The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ C
Gn 14:18-20; Ps 110:1, 2, 3, 4; 1 Cor 11:23-26; Lk 9:11b-17
(Scriptures included after homily)
Did you ever have a problem, the answer to which was staring you right in the face, and yet, you totally missed it?
The disciples were having one of those days. You see, Jesus was becoming pretty famous. And just about everywhere He and His disciples went, even in deserted areas, the crowds would eventually find them. Famous people today have an entourage of bodyguards, accountants and planners who carefully organize and control all of their public appearances. But for Jesus, the disciples were it, and the time and the place could be anywhere.
So there they were, in the middle of nowhere, with a surprise, yet captive, audience of thousands, and it was dinnertime. The banks were closed, the cupboards were bare, and the disciples had a problem. NO Food!
So they quickly convened a brainstorming session, and the best solution they could come up with was to have Jesus Himself dismiss the crowd. That would get them off the hook from upsetting anyone and maybe even starting a riot, because they knew that the crowd would listen to Jesus. And they really believed that this was the most logical and reasonable solution to their problem.
But it just wasn’t the right solution for Jesus. For Jesus, every problem was another opportunity for teaching and for growth. And the easy, or the logical, or the reasonable answers were sometimes just stumbling blocks in disguise.
You see, in their formulation of a solution, the disciples forgot one very important factor. And He was staring them right in the face. This wasn’t just another ‘famous rock star.’ This was THE Son of God! And the Son of God would not be thwarted by something as simple as hunger. And neither would He allow it to thwart His disciples.
So Jesus passed their assignment right back on to them, when He said, “Give them some food yourselves.” Could you just picture the shock on their faces? And then that shock would slowly turn to ecstasy, when they finally did get it! “Oh yeah, we forgot, this IS Jesus: Jesus, who raised the dead, Jesus, who brought sight to the blind, Jesus, who expelled demons and healed the crippled. So why were we all that worried about a little food?”
If we were to look around our world today, we would certainly still find people who are hungry for food, or hungry for companionship. People who are hungry for work, or freedom, or healing, or Love. These are the people who form the crowds of our followers. And Jesus is calling us, as His ’21st century disciples,’ saying, “Give them some food yourselves.” You see, those hungry people in Ethiopia, or Paraguay, or Cambodia, or right here in Columbia, Missouri are just as much a part or our human family as Jesus is. And Jesus is calling us today, not to dismiss them, but to embrace them, and to offer them the abundance of His Love.
This miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, and the feeding of the thousands by the disciples, was just a foretaste of the Gift that Jesus would offer every one of us through His passion, death and resurrection. The Gift of His Divine Self infused into our very beings, with every Eucharistic meal we partake in. Not just received, but partaken, because beyond receipt, beyond our taking, we are giving our total selves in thanks for His great mercy and love!
And then, beyond the apostolic past, and the evangelistic present, every Eucharistic meal we partake in, is really just a foretaste of that future heavenly banquet in store for us, for all of eternity.
By allowing Himself to be taken, blessed, broken and given, Jesus feeds us with His sacred Body and Blood in order to save us from the hunger, and the fear, and the loneliness of separation from God. It is this same Blessed Sacrament that strengthens us to feed and to save the starving masses of our world. It is this same Blessed Sacrament that unites us, that bonds us so uniquely to one another in Communion with His Holy Church. It really is quite breathtaking, when we finally and actually “get it.”
Ever have a problem, the answer to which is staring you right in the face?
Remember Jesus. He’s there in our hearts. He’s there in our neighbors.
And then, give thanks. For we are His Eucharistic people!
Scripture Readings for the Mass of 06-02-13
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
First Reading: Gn 14:18-20
In those days, Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine, and being a priest of God Most High, he blessed Abram with these words: “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, the creator of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who delivered your foes into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 110:1, 2, 3, 4
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool.”
The scepter of your power the LORD will stretch forth from Zion: “Rule in the midst of your enemies.”
“Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor; before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you.”
The LORD has sworn, and he will not repent: “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”
Second Reading: 1 Cor 11:23-26
Brothers and sisters: I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
Gospel: Lk 9:11b-17
Jesus spoke to the crowds about the kingdom of God, and he healed those who needed to be cured. As the day was drawing to a close, the Twelve approached him and said, “Dismiss the crowd so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms and find lodging and provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.”
He said to them, “Give them some food yourselves.” They replied, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people.” Now the men there numbered about five thousand.
Then he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty.” They did so and made them all sit down. Then taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd.
They all ate and were satisfied. And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.