1 Corinthians 11:23-26
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.”
Prior to today’s gospel reading the apostles had returned from successfully preaching, teaching and healing, passing on all they had learned and experienced with Jesus. Word spreads of their presence. As the crowds grow in number and gather around Jesus and the apostles. Jesus continues to preach, teach and heal, exhibiting what he means by the Kingdom of God.
As evening approaches, the apostles tell Jesus to dismiss the crowd because they, the apostles and the crowd, need food. It is amazing that this group who are Jesus’ closest followers, who have seen Jesus calm the sea, heal many disabled people, turn water into wine are now concerned about how they will get food.
Would we be any different? Would we be more concerned about taking care of our own needs before taking care of the needs of others? Would we forget the many blessings we have received over the years and instead be worried about some current need?
In the reading from 1 Corinthians, Paul gives us the first recorded words of the Eucharistic consecration of bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus.
Brothers and sisters:I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
These are familiar words for Catholics and are a core belief of the Catholic community. There is also another way to understand the words of consecration. They are a reminder to us that we, the whole People of God, become the body and blood of Jesus in our world. After each mass we take Jesus to all we meet. We become the Real Presence of Jesus in our world. This is no small responsibility.
When we interact with people, do we treat them as Jesus would? Do we show kindness and compassion to the hurting people around us? Do we share our time, talent and treasure with those who have far less? If we are truly Eucharistic people we will reflect Jesus’ presence to all we meet.
Have we appreciated enough this gift of Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist by receiving it at Holy Mass?
Do we really believe Christ’s words: “The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood will have eternal life”?