My definition of gluttony is probably close to what it really is: eating what I don’t need for good health and wholeness, eating more than I need of anything, good or bad.
Why does God name gluttony as a sin? I think that’s because being a glutton is hurtful to my physical body. And when my physical body is injured, it transfers to my mental, emotional, and spiritual welfare.
See the prisoner on the cross? Any flesh on his bones that is not torn and bloodied, is swollen purple and black. He struggles to breathe. His death was meant to restore humanity to its creator, to give a path out of sin and back to friendship with God. It is the ultimate sacrifice of pure Love – to die so that others may live.
It is I who deserve that punishment each time I separate myself from my creator with acts and thoughts contrary to him. Those thoughts of unforgiveness, pride, selfishness, self-centeredness, rage, stinginess. Those acts and thoughts that are not kind, loving, giving, forgiving, gentle, and selfless towards all of his creation. They are the thoughts and actions that put a wedge between me and my creator.
Because of the price he paid – his perfect life – I can know freedom of life and not be a slave to sin and death. And through him I can have an actual relationship with God. At my baptism, I was marked and sealed as Christ’s own forever by the Holy Spirit and I entered into the Body of Christ. Though nothing can now separate me from the love of God, my sin will estrange me from him.
My physical body is actually a part of the Body of Christ. At the Eucharist, I receive his Body and Blood because we, the church – his bride – are one in him. Each time I receive him again, it is a physical re-joining of the spiritual reality.
When I harm my body through gluttony, not only is my life not full as God intends, since gluttony injures, I am harming the Body of Christ. Worse yet, when I knowingly sin, it’s as though I disregard the price Jesus paid for me. To me it feels like I’m slapping him in the face while his gasps for breath say, “I love you.”
With all thankfulness, there is hope unending. Because the very words of Jesus from the cross to those who put him there were, “Father forgive them.” That plea is for me and all of God’s creation. He asks our Father not to hold my sin against me, to wash me in another flood of forgiveness; the gap between us closes once more.
Thank you, God, for the Sacrament of Reconciliation that restores me to that moment of my baptism, when all sin was washed away. And all because of the sacrifice of you and your Only Begotten Son.
And thank you, God, for grace to “go and sin no more.” That includes not sinning in what and how I feed this body that was created in your image.
Without grace and mercy, I would be a heap of rubbish on the earth, good for no one and no thing. Because of your grace and mercy, I am free to be your friend and I can rise up to your good intentions for me.