The Twelve

The merry month of May is almost over; this month’s festivals and celebrations ranging from the fiestas to the Mayflower festival are one of the most anticipated activities of the year. When I was still in my earlier years, we’d always look forward to attending fiestas, what with food and drinks flowing. Anyone can enter a home and join the festivities. This is hospitality Filipino style! And whenever it’s time to leave, most relatives and friends of the hosts are given food packs to be brought back to their homes. In the Gospel this Sunday, which is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ; Jesus made the people welcome. While His disciples wanted to send off the crowd, Jesus urged them to give food to the people. The disciples weren’t keen to the idea considering that they had only five loaves of bread and two fish, for the five thousand or so around. Not that they wanted to just get rid of them, they were concerned that the people haven’t had food for hours already. The people were aware of their hunger, but their desire to be in the presence of Jesus transcended their bodily needs. His words were eternal and life-giving, something they had never experienced before. They may have started out of curiosity, but Jesus’ words kept them staying, not wanting time with Jesus to end. Jesus nonetheless asked the disciples to organise the people in groups, took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, said a blessing, broke them, and gave these to the disciples to set before the crowd. Everyone ate and were satisfied. Have we noticed that the order and words in the Last Supper and His celebration of the Eucharist on the first Easter night were as precisely these? And what about the “twelve”? Isn’t it amazing that the leftover fragments “twelve” wicker baskets (Lk. 9: 17) is also the number of the the Apostles of Jesus?

The Eucharist fulfils the offering of Melchizedek (Gn. 14: 18) and is the daily miracle of the perfect priesthood of Jesus. It is a priesthood confirmed upon the Apostles when He ordered them to feed the crowd in filling the leftover twelve baskets, in ordering them on that first Holy Thursday: “Do this in remembrance of Me”. We are therefore reminded to as often as we could, share in His body and blood in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Through His priests, we are nurtured in this earthly exile while continuously proclaiming His victory over death, until He comes again in glory.

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord; whoever eats this bread will live forever.” (Jn. 6: 51)

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