Friday, July 15, 2011

The Bread

Readings for Friday, July 15/ Memorial of St. Bonaventure:
Exodus 11:10-12:14
Psalm 116:12,13,15-18
Matthew 12:1-8

"This day shall be a memorial for you, which all your generations shall celebrate...as a perpetual institution."

Some people have this idea that the Catholic Church just kinda happened, it just popped up one day and we started worshiping God. The reality, however, is that the Catholic (Christian) faith is really the successor and fulfillment of the Jewish faith. The Jews awaited the Messiah and when the Lord Jesus came, the Jews needed no longer look because He had finally come. And so when we read this passage from Exodus today we find that we too are called to celebrate that perpetual institution and celebration, the Passover. The term 'pasch' which was applied to the Jewish Passover is still actually used by the Church today to describe our Easter celebration - hence, Paschal Season.

I like how the readings match up today also because the Exodus reading is about the offering of the Passover and in Matthew's gospel we read a selection where Jesus begins to speak of His apostles as priests. Look at the two instances that Jesus cites. First He recalls how David and his men at the 'bread of offering'. The reality is that this bread - twelve loaves to symbolize the twelve tribes - was made by the priests and only for the priests and it was kept before the Lord perpetually, so to eat of the bread to was to participate in a way in the priest's rights. And secondly, Jesus cites how the priests labor on the Sabbath and are innocent and connects that with His apostles, again correlating them with the priesthood. And so Our Lord begins to show the reality that these men would be His priests and would one day offer that true sacrifice to God - bread and wine. How blessed are we today to have through those men the gift of the Eucharist that comes to us on this altar, this special occasion where we continue that perpetual celebration spoken of over 3000 years ago.