Updated: Apr 25
Friday, Easter Weekday (Second Week)
24 April 2020 / Ave Maria Parish Live Stream
Romanus Cessario, O.P.
The multiplication of the loaves and fishes figures among the best known of the miracles worked by Christ. The miracles of healing demonstrate Our Lord’s divine power. They speak directly to those who suffer from some infirmity. The nature miracles show Christ’s command over the created universe. They reassure us. However, Christ did not quell every storm on the Sea of Galilee nor did he curse every fig tree (see Mk 11:20). Today’s miracle, on the other hand, brings comfort to every human person. Why? No human being long survives without partaking of nourishment.
The fish ranks among the earliest symbols for Christ. No Catholic can read or hear today’s Gospel and not think about the Eucharist (see CCC 1335). Christ confides this Sacrament to the Apostles and their Successors (see CCC 877). This explains why in each Mass we unite ourselves with both the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, and the local Bishop, here, Bishop Frank Dewane (see CCC 893). The Church entrusts the great mystery of Eucharistic transformation, what she calls transubstantiation (see CCC 1376), to priests who serve as helpers for the Order of Bishops (see CCC 886). The Eucharist effects communion on many levels. First, with Christ who is God (see CCC 1331). This communion however does not happen apart from the Church’s Sacred Ministers who safeguard his teachings. Catholic piety holds that the world will never exist without at least one priest to offer the Eucharist. Communion also unites us to each other, that is, those who receive worthily the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar (see CCC 1396). This communion among the faithful–the “many”–extends beyond this life. The Eucharist also unites us with the saints in heaven (see CCC 1326). The Eucharist further purifies the souls in Purgatory (see CCC 1371).
As with every Sacrament, the Blessed Eucharist brings us into a living communion with Christ and his Church. Like the physical nourishment we need to survive each day, the Eucharist provides what we need to survive spiritually. This Sacrament comes as a gift. As such, Christ expects that we receive the gift with humility (see CCC 1386) and with an acute appreciation for the visible structures of the Church that make the gift available to everyone throughout the ages–until He comes again in glory (see CCC 1341).