Reflection: Corpus Christi

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – Gen.14:18-20; Ps.109; 2nd Reading – 1Cor.11:23-26; Gospel – Lk.9:11-17]

“… IN MEMORY …”

It is interesting how the Church presents the feeding of the crowd this Sunday, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, when the more obvious choice could have been around that of the last supper for the Gospel reading.  Instead the last supper is mentioned in today’s second reading where Paul tells us what happened “on the night he was betrayed”.

Today’s gospel context is about Jesus making the crowds feel welcome, teaching them about the Kingdom of God and curing those who were in need of healing. It is important to keep this context in mind. Also we are told that it was late afternoon, which means that these people had almost spent an entire day with Jesus and learning from what Jesus was teaching them.

So, while Jesus is busily preoccupied with preaching about the Kingdom of God, the twelve seem to be concerned with the lodging and the food for these people. Lodging and food are very important in the life of every human being (and so there is nothing wrong with the twelve being concerned) but Luke seems to take this opportunity to present the clear contrast between Jesus and the Twelve. Jesus’ first response to his disciples when they suggested sending the “five thousand men” away to find lodging and food was to ask the disciples to give them something to eat themselves.  The Twelve were Jesus’ immediate collaborators and Jesus is asking them to, at least, help alleviate part of the problem by providing the food for the crowd. Having got only five loaves and two fish among them, even the solution suggested by the Twelve was seemingly difficult to accomplish: that is, to go and “buy food for all these people” … about five thousand of them! It was clear to the disciples that the five loaves and the two fish will not be enough to feed “five thousand men”. The theme of contrast occurs again, this time between the loaves and the fish. Although all food is ultimately given by God, the loaves are the interaction of God and Men – “fruit of the earth (God’s providence) and work of human hands”; the fish are solely through the pure providence of God. By themselves, the Twelve were unable to provide the food (the sustenance for living) for these five thousand men, but at the same time it was they themselves who handed out the food which fed these five thousand men (with the intervention of Jesus / God). On one hand they are “not able to” and on the other, with the help of God, they are “able to”. God (not them) provided the food – they merely handed it over to the others.

In his teaching, Jesus was inviting his hearers to put their lives in the hands of the Father: everything (and not only the problems) starting from the most important things to survive – food and shelter. The Father will take care of those who are ready to listen to him, whatever their number might be (the five thousand men). The Father is ready to provide for them, as long as they are ready to do his will.  He proved to be able to make possible what was seemingly impossible (the Twelve).

“Lord God, although you are always present in your creation (the world) you wanted to give us nutrition through your own Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. Give us the light we need to understand your constant presence in us.  Thank You Lord!”

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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