The Bread that nourishes and transforms us

The WORD in Other Words by Fr Narciso Cellan SVD (Philippines)

Thursday in the 3rd Week of Easter

When I was a new missionary in Kenya, one of the issues I had to deal with was food. No rice for breakfast, not even during lunch or supper sometimes. Preparations of meat, fish, and vegetables were also different. The struggle was real, affecting other aspects of my life. I realized then how food bears more than physical importance. It certainly can be everything to a person.

In today’s gospel, the Lord talks about Himself as food in the form of bread. Culturally, we understand that bread was the staple food of Jesus. Beyond cultural import however, what can be taken to mean is that Jesus should be everything to us just as we are everything to Him.

The Bread of Life offers Himself to us at the expense of His own life. It gives us life because it is first and foremost a life that has been given and offered for our salvation. Each time we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, we remind ourselves of such great cause and its great cost.

Years on, taking meal without rice had become a non-issue to me. Kenyan foods like ugali (cornmeal staple), sukumawiki (collard greens / kale), mandazi (Kenyan doughnut), matoke (banana stew), and chapatti (Kenyan flat bread), to name just a few, have become palatable to me. I guess 17 years of eating them has developed in me a taste for such delicacies. Moreover, treasured memories have been formed in relation to them.

This is what food does. In much the same way that it feeds and nourishes us, it transforms us. The Bread of Life does the same, and more. Much more. Its benefits are infinitely greater because they are eternal.

Source – The WORD in Other Words, Bible Diary 2020

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