They Had Enough
St. John Bosco (1815-1888), better known as “Don Bosco”, was not only a skilled administrator, missionary and eucator of boys. God also chose on occasion to work miracles through him. One feast day, all the boys in his “Oratory” school at Turin, Italy were scheduled to receive Holy Communion from him at Mass. When Communion time came, however, he opened the ciborium containing the sacred hosts and found it almost empty. And 650 students were lined up to receive! (The sacristan of the Chapel almost fainted when he saw the surprised look of the Saint as he took the cover off the ciborium. Father Sacristan had completely forgotten to put out another ciborium filled with altar breads to be consecrated during that Mass!)
Don Bosco paused only a moment. Then he lifted his eyes to heaven, breathed a little prayer, grasped the ciborium and started to administer Communion to the kneeling boys. Marvel upon marvels, each time he removed a host, another appeared to replace it. Thus, there were enough to take care of 650 students, and probably some left besides.
Naturally, this miraculous multiplication could not be kept quiet at the Oratory. His associates asked St. John about it, and he agreed that something remarkable had occurred.
“God is good” he said, “and He saw to it that the boys were taken care of.” Today we celebrate Corpus Christi – the Church’s special feast in honor of the Eucharistic Body and Blood of Christ. Appropriately, the gospel chosen relates Jesus’ feeding the 5000 by multiplying the loaves and fishes. It was a miracle clearly foreshadowing the institution of the Eucharist. Our Lord has not often been called upon to multiply already consecrated hosts, as He did for Don Bosco. It is almost a miracle in itself that at every Mass in the world since Holy Thursday Christ has multiplied Himself as Eucharistic food. Thus the faithful, as today’s gospel says, “have all eaten until they had enough.”
-Father Robert F. McNamara
Q427: Clearly the Second Reading [1 Cor 11:23-26] and Gospel today [Luke 9:11-17] point to Jesus as the Bread of Life, the fulfillment of the Old Testament scriptures [Gen 14:18-20]. Why is the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist such a “stumbling block” for so many people in this world – even within the so-called “Christian” communities?
This is such an awesome Sacrament, that one is at a loss for words to describe it! Can you grasp what has happened, and what is continuing to happen? First, our divine Jesus “gives up” that appearance of divinity to assume our human nature. We call that great mystery the “Incarnation.” But he doesn’t stop there! Now he continues to come into our Presence under the form of bread and wine, in this great and very special Sacrament that we call Holy Eucharist! Can you imagine the Love our God must have to go that far for us?
We have such great witnesses in all four Evangelists who preserve the true story of the multiplication of loaves. We have St. Paul’s witness of what he received, and what he dutifully passes on to his generation, and all future generations. We have the unified testimony of the Early Church Fathers, who pass on to us the truth about this wonderful miracle of Holy Eucharist. Why is it, then, that some people cannot accept this witnessed truth, and recognize Jesus in the “breaking of the bread”? Why do some folk still think it is only “symbolic” and not “real”? Why do they discount the entire Eucharistic literature of the last twenty centuries, beginning with the apostolic fathers?
We are in the area of mystery here; we fail to comprehend why others don’t have the Faith that we do in the Sacraments of the Catholic Church. We cannot judge them. All we can do is pray for them to share our gift of Faith in the Real Presence, so that they, too, can partake of the Bread of Life Himself!
KNOW YOUR CATECHISM! May we humble ourselves, and thank God for the gift of Faith, as well as the Gift of the Magisterium who preserves the Truth for us until the end of time. As the ecumenical Councils in union with the Holy Father teach us, this participation in the authority of Christ is received in the charism of infallibility, which includes the deposit of divine Revelation and moral doctrine (CCC 2035).
One Bread, One Body
God called the people out of Egypt and in the desert molded them in to a chosen nation. He tested them with hunger and thirst and fed them with miraculous food and drink to remind them of their deep need for him. Jesus reminds us that we too need more than ordinary bread to sustain us in our desert journey as the new People of God. We need the divine life that is nurtured by eating the bread which is the Body of Christ. St. Paul tells us that when we eat that bread we become the Body of Christ. Today’s feast reminds us of the priority of the Word of God and the Eucharist in our lives. We need this bread which is his body, this wine which is his blood to be able to grow in faith, to have strength and courage as a community and as individuals to live this Christ-life, to become more fully the Body of Christ.
God, our Father, we break bread for one another and receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ, your Son. We ask that strengthened by him we may live in love and peace, so that we may become his body in this world.