Daily Reflection
April 4th, 2008

Dick Hauser, S.J.

Theology Department
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Scripture scholars agree that the multiplication of loaves and fishes in John’s gospel is really John’s way of reflecting upon Jesus’ giving his disciples His Body and His Blood during his final Passover Meal with them. When Jesus gave them this sign he also gave them a command: “Do this in remembrance of me” (Lk 22:19).

John calls this multiplication of food a “sign.” What did John intend this sign to signify? Why did he command them to repeat this meal and to remember him?

I believe the answer is as simple as it is profound.

Food is absolutely essential for sustaining human life; without physical nourishment we die. Likewise, the presence of Jesus is essential for nourishing our spiritual existence; without his presence we die spirituality.

It is poignant to recall that Jesus was thinking of his disciples during those final days of his life. He could not bear to depart from those he loved so he gave them a gift that would enable him to be with them. He gave them the greatest possible gift -- the gift of his presence in the sacrament we now call Eucharist.

This gift sustained those first Christians during the persecution and death most endured for their faith in him. This same gift sustains us as we try to be faithful disciples in our secular materialistic world.

And our faith assures us that we encounter the real presence of Jesus in this gift of the Eucharist just as surely as Mary Magdalene encountered him in the garden after the resurrection. Like Mary at each celebration of the Eucharist we too can exclaim, “Rabboni!”

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