Beggar’s Banquet

Have you ever had someone (other than the family dog) drop on their knees and with a whimpering voice plead for something? Have you ever witnessed the extreme gratitude of fulfilling the needs of a beggar? I hope so.

The Gospel reading for this Sunday, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, from Luke recounts the feeding of the 5,000. After a hard day of listening to Christ preach, the Apostles approach Christ and ask Him to send the people off so they might grab a bite to eat. Certainly the people were famished and parched after a long day, willing to do whatever was necessary to satiate themselves. The Apostles either felt unable to help them or they didn’t want to go to the trouble of going into town to buy the required quantities of food. Whatever the case, Christ had a different idea. He took it upon Himself to feed the masses.

One of the foci of this feast is the aforementioned begging. When we kneel after the Lamb of God, with heads bowed, claiming our unworthiness, we should have the attitude of a beggar. Our reception of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Host is nothing short of heavenly. If God were to open the gates of heaven and give us a glimpse of the powers and beauty of heaven, which would be the most tantalizing? Christ. And here He offers Himself to us on earth. Every Mass ever celebrated has offered the greatest gift heaven has to offer. We’d better be on our knees beforehand pleading without hesitation, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”

In order to assume the attitude of the beggar we must first realize the neediness, the hunger, the thirst for what is holy. It is only then that we can grasp the vast discrepancy between the one offering (and offered) and the receiver. Don’t try to fathom the unfathomable. The beggar’s concern is to be fed. And fed we are. Fed with the finest gift available. When you acknowledge the need you have (huge) and also the quality (inestimable) of the food Christ offers, how can you not be on the verge of dismay at the willingness of God to love you? As often as we need, He supplies. He takes great joy in satisfying the exigencies that arise in our lives.

Not a moment goes by in our lives when the words taught to us by Christ — “give us this day our daily bread” does not apply. We perpetually need. And God perpetually offers. However, when we bend the knee and acknowledge our true need we more profoundly appreciate what it is that He offers and we receive, the greatest thing imaginable — Himself.

(This article courtesy of the Arlington Catholic Herald.)

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