The crowd that followed Jesus to the deserted place was fed, body and spirit. Jesus wanted them to know that in his presence they would find care and compassion. He would not let them go hungry. Like Abram who encountered God in the bread and wine offered by Melchizedek, they experienced first-hand the abundance of God’s love. These sacred meals prefigured the meal most profound, the supper shared by Jesus and his disciples on the night before he died, the feast in which we share in the Eucharist. Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. On this day, we appreciate anew the great love of Jesus Christ for us and for the world and experience first-hand the presence of Christ in the sacred meal.
We do it so often, we could take it for granted. Yet, the mystery of the Eucharist, our participation in, reception of, and being sent to live as Christ's Body and Blood is a gift beyond measure. In the desert with the crowd and on the night of the Last Supper, Jesus took bread, gave thanks, said a prayer of blessing, broke the bread, and gave it to those who hungered for physical and spiritual nourishment. Scripture scholars and theologians often remind us that we are to repeat Jesus’ actions of taking, blessing, breaking, and giving—with our lives, resources, and gifts—so that others may know the love of Christ. As Eucharistic people, we are meant to be changed, to become more like the One whom we receive.
Notice that Jesus sent his disciples to give the crowd the food they needed. Jesus could have done this alone. We could say he didn’t need the disciples to participate in the feeding of the great crowd. But Jesus did not act alone then, and Christ relies on us now, to feed those who hunger and thirst physically, spiritually, and emotionally. When we grow weary and want nothing more than to satisfy our selfish and self-centered impulses, it is good for us to remember who we are and whose we are. It is crucial that we hear in the depths of our hearts, “Give them some food yourselves,” and be ready to do so. On this solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, let us celebrate Christ's living presence with and for us and recognize our call to share that presence with others.BACK TO LIST