This miracle of feeding five thousand with just five loaves is the only miracle told in detail in all four Gospels.
A strange thing is that the sequence of Our Lord’s actions is the same in four accounts: he took, he blessed, he broke, he gave. Rightly or not, churchmen feel that in writing these Bible accounts, the writers followed the sequence they had been following for years in their Sunday Masses.
I have been away for three days, so forgive me for filling in here with thoughts on the Mass that I have talked about before.
Twenty years ago a fine priest who has since passed on asked me to give a talk on the Eucharist at a weekend retreat. I told him I had things I’d like to say, but he insisted that my talk should follow closely on a book on the Mass that he gave me to study.
The book insisted that the Mass be seen as following closely on the prayers offered by Jesus at the Last Supper. Jesus followed the three parts of a traditional table blessing.
For the first part the table blessing the host urges the people to recall the great favors they had received from God.
For the second part of the blessing the host begs God to send his Spirit on the diners to unite them and to empower them to speak to God.
For the third part of the traditional blessing the host asked the diners to join him as parts of a pleasing gift to God. The pleasing gift would consist in everyone subjecting themselves to God’s will.
The Greek word they used for pleasing gift was Eucharist. Both Luke and Paul told us that it was just when they were arriving at that third part of the table blessing that Jesus took bread, broke it, and gave it, saying, “This is my body.”
The reason that it was just at that time that he gives his body and blood to us is so that we might be not only mentally one with him in the Pleasing Gift., but that we be physically one with him as part of the Pleasing Gift, of the Eucharist.