By Paul Robson sj
Today we celebrate the Feast, or the Solemnity, of the Body and Blood of Christ. Considering that this is our focus, what Gospel reading do you think would be the most appropriate for today’s Mass?
The story of the Last Supper might come to mind. On that occasion, gathered around the table with his disciples, Jesus took the bread and blessed it and broke it, and said, “This is my body…” We do what they
did, and receive the Body and Blood of Jesus, when we gather for Mass.
That Last Supper story would indeed be a good Gospel reading for today. However, the Gospel that we read and hear today is not that one, but is the story sometimes referred to as “the feeding of the five thousand”. This passage about the five thousand might be less of an obvious choice than the Last Supper, for today’s Feast. Upon further reflection, though, it too is appropriate.
In the story of the feeding of the five thousand, the people receive a great gift and blessing from Jesus. He blesses a small amount of bread and fish, and somehow, miraculously, a great crowd is fed. We might say that Jesus is doing most of the work here, and he is; but there is also participation from
others, who bring the bit of food that is available, and who help to distribute the bread and the fish.
Something similar happens when we celebrate the Eucharist. We receive a great gift, but our participation is also important. God takes our small offerings of bread and wine, and transforms them. Likewise God takes our small offerings of our selves, of our hearts, and transforms us.
Let us pray that we might be open today to receiving this great gift, the gift of Jesus.