Gospel Reflection: Sunday May 29
Malvern Minute

 

SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST

MAY 29, 2016

Alleluia, Alleluia.

I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord;

whoever eats this bread will live forever

Alleluia, Alleluia.

 

The Gospel of Saint Luke 9: 11-17

Jesus spoke to the crowds about the kingdom of God, and he healed those who needed to be cured.

As the day was drawing to a close, the Twelve approached him and said,
Dismiss the crowd so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms and find lodging and provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.”

He said to them, “Give them some food yourselves.”  They replied, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people.”

Now the men there numbered about five thousand.  Then he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty.”  They did so and made them all sit down.  Then taking the five loaves and the two 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.  They all ate and were satisfied.  And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.

The Gospel of the Lord

 

REFLECTION

This Sunday’s Gospel comes from the ninth chapter of Saint Luke.  The situation and setting of the Gospel is Jesus summoning the Twelve and giving them power over demons and sickness, and then sending them forth to preach and heal.  After they returned, Jesus gathered them together so that they could tell Him all that had happened during their first missionary journey.  When the people heard of their whereabouts, they gathered around Jesus who preached to them the Kingdom of God.

The similarity that exists between this episode of the Gospel and our own Christian lives and our weekly assembling for Sunday Mass is indeed incredible.  Like the Twelve we were summoned and empowered by Jesus, and through our Baptism we were commissioned to minister in His name.  We too have been on a missionary journey this past week, and now we have returned to Jesus to be renewed in Word and Sacrament at Sunday Mass.

Like in the Gospel, we have assembled to attentively listen to Christ proclaiming the Kingdom of God.  And like the people of the Gospel, we hunger for the Word of God, and we hunger for the Bread of Life.

Christians of every age have arranged themselves in communities (Have them sit down in groups) to hear the Word of God and to be fed with the Body and Blood of Christ.  After proclaims the Word of God, Jesus took the loaves and the fish in His hands, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd.

In other words, the Sunday Eucharist is the perpetual feeding of God’s People from the lips and hands of Jesus Christ:

Christ Jesus is proclaimed in the Gospel … Christ is truly present so His people can hear from His lips the Kingdom of God;

Christ Jesus is the Bread of Life broken and the Chalice of the New and Eternal Covenant shared … Christ is truly present so His people can be healed and nourished by His hands.

The transforming power of Christ that the people of His day experienced comes to us each Sunday in Word and Eucharist, and we too truly experience Christ in our midst.  The Gospel tells us: They all ate and were satisfied ….the leftover fragmentsfilled twelve wicker baskets.  The Celebration of Mass is completely satisfying … filling us up to the brim with the life of Christ.  And, we have plenty left over to share with our brothers and sisters who are hungry!

With Word and Eucharist we are empowered to go forth and proclaim the Kingdom of God – With Word and Eucharist we are strengthened so that the poor may hear from our lips the Word of Christ and receive from our hands the love of Christ!!!

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ALSO, in today’s Mass there is provided a beautiful poem/sequence which the Church uses as a Hymn of Praise thanking God for the great gift of Holy Eucharist.  The following is that sequence which was composed by Saint Thomas Aquinas about the year 1264 for the Mass of Corpus Christi, today feast – WORTHY OF MEDITATION.

SEQUENCE – LAUDA SION

Laud, O Zion, your salvation, Laud with hymns of exultation,
Christ, your king and shepherd true.

Bring him all the praise you know, He is more than you bestow.
Never can you reach his due.

Special theme for glad thanksgiving Is the quick’ning and the living
Bread today before you set.

From his hands of old partaken, As we know, by faith unshaken,
Where the Twelve at supper met.

Full and clear ring out your chanting, joy nor sweetest grace be wanting,
From your heart let praises burst.

For today the feast is holden, when the institution olden
Of that supper was rehearsed.

Here the new law’s new oblation, by the new king’s revelation,
Ends the form of ancient rite.

Now the new the old effaces, truth away the shadow chases,
Light dispels the gloom of night.

What he did at supper seated, Christ ordained to be repeated,
His memorial ne’er to cease.

And his rule for guidance taking, Bread and wine we hallow, making
Thus our sacrifice of peace.

This the truth each Christian learns, Bread into his flesh he turns,
To his precious blood the wine.

Sight has fail’d, nor thought conceives, but a dauntless faith believes,
Resting on a pow’r divine.

Here beneath these signs are hidden priceless things to sense forbidden;
Signs, not things are all we see.

Blood is poured and flesh is broken, yet in either wondrous token
Christ entire we know to be.

Whoso of this food partakes, does not rend the Lord nor breaks;
Christ is whole to all that taste.

Thousands are, as one, receivers, one, as thousands of believers,
Eats of him who cannot waste.

Bad and good the feast are sharing, of what divers dooms preparing,
Endless death, or endless life.

Life to these, to those damnation,  see how like participation
Is with unlike issues rife.

When the sacrament is broken, doubt not, but believe ‘tis spoken,
That each sever’d outward token doth the very whole contain.

Nought the precious gift divides, breaking but the sign betides
Jesus still the same abides, still unbroken does remain.

Lo! the angel’s food is given to the pilgrim who has striven;
see the children’s bread from heaven, which on dogs may not be spent.

Truth the ancient types fulfilling, Isaac bound, a victim willing,
Paschal lamb, its lifeblood spilling, manna to the fathers sent.

Very bread, good shepherd, tend us, Jesu, of your love befriend us,
You refresh us, you defend us, Your eternal goodness send us in the land of life to see.

You who all things can and know, who on earth such food bestow,
Grant us with your saints, though lowest, where the heav’nly feast you show,
Fellow heirs and guests to be. Amen. Alleluia.

WE BELIEVE, AND THEREFORE SPEAK (2 Corinthians 4:13)

Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our website for details: MalvernRetreat.com

 

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