Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ

As the day draws to a close, the crowd is still clustering around Jesus after a long day of preaching and healing.  The apostles begin to wonder how such a crowd can be fed.  They show a kind of compassion as they urge Jesus to dismiss the crowds so they can fend for themselves in the surrounding villages and farms.  But Jesus has other ideas.  He challenges them, “Give them some food yourselves.”  But with only five loaves and two fish, the apostles know that is not enough.

Not enough. It is a phrase that harries our days and haunts our nights.  Not enough.  We must remember that for most of the people who will hear this Gospel today, this is no analogy.  They will be thinking; there is not enough food.  How can I feel my family?  What am I to do?  The question of enough is always a challenge for with all the demands we have for ourselves and from others, it does not seem possible that our efforts will enable us to give what we should give to others and to fulfill our own needs. 

Not enough.  It is what haunts me.  From the mundane questions, do we have enough resources, will we make our Bishop’s Appeal, (but I don’t have to worry about that anymore.  We did it!) , can we meet the demands of so large a parish to the more profound ones, how far can I extend my care, where can I find the time, how much energy do I have, the problem of “Not enough” seems always to be with me.  And I don’t even have children.  I can’t imagine what it is like for you guys!

But Jesus has another solution to “Not enough.”  He knows that too often we mimic the disciples’ solution and say, “Go on your way; go on your own; do the best you can.”  He knows the answer does not lie in leaving the community but trusting in it.  He knows the answer is not in leaving his side, but staying by it.  He knows that he can feed us; he can give us whatever we need.

So taking the bread and the 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.”  Jesus is the great multiplier of everything we give him.  He talks our paltry offerings, blesses them and suddenly there is enough.  Suddenly, the answer appears and the relief is lifted.  It is Jesus.  He is enough.

On the night of their greatest anxiety, when they could not imagine there would be enough hope in the world, Jesus gave his disciples everything he possibly could – his body and his blood.  He did so in words that bring comfort to every mother of a hungry child, in words that can mean everything to us, “Take this all of you and eat of it for this is my body which will be given up for you.  Take this all of you and drink from it for this is my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant which will be poured out for you.”  The experience of Jesus’ love overwhelms our fears, minimizes our anxiety and gives us deeply resonating peace.  Perfect love lacks nothing and cannot leave us wanting.  In that moment, our fears are no match for Christ’s grace, our smallness cannot measure to the dignity God has given us and our ugliness disappears into the beauty of God’s enduring love.

In Christ, there is always enough.  The Eucharist asks us to break down; to surrender our independence to trust in God.  We let go our need to constantly strive to have enough realizing even those with plenty still feel they need all the more.  Instead we taste the love of Jesus on our lips, sense his intimate presence and know that we have enough.  He is the bread of life, where else shall we go.  His the wine of peace, what else should we seek?  The glass of “Not enough” is bottomless and can never be filled.  We have a chalice that will never run dry.

Let out Lord be everything.  Let this meal bring us comfort and consolation.  Let us turn to the lord Jesus first and last and let us know him in the breaking of the bread and the pouring fourth of his blood.  It is enough.

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