The Spanish woman Egeria was a pilgrim to the Holy Land around the year 380. She kept a journal of her travels and preserved for us an account of the Liturgical Celebrations of Holy Week and of the Shrines that drew the faithful to the places where the feet of the Lord Jesus walked. In Tabgha (Israel), in a “deserted place” on the hillside on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, she visited a small church that had been built over a limestone rock that was venerated as the place where the Lord Jesus sat when and taught the crowds and multiplied the loaves and fish. For over three hundred years the faithful were keeping memory of that saving event.
Today, at Tabgha, there stands a new church built in 1982, preserving the limestone rock (now situated under the altar) and the mosaics which date back to the 5th century. In one sense it typifies the sacramental life of the Church which is “ever ancient yet ever new.” In the floor, in front of the limestone rock, is preserved the earliest icon mosaic of the multiplication itself. Its basket of five loaves and the two fish remind us that the gifts we offer are ever multiplied by the Lord Jesus himself to nourish and feed us:
O God, you open wide your hand, giving us food in due season. Out of your never-failing abundance, satisfy the hungers of body and soul and lead all peoples to the feast of the world to come.
On this Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi, let us who have been fed at the hand of the Lord, allow such miracles to continue to take place in the Church and in the world for the salvation of humankind.
May the week ahead be filled with countless graces and blessings!