Because I can. Jesus said I can eat anything, because all food is clean.

“Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) Mark 7:18-19 (NIV)

I can also choose not to eat particular foods, such as fish because I don’t like fish. The Apostle Paul wrote that it is for each individual to decide what they should and shouldn’t eat.

I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. Romans 14:14 (NIV)

But in moderation or not at all if it causes others to fall (such as getting drunk or over eating I would think).

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall. So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. Romans 14:19-23 (NIV)

I can fast and pray, as I am thankful for what Jesus has given me. The choice is mine.

But what to make of the recent declaration by the Catholic Church in England and Wales that Catholics there are once again required to abstain from eating meat on Fridays all year as a form of penance.

The Bishops wish to re-establish the practice of Friday penance in the lives of the faithful as a clear and distinctive mark of their own Catholic identity. They recognise that the best habits are those which are acquired as part of a common resolve and common witness. It is important that all the faithful be united in a common celebration of Friday penance. Respectful of this, and in accordance with the mind of the whole Church, the Bishops’ Conference wishes to remind all Catholics in England and Wales of the obligation of Friday Penance. The Bishops have decided to re-establish the practice that this should be fulfilled by abstaining from meat. Those who cannot or choose not to eat meat as part of their normal diet should abstain from some other food of which they regularly partake. This is to come into effect from Friday 16 September 2011 when we will mark the anniversary of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom.
The restoration of the Friday fast is a historic day for English and Welsh Catholics

If some people want to abstain from eating meat on Fridays. Beautiful! If some want to fast as a form of meditation and prayer to God. Again, Beautiful! But as Jesus clearly states, and as Paul by inspiration reiterates, we can eat anything. Why should people be dictated by someone else what they can and can’t eat on any particular day. Isn’t every day special?

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 (NIV)

Shouldn’t we praise God every day and give thanks to Him in Jesus name every day.

Am I wrong?

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2 Replies to “Ham”

  1. I like the idea about giving up meat on Fridays, so much so that I have done it for over 40 years without any requirement or mandate. Why? Because it keeps me focused on our Lord’s sacred Death for my sins; He who fasted in the desert for me; He who suffered and died for me. I certainly can do a little penance for my sins and the sins of my ancestors. Oh, BTW, I also like obedience to the Church, so that I would have no problem if the American bishops decided to bring back meatless Fridays. I’m just a sheep following the Shepherd!

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