Thursday, March 17 – Lent 2022

Philippians 3:17-4:1

Author: Paul Hoffman

Reflection: v. 19, ‘their god is the belly’

I love breakfast at Mercy. I don’t usually eat breakfast at all, but I always look forward to the eggs and hash browns when I come to Mercy on Mondays. In Germany, we don’t put cheese in scrambled eggs. This was new to me. What a revelation!

And now Paul says I must not enjoy my food? Can’t we also enjoy earthly things? With tears, he calls those whose belly is god and who only focus on earthly things enemies of the cross of Christ. That’s a serious expression. How do we deal with that?

Let’s take a close look at the wording: ‘Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things.’ It isn’t those who enjoy good food or other earthly things who are the enemies of the cross. Those who place their bellies above all else and who strive only for earthly things are called enemies. We can and should enjoy our food and everything else, but it shouldn’t be all we strive for. In the Gospel, according to Matthew, Jesus once said, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ There is so much beauty in the world to be happy about. But food and other earthly things are not everything.

We live in the certainty that God loves us. Our citizenship is in heaven. Jesus transforms us according to his example. Jesus joins us into his body. In this way, the glory of God is visible in the world. We hold firm that we belong to the Lord.

We are God’s beloved children. We can rejoice and trust that God will help us and that we have our place with him in heaven. At the same time, we can be just as happy and enjoy the world with everything it offers, including scrambled eggs with cheese.

Prayer God, let your grace be one of the things that fills us up.

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