6.7 Was Jesus vegan? Should Christians be vegetarian? Does care for creation include a vegetarian diet? Why were animals sacrificed in the Bible?
Jesus ate meat (Lk 22:8) and fish (Lk 24:41-43). He said that we can consider all food clean and good for consumption (Mk 7:15-19). However, moderation in eating animals is part of the Christian tradition. Christians often abstain from meat on Friday, and some ancient monastic orders follow a mainly vegetarian diet. It also is an expression of solidarity, for the production of meat requires many resources that could feed people in need instead.
Even today, animals are sacrificed for our wellbeing, to feed us, clothe us, or serve us in other ways. The animal sacrifices in the Bible show us how terrible sin is, because it separates us from God. The Old Testament viewed these sacrifices as a way to atone for the sins of people. Jesus sacrificed his own life once and for all, so that no animal sacrifices are needed to be reconciled with God today (Heb 10:14-18).
Why was the death of Jesus part of God's plan?
To reconcile to himself all who were destined to die because of sin God took the loving initiative of sending his Son that he might give himself up for sinners. Proclaimed in the Old Testament, especially as the sacrifice of the Suffering Servant, the death of Jesus came about “in accordance with the Scriptures” [CCCC 118].
In what way did Christ offer himself to the Father?
The entire life of Christ was a free offering to the Father to carry out his plan of salvation. He gave “his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45) and in this way he reconciled all of humanity with God. His suffering and death showed how his humanity was the free and perfect instrument of that divine love which desires the salvation of all people [CCCC 119].
Saint Francis… shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace. Francis helps us to see that an integral ecology calls for openness to categories which transcend the language of mathematics and biology, and take us to the heart of what it is to be human [Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 10-11].