendy, appealing, or temporal goods instead of life-giving nourishment for both our body and soul. Perhaps in comparison to what catches the eyes, appeals to the senses, and is popular with others, what comes from God is too boring and not worth attaining.
As a matter of fact, the love of God for us is not something showy, entertaining, inspiring, captivating, or appealing in any means. It is simply OLD BORING LOVE! What do I mean by this? I mean that this is the most seem-to-be-so-ordinary, unpretentious, consistent, and heartfelt way of love that cannot be sold by the Hallmarks Channel or Hollywood-style romantic movies. It is the kind of love between two people who have known each other for a long time and do not have to prove themselves to one another! It is like an old couple who are able to be present with one another and do not have to speak much, but they know that they are more than enough for each other.
In this world, so many of us are taught to seek and desire puppy love where everything is still new, appealing, captivating, emotionally, and sentimentally fantastic! We think that whoever we love has to be perfect, dreamy, and fit whatever standards we have set or think will be perfect for a romantic partner. However, fascination quickly comes to an end when we get to know a person, for no one is perfect. True love begins to grow when we are able to love the other person as he or she is, in all of his or her imperfections, shortcomings, and failures. Real love is able to say, “You are more than enough for me!” No more, no less.
This should be the love we have for God — OLD BORING LOVE — when we are able to recognize that He is more than enough for us! It takes a lot of effort to truly recognize what He has done and how He cares for us in very unpretentious and ordinary ways, without having to demand and expect Him to give us what we want and as we want them to be. God is not an entertainer! He does not want to simply wow us or captivates our senses and feelings for a moment, He simply loves us and cares for our very own good — now and for eternity! To truly recognize the love of God is to recognize that He is more than enough for us instead of always demanding and expecting things our way.
When we come to Mass, we should not come to be captivated by a show. We come because we recognize what is being offered and given to us! Only God who is so passionately in love with us could ever think of something that is so radical, so personal but seem to be so ordinary by worldly standards, in giving His very own self to us. Every time at Mass, we receive His very own Body and Blood, not only for the nourishment of our body but also for our soul, not only for this moment but for eternity! At each and every Mass, we hear the same words that Jesus said to His very own disciples, and now to us through the mouth of the priest, “This is my Body… This is my Blood… Given up for you!”
If that is not enough for us, I do not know what else (in this world) could ever satisfy us! Things in this world will always come and go. Trends, fads, and hypes go up and down like roller coasters. Popular stuff for one period will become outdated the next, so it is so important that we fix our eyes on the matters that are everlasting and eternal, the real, life-giving, and intimate love that God has willed and given to us. Else, we might be free to do whatever we want for the moment, but we will forever be enslaved by the changing, temporal, and at times, too, toxic things of this world. Our freedom is not the ability to do whatever we want at all costs, for true freedom is the ability to seek and live for greater things than ourselves and what seems to be good for the moment! True freedom has to be aligned with the truth that comes from God, things that are eternal and everlasting, or else we will always end up being enslaved to lesser goods, idols, and addictions to lies, manipulations, and control of others.
Let us ask ourselves how we are preparing for the Eucharistic Banquet. Are we coming to the House of the Lord with the best of attitude as to receive and give Him everything we have? Or, are we coming begrudgingly and without any openness to receive His love for us? The clothes that we wear to Mass are not simply to show off to others, but the dignity, love, and willingness of our faith, beauties of our soul, and humility of our spirit to truly worship and give our all to Him who loves us.
The Feast is ready, the Host has prepared the best for us, and He so desires to give His all to us! Let us, therefore, ask ourselves how we can humbly, genuinely, and selflessly give ourselves to the Almighty in worship in return for His loving gifts to us. Let us not outrageously demand things that are ridiculous, selfish, or shallow from God but humbly give ourselves in response to His loving care by how we give Him our everything. Blessed are they who can seek the simple “OLD BORING LOVE” given to us by the Almighty and simply tell Him, “You are more than enough for me!”