One of the things that might first strike us about the readings that are presented to us for our reflection on this Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, is that we are not given the account of the last supper from the Gospel of Luke. Instead we are given the only account in Luke about the mighty work of Jesus in feeding the hungry poor in the midst of a desolate place. And the text from the Hebrew Scriptures that is given to us to reflect upon the Gospel is not one of the miracle stories of Elijah feeding the widow during the drought, or Elisha feeding his hungry men with a few loaves of bread, or the sustaining of the people of God in the wilderness with the manna from heaven, but the frankly odd story of this priest-king Melchizedek of Salem, who provides food of bread and wine and a blessing for warrior-king Abram on his return from rescuing his nephew Lot (it is not clear whether there is enough food for the 318 men who form part of his retinue) and in return, Abram offers one tenth of his spoils to the priest-king of God Most High.

In the Gospel, Luke wants us to see the connection between this mighty work of Jesus and the continuing ministry of the Church. So he adds details to the original account found in the Gospel of Mark by telling us that Jesus spoke and taught (over the course of the whole day) about the kingdom of God, while also healing the sick and needy. While sounds like the work of the church when it is functioning its best – in offering education and healing. The twelve, who have just returned from their missionary journey reporting great success, at least are able to identify the need of the crowd when the day draws near to its conclusion – that they need food and shelter. But in one the standard lines of Jesus, he invites them to share in the mission of grace and compassion: You give them something to eat. The Lord is always inviting us to join him in this work of redemption and compassion. He wants us to partner with him in the work of the kingdom. Even if we have so little to give (five loaves and two fish), the act of surrendering that to the Lord is all that is necessary. He will do the rest – alongside of us and our continuing work of sharing in this mission.

Recorded at St Paul’s. (10 mins, 45 secs)
EBC. Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, Year C.
Genesis 14:18-20; Luke 9:11-17

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