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Rome introduces pineapple pizza and it’s the secret to Lent

pineapple with pizza

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Msgr. Gregory E.S. Malovetz - published on 02/16/24

In Italy this is considered heresy by many people. Until recently. Now, a well-known chef is creating pineapple pizza, and a new generation is not opposed to it.

In a world of endless conflicts and divisions, I discovered a new one. It’s actually more humorous than troublesome. In Italy, where the bragging rights about the best pizza are significant, one chef has introduced a new spin on the traditional culinary delight. Pineapple pizza. The idea of putting pineapple on pizza is not new in other parts of the world. (although it is usually something you love or hate.) But in Italy this is considered heresy by many people. Until recently. Now, a well-known chef is creating pineapple pizza, and a new generation is not opposed to it. While it seems unorthodox, the chef felt this is part of the pizza making tradition: All you need to change is one ingredient, or one preparatory step, and you create a whole new thing. 

It was only a short time ago that Christmas decorations were put away for another year. Now, seemingly out of nowhere, Lent has arrived with the observance of Ash Wednesday. February 14 is one of the earliest dates it can fall; and it is no small thing that it is also Valentine’s Day. 

There are many ways we can observe the holy season of Lent. So central to our life of faith, it cannot be ignored, reduced to ashes on Wednesday or no meat on Friday. Perhaps we need an image to shake us out of “business as usual this Lent.”

What if your Lent was a pineapple pizza? I don’t mean literally eating one each week. (although for some like me, that would be a huge penance!) What I mean is expressed in the words of the chef: All you need to change is one ingredient, or one preparatory step, and you create a whole new thing. 

What is the one ingredient you can change this Lent 2024 and create a whole new thing? The new ingredient is not found in your pantry. The new preparatory step is not found in a cookbook. It might be found in your parish bulletin; it might be found reading Scripture or attending daily Mass. Even more, it can be found in your heart. 

The First Sunday of Lent begins with the temptation of Jesus. We must remember before the temptations came the quiet. Before the temptations came the reflection. After the temptations came the resolve. In quiet reflection Jesus resolves that love will be the constant ingredient of his ministry. The preparatory step is to stand with the sinner and all who did not know their self-worth. 

Can we enter Lent as Jesus did, embracing the quiet and the uncomfortable silence? In our listening can we resolve not only to renounce sin, but embrace love? To add the ingredient that doesn’t fit into your schedule or the way you always observe this season.

It might involve a phone call, going to a soup kitchen, logging off social media, or standing with someone for whom you have no answers, only presence. Doing these things when every inclination is to insist you have no time. 

Think how interesting the conversation will be when someone in the weeks ahead asks, “How’s your Lent going?” And you respond, “Like a pineapple pizza.” 

Tags:
LentRomeSpiritual Life
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