Today's Gospel: Matt. 15: 29-37
At that time:
Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee,
went up on the mountain, and sat down there.
Great crowds came to him,
having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute,
and many others.
They placed them at his feet, and he cured them.
The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking,
the deformed made whole,
the lame walking,
and the blind able to see,
and they glorified the God of Israel.
Jesus summoned his disciples and said,
"My heart is moved with pity for the crowd,
for they have been with me now for three days
and have nothing to eat.
I do not want to send them away hungry,
for fear they may collapse on the way."
The disciples said to him,
"Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place
to satisfy such a crowd?"
Jesus said to them, "How many loaves do you have?"
"Seven," they replied, "and a few fish."
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Then he took the seven loaves and the fish,
gave thanks, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied.
They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets full.
Jesus' actions in today's Gospel passage establishes the template for the Church's liturgy. Jesus sits down on the mountain, which is symbolic of teaching. Those with physical ailments are not only historical characters, but also a metaphor for sinful men who come to Jesus to listen to him in a type of a Liturgy of the Word. Just as these infirm and deformed individuals are cured of their illnesses, so does Jesus cure us with his word.
Then Jesus feeds the multitudes, symbolic of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The number seven is significant in Scripture (seven days of creation, seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, etc.) and is a reference to the seven sacraments, of which the Eucharist is pre-eminent as the source and summit of the Church's life.
Am I able to interpret my daily activities through the lens of the Eucharist in such a way that I see my work and daily chores as potential living sacrifices of praise to the Father that sanctify my time and environment? Do I present my own ordinary life, symbolized in the loaves and fishes, and ask the Lord to transform them into something He can use to feed others?
Lord, may we make constant reference to the Eucharist we receive each week. May the Eucharist be both the starting point and goal of how we see the world. May Jesus, spent and broken for us, be our model and guide as we attempt to do the same for those around us.
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Bio: Fr. Jerome Magat, SThD, is a longtime friend of Theology of Home. He is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia. While a parochial vicar, he founded the Guadalupe Free Clinic of Colonial Beach in 2005, the diocese's first free medical clinic for the poor, of which Theology of Home is a proud supporter. He is a faculty member of St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, California.