Shopping in the supermarket is one of my favorite things to do. Companies strategize a whole psychology around how a consumer shops. As a child, I watched the cartoon Mighty Mouse go into a supermarket weak and slumping over and after eating the “superfood” he’d come out super strong and fly around with biceps flexing up in triumph. Wow, I thought, I really need to get my parents to go to a “super” market.

Now companies advertise these “superfoods” that are supposed to make you more healthy and wise and live longer, the equivalent of a metaphorical Mighty Mouse flexing his muscles. There is much truth to it though. What we put into our bodies makes a world of difference. In less developed countries, people tend to shop more frequently. That’s rapidly changing as their refrigerators are rapidly getting as big as ours. The frugal say to never shop hungry else you will buy too many things but honestly, for me, that’s the best time to go. Everything is much more appetizing when you are hungry. The colors of life are much more tantalizing.

We are dazzled in America. God gives us the ability to make choices. This is our free will. We may choose how joyous, discontent, or successful we want to be. We may do anything we want but these choices are not made in a vacuum. There are consequences to all of them. The Lord invites us to join Him in His Great Banquet. We are invited at every moment and at every turn to join the Lord in the feast of His infinite love for us. As in the parable we may choose to do other things. God will still love us but His wrath is made real by our separation from Him. We may choose to live in joyous and fruitful paradise or choose to live a lonely and tormenting hell. It all depends on where we put our attention and how discerning we are in our choices.

There are always influences that help us choose. Where we put our efforts will determine our results. If our energies are incorrectly spent our results will most likely be erroneous. While in the supermarket, we may buy an apple or potato chips. We may choose unbleached flour over bleached flour. We may buy flowers or cigarettes, go organic or not. And, if we develop a headache from all of these choices then we have to option to buy Tylenol, Advil, or Bayer.

God made this world our own personal supermarket. By putting Him in a place of honor, we can ensure that the choices we make in life will be the correct ones. So pray each time you choose between Jiffy or Peter Pan. Pray as you decide between Gala or Fuji, wild caught or farmed, organic or inorganic. Pray as you deposit money in the bank and pray as much when you take it out. Pray that your children watch less screen time and pray that for yourself too. Pray without ceasing. Remember the grace that freely flows from God will come upon you. Honor Him by thoughtful giving and give until it hurts. The benefits will be out of this world but the benefits will be in this world too.

Remember the words of Saint Paul as he writes to the church in Thessaloniki, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:16-18). The choices we make in life should always be preempted by a prayer. Giving thanks and honoring God is paying attention to the Great Banquet He has prepared for our nourishment and well-being.

May God color your world with good choices and abundant love. Have a meaningful and joyous Christmas Advent and a blessed feast of the Nativity of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ.