The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
NOT WELFARE, BUT WELL-FARE
“He took the seven loaves and the fish, and after giving thanks He broke them and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. All ate until they were full.” Matthew 15:36-37 Today’s Scripture readings all foreshadow the blessed feast which is celebrated at Mass in Holy Communion. The rich feast (Is 25:6) celebrated at the banquet table (see Ps 23:5) to nourish the multitudes (Mt 15:38) is the Eucharist we receive at every Mass. The word “Eucharist” even means “to give thanks.”
The thanksgiving described in today’s Scripture readings is not just saying “Gee, thanks, God.” Eucharist occurs in the context of the Mass, a word that means “sent.” In the Mass are elements of sacrifice, worship, receiving the Eucharist, giving thanks, being sent. The response God desires is a thankful lifestyle of obedient faith and loving service. The spirit of the Eucharist is not just to “get” but moreover to “give,” including a never-ending giving of thanks to the Lord.
Those who received the loaves and fishes in John’s Gospel responded by wanting to make Jesus King (Jn 6:15). Jesus wants to be more than a provider, even so much more than a King. Yes, He promises to “provide” (Is 25:6) but He wants us to be disciples, not mere recipients. The Lord is not building a welfare state of those who only receive but never move out of the state of simply being fed. Rather, Jesus is building a kingdom of disciples who feed His lambs (Jn 21:15-17) in thankful, loving service.
Prayer: Jesus, You call Your disciples to feed Your people (Mt 15:36; Lk 12:42). I will thankfully distribute Your blessings. Promise: “Behold our God, to Whom we looked to save us! This is the Lord for Whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that He has saved us!” Is 25:9 Praise: St. Francis so identified with the poor to whom he preached the good news that he slept on the ground in a hut and ate mainly rice and water for the seven years he was with them. (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014. The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements
The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
What can satisfy the deepest hunger and longing of the human heart? Isaiah prophesied that God would provide a heavenly banquet for all peoples and would destroy death once and for all (Isaiah 25:6-8). Jesus came to fulfill that promise. Jesus’ miracles are both a sign of Gods kingdom and a demonstration of God’s power. They also show the magnitude of Gods mercy.
When the disciples were confronted by Jesus with the task of feeding four thousand people many miles away from any source of food, they exclaimed: Where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them? The Israelites were confronted with the same dilemma when they fled Egypt and found themselves in a barren wilderness. Like the miraculous provision of manna in the wilderness, Jesus, himself provides bread in abundance for the hungry crowd who came out into the desert to seek him. The gospel records that all were satisfied and they took up what was leftover.
In the multiplication of the loaves and fishes we see a sign and a symbol of what God always does. God knows our needs and he cares. When God gives, he gives in abundance. The gospel account records that the leftovers from the miraculous meal was more than seven times the amount they began with. Seven is a symbol of completion and wholeness. When God gives, he gives until we are satisfied. When God works for his people he gives abundantly – more than we could deserve and more than we need. He nourishes us with his life-giving word and with the bread of heaven. In the kingdom of heaven God will feast us at his banquet table. Are you satisfied with God’s provision for you? And do you long with expectant hope for the coming of his kingdom in all its fulness?
Lord Jesus, you alone can satisfy the longing and hunger in our hearts. May I thirst for your kingdom and find joy in your presence. Give me the true bread of heaven and nourish me with your life-giving word.”