Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
In the Bible, numbers very often have a symbolic or mystical meaning. For example, Saint John’s Book of Revelation makes extensive use of numerology. His numbers are not to be taken literally; they have a deeper meaning. Today, let’s reflect on Luke’s use of numbers in his account of feeding the 5,000.
The event takes place after a long day of healing and teaching about the kingdom of God. The evening is coming, and the 12 suggest that the crowd be dismissed so that everyone can go to the towns around this “deserted place” to buy food for themselves. This “deserted place” is reminiscent of the desert of Tsin, where God rained down manna upon the people of Israel. That was the old order. Jesus tells them to stay put and give the people something to eat. The 12 answered that they only had five loaves and two fish. They are about to experience the new order, the kingdom of God.
This gathering is marked by the number twelve, the symbol of entirety and cosmic order. In the old order, people were in a “deserted place” and needed God to care for them. The people of the kingdom, however, are a community and have all they need. They have five loaves fish and two fish.
Five is symbolic of transformation and illumination. And the number two symbolizes harmony. In this meal, the people will be fed with an intimate knowledge of God that brings the harmony that only divine healing can bring. This illumination and harmony spread to groups of 50 and then to the entire group of 5,000.
But the kingdom of God is not exclusive. Its gates are open to everyone. The entire world is invited to eat in the kingdom of God. Twelve baskets are left over after this first meal in the kingdom of God. Food of the kingdom of God awaits, and everyone is invited to this meal. The words that invite them are powerful and clear, “Take and eat. This is my body. This is my blood.”
Let Us Pray:
Lord Jesus, we worship you living among us in the sacrament of your body and blood. May we offer to the Father in heaven a solemn pledge of undivided love. May we offer to our brothers and sisters a life poured out in loving service of that kingdom where you live with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen. (From the Sacramentary)
Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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