Gospel Lectio Divina, The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, June 19, 2022

Gospel Lectio Divina, The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, June 19, 2022

By David Kilby

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

 

READ
Lk 9:11b-17

Jesus spoke to the crowds about the kingdom of God,
and he healed those who needed to be cured.
As the day was drawing to a close,
the Twelve approached him and said,
"Dismiss the crowd
so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms
and find lodging and provisions;
for we are in a deserted place here."
He said to them, "Give them some food yourselves."
They replied, "Five loaves and two fish are all we have,
unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people."
Now the men there numbered about five thousand.
Then he said to his disciples,
"Have them sit down in groups of about fifty."
They did so and made them all sit down.
Then taking the five loaves and the two fish,
and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing over them, broke them,
and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd.
They all ate and were satisfied.
And when the leftover fragments were picked up,
they filled twelve wicker baskets.

 

MEDITATE

“we are in a deserted place here”

In this passage, Jesus fulfills the promise God made through the prophet Isaiah when he said, “I will make a way in the wilderness  and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19). Even when our situation seems most bleak, if we have faith in God he will provide whatever it is we need to get through. 

"Have them sit down in groups of about fifty."

Why bother dividing the five thousand into groups of about fifty? Because smaller is better. Whenever we try to tackle some large task, it’s best to break it down into smaller tasks. The same is true when it comes to serving others. If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit the best we can do is help the people around us before helping the masses. Also, a crowd becomes more intimate when it is divided into smaller groups. Many of us know this simply from going to conferences that had “break out sessions” or “small group discussions”. While five thousand people may seem  too overwhelming to know who to talk to, people in groups of fifty may start conversing with each other. Now that they are in the same group, they have at least that much more in common. Jesus was encouraging neighborliness. They were probably going to have to share whatever food came to them, so they might as well get to know each other better and maybe even learn to love each other.  

looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them

Whenever God provides, it is important to acknowledge his providence and give thanks. Jesus just got done talking about the kingdom of God, so it makes sense that he demonstrates how things work in that kingdom. In that kingdom, God governs all and gratitude for his grace goes a long way. 

They all ate and were satisfied. 

Why do I doubt God’s providence? I hear him calling me to do something, and I hesitate as I ask him, “How can I sustain a life like that?” or “Where am I going to get the money? In this Gospel story, Jesus fulfills the promise he made in Matthew 6:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life.” (Matthew 6:25-27)

When I pray, I often hear God telling me to just go and evangelize, and not to worry about how he will provide. At different times in my life, I accepted the challenge, but the worries of everyday life always dragged me back to my regular lifestyle: worries about money, former commitments, relationships. In the Gospels, Jesus is always telling us that he will take care of these things, if we just follow him. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you, he says. 

But how? How can he provide all that I seek when all the world is against that way of life, the way of the Cross? Not only is it a drastically different lifestyle than what most people are living. Following Christ is bound to bring trials of its own, because people don’t like what he teaches. His teachings make people angry. So not only is Christ expecting me to forego a common way of life to follow him. He is also saying I will be able to endure the opposition to the Christian way of life I lead. 

But Christ is not opposed to the common way of life. In fact, I hear on a regular basis how God can be found in the ordinary things all around us. When we work at out regular jobs, we are doing the work of God–”Opus Dei”--and even following his will in our own little way, like the Little Flower, St. Therese of Lisieux. 

So which is it? Am I supposed to completely let go, and devote my life to evangelizing, or should I continue working a at a secular job and just share the Gospel when and where I can? I’m sure many of us ask these same questions and are faced with the same decision.

The people who went out to the desert to hear Christ’s words left their everyday life behind at least for that day. Leaving behind our old way of life is going to look different for each person. For some, it may mean leaving a job to start a full-time ministry. For others, it may mean changing the way they work at their current job. For still others, it may mean taking a pilgrimage, kind of like the one these five thousand followers took to hear Christ speak. Only through fervent prayer can we learn exactly what God is calling us to do, but the result will always be the same: We will be satisfied when we do his will.

Satisfied. Even that word alone is packed with profundity. In the allegorical sense, this story is saying that if we leave everything behind to follow Christ, not only will our physical needs be met but our spiritual needs will be met as well. The Lord satisfies that deepest longings in our hearts and souls, the longings for truth, love, beauty, goodness, justice, and all those things that seem to evade us in this life. God fulfills it all by giving us faith, hope and love that is out of this world. 

 

PRAY

Dear Jesus,

In the Holy Eucharist, you provide sustenance for our exiled journey back to you. Here on earth, we only get pieces and glimpses of your glory. We only have five loaves and two fish, and it’s not enough to sustain us. What little faith we have, we give to you so you can multiply it. Show us how heaven is all around us and how you will provide us with everything we need, so we can live a life devoted to you and spread your kingdom in this world. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

LISTEN

What is God saying to you today? You may be on the right path and doing his will, certain of what he is calling you to do. Or you may be wondering what he is calling you to next. This Gospel passage about the five loaves and two fish is a message of hope for whatever you believe God’s will is for you in your life. Do not worry. Whatever God is calling you to do, he will provide whatever you need to do it.  

 

Kilby is a freelance writer from New Jersey and managing editor of Catholic World Report

 

 Glory to the Father The Son and The Holy Spirit