Solomon used vegetables to make his point in Proverbs 15: 17
Solomon’s proverb was “Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred”. In today’s language, the proverb would be something like “better a meal of vegetables with love than steak with hatred or resentment.”
In Solomon’s proverb love and hate are contrasted. Where love is present, it matters little what is served for a meal. The warmth, caring, and affection around the table make meager fare seem like a banquet. In contrast, the most delicious meal is as dust when those eating it have hard hearts and there is hatred around the table.
Wandering in the desert, Israelites longed for Egypt where they had cucumbers to eat. The Hebrew word for cucumber is qishshû which means “to be hard,” possibly because the cucumber is hard to digest.
Jesus told Jewish leaders and disciples that he was the bread of life which came down from heaven. If individuals wanted eternal life, they must eat his flesh and drink his blood. Some of Jesus’ followers told him that his words were “hard teaching.” They asked Christ, “How can we accept it?” Jesus didn’t back down. He told questioning disciples that his words were about spiritual aspects of life. Still, many disciples couldn’t grasp Christ’s words. They turned back and stopped following him.
Jesus loved the disciples who turned away from him and his teachings as much as he loved those who remained. Christ grieved over the hard hearts that produced lack of understanding of his teachings. We see how much the departed disciples hurt Christ by the way he questioned those who remained, “You do not want to leave too, do you”.
Reflection: Imagine how much you would have to hurt to ask your spouse, child, or best friend the same question in the same way.
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