“Scratchpad Reflections are daily meditations on the scripture readings for the date noted and are written by Dominican Brother Daniel Thomas to help readers gain a deeper understanding of the daily liturgies and Masses of celebration. Here is the reflection for:
May 29, 2016 – The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ – Corpus Christi
Genesis 14:18-20 – Psalm 110 – 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 – Luke 9:11b-17
“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him, says the Lord.” (Today’s Communion Antiphon cf; John 6:37)
In today’s Holy Gospel, when the disciples are concerned that the people are hungry, Jesus tells them, “Give them something yourselves!” Not really the “loving shepherd response” that we expect to hear from Jesus. But I think we need to look below the surface to find a deeper meaning of what’s going on in this Gospel account.
A large crowd has followed Jesus out into the countryside hanging on His every word. The Gospel says “…about 5,000 men” and we can presume that they brought their wives, along with their 2.5 children – more than 12,000 people! Any way you look at it, it was a huge crowd!
But before we try to pick It apart let’s remember that “numbers” in and of themselves aren’t the issue. When we get to the end of this Gospel passage we’ll read that they gathered up enough “crumbs” to fill 12 baskets. Maybe one basket for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Or maybe it was just for the 12 Apostles. My point, here, is that we always need to look below the surface to see the underlying meaning.
In many ways this Gospel is set in a deserted place. The people are far away from all of their usual, comfortable areas and they are not distracted by the busyness of their home surroundings. Maybe Jesus is preparing them for His later admonition to “go out to all the world – taking nothing with you but the memory that I will provide for you in ways that you never imagined.”
I think that this is our “bottom line” for today’s Liturgical Celebration: in the first place we are called to get up, leave everything familiar and follow Jesus. Eventually we are going to end up in some “deserted place” far from home and security but with the promise that “I will never leave you!” The problem that we all have, though, is that we don’t really trust Jesus to be there when we really need Him.
In this Gospel account the people must have been spellbound by His teaching so much so that they didn’t even realize that they had wandered out into a “deserted place.” The challenge for us today it to believe that Jesus will never push us beyond our own limits and will always be there for us. All we need to do is listen and follow.
The bonus comes at the end of the story: “there was enough left over to fill twelve baskets full of fragments.” We are those “fragments” – broken people – gathered together as “Church” – the one Body of Christ. Amen!