Sunday’s Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ offers us a third great feast as we move forward after our Easter season and return to Ordinary Time. It is one more mystery that offers us a glimpse, a taste of the fullness of life in God, the “Kingdom of God.”
This foretaste was known by Abraham, our father in faith, as he received a heavenly food and blessing from the priest, Melchizedek, himself of mysterious origin.
This foretaste was known by the crowd who gathered to hear and be healed by Jesus. Jesus knows their needs are common, and at the end of the day, quite ordinary: they need to be fed. Even the disciples realize this need. But this is not something only Jesus can respond to. Jesus invites his friends to do what they have seen him do: to give of themselves, to be in relationship with the individuals who compose the crowd. And they do. They give their meager stash of loaves and fish entirely to Jesus. Jesus blesses their gift, acknowledging his relationship with his Father and theirs. He breaks what has been given, for a gift once given does not remain the same. And he gives it back to the disciples so that they may participate with him in the work of meeting people’s common, ordinary needs. We are told that the crowd of thousands “ate and were satisfied.”
This foretaste of the fullness of life with God is what all of us know whenever we gather to remember Jesus’ self-gift at the Eucharist. In today’s second reading, Paul reminds the Corinthians and us that Jesus gives us a meal that continues to satisfy. Jesus’ very life becomes our life. It provides nourishment and strengthens us so that we can continue responding to the needs of individuals and crowds. In our whole-hearted giving of ourselves, as we grow in our relationship with God and others, we live the mystery and live into the fullness of life with God. We find Christ present – really preset – in our relationship with those who need to be fed, at food pantries or meals programs. We find Christ present whenever we gather as a family of faith at the Eucharistic meal. And we find Christ present in the ordinariness of our lives lived in faith.
–Sister Mary Flick