Browsing Pastor's Notes

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Take this, all of you, and eat of it, For this is my Body

Take this, and drink from it, for this is the Chalice of my Blood

In advance of the National Eucharistic Congress this July, I’m continuing to look at some of the Scriptural precursors of the Eucharist. Last week, we discussed the power & purpose of the Tabernacle as a place of Encounter with God – true today in the Eucharist reserved in the Tabernacles of our churches. In Leviticus, the traveling Tabernacle complex of Exodus 25 to 40, also mentions the presence of “Showbread”. Leviticus is an often overlooked book of the Bible because it mainly treats cultic matters (i.e., sacrifices, purity, feasts) and ethical/moral normal. Such things were helpful in maintaining the outward coherence and shared identity of the Chosen People. The Liturgy of the Eucharist in Christ is intended to now do the same for us.

You shall take bran flour and bake it into twelve cakes, using two tenths of an ephah of flour for each cake. These you shall place in two piles, six in each pile, on the pure gold table before the Lord. With each pile put some pure frankincense, which shall serve as an oblation to the Lord, a token of the bread offering. Regularly on each Sabbath day, the bread shall be set out before the Lord on behalf of the Israelites by an everlasting covenant. It shall belong to Aaron and his sons, who must eat it in a sacred place, since it is most sacred, his as a perpetual due from the oblations to the Lord.                                                                    Leviticus 24:5-9


In ancient Israel, the Showbread or Bread of the Presence was set out on a golden table in the Tabernacle as “a memorial of the oblation of the Lord” (Leviticus 24:7). The bread was to be always kept before the presence of God. It was perfumed with frankincense (hinting at divinity to be fulfilled in the future in the Eucharist), and accompanied by constantly burning lampstands. The Showbread was kept upon a dedicated table (altar) in the Tabernacle for that purpose (described in Ex 25:23–29; 26:35; 37:10–16; 40:22–23).

The Showbread is a type of grain offering. As grain offering, it was also a kind of offering of the poor. Here too the Eucharist is represented, since before God, we are always poor. We are poor in spirit. We are poor in body. We are poor in material. No matter who we are or what we ‘have’, it is always nothing before God, for it was created by & came from God. And so, no “offering” we could make ever make could ever be a worthy gift to God. We can only make a poor offering. We can only offer to the Father what we have first received from the Son. In fact, we can only offer the Son back to the Father, since the Son has already perfectly and perpetually offered Himself to the Father. In participating in Christ’s self-offering through the Eucharist, we offer Him to the Father in the Spirit by His own command. And in the process, we ask for & beg the Father to make our paltry self-offering part of His self-offering. As we pray in the Eucharistic Prayer III, “Look, we pray upon the oblation of your Church, and recognize the sacrificial Victim [Jesus Christ] by whose death you will reconcile us to yourself…” and “May He [Christ] make of us an eternal offering to You [Father], so that we may obtain an inheritance with your elect [saints & angels]”. The Eucharistic offering is a profession of our own poverty and our sharing in the freely embraced self-emptying poverty of the Son when He deigned to become man.

The Showbread, after having been in the Presence of God in the Tabernacle, was then consumed and eaten by the priest to complete the offering in the sacred place. This eating was done when the bread was being changed out week to week. So the priest each Sabbath when the bread was exchanged was fed to the high priest Aaron and his assistants. Jesus Christ, the True High Priest, especially when we participate in the Eucharist at the Lord’s Supper, feeds His assistants – us, the Church – His people, who are now “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own” (I Peter 2:9). In the New Covenant, our ordained priests facilitate this gift & reception of Christ in the Eucharist – the new Showbread. And in turn, the priests give Him to the people, who have assisted at the Eucharist – to you, the gathered people, because you too share in the universal priesthood of all believers. And like Aaron’s assistances, you are called to eat the Bread of Life in the sacred place of the church.


Thanks for your patience while we celebrate Mass together in the Gym. I realize Mass in a gym is not ideal but it is still the same Eucharistic Lord present to us as we gather to give our Thanksgiving to God.

Celebrating 70 years in our church together as the Holy Family of God

Nothing Less than saints for the Holy Family of God.

Holy Family, Fed on the Bread of Life, Pray for us.

~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries


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