Nourished for Mission

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

June 19th, 2022 – Body and Blood of Christ - Luke 9:11-17

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When reading today’s gospel, I thought about the old saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” In point of fact, there was a free lunch when Jesus provided one, featuring fish and bread. Food from the land and food from the sea. Very basic fare in the time of Jesus. I’ll bet that it was delicious, too. Out of generosity, he offered them nourishment for their minds through his words, and food for their bodies.

Today we take time to reflect of the continued presence of Jesus in the sacrament of the Eucharist. Bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ. In sacramental form, Jesus remains personally present to us. One important question remains: Are we present to him?

Notice the sequence of events mentioned in this miraculous feeding of the multitude, something also at the heart of celebrating the Eucharist. Basically, a miracle happens through three actions: blessing, breaking and sharing.

The act of blessing acknowledges the presence of God’s power to create something new. Like at the very beginning of time, described so poetically in the first part of the Book of Genesis. In the beginning, God acted. And all reality aside from God, came into being.

But God’s involvement with and in creation didn’t end back then. In fact, it continues every day thereafter. Today we are blessed by incredible scientific narratives about how the universe, the galaxies, the stars, the planets and eventually you and I came to be. Scientists can describe an amazing process of how star dust became human flesh. We are “blessed” into existence and life now and forever by God.

Then creation (and bread) is “broken” so that it can become many. Jesus said that his body was for us and for all. Certainly, a dramatic way of describing creation as a gift from God’s boundless generosity that involves the presence of many others. Not an infinite number, but approaching it.   

And finally, created life is to be shared. And here’s something I noticed as I read today’s gospel: sharing does not diminish the original bounty (five loaves and two fish) but actually multiplies it. Fourteen baskets of bread and fish. Yes, it’s a paradox, like the more we give, the more we receive. Or like what is captured in the simple phrase: Giving is receiving.        

©David M. Thomas, PhD

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