Celebrating the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Five loaves and two fish are all we have here." Then he said, "Bring them here to me."

The miracle performed in today's Gospel was an act of kindness and loving thoughtfulness on the part of Christ. He saw the people's need - it was late for them to return to their homes and they had had nothing to eat all day - and He worked a miracle to provide for this need. The miracle also helped to convince the people of Galilee - the news spread around quickly - that He was the expected Messiah, but especially it prepared the way for the announcement of the greatest miracle of all - the miracle of the Eucharist. As St. John tells us Jesus referred to this miracle the next day in order to introduce His promise of the heavenly bread which He would give them and which was to be His own body and blood, under the form of bread and wine. The bread He miraculously multiplied that day to supply the bodily needs of the Galilean multitude was but a foreshadowing of that heavenly food which He was about to give as spiritual nourishment to the millions who would become His followers down through the centuries until the end of time.


The Galileans were grateful to Him for providing so kindly and so thoughtfully for their needs. How much more grateful should we not be for the miracle by means of which He has left us Himself to be our daily spiritual food? We are grateful, of course, to our loving Lord who not only handed up His Body to His enemies to be crucified for us but through His divine power, arranged that His glorified body, triumphant over death, should remain with us, His Church, forever under the Eucharistic species.


Though invisible to mortal eyes, He is as truly present on our altars as He was that day in Galilee, when He miraculously fed the multitude. He is present under the form of bread and wine — so that we can partake of Him as spiritual nourishment during our earthly life. Could love go any further? He Himself said: "A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends" (Jn. 15 :13). Yes, once a man has given his life he has given his all; there is nothing more he can give. But Christ was more than man. He was God as well, and, therefore, He was able not only to lay down His human life for us but was able and willing to remain with us after death under the Eucharistic species: to be our strength and nourishment until we join Him in the promised land of heaven.

When we compare our own unworthiness with this, almost incredible, love and thoughtfulness of Christ for us, all we can do is simply to say: "Lord, you know I am not worthy to receive you, but you say you want to come into my poor and untidy home, please make me less unworthy, forgive all my past sins and offenses, and give me the grace and strength to be better in the future."


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Draw near to your servants, O Lord, and answer their prayers with unceasing kindness, that, for those who glory in you as their Creator and guide, you may restore what you have created and keep safe what you have restored.

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