Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
1st Reading: Genesis 14:18-20
2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Responsorial: Psalm 110:1-4
Gospel: Luke 9:11-175
The Transforming Power of Receiving Christ in the Eucharist
They all ate and were satisfied. And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets. (Luke 9:17)
People will stand in line for hours to see a blockbuster movie or to get into a sporting event. But would you risk your life to hear a sermon?
Imagine this scene of more than five thousand people in a deserted place. They had no food or shelter, yet they would not make the journey to the nearest town unless Jesus dismissed them. They were so happy to be with him, even if it meant going hungry for a day!
You can understand why the apostles were concerned and approached Jesus for help. Most important, you can understand the eager excitement of the people. They were as spiritually empty as their stomachs were physically empty, and they were receiving so much spiritual food that they wanted to stay and take in all that Jesus had to say.
On this feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, let’s remember the excitement of those hungry souls and the way that Jesus fed them, both spiritually and physically. Most important, let’s savor that last little detail about the twelve baskets of bread that were left over. Jesus was perfectly capable of giving the people the exact amount of food that they needed, but he chose to give them far, far more. What a powerful image of Jesus’ abundant love and mercy!
When we come to the Lord at Mass with nothing but our empty baskets, he won’t disappoint us. He won’t leave us hungry. His Living Bread doesn’t just meet our needs; it overflows!
Today, recall the excitement of the crowd, and spend some time considering the overwhelming abundance of love that God is offering you through the Body and Blood of Christ. Know that any spiritual hunger that you experience can be filled abundantly through Christ.
“Lord, I thank you for meeting me in that deserted place, where I sit with my empty basket, ready for you to fill it with your overflowing grace and mercy.”
Questions for Reflection or Discussion
1. In the first reading from Genesis and the responsorial psalm, we are introduced to the Old Testament priest, Melchizedek. He is further described in Chapters 5, 6, and 7 of the book of Hebrews. In fact, the author of Hebrews quotes God as saying to Jesus, “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:6) – quoting the text from Psalm 110:4. Why do you think Melchizedek is considered a symbol and foreshadowing of Jesus (hint: read Hebrews 7:1-17)?
2. The responsorial psalm also speaks prophetically of Jesus’ power, majesty, and rule. In the midst of trials, it is easy to forget that that Jesus has the power to “Rule in the midst of your enemies” (Psalm 110:2). How can you use these words to strengthen your faith in Jesus, and his victory in your life, even in the midst of trials and suffering?
3. In the second reading, St. Paul describes the importance of receiving the Eucharist, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). What do you think Paul meant by these words? What do these words mean to you?
4. The Gospel reading tells the story of Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand by the multiplication of the fish and loaves. Why do you believe the Church uses this reading on this feast of the “Body and Blood of Christ”? How does this event foreshadow the Eucharist?
5. The meditation speaks eloquently of the graces that are ours each time we receive the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist. The meditation ends with these words, “When we come to the Lord at Mass with nothing but our empty baskets, he won’t disappoint us. He won’t leave us hungry. His Living Bread doesn’t just meet our needs; it overflows! Today, recall the excitement of the crowd, and spend some time considering the overwhelming abundance of love that God is offering you through the Body and Blood of Christ. Know that any spiritual hunger that you experience can be filled abundantly through Christ.” Do these words describe your own spiritual hunger as you come to Mass to receive Jesus’ body and blood in the Eucharist? What are some additional steps that you can take to increase your expectancy as you come to Mass and to deepen the impact on your life of receiving the Eucharist?
6. Take some time now to pray and thank the Lord for filling you with his grace and mercy each time you receive him in the Eucharist. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as a starting point.