The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Year C
Psalm 110:1, 2, 3, 4
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
May 29, 2016
In the few verses in our first reading we hear how Melchizedek “brought out bread and wine”. To understand why he did this, we need to look at passage leading up to this story.
Melchizedek was king of Salem. Along with some other local rulers, including Abram’s (who would become Abraham) nephew Lot, he had been defeated by a common enemy. Abraham came to the rescue and set them all free.
Melchizedek wanted to thank Abraham for this as well as thank God because he knew it was by God’s power that Abraham had defeated the enemy.
In those days the customary way to offer this thanksgiving would have been to offer a sacrifice. Normally this would involve the sacrifice of an animal. Melchizedek did not offer an animal sacrifice. He brought bread and wine, which we know to be a precursor of things to come.
Turning to our gospel, we hear of Jesus doing something miraculous with ordinary bread. Jesus had been speaking to the crowds about the kingdom of God and healing many.
The Twelve were concerned about the people having food to eat. The people there numbered over 5,000 and they only had five loaves and two fish. The logical thing to do would be to send them away to find food for themselves.
Jesus knows He can do something more. He takes the ordinary bread, blessed it, and broke it, feeding them all enough that they were satisfied. There was twelve wicker baskets full left over, more than they had started with!
Jesus can do amazing things. Through the power of God, Jesus gives us the nourishment we need.
In this story, we explicitly hear how Jesus satisfied their physical hunger but that is not all He had done. Before He feed them with bread, He had been speaking to them about God, feeding them spiritually.
The Feeding of the Five Thousand is a precursor to Jesus does at the Last Supper. Once again, He sets about feeding the people with ordinary bread but this time it does not remain ordinary bread.
As Jesus is offering the blessing He proclaims this is my body. By Jesus’ words the bread and wine are changed into his Body and Blood to feed us spiritually.
This change happens each time we celebrate the Eucharist as we ask the Holy Spirit to come down the gifts.
It does not remain as ordinary bread and wine. This is hard to accept for some because it still looks and taste like bread and wine.
It is the Eucharist that stands at the pinnacle of what it means for us to be Catholic. It is the Eucharist that draws us back over and over. We show we believe by coming back over and over to keep receiving the Eucharist.
The Eucharist is prime but it is in the Holy Scriptures that we hear of the Eucharist and learn what it means to believe. So, every time we celebrate the Eucharist, we also share God’s Word from the Bible to help us in our faith.
In believing in the Eucharist, we are drawn here, realizing how much we need Jesus. When we know we need Jesus we keep coming back week after week for what we receive truly is the Body and Blood of Christ.