Fri, 14 February 2020
(1Kgs.12:26-32,13:33-34; Ps.106:4,6-7,19-22; Mk.8:1-10)
“Whoever desired it was consecrated
and became a priest of the high places.”
For this sin “the house of Jeroboam… was to be cut off and destroyed from the earth.” Not only will their king be so punished, but the whole Israelite nation will find the wrath of the Lord for such idolatrous action. Not learning from their forefathers, whom the Lord had a mind to wipe entirely from His book of life and the promise He had given Abraham, again “they exchanged their glory for the image of a grass-eating bullock.” Led by Jeroboam, who from selfish anxiety for the power the Lord had given him made two calves of gold and set them up for the people to worship – by the ministration of priests not chosen by God – they sinned grievously; as Solomon had done, they broke the most essential command to love God above all else. And this sin will stain the nation for perpetuity and lead in time to their exile.
Only those so ordained by God may serve at His temple. Only in the place He assigned is sacrifice and worship to be offered. And only He is to be worshiped and adored. No man, no king, can take any of this in his own hands. Trust in God and obedience to His will is necessary. All must go up to Jerusalem.
It is clear that our gospel today is a foreshadowing of the Mass, wherein Jesus’ Body is the bread we eat. After teaching the people at length, the Lord desires to share with them food that will nourish them for their journey home. But the disciples had but seven loaves of bread. Yet in an action foretelling the consecration of the Holy Eucharist, “taking the seven loaves He gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to His disciples to distribute.” And the leftovers of this miracle reach down to us this day; from “the seven wicker baskets” the disciples gathered after four thousand had eaten, we yet feed. And it is a wonderful paradox that the more we eat of the Lord’s blessed Body, the more there is for others to share.
But this feast is not eaten under every green tree. None can build high places and make priests for themselves. Only those ordained by Christ distribute His bread. And so we must come up to the Church He has founded to receive Him, the Church within whose walls His sacred body rests each day. Only this Temple is our Jerusalem.
O LORD, you provide us Bread
at the hands of your apostles;
let us worship in your House alone.
YHWH, why are we so inclined to exchange the glory you give us for the image of a grass-eating bullock? Why do we turn to the work of our own hands and worship the golden calves we make rather than you, the one true God? How shall we conquer our pride?
It is you who feed us, dearest LORD, your hand alone that provides for all our needs. You alone love your children, for you are a faithful Father. Yet we put our faith in molten idols.
Your wondrous deeds you have made plain to our eyes; your own Son you have sent into our midst. All we ask for He gives in His grace. He would teach us all we need to know… yet how soon we forget His presence among us. Help us, O LORD, to turn back to you.
All as one we assemble before you this day in your holy Church, dear God, and pray that by those you have ordained you will feed all your people with the Body and Blood of your only Son.