From the Word of the Day
The crowds, meanwhile, learned of this and followed him. He received them and spoke to them 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. (Luke 9: 11-14, 16)
Today, the Church celebrates one the of popular devotions most dear to the Christian people: the Feast of the Body of Christ. Never before as in these years has the attention of the Church been centered on the Eucharist. Today’s Gospel revolves around some important verbs that appear in the multiplication of bread described by Luke.
Jesus ‘received’ the crowd and began to speak to them of the Kingdom of God and to cure those who were sick. This shows us the greatness of the heart of Christ who receives all the needy to His Banquet right from this multiplication of bread. Reached by the crowds seeking Him, Jesus does not reject them nor does He flee, but He receives them with exquisite hospitality.
The other two words are in antitheses with each other. Jesus tells the disciples to give the people something to eat but they reply they cannot go to buy food for all these people. They are disconcerted by Jesus’ order because they intuit the only way of feeding them desired by Jesus: to share what they have; five rolls and two fish. The disciples see another possibility, that of buying the food, which they cannot do. For Jesus, the buying is substituted by giving, by sharing, because the very idea of buying creates rich and poor, well-being and poverty.
The last verb to look at is “He took the five rolls and the two fish and ‘raised His eyes to heaven’. This symbolic gesture breaks the purely horizontal vision of the story. Jesus does not present Himself as the only protagonist who works wonders, but, as the Father’s Son, He is totally abandoned to the Father’s will that desires sharing with everyone.
The Voice of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Eucharist is the source and climax of Christian life. The Eucharist touches the vertex of the sanctifying action of God toward us and our worship toward him. It includes the entire spiritual goods of the Church.