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Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

Reflecting on Luke 9:11b-17

Mosaic found in Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish - Tabgha, Galilee, Israel

It must have been hot at that deserted place in Bethsaida when the crowds came out to see Jesus—to hear him—to be touched and healed by him.  And when the day was drawing to a close they must have started to feel uncomfortable. They were hungry, but they wouldn’t leave the place where Jesus was. They couldn’t take the chance that he might be gone when they came back.

These days it’s the Job Fairs that draw the huge crowds.  The sad numbers of unemployed form a line that snakes around the block and up the stairs and out into the parking lots.  They wait in the cold and the heat for a chance to fill out still another job application.  And even when it rains they won’t leave their precious place in line—they can’t take the chance that others will stay and get the few jobs left.

I think I saw Jesus standing with them the other day.  He and some of his friends had put together some sandwiches and coffee and were passing them around.  The crowd was huge, but it looked like they’d all received more than they needed.

I saw him again last week at the Cancer Center.  One of the patients there had just received a poor prognosis.  Everyone around her—the doctors, the nurses, the patients—rallied around to comfort and strengthen her.

And I saw him in the news, working in Haiti and Chile, comforting the afflicted and holding them close.  And, always, I see him in the breaking of the bread.

Happy Feast Day, Church.  He is Really, Really Present.

Sharing God’s Word at Home:

On this Feast of the Eucharist, in what ways do you see Christ Really Present in the world?

What would YOU like to say about this question, or today’s readings, or any of the columns from the past year?  The sacred conversations are setting a Pentecost fire!  Register here today and join the conversation.

Photo of ancient mosaic on the floor of the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish in Tabgha, Israel.  How many loaves are in the basket?  Go to the archives for 18th Sunday Ordinary Time B to read more.

Easter - Cycle C

13 Comments to “Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ”

  1. ColetteThompson

    Wonderful discussion today with Nicole and her Morman frined, Tiffany regarding all of the ways we see Christ in the world…these 15 year old young ladies had an extensive list of where Christ is that extended well beyond boundaries of all religions..so much joy in this reflection…thank you, dear Kathy!

  2. St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians stresses the transubstantiation that takes place at every Mass. As a successor to the apostles, the priest has the power to change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. Sometimes, I get complacent about receiving the Eucharist and forget to remember that it truly is Christ. I am so blessed to be able to receive the Lord every day of the year and to pray that receiving Jesus will help me to become more like him to the people around me. We don’t have a “representation” of Christ in the Eucharist, we have Christ! It’s what makes the Catholic Church the First Church of Christ, period!

  3. I am so excited for this web site two reason’s. the reading so we can comprehend the word.you were also my teacher at the bibical school.God Bless and am looking forward to reading all your material.

  4. Yesterday, nine of our home Bible Study group went to the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado Springs. There I sat in front of a copy of the Shroud of Turin. John Jackson and his wife Rebecca have done many years of research on the Shroud of Turin and he gave a lecture as to why it is believed that this was truly the burial shroud of Jesus. I sat there and saw on the Shroud the face of Jesus with the bleeding wounds from the crown of thorns, the scrouge marks, the nail marks and bleeding from them and bleeding from the spear thrust. I was so glad I went because it makes this feast day so much more touching and vivid. Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever.

  5. Love your style Kathy! I see Christ pouring out of our church whenever we sing at Church. His presence in music is such a big part of my experience that it’s hard for me to branch out sometimes. “I received the Living God and my heart is full of joy”!

  6. Thank you Kathy for reminding me how we forget it is Christ that we see everyday in our brothers and sisters when they love one another!

  7. Sometimes when I see people receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, I am struck by the power of His presence in them, and am led to worship Him within each person and give thanks that He is willing to come to us in this way.

  8. thelionandthelamb

    I see Jesus in our 29 year old son who has Down Syndrome and he is so happy to be a sacristan at our church. He tells people that he “works for God”! Shouldn’t we all be saying that?

  9. Lovely reflection. Helps me to remember that *I* need to act more like Christ.

  10. Sharon’s comment resonates with me. One of the most poignant times for me to see Christ is as I am sitting after communion and watching people return to their seats after receiving the Eucharist. That our Lord is present in each person..young, old, happy, sad, tired, energetic, etc… And then to realize that this is happening in the Church every day all over the world. It is nothing short of miraculous and we are blessed beyond measure to partake!

  11. Hi Kathy,
    Thanks for your lovely reflection of Jesus’ Presence with us always! Recently I heard a taped presentation of Fr. Ron Rolheiser from earlier this year in Anaheim… He spoke of this reading, of the “Fishes and the Loaves” and the blindness of the disciples who missed the Presence of “the Bread of Life” right in their midst! I think too of your reflection on Peter’s fear in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, when he had the Presence again with him right there in the boat! How could he be afraid? It gives me hope that all of us too can have our eyes and hearts opened, probably in the most unexpected times, to the “Presence” of Jesus in our midst. Thank you for the gift of your presence too!

  12. Once more, my reflection is in two related parts, one of which answers the direct question in this week’s column, and one that is simply a response to the scripture passages themselves.

    First, the words that spoke to me in the readings. I was struck by the insistence in both the gospel and the epistle that the bread was BROKEN by Christ before sharing it. This must be significant, but what do I know about first-century sociology and the customs surrounding meals? I have to look at my own experience for insight. Though sit-down family meals are rare, I was fortunate to have one this past Sunday when our niece was home from grad school for a visit. We had in-laws, grandchildren, a new fiancé, brothers and sisters. Most restaurants serve individual dinner rolls, but this one had those heavenly rosemary loaves that are dipped in olive oil and have to be pulled apart and shared. So there we were, gathered to celebrate the bonds of love that join us, telling stories of our shared history that make us a family, remembering those we have lost, welcoming new members to our circle, looking forward to the wedding feast next spring, and sharing a meal. Sounding familiar? Ok, I get it about breaking bread. There’s an intimacy about taking a chunk from the same loaf and passing it to someone else. How lovely to think of Christ doing the same: not only for his disciples but also for a great crowd of people who started that day as strangers but were joined together by his act of generosity. Beautiful. But how impoverished that symbol has become in our modern liturgy. We are reduced to observers watching someone snap a gluey disc into pieces and then consume them by himself before we are invited to partake. Still, we have rich, beautiful traditions around the Eucharist, and I shouldn’t complain.  

    Kathy asks where we find Christ really present, and because I was meditating on the breaking of the bread, I have to say that for me, it is in our brokenness that I see Christ near us. In the places where we are human, yearning, hurting, that is where Christ can enter into our lives and fill us with his presence, if we are just open to his grace. He is present in the people who hold us up, who encourage, comfort, and challenge us. In the ones who love us as we are and still want us to become our best selves. In the ones who help us remember who we are to ourselves and to each other. In the community, the family, the church that recognizes him in the breaking of the bread.  

  13. Thank you, Sharon for your comment about being moved in seeing other people after receiving the Eucharist. It reminded me of when I was first a Eucharistic minister and saw the miracle I wasn’t expecting, when I noticed something in the people coming forward, opening their hands to receive. I could see their humility and the reverence they came with…in their eyes was the desire for Jesus. I thought of how many times most of them had received; it was almost as if, as long as they had been receiving, it was something they couldn’t live without. Of course! Our spirits do show on us, through our eyes, and other ways…we may not realize what we are showing others. Maybe we are not always aware of the tremendous hunger we have for Jesus.

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