Living Eucharist in the Mystical Body

Scripture      Luke 9: 11-17


                               And Jesus said to the disciples,

                            “Make the people sit down in groups of about fifty each.”

                           They did so and made them all sit down.

                               And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven,

                             and blessed and broke them,

                             and gave them to the disciples

                            to set before the crowd.

                            And all ate and were filled.

                           What was leftover was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.




This is no ordinary summer afternoon picnic! It is a multitude of friends and strangers gathered together for a hillside ‘church’ experience. They have come today to simply be in the presence of Jesus, their Rabbi and Teacher. They soon become lost to time-of-day and physical needs as Jesus’ comforting, yet challenging message, feeds their spirits. Yes, they came outdoors in Sabbath-rest and simply sat and listened and found they were miraculously nurtured and satisfied! It was Jesus who said: You must have the crowds sit down and eat some real food! Here is a wonderful model of Eucharist demonstrated for us. Continue to gather together in small clusters of fifty persons or so – share and reflect upon the ‘Living Word’ and share the 'Living Bread’ – and every time you do this, remember Me.  Then watch your community grow in charity and unity.



Some Scripture scholars have said that the ‘miracle’ of that afternoon of feeding the multitude, was that as each family gathered together with three or four nearby families and they sat down and shared their backpacks of foodstuffs -the potluck picnic provided ‘enough’ for everyone! 


This Gospel chosen for today’s feast of Corpus Christi – the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ - is aptly chosen to point us to this fuller and deeper experience of Eucharist. In eating the sacramental Body of Christ we are absorbed into the Mystical Body of Christ. The Eucharist is the great sacrament of charity. When we humbly receive Jesus with a pure heart and a desire for perfect charity, we will find such a great remedy for the resentments and disunity that creep into our hearts as we go about "living in the world". Living by this miraculous Bread, we also find that we are united to one another. For, as St. Paul says, "Because the bread is one, we though many, are one body, all of us partake of the one bread."   (1Corinthians 10:17)


Just as “the crowd” mentioned in the Gospel account was made able to sit down in collaboration and cooperation and share their food resources so that all had enough – even leftovers - so today, as neighbors with neighbors, we can learn how to share with each neighbor, rich country with poorer country, and all of us will have enough. However, many of us within the Mystical BODY will have to be united with this most pure and perfect LOVE to ever be able to be transformed this far along … to see such a new world paradigm manifest in our day. Listen to Merton’s wisdom on this:



"In Holy Communion, as we take Him to ourselves in the  great sacrificial mystery which is the supreme expression of divine charity, we find that His charity gains possession of our souls and unites us to one another with a love so pure, so spiritual and so intense that it transcends all the powers of a person's natural love for his/her brothers and sisters and friends.  The charity of Christ in the Eucharist, seizing upon the best natural instincts of the human soul, elevates and divinizes them, uniting men and women to one another in a charity and a peace which the world can never give."   (Thomas Merton, The Living Bread, p. 18)



Jesus had great compassion for the human condition and knew that genuine charity among all would be impossible without access to the Divine Pure Lover. The Eucharist "fills us with the purity of divine love, and with all your sublime virtues - in a word, with your entire self." The Eucharist accomplishes transforming union - "In this way it will confirm the loving promise of your divine word that whoever eats your Flesh and drinks your Blood abides in you and you in him/her." Living together in the Mystical Body of Christ, our common union in Christ is the only source of our real unity and peace.  "The love of Christ has gathered us together as one." (CSJ congregational motto)



Our union is essentially a "mystical" union that becomes embodied in a diversity of personalities and ministries. The mystery of the Eucharist is incomplete if we see it only as the principle of our own individual sanctification. The Eucharist is also the principle of unity in Jesus' Mystical Body, the Church. "He unites us not only to Himself, not only to The Father in Himself, but also to one another.” This is the full "Mystery" of the Eucharist, and we must always look at the Blessed Sacrament in the light of these implications. We must see the Mystery as a whole. We must see the "whole Christ", for without our unity in charity the Blessed Sacrament would lack its real meaning."   (Merton, p. 118)  


Let us give strong affirmation to this holistic understanding of the Sacrament of Eucharist. Our personal loving union with God requires a completion in loving actions, in little services to others around us in our homes, parishes, communities and neighborhoods. Truly, we are responsible for what we have received - LOVE. Love is a movement, an energy that is always dynamic, a spiritual power that is eternal. In all healthy spiritualities, there is a movement inwards towards God-within and outward towards others. We all have to start in the Centre - in contemplation - and move outward to others - in action. This two-fold movement opens us up into a gentle flowing rhythm, an in-out balance of energies. The whole Body of Christ is built up as "the purity of love" flows through the arteries of more and more persons animated by the Body and Blood of Christ. Our Eucharistic worship is incomplete if it does not flow into Christian community in some concrete way.



Carrying Grace              Effect in me a miracle of Love.



#1 arletteh 2010-06-06 18:05
Jesus spoke to them of the reign of God, and healed them. The reign of God has arrived in this account of the loaves and fishes.So many follwed Jesus. He loved them so much, he healed them. They trusted Jesus. no one had spoken as he does, before. They followed him even to a desert place:that was the place of encounter with God.The thought for food provisions must have been secondary;or they just lost track of where they were. When the inner and outer person is healed,when the true self is encountered in Christ,what one saw as great needs, becomes so much less.Life has been simplified!One can now be much more considerate of the neighbour.The problem is dimished into "small groups". There, community can flourish.Deep sharing can occur. One is cherished for who one is!And then, Jesus, who takes in the whole situation,break s bread for them, shares the fish. The Jewish table blessing is pronounced,. We are family!Blessed be our God!

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