Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
July 26 A..D. 2009
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
2 Kings 4:42-44
Psalm 145:10-11, 15-16, 17-18
A reflection on today's Scripture:
Prophets were often recognized by the people of their time by some miracle or "sign" that they performed. In our first reading, we see such a sign performed by the prophet Elisha, the successor to Elijah who, as he was taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot, had bequeathed his cloak to Elisha.
The sign in today's first reading from the second Book of Kings is very similar to that performed by Jesus in today's Gospel. They are both "sacramental" signs, and they both are about a multiplication of loaves of bread. In the first reading, Elisha receives twenty loaves of bread to feed the crowd listening to him. This miracle is significant because Elisha had been commanded by God to honor Him with a special sacramental meal. The man giving the bread protests to Elisha that he can't possibly feed one hundred people with that amount. Elisha points out to him that God had promised, "They shall eat and there shall be some left over."
In the Gospel, Jesus performs a similar "sign," only on a grander scale. Elisha had fed a hundred people, while Jesus feeds five thousand with even fewer loaves! The people are amazed at this miracle, and seeing its similarity with the sign Elisha had performed, declare Jesus the great prophet who was to deliver Israel. In other words, they recognize Him as the messiah. Jesus leaves abruptly before they carry Him off to make Him a king!
Obviously both "signs" point to the future institution of the Holy Eucharist, the true food sustaining our spiritual life, and linking us to a most intimate sharing in the person of Jesus Christ.
The second reading from Ephesians is about unity, "one Lord, one faith, one baptism. . . ." This cements the two readings together nicely, since the Holy Eucharist is the great sacrament of unity, binding all who participate into "one bread, one Body."
Incidentally, from the seventeenth Sunday through the twenty-first Sunday, the gospels are taken from the 6th chapter of John, in which there are seven different "signs" pointing to the beginnings of the Eucharist. We wonder how anyone could possibly deny that Jesus intended to give us His own Body and Blood as a sign of His life and His love.
~ Msgr. Paul Whitmore
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Sunday, July 26, 2009
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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