September 9, 2023 –
St. Peter Claver

Author Image

Luke 6:1-5

“How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering, which only the priests could lawfully eat, ate of it, and shared it with his companions?”

If the physical setting of today’s Gospel passage – Jesus and His disciples walking through a field of grain on a sabbath – does not alert us to the passage’s Eucharistic overtones, Jesus’ words ought to.

To the objections of the Pharisees, Jesus speaks about King David.  Yet David is a biblical “type” of Jesus, a type being someone or something who foreshadows another person or thing.  What Jesus describes David doing foreshadows what Jesus will establish at His Last Supper.  The Last Supper, of course, was the first Mass:  the ritual celebration of the new and everlasting Covenant of which Jesus speaks at the Last Supper in the words of consecration.

St. Thomas Aquinas, in the sixth verse of his Eucharist hymn Sacris Solemniis, describes the Eucharist in terms that echo what Jesus says of David.  “Panis angelicus / fit panis hominum”:  “Thus angels’ bread is made / the Bread of man today”.  Jesus describes how David shared something reserved to the Old Testament priests with his companions.  In an infinitely profounder way, Jesus takes the Eucharist – the bread of angels – at His Last Supper and gifts it to His disciples.

St. Peter Claver by Raúl Berzosa (1979-    )