Luke 9:11-17 Body and Blood of Christ
The ‘Twelve’ had no idea what was before them or within them. They want to head off to get what they think they need because they don’t believe they have enough food for everyone present. Jesus has other ideas.
How often we do this ourselves. Whether it is food, possessions, entertainment, light relief of all sorts – we seem very good at heading off in a different direction, rather than STAYING with what is PRESENT to us, in whatever form. Through all of our ‘hungers’ mostly we confuse our deep inner hunger for outside wants. Our Hearts seem to be closed to the real and present hunger of our Hearts and Souls. It is a hunger for a Living Love. How asleep we can be to this – we mistakenly identify this hunger by confusing it for ‘things’ rather than Love. And then, we are never satisfied. And in the process our Earth is stripped bare, and we forget LOVE IS WHO WE ARE.
Love is Eternally present to us, but sadly we are not so eternally present to Love. So, why do we go searching in all sorts of unnecessary places when it is right before us? It seems to be the course of our spiritual journey, until one day we respond to the Grace around us, and we WAKE UP. The ‘Twelve’ in today’s Gospel have come to such an experience. They listen to the instructions of Jesus even though they do not believe they have enough.
In our unconsciousness, we will never see that there is enough of anything for everyone. We keep grabbing for ourselves whatever we can. We are so limited by our blindness, that is until we respond to Grace, trusting that we do not know, and believing there is more than what is seen by the eye. When we courageously walk into this Mystery, we will come to know what it is to be truly fed and nourished. This experience fosters deeper trust and greater courage. And through this the multitudes are being fed. It is certainly a ripple effect when it is lived.
The Body and Blood of Christ is the Essence of the whole Cosmos. In every person, animal and thing, there is the Christ – there is the Body and Blood of Love. To limit this experience to a Sunday or week-day liturgy is a shocking corruption of the truth before us. We can partake in a Eucharistic celebration on a Sunday or any other day and yet be unconscious to what is truly before us and within us and be in a state of grave famine. The Ritual is a practice to remind us of who we are, not a guarantee of holiness (Wholeness) in itself. Until be begin to give of ourselves in Love, then the Ritual is little more than ‘an empty gong’, as Paul so alarmingly reminds us.
We can use our Churches as places of hiding – paradoxically hiding from the Body and Blood of Christ - hiding from ourselves, from God and from each other. But this Spirit of Love keeps knocking down these walls we can spend a life time constructing and hiding behind, so that we can emerge into the open spaces and Breathe the Freedom beyond the walls we tend to build all around us – and then open into the Body and Blood of Christ.
We don’t have to ‘believe’ in the Body and Blood of Christ to LIVE it. Names are only names, nothing more. We can meet people from all walks of life and all sorts of life circumstances and their ability to Love can blow us away. Some people may have never set foot in a church, and may even be highly critical of institutional religion and yet can be extraordinary Lovers in this ONE BODY. The Christ is in everything we see, hear, touch, taste, smell and Love. The Christ does not abide solely in Christian churches. The Christ abides in our Mosques, our Synagogues, our Temples, our homes, in the Mother Earth we walk upon and the Universe we gaze at through the night sky. Are we present to this Mystery: This ONE Body of Wholeness with pulsating Veins of Blood bringing Life to every part of her Being? This is OUR Cosmic story – WE ARE the Body and Blood of Christ/Love.
Too often we search in all the wrong places, when what we hunger for is present right before us. This story by Anthony de Mello in SONG OF THE BIRD demonstrates this very simply this truth:
THE CONTENTED FISHERMAN
The rich industrialist from the North was horrified to find the Southern fisherman lying lazily beside his boat, smoking a pipe.
‘Why aren’t’ you out fishing?’ said the industrialist.
‘Because I have caught enough fish for the day,’ said the fisherman.
‘Why don’t you catch more than you need?’ said the industrialist.
‘What would I do with it?’ asked the fisherman.
‘You could earn more money,’ was the reply. ‘With that you could have a motor fixed to your boat. Then you could go into deeper waters and catch more fish. Then you would make enough to buy nylon nets. These would bring you more fish and more money. Soon you would have enough money to own two boats… maybe even a fleet of boats. The you would be a rich man like me,’
‘What would I do then?’ asked the fisherman.
‘Then you could sit down and enjoy life,’ said the industrialist.
‘What do you think I am doing right now?’ said the contented fisherman.
The refugee we ignore, the mentally ill person we fear to engage, the starving child that is too painful to look upon, the corrupted church and politics in which we choose to bury our heads, the neighbour dying alone… are ALL the Body and Blood of Christ. But we tend to go off searching elsewhere. We ignore our hunger for Love/Connection, when it is bidding us to: STAY PRESENT. When WE AWAKEN we will hear Love calling: STAY. Here there will be an Abundance for everyone with a Fullness of leftovers. ©Annemarie Reiner