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Challenge to be generous and loving

Food and meals are one of the most common images that Jesus used during his life on this earth.

The people among whom Jesus moved and with whom he talked and interacted would have spent a good deal of their time worrying about where their next meal was coming from and, consequently, the time that they spent at table would have been regarded as some of the most precious moments in life.

The prophet Elisha used the imagery of a man with two loaves of barley bread as symbolic of the generosity of the Lord. Not only did the man have bread, but it was the best of bread, made from the first fruit of the season.

It is a prefiguring of the famous story of Jesus feeding the multitudes, which we listen to in the gospel reading at today’s liturgy.

In the time of Jesus, the meal was not just a sign of having enough and of hospitality in sharing. It is one of family and friendship. In his ministry, meals were a sign of communion with God.

When Jesus gave thanks among the people who had followed him because they were hungry to hear his word, he demonstrated his care by providing not only for the hunger of the spirit, but also the hunger of the body.

It was a sign that God was working among them.

It is from these stories that we get the language that we use to describe our communion in the Church today. Vatican II uses the same language to describe the Body of Christ, as it speaks both of the Church as an integral part of
the Eucharist and the Eucharist as an integral part of the Church.

It is a basic framework for the understanding of and the living of every dimension of the Church, including its institutional life.

The council uses the language of the communion that Jesus spoke about that we use when we talk about receiving holy communion. It is our basic description of our relationship with God and our
relationship in faith with each other.

This characteristic is vital to understanding the essence of our Catholic Church. The Church is not an abstract idea. It is a concrete reality, something that we can
see, touch and feel right here and now.

One remarkable aspect in the story of the feeding of the multitude is that when everyone had eaten their fill, there was still a lot left over. Jesus is telling us that there is enough for everyone, a powerful statement to people who perpetually feared hunger and suffered constant neglect from the authorities in the country.

God is a generous and loving God. God does not ignore even the lowliest of his people. It is significant that Jesus used the language of communion to convey that message, as when we gather together for the Eucharist, we too are telling each other that there is plenty for everyone, which is a commitment in our own hearts to be generous loving people in our world. 

          Homily notes for 

              Year of  Grace

               Adelaide Archdiocese