Sharing “the food of grace”

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Today I’d like to write for the children of our parish. (Adults you may read to—we are all children of God!).

Today Jesus is preaching and teaching to a large crowd. Some brought their sick to Him and He healed them. This went on all day. Finally, as evening was coming and everyone was tired and hungry—Jesus too, I’m sure, His apostles suggest He send the people away for food and rest.

Jesus agreed, but He wasn’t about to send them all off on a journey with hungry, growling stomachs! So He told the apostles to “Feed them yourselves.” Can you imagine the apostles’ amazement! There were 5000 men and that didn’t count the number of women and children that were in the crowd! “We can’t feed them! We have only a couple fish and five loaves of bread!”

So Jesus, in compassion for the hungry people takes the food, looks up to heaven to His Father, blesses it, breaks it and gives it to the people. All of them ate, were filled and there was even a lot left over! This was just a beginning. Jesus gave the people food for their bodies—He fed their hungry stomachs before they began their journey home that night.

Now Jesus wants to feed our SOULS. Do you remember at the Last Supper how He took bread and looking up to heaven, blessed it, and broke it like before, but NOW He says “This is my body which will be given up for you. Take and eat. And He does the same with the cup of wine. In those seconds, with those words, that bread becomes Christ’s Body and the wine, His Blood—so that He can feed our souls and give us grace for our journey through life!

When Jesus fed the people in our Gospel today, the people had been listening to Him all day. Receiving this sacred food, Jesus’ Body and Blood in Holy Communion is a far greater gift than the “hungry stomach” food. It is Jesus Himself! So what should we do to prepare to receive Jesus? We, too, should listen to Him. The readings and Father’s homily are His teachings. We really ARE listening to Jesus. Then we should approach the altar to receive him quietly and with attention. It doesn’t matter whether we receive Him on the tongue or in the hand, we should receive Him with reverence; we should accept Him gently, not roughly and then knowing that Jesus is in our hearts in a very special way, we return to our seats with a prayer of thanksgiving in our hearts. Jesus has come to us! We have just received food for our life’s journey. Let us take the time to give Him a few minutes of praise and thanksgiving for all He has given us and then let us go out to share “the food of grace” with our neighbor!

Linda Caminiti