Sunday – Feast of Corpus Christi
Gospel – Luke 9:11b-17
Loaves and Fishes
Church at Tabgha
Throughout those 2 years of isolation from Covid, I really missed my St. Kateri community. I missed my native brothers and sisters. I miss crowding ourselves into the chapel on a Sunday morning for Mass. And I miss our community potluck meal afterwards.
I think that I missed that simple meal the most; it speaks volumes to me about the community and about the values that should define our lives. I said a ‘simple’ meal but actually it’s more of a constant miracle. Jody, our director, and/or Ginger provide the main course. And that’s it! All the rest – sides, salads, pasta, dessert, bread and drinks - all of that is left to the community. Bring something to share! We never know how many people will come! We never know what they will bring! Ginger always calls it a “loaves and fishes” event! Somehow, some way there is not only enough for everyone; there is always enough left over for people to take home.
But there is more to that meal than just food. We always start with prayer – giving thanks to the Creator! We offer a ‘spirit plate’ containing a bit of each food to pray over and then gift that food back to the earth. And when it’s time to eat, we make a line in the kitchen to fill our plates. Aah, but not so fast! We don’t serve ourselves first. The elders never get in line; they never get their own food. They stay seated and we serve them first, out of love and respect.
That ‘simple’ meal tells me all I need to know about this community and about their values, values that extend well beyond the meal. They are lived-out values called the Seven Grandfather Teachings! They are: Honesty, Truth, Humility, Love, Wisdom, Courage, and Respect. I see them lived out in this simple community meal and in daily life. They define us, shape us, guide us.
If you look closely at today’s picture, you will see a mosaic image of loaves and fishes on the floor in front of the altar. This was taken at the church at Tabgha on the shores of the Sea of Galilee at the foot of the Mount of the Beatitudes. It is believed to be the site of today’s Gospel story of the multiplication of loaves and fishes and is the earliest representation of this familiar symbol.
The story of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes is a familiar one. But there is another very familiar rhythm to this story that could easily escape us if we didn’t take another close read of the verses. What we see is the same movement, the same rhythm, that we experience at Mass. Jesus spends the day preaching and teaching the crowd. His words draw them together and motivate them to want to stay and hear more. This reminds us of the beginning of Mass – the Liturgy of the Word where we hear the Word of God.
Then the disciples bring Jesus the 5 loaves and 2 fishes – the Presentation of the Gifts of bread and wine. Then Jesus blesses the gifts, gives thanks to God, and distributes them to the crowd – the Liturgy of the Eucharist where the priest blesses the gifts, offers thanks to God and those simple gifts are transformed into His Body and Blood and offered to us as food for the soul.
So consider this – on this our celebration of Corpus Christi, today’s story is not just a miracle story about Jesus’ compassion for the hungry crowd. It is also a reminder of another miracle, Jesus’ love for us, a love that provides us with the Eucharist, His Body and Blood, food for our spiritual journey. It is an opportunity for us to reflect on the wonder of such a gift and hopefully a greater appreciation of the Eucharist in our lives. And remember too – God always provides more than we need; His love and compassion are overflowing. And there are always leftovers!
would be remiss if I didn’t also wish a Happy Father’s Day to all the dads,
stepdads and foster dads out there.
Today, June 19, holds a special place in my heart. 45 years ago, June 19, 1977 was also a Sunday and
Father’s Day! You see, Jaime was born on
Saturday morning June 18, the day before!
So on this very day I got to celebrate my very first Father’s Day! So blessings to all the dads out there! I share with you all the joys and laughter
that our children have brought us over the years! And special blessings to our daughter, Jaime, on her birthday.