Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

As a boy of the Fifties, I was an avid fan of those now dated science fiction movies of the day.  To view them now would bring a smile at their primitive technology compared to much later productions like “ET” and my all-time favorite “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”  I can recall being disappointed many years ago to see a zipper running up the back of a so-called alien!

Except for the two I named, all of the other films depicted creatures from other worlds as not only far ahead of us in their technology but also completely hostile to us and dead set on our destruction.  They had no interest in learning about us as fellow creatures, much less our way of life.  Only “Close Encounters” showcased any attempt at friendship with us.

All of this cinema history came to mind as I reflected on today’s feast, under the category of interest in us.  How humbling yet comfort giving it is to consider how much God loves us.

Despite our stubborn persistence in sinning, brought about by our abuse of the gift of free will, He manifests a love so deep. It’s a wonder that He has not given up on us. Far from it!

Today we consider His unique arrangement for remaining with us even after He had to leave us physically for His return to the Father in heaven.  He chose to be with us through a meal, the one way we always celebrate being together.

He took a piece of the unleavened bread and pronounced it His Body; a cup of wine pronounced it His Blood. His one instruction to the stupefied men with Him at that Last Supper was “Do this in memory of Me.” That’s why we do what we do at every Mass, in obedience to His mandate right up to this very morning.

None of us can fully understand how it happens, we with our sin hampered intellects and faulty imaginations.  But that it happens is not in doubt because He is God’s only Son, raised from the dead.  No other founder of any religion can make that claim or issue that order.  It’s as simple as that. And as mysterious. Our one physical connection to Our Lord and God and Best Friend.

Think back to how we missed the Mass in person during that long Covid lock down. How the weird feeling of being in prison for no crime caught us by surprise.  All we could do was stare at a screen and watch the priest consecrate what he was unable to share with us.  Right or wrong for our government to demand all the closures, we felt somehow adrift on many Sundays. Is the virus the work of the devil? To me, very likely, just as any of his other clever efforts like the clergy abuse scandal.

Today’s Second Reading antedates all four Gospels.  In another sense it bears a second reading, and a third and more.

Reading I:  Genesis 14: 18-20
Melchizedek, the king of Salem (peace) and priest of God most high, gives a blessing to Abram by offering bread and wine to the Lord.

Reading II:  I Corinthians 11: 23-26
Paul passes on to his readers what he had received from the Lord.  We recognize that Jesus fulfills Melchizedek’s offering here by giving us His Body and Blood under the forms of bread and wine.

The Gospel:  Luke 9: 11b-17
Jesus had no difficulty feeding the hungry crowd of at least ten thousand people with five loaves and two fish. Clearly a harbinger of the Holy Eucharist, whereby He would feed the world.