I write from a rather humble Longteng Hotel in downtown Cong Jiang with the rooster crowing next door and, as I am on the sixth floor and it is only 5.25 pm, I await the coming dawn in trepidation.
It is Corpus Christi.
The first reading has Melchizedek bringing bread and wine.
Paul recalls the tradition handed on to him: “The Lord Jesus took some bread.”
The Gospel recalls “We have no more than five Loaves and two fish.”
Another account recalls that they had “five barley loaves.” Wheaten loaves were the bread of the Roman soldiers. It is recorded that one reason Caesar conquered Spain was to assure his supply of wheat for his legions. They would not accept the common bread of the ordinary folk…perhaps a little meditation there in your spare time. I find myself in this part of China and bread shops are few and far between the rice paddy and the tea plantations. We have seen bread in a few hotels that advertise WESTERN breakfast. That generally means a toaster, some community butter, perhaps honey or maybe jam. So bread is another obstacle to the locals when the powers that be oppose our faith on the grounds that it is foreign. Our faith is foreign to all cultures. The challenge is that it is more foreign to some, just ask our own indigenous peoples, and to find the appropriate symbols is the challenge from our current Pope.
Maybe this week Teams can remind themselves of, and try to alert others to, the value of true gathering, sharing, giving and receiving around both our Teams tables and our family table.
Then we may be able to entice others to the grand mystery of the Eucharistic table.