We are celebrating today the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. This feast reminds us that Jesus gives his very own body and blood so that we might live in our faith and alive in our deeds. If we do not live our faith and live in our deeds; it is because the Body and Blood of Jesus are not part of our food, and so let us not deprive ourselves of this most important ingredient of our earthly journey.
The gospel that we use in today’s celebration is about the multiplication of the loaves. This is the only miracle of Jesus related in all the four gospels (Matthew 14:13; Mark 6:30; John. 6:1). There are two messages that we can reflect on in today’s gospel. The first is that of sharing and giving. Just imagine, Jesus preaches too long and fills the whole day. The evening comes and the people are tired and hungry. The easiest way to solve this is to dismiss them as the disciples suggest.
But Jesus orders his disciples to give them something to eat and a miracle happens. There are two ways in which to interpret this miracle. One is, we can see it simply as a miracle in which Jesus created food for this vast multitude of people. And the other one, William Barclay, a known Bible commentator, quoted that some people think that this is what happened. The people were hungry and they were utterly selfish. They all had something with them but they would not even produce it for themselves in case they had to share it with others. The twelve apostles laid before them their little provisions and thereupon others were moved to produce theirs and at the end there was more than enough for everyone. So it may be regarded as a miracle which turned selfish, suspicious folk into generous people, a miracle of Christ’s changing determined self-interest into a willingness to share.
Now let us celebrate the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, giving thanks for being called to participate in the body and blood coming to be in our midst. Let us give thanks for our coming to be the body and blood of Christ as we receive the consecrated bread and wine. Finally, as we are sent out at the end of the celebration, take with us the food we have become and share it with the multitudes who will need to be fed this week. Knowing that the gospel always encourages us to share and to give.
By Fr Trac Nguyen