Jesus Desires to Feed You! A Meditation on the Feast of Corpus Christi

070713On the Feast of Corpus Christi we do well to mediate on the Desire of the Lord to feed his people and the shocking indifference many have to this fact. And the indifference is not just those who do not come, but it is even found in the Pews too often populated by people largely indifferent to the fact that most don’t come any more. On this feast we all do well to acknowledge the passionate concern the Lord has to feed all his people, yes even your wayward spouse or children.

Let’s consider the Gospel for today in three ways.

I. Despairing Diagnosis – Jesus has been teaching the crowds all day by the lake. At this point the Text says, 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.”

Now we can note a diagnosis, namely that the crowd is hungry. And here is a diagnosis of the human condition: we are hungry.

How are we hungry? Let us count the ways. We are a veritable sea of desires. We desire food, and drink, life, health, honor, respect, popularity, so many necessities, intimacy, family, security, goodness, beauty, truth, serenity, justice, and so much more. Yes, so many desires. We are hungry. And herein lies an insight for evangelization. For some how in all this hunger, God is calling. We are like the woman at the well who came thirsty for the world’s water and the Lord taught her it was really Him that she desired, and only He who could satisfy.

It is sad that every advertiser on Madison Avenue knows how to tap into people’s desire and draw forth loyalty and relationship, but we Christians have so little insight. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light (Lk 16:8).

And thus we are like the apostles standing around, irritated and clueless that people have needs. In effect we say, “They are needy send them away” rather than “They are needy. Wow have I got an answer for you, have I got a meal you need! You want want what is good, true and beautiful? You want what satisfies. Wow, do I have an answer for you!”

So the diagnosis is clear, the crowd is hungry, sadly though the Church in that moment was “out to lunch” and out of ideas. And this could well describe us today.

II. Deep Desire – Note that the Lord has a desire to feed these people, a deep desire.  He said to them, “Give them some food yourselves.” The apostles of course can only protest impossibility. They are staring right in the face of Jesus Christ and think it impossible to feed this crowd. They see only five loaves and two fishes, but they can’t see Jesus. They don’t know Jesus! Do you see their lack of faith. How about yours?

Yes,  here too is a picture of many in the Church today who think that nothing can possibly be done to turn the decline of our culture around or get people back to Church.They see only our meager five loaves and two fishes and forget that we have Jesus who is still in the miracle working business.

Jesus will not allow all their negativity and playing the poor man crush his desire. Yes, the Lord insists and has a deep desire to feed them and all this foolishness about being unable does not impress him. He says:

“Have them sit down in groups of about fifty.” They did so and made them all sit down. In other words, “Enough of all this negativity. I am in charge here,”  says the Lord, “Lets get to work now.”

What is this about “groups of fifty?” It is debatable, but I would say it points to what we have come to call the “parish” system. That is, the whole world is divided up into smaller and manageable units we call , today, parishes wherein a pastor and his flock are responsible to see that all the people in that territory have been invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb. The Lord desires to feed every one in every parish and he says to me and my parish, “give them something to eat yourselves.” In other words draw them to the Eucharistic table! Draw them to me!”

Yes, the Lord has a deep desire to feed us, and others. Consider this: What loving parent who saw that their child had stopped eating would not move heaven and earth to find out why and get them back to eating saving food? Yes, they would go emergency rooms and doctors offices until their child returned to eating.

Why is this not so with our Eucharistic food? Clearly the Lord is deeply desirous of feeding us. Why aren’t we as desirous to be sure others, especially our children and family, are receiving the Lord?

To all this the Lords says, “Give them something to eat!” Yes, you, he is not talking to the person next to, it is you he addresses: “Bring them to me, give them something to eat!”

And we so easily reply, “But I have so little, just five loaves and two fishes, I am not eloquent, I have not studied the faint and I don’t have an answer to everyone’s questions!” Still the Lord says, “Give me what you have and have them sit down. Work the fifty I have assigned you and your parish.”

III. Directive for the Disciples – The text says of the disciples,  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.

Note well that the Lord is determined to feed these people and he insists that his disciples help him to do it. They are expected to gather the faithful in groups of fifty and have them sit in groups. Then the Lord, note the Lord himself, blesses and multiplies the food. But once again, he gives it to his apostles to set before the multitude.

And this is the Church. Jesus is the Great High Priest of every Liturgy. It is He who takes our meager offerings and multiples and transubstantiates them. But he works this ministry through his priests, and in an extended sense, through the whole Church. The Lord feeds his people, but he feeds us through others. It is the role of the Church to take what Jesus sets before us and see that it is distributed to others in due season.

On the Feast of Corpus Christi we acknowledge that the Lord feeds us through his Body and Blood, but he does this through the ministry of priests and through his Church. Do we see this as central to our mission? Is the liturgy really at the heart of our parish life. Or are Liturgies rushed and hurried so we can get to the Men’s Club Meeting and make sure people aren’t late to tune into the game? What is our priority? Is it the same priority of Jesus rooted in the deep desire he has to feed his people?

Note too, they all ate and were satisfied. Does this describe liturgy at your parish? Are people being fed, and do they experience an abundance at the Lord’s Banquet? Or is Mass something to get through, something more akin to a flu shot which we hope is as quick and painless as possible?

Of course the Liturgy should be satisfying to God’s people. It should be a place and time where they are instructed in God’s word and have that work cause their hearts to catch fire with joy, inspiration and yes, conviction on the need for repentance. The Eucharist which we celebrate ought to be something the faithful are taught to expect and experience great transformation on account of. How can we fruitfully receive the Body of Christ and not experience great change and be satisfied?

Yet sadly, most people put more faith in Tylenol than the Eucharist, since, when they take Tylenol, they expect something to happen: the pain to go away, the swelling to go down, healing to be helped. Do people expect this of the Eucharist? And if not, why not?

On this Feast of Corpus Christi, please understand that the Lord want to feed you, want to feed your loved ones! And he wants to do this to save them and to satisfy them. Do you and I care about this? Is this a reality to us, or just a ritual? Why not ask the Lord this Feast day to strike deep within you the same desire he has to feed others and make of you a magnet to draw people to him. Who are the fifty the Lord has put in your charge. Listen to the Lord! Gather them and have them seated in Church next Sunday.

13 Replies to “Jesus Desires to Feed You! A Meditation on the Feast of Corpus Christi”

  1. I love this reflection. Monsignor, please pray for my oldest children, who sadly weren’t raised in the Catholic Church and are missing this meal with Christ each week. I keep stressing to them how necessary the Eucharist is for their health (physical and spiritual), but neither one of them wants to take the time to go through the RCIA program. They don’t see how they are starving.

    1. Donna. I confessed some weeks ago the fact that my children were also raised in a secular marriage. The priest was ‘horrified’ that I did not educate my children, and gave me many prayers to say for penance. Before leaving the confessional, I said that I found the idea of evangelizing my children ‘difficult’, as I am their mother. I was thinking, as you may understand, that our children grown up, like to have an independence from us, and want to make their own decisions. Still I try, by doing such things as forwarding them copies of posts on New Advent, that I think might be appropriate. (I choose very carefully!!!) Now I can think of it as working within my parish of the fifty who have been alotted to me.

      1. “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.”
        – John 6:54

      2. My 2 older children were raised in the Baptist faith. My husband and I went back to the Catholic Church after a 15 year absence. Unfortunately, the damage was done.

        I tell you what, Loreen Lee… I will pray for your children and ask you to pray for mine!!

  2. Often, I see now, a falseness– unbelief/pride–has kept me from the Eucharistic feast–seeing my unworthiness, yet not trusting in Him,
    i too have not cared as I ought for the starving among us -Christ have mercy.
    As you said,–to be believe God to be the ‘Tylenol’ I have not done as well..may God forgive this too.
    Would you pray that he would grant me a true spirit of humility and belief, in the Eucharist and that my self would become one with him in his desire to feed his people.
    Thank you for writing this, for prayers, and God’s Blessings be on you always

  3. Amen. I am trying to be a magnet. That is a great St. Maximillion Kolbe quote.

  4. I love this feast and today is my Birthday too – June 2nd!
    Wow, what a personal touch by our Lord!

    Now listen to wisdom:

    A riddle, a riddle, now riddle me this….

    How can wisdom be a tree?
    And how can a tree transmit wisdom?
    And how can wisdom bring forth the fruit of everlasting life?

    For a mysterious prophecy in the form of a riddle was written:

    “Wisdom is a Tree of Life..”- Proverbs 3:18

    “He will search out the hidden meanings of Proverbs, and will be conversant in the secrets of parables.”
    – Sirach 39:3

    Lord, today, you revealed your perfect love for us through the Tree of Life. May we be eternally grateful to you.

    Lord, my heart is ready….

  5. If you want your children to learn about Our Lord–teach them. Don’t wait for others to do your job. I have MET young baptized adult Catholics who never went to a catechism class or had instructions in the Faith. Parents dropped the ball and did not do their job. One of them I instructed myself (I teach a class at our parish and had our pastor’s permission). Parents may not think that they will be called into accountability for this before God, but they are mistaken. This summer my daughter and I will continue instructing her children–there is always something for everyone to learn since our Faith is so rich.

    1. I would have been delighted to teach my children, but I wasn’t taught what I needed myself when I came into the Church–nothing about prayer, the need for Confession, nada. This was before the Internet and EWTN and I had no idea how to go about it. We can’t teach what we don’t have and don’t know how or what to get.

  6. Many seem to find the spiritual values of the Eucharist a bit hard to swallow (pun intended I confess)
    Could this be a part of, and help to illustrate, the broad meaning of John 15:18-25 and John 17:13-19 and 1 John 3:13-15.
    To leave our comfort zone and give up popularity with the many who fear truth is quite a challenge but, in the search and love of truth is to be found the communion with the few brothers and sisters who also love truth, and whose friendship is much more valuable than the shallow value to be found in the many. Yet, to love and pray for hope that the many may find courage to set aside the false comfort of pre-conceived notions is also a challenge.
    But, is it better to seek supeficial popularity in our brief time here or … to work for eternal joy?

  7. Give us this day our daily Bread and foregive us our trespasses as we foregive those who trespass against us. No trespassing is pretty much the order of the day. Those who follow Christ do so by His calling. Evangelizing is effective when you have the audience willing to participate and the speaker capable of making the point. The mystery of faith is a complex subject when it comes to the eucharist. You are better off speaking in parables. Even Christ only revealed to his closest apostles what He knew He had prepared them to understand over a period of time and they were willing followers. Faith is revealed as much or more by example as it is by word of mouth. You don’t win a battle by handing a soldier a gun and telling him to go fight. They are trained and taught to the point where they instinctively know what to do and how to follow orders. Christians are not hunters they are fishers of mankind. Like Willie Landum, fishing guide to the stars says, “If you don’t know much about fishing and you want to be a serious angler, it’s best to have a fishing guide who is experienced and knows what they are doing so they can teach you how to do it successfully.” I think I just spoke a parable.

  8. the Eucharist is the confounding mystery of our faith. As we find in CCC #1336
    ‘It is the same mystery and in never ceases to be an occasion of division’.
    Nonetheless, it is the real presence of God among us.

  9. You have to be in the State of Grace to receive the Body of Christ, I wasn’t for a long time.

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