Gospel Mk 8:1-10
In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat, Jesus summoned the disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a great distance.” His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?” Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They replied, “Seven.” He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to the crowd. They also had a few fish. He said the blessing over them and ordered them distributed also. They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets. There were about four thousand people. He dismissed the crowd and got into the boat with his disciples and came to the region of Dalmanutha.
“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat.”
Jesus loves the people and takes care of them by feeding them in word and substance. This story emphasizes the importance of Jesus providing for us and giving us food abundantly. It is a precursor of the Eucharist. He has given us himself totally and it is sacred food. I can barely stand in grief thinking how he paid the price for our sins, giving more than anyone of us can imagine. He suffered out of love for each of us! His grief continues today with the misunderstandings of the Eucharist and the meaning of his death.
Many people receive Jesus without regard to His sacred Body and Blood. It saddens me to tears to see people snatch Jesus from the priest's or Eucharistic minister's hand instead of opening their hand or mouth to humbly receive the God of the universe. I have also seen people spill the blood of Christ on the floor in haste to take a sip from the chalice. I witnessed this recently and I was shaken by the idea of his precious blood carelessly spilled and laying on the floor. His sacred Body and Blood is treated like it is still a piece of bread or a taste of wine.
“Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute." We all need to take responsibility for teaching others about the Eucharist, just like the disciples distributed the seven loaves of bread. Society will not do this for us. It is up to us to teach and reteach children every year. Many adults have not matured in their understanding of the Eucharist. Their faith journey seems to have stopped in adolescence. It seems to become more of a routine or something they should partake since they showed up for mass.
Jesus gives us himself abundantly. Can we receive him with the same surrender Jesus gave to God the Father, the same intensity of the Passion, and with as much love and compassion as Jesus has for us? If so, we will eat and be satisfied.