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Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 31, 2011 (18A)
By Father Cusick
In the Sacrifice of the Mass we meet Christ Jesus in the fullest way possible in this life, really, truly and substantially in His Body and Blood, which we also call the Eucharist, from the Greek root for "thanksgiving".
In today's Gospel according to St. Matthew, chapter fourteen, verses thirteen to twenty-one, our Lord gives a great sign of the gift of the Eucharist in the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes.
As some teach erroneously today, this is not a "miracle of human generosity", it is a miracle plain and simple. Our Divine Lord, according to His Divine power, takes five loaves and two fish and multiplies them to feed more than ten thousand people.
Our Lord is moved with pity for us, as he was for the crowd. He cures our sickness as he did for them. But the first priority in the kingdom of God is the curing of those illnesses that can exclude us from the happiness of eternal life. It is our sins, and our sins alone, that will keep us from forever enjoying God's love. That is the reason for the gift of Christ's Body and Blood.
We do suffer greatly from our ailments of body and mind, but if we let faith be our guide, we will never succumb to the mistake, as so many do, of being concerned first with our physical well-being. Our spiritual good comes first, because our eternal well-being is our greatest treasure, as we learned from the parables of the kingdom last Sunday.
This miracle shows that God's grace is poured forth for all. "The miracles of the multiplication of the loaves, when the Lord says the blessing, breaks and distributes the loaves through his disciples to feed the multitude, prefigure the superabundance of this unique bread of his Eucharist." (CCC 1335).
As we read, "All those present ate their fill. The fragments which remained ...filled twelve baskets." We must eat our "fill" of the Eucharist, each Sunday and in weekday Mass when we are able, that the superabundance of God's life and love will be ours.