In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Jesus feeds all those who come to him. He feeds us in a special way when we come to receive him in the Eucharist. He becomes present to us in his very self. May we receive this gift of himself with great joy and gratitude.
If Jesus heals us from our sins he also nourishes us with his own divine life.
Lord, you are our rescuer and help. Lord, have mercy.
Lord, you give all of your creatures food in due time. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, you feed us with every word that comes from the mouth of God. Lord, have mercy.
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
Gloria in excelsis
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Almighty Lord and everlasting God, we beseech you to direct, sanctify and govern both our hearts and bodies in the ways of your laws and the works of your commandments;
that through your most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
First Reading Isaiah 55:1-3 : The Lord invites us to come to him and our soul will live.
Psalm 145: 8-9, 15-18: You open wide your hand, O Lord, you grant our desires.
Epistle Romans 8:35. 37-39: People in the first century, like many in the twenty-first, had the feeling of living in a strange and often hostile universe over which they had little control. But Paul insists there is no need to be afraid, for nothing can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ.
Gospel Matthew 14:13-21: Jesus feeds abundantly all those who come to him.
In recent months we have been deprived of something fundamental that gives meaning to our lives, the possibility of eating and drinking together, whether that be gathering round a table in our homes with family and friends who we do not live with, or meeting them in a restaurant or pub to share time together, or whether it be gathering together in church to eat and drink at the Lord’s table. Eating and drinking together create a bond
between people, a bond that in many cultures is binding and unbreakable.
In the Gospel Jesus teaches and heals, but he also feeds those who come to him. This feeding (today of the five thousand,) is both metaphorical, in the sense that he feeds his listeners with the word of God: and actual in that he also feeds the crowds that come to him in a real way, providing them with more than enough food for their needs. Why does he do this? It is as though he is both looking back and looking forward. He looks back to the way God fed the people in the Old Testament, especially with the manna in the desert, when again there was more than enough for the people’s needs. Jesus is taking over the role as the one who provides for us in abundance.
Looking forward, he is anticipating the time when he will no longer be with us in the flesh but will continue to feed us. The final act he performs with his disciples is to eat with them at the Last Supper and he leaves them with the instruction to repeat that action in memory of him. That action is not so much to remember the Last Supper. It is the bloodless way of remembering and making present the sacrifice that Jesus makes through his death on the cross. But that, too, is not the end of the story, for among his risen appearances to his disciples we find him revealing his presence through the breaking of the bread as he journeys with them to Emmaus and he also feeds them once again after a night of fruitless fishing. It is as though he wants to reinforce his message that he is the food of life and it is in coming to receive him that we are transformed from our sinfulness into ‘other Christs.’
And that too is not the end, for each Eucharist looks forward to the fulfilment of prophecies like Isaiah’s (today’s first reading) which promise a rich banquet of food and drink, a picture of the Messianic banquet in the life beyond this one.
Sacraments affect our lives in two ways. Firstly they ask us to focus on an action and instruction of Jesus that helps us enter the mystery of his living presence among us. They go beyond words and lead us through their symbols into the divine life itself. However, sacraments also have the complementary effect of taking the ordinary events of life on which they are based into a different dimension. Not only do we appreciate the Eucharist as making Christ present with us & in us, we appreciate how each time we gather to eat and drink with each other in our ordinary lives we express and open ourselves to that same presence. There is a flow from the earthly symbols, the bread and wine, the oils and water, into their sacred expression of Christ’s presence, but then they flow back into their earthly realities, the bread and wine we share together on a daily basis and make them, too, moments of Christ’s presence.
Because of the Eucharist, each & every act of eating and drinking together can become for us a sacred act. And while we become more thankful (after all, the word eucharist in Greek does mean thanksgiving) not just for physical sustenance but for all the many good things in life we enjoy, we cannot forget or neglect the needs of those around us or those more distant who are deprived of the basic necessities of life. The Eucharist is never a private act between each of us and God, it always has an outward looking dimension also, and makes us look outwards to the needs of others, and to have compassion as Jesus did in today’s gospel.
Part of our care will be expressed in praying repeatedly and fervently for miracles. But today's gospel adds to this: when informed by the disciples about the lack of food, Jesus’ first reaction was to tell the disciples that they should provide the necessary food: 'You give them something to eat'. We must be challenged by this. We cannot look away. As individuals and as societies when faced with the hunger of others, Jesus’ words stand – you give them something to eat.
And there is more. After the miracle, the remaining food was collected. Organising ourselves so as to waste a lot of food is another way of depriving others in need, it throws away the possibility of caring for others. To 'enjoy' a standard of living so distant from the misery of so many others, and possibly making it worse, should be a disturbing kind of pleasure.
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is,
seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.Amen.
See notice sheet + Her majesty the Queen, Combating Racism & Anti Semitism.
Combating the virus: safety for all during easing of restriction.’ Eg Those who have been ‘shielding’ – Those subject to localised lock-downs.
“Spiritual Communion” is recommended at any time we cannot physically receive the Sacrament of the Lord’s Body and Blood. It means that God gives us the grace of the sacrament in response to our real desire to receive it. This does not mean that we can get on just as well without receiving Holy Communion, but rather, if the opportunity of receiving it is denied to us for whatever reason, God will not withhold its grace and blessing from us. Here is a form of prayer we can use.
Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits you have given me, for all the pains and insults you have borne for me. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, I ask you to come spiritually into my heart. O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen.
Soul of Christ, sanctify me:
Body of Christ, save me:
Blood of Christ, invigorate me:
Water from the side of Christ, wash me:
Passion of Christ, strengthen me:
Cross of Jesus, protect me:
Good Jesu, hear me:
Within your wounds, hide me:
Never let me be separated from you:
From the deadly enemy, defend me:
In the hour of my death call me
and bid me come to you
that with all your saints I may praise you
for ever and ever. Amen.
Strengthen for service, Lord, the hands that have taken holy things;
may the ears which have heard your word be deaf to clamour and dispute;
may the tongues which have sung your praise be free from deceit;
may the eyes which have seen the tokens of your love shine with the light of hope;
and may the bodies which have been fed with your body be refreshed with the fullness of your life;
glory to you for ever.
May God sow seeds of faith, hope and love in our hearts this day, so that we may each bear fruit to God’s glory; and may almighty God bless us, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Copyright notice: As well as my own words I have drawn on material from internet sources including websites of The Church of England and The Dominican Friars, electronic sources including those of Redemptorist Publications, and on printed sources including Days of the Lord The Liturgical Press, Minnesota and This is the word of the Lord Bible Reading Fellowship . Some Copyright material is included from Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England (2000) and The Christian Year: Calendar, Lectionary and Collects(1997, 1998, 1999) copyright © The Archbishops’ Council.
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