Food for the Journey

Last week we heard the story of the multiplication of the fishes and loaves[1]. A powerful foreshadowing by Christ of what he was to offer us on Calvary – his body and blood – the Eucharist.

But this year the Collect[2] opened my eyes to another important lesson Christ was showing us.

O God, protector of those who hope in you,
without whom nothing has firm foundation, nothing is holy,
bestow in abundance your mercy upon us
and grant that, with you as our ruler and guide,
we may use the good things that pass
in such a way as to hold fast even now
to those that ever endure.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

This prayer struck me as a prayer from one on a journey, a wayfarer.  And, in fact, Christ’s multiplication of the loaves and fish was brought about because those many people had journeyed to find Him and now needed His help. I can’t help but think that Christ was showing us how to receive the Eucharist – as Viaticum.  Most people assign to the word Viaticum death; and indeed one definition of the word is ‘the Eucharist given to a person in danger of death’; but the reason Holy Mother Church uses the word is that, at its core, it means ‘provisions for a journey’ and death is part of our journey – so it is our nourishment on the journey. Christ is walking with us and He is guiding us; but just as important, He is giving us food for the journey.

Brothers and sisters, lets rejoice in the gifts that Christ gives us.  All of them allow us to continue our pilgrimage home to celebrate with Him and His(our) Father and the heavenly banquet.  But let’s look to the food of Christ as provisions on a journey instead of a banquet. For if we look at the Eucharist as provisions we will understand and follow our need to move forward, to journey, to expand our minds, hearts and charitable action; otherwise we will just sit at a table and do nothing to help those around us – including ourselves.


[1] JN 6:1-15
[2] Collect from the Mass on the 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time.


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