The other day I was unwrapping a stringy cheese snack. I noticed that the wrapper had instructions for making a little craft-thing with the cheese before one ate it.
Didn't your mother ever tell you not to play with your food?
I couldn't help but think of this teaching! Perhaps I date myself.
At any rate, I can't escape the mental image of grimy little midday hands playing with the magnet-like cheese stick to "peel" it into various creatures.
Have the rules changed?
I realized that this is very much like what Jesus suggested to his followers. I think He was warming people up when He chastised the Pharisees for complaining that Jesus' followers did not wash their hands in the ritual way before they ate their meals. (This, btw, was not saying it was okay to eat with dirty hands. It had to do with the role of tradition in ones life. I suppose the makers of stringy cheese are not saying it's okay to eat with dirty hands, either)
Jesus eventually went on to declare that unless His followers eat his flesh and drink his blood they will not have life within them.
Jews are prohibited from drinking blood, any blood. And to eat human flesh? Unthinkable.
But we are commanded to do this in memory of Jesus.
It is necessary to examine rules from time to time. Do they still fulfill the need for which they were instituted? Which authority is placing the rule? Is it legitimate?
God's rules, as presented through the Catholic Church and Scripture, are legitimate. In things like hand-washing and playing with your food, your mother is a legitimate authority, too!