Reflections: 3rd June 2018

A Reflection for The Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

MK 14: 12-16, 22-26 (  )

Go Vegan World has conducted a vigorous media campaign in Ireland for the last three years. The campaign aims to persuade or shame people to become vegan. The focus of the campaign is on the morality, not on the health benefits or the economics of that way of living. It is delivered on huge roadside hoardings and through full-page advertisements in newspapers. The message cuts me to the quick as a farmer, and I find myself shouting back at billboards outside Elphin, Enfield and elsewhere that imply a kind of entry-level divinity for British Friesian calves, Oxford Down lambs, and Rhode Island Reds.

Battle-weary then, I open the readings for Mass for this Sunday to mark the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, and I have to submerge the sensitivities that I have caught from my contest with veganism. Here is graphic language that offers no escape. There is blood of oxen, goats and calves; basins of blood; blood-sprinkled people; and, finally, human blood. It is imagery that seems shocking for my early 21st century heart. Maybe it is my reaction that needs explanation, rather than the images.

And then some ghost reminds me that in school, in those pre-AIDS days, we sometimes sealed friendships by mingling the tiny droplets collected by sticking a pin in the soft part of our thumbs! It makes sense, then, that when the friendship being sealed stretches across the gulf between the human and the divine, the biblical writers went for imagery that would leave a lasting impression on readers in any era. And those billboards remind us, too, that this era is the most ignorant of the stages of the food chain. When dinner required first selecting a prime fowl from the yard then blood was a valuable food resource to be harvested, rather than something that shocks at its very mention 

Mr. Martin Rowan - Martin was on mission in Sierra Leone. He is a parishioner in St. Ronan’s Deansrath, Clondalkin, and a farmer.