Why Communion with the Body of Christ
After the COVID19 break, more people seems to have settled down to the idea, “Why should I go to Church when I can pray better at home? Why not online Mass?” It is in fact questioning the relevance of the Holy Communion. The narrative about Jesus ‘feeding five thousand people from five loaves’ (Luke 9:11-17) can teach us a thing or two about the Holy Communion.
In Luke, like in other Gospels, the story of the ‘miraculous feeding of the five thousand’ is indicative of the Eucharist. It is a highly symbolic story, read and meditated in the early Church and thereafter. The miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and the feeding of the crowd happened after Jesus spent the whole day teaching about the Kingdom of God and healing the sick. The physical and spiritual freedom was a prerequisite for the feeding with the special bread. Therefore, after preparing the people through his preaching and healing ministry, the Lord fed them by miraculously multiplying the meagre supply of five loaves of human making. Only the Lord could provide the divine food. At the Mass, we are prepared through the penitential rite as well as the reading from the Bible and meditation on them before the Holy Communion with the divine bread from the altar.
Jesus fed the crowd because they were in a deserted place; meaning provision of food was in need. Do you always come to the Eucharist mindful of your needs? Without an awareness of the need of God’s work in your lives, you cannot expect God to work any wonders for you. Therefore, it is important to set intentions in your heart and mind before joining a Eucharistic celebration.
Early Christians with Jewish background could easily grasp the profound symbolism of the ‘five loaves’. The Jews were spiritually fed from the five books of Torah (Pentateuch). Jesus replaced the Torah with the bread and fed those who came to him. Later in the Last Supper, Jesus clarifies that the bread he blesses is his own body. The Christians who know of their want are fed with the Body of Jesus, and it is life giving.
According to the Gospel, twelve baskets full of bread were left over after the huge crowd of five thousand were fed to their satisfaction. For the Jewish, twelve represented the twelve tribes of Israel. In other words it meant the whole of Israel. Here the twelve baskets full of bread is meant to feed twelve tribes, not of Israel, but of the reconstituted Kingdom of God. That means people from all over the world who heed to Jesus.
Jesus is always found with the people who are in need of freedom and healing, and the ones who are looking for a new life from the pit of destruction. What are your needs and wants? Who is satisfying them? If all what you are looking for can be found on Amazon and at Westfield you are not looking deep enough into your own life for the real needs and the real wants. If you are honest to yourself and know your real needs, you will ask Jesus for the real food and he will feed you with divine food. Then you will live for ever in God’s goodness.