Posted by: geolocke | 2015/07/27

Plenty Left Remaining

This morning’s readings were about the feeding of hundreds and thousands with limited resources, namely bread, and today they have struck a deep resonant chord within me.

The first reading was from Second Kings (4:42-44) where the Prophet Elisha is given 20 barley loaves, and he turns around and instructs his servant to feed it to the hundred people gathered there. When the servant protests, Elisha proclaims the Word of God saying “They shall eat and there shall be some left over.” And so it happened as he said.

Today’s Gospel reading was John’s account of the feeding of 5,000 with only five barley loaves and two fish (John 6:1-15) and again, there was some left over; twelve wicker baskets full. John’s story of the five loaves and two fish is one of the earliest Gospel stories I remember learning as a child. It is a “comfortable” passage with a feel-good ending. I have always thought of it as a story about trusting in the Providence of God, at least I’ve thought of it that way since I was old enough to understand the meaning of Providence.

But today, I started thinking about this same old “comfortable” Scripture passage in another light after hearing a homily from a visiting missionary priest who reminded us that we, by virtue of our Baptism, are imitators of Christ as Priest, Prophet, and King; Priest when we minister to our sisters and brothers, Prophet when we proclaim the word of God through our actions, and King when we work to bring about God’s Kingdom here on this earth. And he further reminded us how we come to Church on Sundays to rest and rejuvenate ourselves by partaking in the word of God and the one bread, the Holy Eucharist of Christ, before heading back out into the world to serve our Sisters and Brothers by the actions of Christ working through us.

And so I was thinking about all this when I heard the prayer of Consecration of the gifts of Bread and Wine and really listened to it:

“On the day before he was to suffer, he took bread in his holy and venerable hands, and with his eyes raised to heaven to you, O God, his almighty Father, giving you thanks, he said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to his disciples, saying:

“Take This All Of You, And Eat Of It,
For This Is My Body,
Which Will Be Given Up For You.”

In a similar way, when supper was ended, he took this precious chalice in his holy and venerable hands, and once more giving you thanks, he said the blessing and gave the chalice to his disciples, saying:

“Take This, All Of You, And Drink From it,
For This Is The Chalice Of My Blood,
The Blood Of The New And Eternal Covenant,
Which Will Be Poured Out For You And For Many
For The Forgiveness Of Sins.
Do This In Memory Of Me.””

I became aware once more how these words of Christ at the last supper are straight to the point. Christ was not speaking in parables, not giving the bread and wine as examples, but giving them as final instructions to his disciples before heading out to the garden. (Perhaps this itself is a subject for another post) And those same instruction pass down to us this very day as we step forward to partake in the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ our Savior.

And that was when the thought occurred to me in an instant of clarity how, just as Christ fed the 5,000 with five loaves and two fish and still had twelve wicker baskets of left-overs remaining, so too did Christ feed his disciples at the last supper with his Body and Blood, and through them we are still fed today. And it does not stop with us, because there is plenty left remaining as we carry Christ out with us and feed our sisters and brothers in the world and if necessary, to be broken and poured out ourselves through our actions, our words, and our lives.

As I said, this thought came to me in a moment of clarity and I am not certain I have been able to recapture it here with these clumsy words of mine, but the thought still remains and I will most likely continue to ponder it for a while yet. It has also served to remind me once more how I can become “comfortable” in hearing a favorite Scriptural passage and not take the opportunity to really listen to it until someone comes along and proclaims it to me in a new way. That too I will ponder for a while.

May the Peace and Blessings of our Living God grant you all a peace-filled rest this evening.

-geo

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