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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Don’t Miss Jesus’ Powerful Teaching on the Eucharist

Deacon Mike Bickerstaff  |  July 29, 2012 

The Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes
by Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

During this Liturgical Year (Year B), the gospel readings at Mass on Sundays are taken primarily from the Gospel of Mark. However, beginning this weekend, we will spend four consecutive Sundays hearing from the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John and the focus will be on the Eucharist.

To set the scene, we have to look back to last Sunday’s gospel from Mark. Jesus had previously sent out the apostles, two-by-two to preach the Good News and tend to the sick and possessed. And now they were back, anxious to let Jesus know how they fared. However, Jesus and His apostles were unable to find a quiet place to rest and discuss the news. They were confronted with a large crowd seeking Jesus because of the signs He had performed. Do you remember how Mark, in a sense of keen sadness, described the scene when Jesus looked upon the crowd? “… They were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34).

It is at this very place that today’s passage from John’s gospel picks up. The crowd was huge, five-thousand men plus women and children. They were far from home and hungry. Jesus saw their need and was moved to satisfy it. This is the scene and we will spend these four Sundays hearing about it.

The true shepherd, Jesus, had come to a people whose shepherds had failed them. They had been living in a great spiritual darkness. He would not fail them. What he would reveal to them would shock them. What He would give to them would not be what they expected or even wanted, but it would be what they needed. Many of his followers would not be able to accept His teaching and would leave Him. He would reveal to them the gift of Himself in the Eucharist to come, that very same Eucharist for which we are gathered today at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. (...)

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