Choosing a relationship
I’ve been vegetarian off and on for about a decade. For the most part my dietary choices rarely come up in conversation, and I don’t try to convert others, but over the years I’ve learned a lot more about animal welfare and the environmental cost to raising animals for food. While I’m always curious and interested in learning about this topic, I was reminded last month that not everyone feels the same way.
I was a little too excited when I told a friend that pigs were smarter than dogs though we choose to eat one and not the other, and it takes 4000 gallons of water to raise enough food for a cow to ultimately provide 2 pounds of beef. I couldn’t contain my excitement at this knowledge. My friend did not share my enthusiasm.
“Please stop, don’t tell me anymore” my friend said in a pained voice.
“Why not? Isn’t it crazy what we’re doing?” I went on excitedly.
“I don’t want to know,” she replied.
“Why wouldn’t you want to know?” I asked, feeling confused. And then it dawned on me, and I said, ”because you would have to change?”
“Yeah, if I know what is going on, I would have to change, and I don’t want to,”she said.
I appreciated my friend’s honesty, but I was disappointed and a little sad. I quickly moved the conversation to another topic.
In today’s Gospel Jesus tells the crowd to eat his flesh and drink his blood. Talk about a dietary change! While the gospel at today’s mass ends with verse 58, in verse 60 it says, ”Then many of his disciples who were listening said, ‘This saying is hard; who can accept it?’” Many in the crowd reportedly walked away and returned to their former lives.
Change can be hard. Sometimes we welcome it, and other times we resist but in either scenario we have a choice in how we react. Christ always has an open, non-expiring invitation to all of us to become as intimately aware of him as we desire. We can choose to come to mass or not, we can put a checkmark by “attended mass” on the to-do list and leave it at that, or we can routinely pray while waiting at a stop light. We can practice sitting silently. There are so many small ways to deepen our relationship, but it is always our choice.