What do you do with leftovers? My mom had a way to stretch out the food she prepared, such that nothing was wasted. After the multiplication of the loaves and fish, the disciples collected the leftovers, filling seven baskets with food. There’s that number seven, once again, reminding us of the seven days of Creation. This beautifully mirrors the first reading from genesis which has given us the story of Creation, unfolding poetically over seven days. Completion.
Left overs are meant to be eaten, not thrown away. My own mother, and countless others over the world and through the centuries, have done creative things with leftovers. Throughout the pandemic, I realized how much garbage I create and how much food I waste. How easily it would be to feed EVERY human being EVERY day of the week, “creating” a humanity connected through food and nourishment. Yes, the food can be “multiplied” if we change the way we prepare, eat and distribute the food.
Not thriving away food is a conscious way to connect with the hungry, transforming our relationship with food. A change of attitude and perception will “spill out” into striving to do something to feed the hungry. The size of our portions will definitely change: the huge portions served in most American restaurants is scandalous and the amount of food we consume in our homes is equally scandalous.
The many “food deserts” that exist in poor neighborhoods is an injustice that demands response. Within three miles of my home are multiple grocery stores. Some of these stores sell food at very high prices in the name of organic. The poor don’t have the luxury to worry about how organic the food is if they can’t afford it. It is very easy to be environmentally conscious about food and waste if you have the money to live such a lifestyle.
A question that should haunt most of us who are comfortable: how do I/you spend the “left over” money, one has, after the essentials are paid for?