Culture of Life
Loaves and Lakes: Eucharist 101
BY TOM & APRIL HOOPES
July 27-August 9, 2008 Issue | Posted 7/22/08 at 3:44 PM
Since we skip the first issue in August, we’ll look at two Sundays this week: Aug. 3 and Aug. 10 are the 18th and 19th in ordinary time. The Pope is on vacation at Bressanone Seminary in the northern Italian Alps from July 28 to Aug. 11. On Aug. 3 and 10 he will recite the Angelus with the public in front of the cathedral in Bressanone.
Epriest.com shares Best Parish Practices from around the country.
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Camden, N.J., has had success with The King’s Men men’s group. Msgr. Michael Mannion, pastor/rector at the cathedral, said, “When mature Christian men get together and talk about their responsibilities, their lives, their dreams and their struggles as men, their spouses, families and children are the definite beneficiaries. And that’s the true sign of a Christian group.”
In 2004, three men met at Theology on Tap in Philadelphia and began meeting to discuss Church teaching. Their group grew. They met with Bishop McFadden on March 2, 2006, to propose their concept of “The King’s Men.” Since the apostolate was founded, more than 200 men and more than 15 priests have attended and the apostolate has seen increased sacramental life; increased devotion to Mary; men joining, or considering, the seminary; and active apostolic involvement.
Find more information at the Epriest website.
Last week, we wrote about a surprise family trip the Hoopeses enjoyed this summer. This week’s emphasis on Philadelphia reminds me of a planned day-trip we took a year ago.
Google has opened up new vistas for trip planning. Last year, Tom made a folder of interesting locations in Philadelphia and created a notebook with a picture of the Liberty Bell on the front and the words “Hoopes Family Enrichment Day.”
We woke up early and went to Mass at a pilgrimage church in Philadelphia, then spent the morning in the historic district and the afternoon at the King Tut exhibit downtown.
The folder allowed everyone to read up on our destinations in the car, and it gave the trip an air of formality that got all the kids to take it seriously. We dressed alike for the trip (black T-shirts and white pants) and each of the kids took notes in order to give a brief oral report afterwards.
18th Sunday: Isaiah 55:1-3; Psalm 145:8-9, 15-18; Romans 8:35, 37-39; Matthew 14:13-21
19th Sunday: 1 Kings 19:9, 11-13; Psalm 85:9, 10-14; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:22-33
EPriest.com offers free homily packs for priests.
The Gospel readings for the two Sundays are related, and together they provide a first lesson in the doctrine of the Eucharist.
On the 18th Sunday of ordinary time, we hear the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves — which Frank Sheed in his book To Know Christ Jesus argues should be called the “multi-location” of the loaves.
“Observe how strange a miracle it was,” he writes. “Jesus did not simply hand out the five loaves and the two fish to the first few people, and then create further loaves and further fish for the rest. In some mysterious way he fed everybody with those five loaves and those two fish. The food left over at the end was the remains of the original supply.”
He quotes this odd sentence in John’s Gospel for confirmation: “They filled 12 baskets with the fragments from the five barley loaves” (John 6:13).
The 19th Sunday of ordinary time tells the story that immediately follows the multi-location of the loaves. In it Christ walks across the water to the apostles’ boat in the middle of the sea and quiets a storm. Here we see that the unusual relationship Christ has with location applies not just to bread but also to his own body.
To believe in the Eucharist, you have to first believe in transubstantiation — that Christ can take the form of bread. Christ spent his whole life making the case by continually showing he was Almighty God while looking like an ordinary man. When he walked on water and through locked doors, he showed that his body is not like ours.
To believe in the Eucharist, you next have to believe in multi-location — that Christ can have ascended into heaven but still be present in his body, blood, soul and divinity in more than one place on earth.
The miracle of the loaves makes that case. In the Gospel of John, it is immediately after the miracles of the loaves and the walking on water that Christ teaches that “he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.” Christ, the good teacher, has carefully prepared his followers to believe it. Now the Church repeats the lesson for us.
The Hoopeses are editorial directors of Faith & Family magazine (faithandfamilymag.com).
Our good friend Diane von Glahn now offers her ‘Faithful Traveler’ show on DVD. The first features the Miraculous Medal Shrine in Philadelphia. TheFaithfulTraveler.com
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