Monday of the Second Week of Ordinary Time – Mk 2:18-22
Today’s Gospel passage from Mark is one in a series of small discussions with the Pharisees. In a commentary attributed to Saint Basil, the author offers an interesting perspective on the question. He writes that “true death is not a result of hunger for bread . . . but as a result of a hunger for hearing the word of the Lord. True death arises in the souls of those who do not hear, for ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.’ This is why . . . they cannot fast.” In other words, the disciples wouldn’t deprive themselves of the Living Bread come down from heaven; in this sense, they certainly would deprive themselves, but would rather eat their fill.
We, like the disciples, are blessed to be fed at “two tables” at every Mass: the table of the Word and the table of the Eucharist. The Imitation of Christ says beautifully that “without them I could not live aright, for the word of God is the light of my soul and Your Sacrament is the Bread of Life. These also may be called the two tables, one here, one there, in the treasure house of holy Church. One is the table of the holy altar, having the holy Bread that is the precious Body of Christ. The other is the table of divine law, containing holy doctrine that teaches all the true faith and firmly leads them within the veil, the Holy of holies.”
This feasting on the Word of God and the Eucharist should bear fruits in our lives, and this is represented by the wine and cloth examples Christ uses. Saint Bede says that wine refreshes us inwardly, and garments cover us outwardly. This corresponds to the “dynamics of the spiritual life. The garment indicates the good works performed outwardly in order to shine in the sight of the world. By wine and new wine we mean that fervor of faith, hope, and love by means of which, in the sight of our maker, our souls are recovered inwardly to newness of spirit.”
We can ask ourselves: in the face of such a rich banquet, do we fast unnecessarily? In other words, do we really take advantage of the Word of God and of Christ’s Body and Blood, knowing that everything we could ever need can be found there? Or do we let ourselves starve because we don’t know how or don’t want to partake?
Today, let us pray, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, for the grace to be interiorly renewed by the Eucharist and Scripture so as to outwardly show forth God’s greatness.