Jesus in Brooklyn

God is among the hungry in Brooklyn, NY.

As we make our way to Good Friday, Jesus has made it clear that his community comes from a very different place and looks very different from ours. In Jesus’ community, an alarmingly large number of faithful are depriving themselves of nutritious food and entire meals, not because they are observing a Lenten fast, but because they cannot afford nutritious food — in the United States of America, in Brooklyn, in 2015.


The economics of nutrition and malnutrition are well-known and well-understood. Since big agriculture receives huge public subsidies to cultivate high sugar, high starch grains, and since over the course of human evolution, these quick sources of energy were rare and coveted, and the human body is not built to signal when we have consumed enough, the food industry can make a far greater killing off these quick sources by selling them to the poor than they can more nutritious foods, foods that tell us when we are sated. And, as any economist will tell you, this is a magic formula for huge, unending, returns on investment. We will not consume healthy foods in unending quantities. We stop when we are full and that means a decline in possible returns.

This helps to explain how hunger and malnutrition can exist side-by-side with obesity, in the United States of America, in Brooklyn, in 2015. Yet, there are many (17 percent according to the study) who are “food insecure” in Brooklyn; and a surprising 80 percent of school children come from families sufficiently impoverished to qualify for free or reduced-price lunches at school.

As Jesus makes his way to Good Friday, he is with these families. And he is asking that we join him. Is it possible that we are not where he is? Is it possible that we are instead waiting for him in Jerusalem to do him and his community violence?

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