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A Joyous Celebration

They all ate as much as they wanted, and when the scraps remaining were collected they filled twelve baskets
Genesis 14:18-20; Psalm 110:1-4; I Corinthians 11:23-26; Luke 9:11-17

Sermon Week The Body and Blood of Christ Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 9:17

In one of Rembrandt’s etchings, there is no halo around the Lord’s head, but there is one around His hand. Over the years, critics have debated Rembrandt’s reason for doing this. But there can be no debate over the meaning of that symbolism for us. Jesus’ hands are holy hands. Jesus’ hands are sacred hands. Jesus used His holy, sacred hands as instruments of service. Jesus used His holy, sacred hands to heal the sick, transform death into life, give sight to the blind. Jesus used His holy, sacred hands to bless, break and give to His disciples the five loaves and fishes that fed many thousands.

In today's Gospel Lesson, after Jesus has preached to the thousands of people who had been following Him, and after He has cured those in need of healing, the Apostles say to Him: "Send the people away, and they can go into the villages and farms round about, to find lodging and food; for we are here in a lonely place" (Lk. 9:12). Jesus answers, "Give them something to eat yourselves." The Apostles do not understand. "We have no more than five loaves and two fish," they tell Jesus. But Jesus insists. "Get them to sit down in parties of about fifty," He says. And they do so. Then Jesus blesses the five loaves of bread and the two fish and gives the food to the Apostles for distribution to the crowd. "They all ate as much as they wanted, and when the scraps remaining were collected they filled twelve baskets" (Luke 9:12-17).

This episode in the life of Christ must have been very important in the life of the early Christians. It is a matter of great interest to note that until we come to the story of the Crucifixion, this is the only event in Jesus' life that appears in all four of the Gospels. Moreover, it appears in some of the Gospels more than once, in slightly altered form. Clearly, the early Christians found this incident so helpful that they wanted to be certain that later generations would get the message.

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