The Jewish people believed that eating only kosher foods was an extremely important part of their covenant with the Lord. This was so important that many Jews died rather than eat unclean food (see 2 Mc 6-7). Consequently, while in exile, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah insisted on a vegetarian diet. This would assure them of eating kosher food.
In the new covenant, Jesus has made "all foods clean" (Mk 7:19). "Nothing is to be rejected when it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by God's word and by prayer" (1 Tm 4:4-5). So we need not obey kosher food laws. However, the new covenant does not abolish the commands of the old, but fulfills them (Mt 5:17). In the new covenant, the emphasis is not so much on the kinds of food we eat, but on the lordship of Jesus. Lord Jesus will not only tell us what to eat, but how much, when, where, why, and how to eat. Jesus may tell us to fast or eat with the poor (Lk 14:13). He may command us to eat with family, not the TV; in thanksgiving, not compulsion; at home, not the drive-through.
We want Jesus to be the Lord of our eating because by obeying His commands we express our love for Him. Jesus said: "You will live in My love if you keep My commandments" (Jn 15:10), including His commandments about eating.
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2009 through November 30, 2009.
†Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 3, 2009.