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Lord Jesus

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Matthew 15:29 - 37

Hunger for the Eucharist

Think of your last long, busy, tiring day. You did a ton for other people at work, you kept up with appointments and deadlines, and you took care of children or parents; the list was long. Somehow, you made it to the end of the day, and when you opened the refrigerator door, you found expired milk, some ancient leftovers, and nothing else. And everyone was hungry.

Of course, we can run to a restaurant or order pizza, but Jesus, the disciples, and the 5,000+ people on the side of the hill in today’s Gospel reading didn’t have those luxuries. So what then?

It’s a beautiful thing to think about Jesus being moved with pity for the people. They wanted to be near him, to be healed, to hear his words, to look at his face. Food probably wasn’t on their minds much. But maybe Jesus heard some rumbling tummies and decided to do something about it.

The disciples had some food, probably just enough for Jesus and themselves. It wasn’t much, but it would have to do. As Jesus took the loaves and fish and gave thanks, we can almost hear the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass, “…he took bread and, giving thanks, broke it…” And then miraculously,  both fish and bread were multiplied. Everyone ate. Everyone was full. And there were leftovers.

At Advent, it’s important to remember the Incarnation–that Jesus was born fully human. He understands our human weaknesses, frailty, hunger, and pain. As fully divine, he gives himself to us in the Eucharist, multiplied to feed us all at every Mass.

Try this: Spend some time with Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration sometime in Advent. Even 15 minutes will refresh you (and bonus: it is a quiet moment in a loud season!).

O Sacred Banquet,

in which Christ is received,

the memory of his passion is renewed,

the soul is filled with grace,

and a pledge of future glory is given to us.