“Give them some food yourselves,” Jesus tells the Twelve.
To illustrate, the Benedictine Abbot and Archbishop of Westminster, Basil Hume, died in 1999. The late Fr. Kevin Seasoltz of St. John’s Abbey used to tell this story about Cardinal Hume’s visit to Ethiopia. Cardinal Hume had been asked to visit a settlement where starving people were desperately waiting for food. As Cardinal Hume got out of the helicopter a small boy came up and took his hand. The boy had nothing but a loincloth around his waist. He would not let go of Cardinal Hume‘s hand. He made two gestures: with one hand he would point to his mouth to indicate his need for food. With the other he would take the cardinal‘s hand and rub it to his cheek. Cardinal Hume wrote: ―”I have never forgotten that incident. I realized in a new way those two profound and fundamental needs: for food and for love… With one gesture he showed the need for food, with the other his need for love. On reflection I realized in a new way the secret of the Eucharist, for the Eucharist is food and love.”
“Give them some food yourselves,” Jesus tells us. It may be in the form of nourishment. The Loaves and Fishes Community Pantry in Naperville reports that 10.3% of those living in DuPage County are “food insecure.” Assurances of three meals a day do not exist. And we might want to guess who make up the largest group of hungry in our county- the children. Maybe on Corpus Christi Day we might want to make a donation to feed the hungry. There are many ways to give. http://www.loaves-fishes.org
“Give them some food yourselves,” Jesus tells us. It may be in the form of love. In 1997, Jason and Stacy Bingham married. They never knew what would be asked of them as a married couple. All of their five children are diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, the deterioration of the heart muscle where the patient requires a transplant. Their thirteen-year old daughter received a transplant. Their four-year old son got a pacemaker. And now their nine-year old daughter underwent surgery for a new heart. Never once did Jason and Stacy ask for money to assist them in the cardio care. Instead, their friends created a website called “Hearts for Binghams.” http://www.heartsforbinghams.org. In the last paragraph of the website, Jason and Stacy ask that we pray for the doctors and staff at the hospital pray for the wisdom in making those moment-to-moment decisions for their children. We might want to give and pray for them on Corpus Christi Day.
St. Paul hands on to us the oldest account of the Last Supper. Jesus takes bread and wine and identifies himself with them. When we gather for the Eucharist we enter into that Sacred Passion and into the passion of all those who are hungry, thirsty and in need of a new heart. This is how we do this in remembrance of him— we remember the needs of the world and we act as food and as love. In the words of St. Augustine, Become what you eat, receive what you are, the body of Christ given for the world.
The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.