- OUR BREAD

Created: Friday, 23 August 2013 Last Updated: Monday, 31 March 2014

OUR BREAD


1. -    In its first part, Jesus prayer is centred in God’s reality: his name, his kingdom, his will. In the second part, it is centred in man’s reality: the bread, the forgiveness, the temptation, the freedom from evil. For those who have everything guaranteed, it can be superfluous to ask for every day bread to God. For those who first look for the kingdom of God and its justice, it can appear unnecessary: the bread will also be given to them (Mt 6,33). Nevertheless, Jesus invites us to say: give us this day our daily bread. (Lk 11,3).
2. -    The need for bread is the symbol of all the needs. The bread is a gift from God, that feeds to every living being: “They all look to you for their food in due time” (Ps 104,27). A situation of acute need may become temptation: “They blasphemed against God saying: can God spread a table in the desert?” (78,19-20), So, in the Proverbs it is requested: “Give me neither poverty nor riches, Give me just as much food as I need lest, satisfied, I deny you and say, “Who is Yahweh”?” (Pro 30,8-9). Nevertheless, bread security can not become an obstacle, or a tramp that keeps the disciple away from his mission. So Jesus say: “People cannot live on bread alone, they need every word that God speaks.” (Mt 4,4).
3. -    In the psalms God is praised because he has what is needed to live: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.”  (23,1-2). The fruit of the earth is a God’s blessing: “The land has given its harvest, God, our God, has blessed us.” (67,7; 65,10). To be able of eating in the middle of the dessert is part of God´s freedom action: “He fed them with bread from heaven.” (105,40); it is also said: “Some strayed in the wilderness and were lost, far away from the city; they wandered about hungry and thirsty, their lives ebbing away; then they cried to the Lord in anguish, and he rescued them from their distress, he led them by a straight way to a city where they could dwell.” (107, 4-7). Nevertheless, there are need situations that are due to a permanent lack of conversion: “If only my people would listen, if only Israel would walk in my ways ….. I would feed you with the finest wheat and satisfy you with honey from the rock.” (71,14-17).
4. - Without quitting of what is in our hands, we are invited to confide in God´s providence: “It is in vain that you rise early and stay up late, putting off your rest, toiling for your hard earned bread; for he provides for his loved ones even when they are asleep” (127,2). It is also said: “I will bless her fruits, her bread and the poor will be satisfied” (132,15). All this becomes praise and thanks action motive: “Praise the Lord, my soul …. he gives bread to the hungry …. he sustains the widow and the orphan” (146, 1-9). And also: “Praise your God, O Zion … he feeds you with the finest grain” (147, 12-14).
5. -    The need for bread does not impede the prophets to proclaim God´s word. On the contrary, the prophetic mission includes the generosity, the sharing of all belongings and the multiplication of loaves. Such is the case of Elisha, who says to a man carrying twenty barley and wheat loaves: “Give the loaves to these people so that they may eat”. The man says: “How am I going to divide these loaves among one hundred men?”. Elisha attains himself to God´s word:  “They shall eat and have some left over” (2 R 4,42-44). It is the confidence of Elisha: “The jar of meal shall not emptied, nor did the jug of oil fail.” (1R17-14).
6. -    For prophet Ezekiel Israel purification, like now the purification of the Church, will have the goods multiplication like signal: “I will free you from all your uncleanness. I shall summon the wheat and make it plentiful and so keep famine away from you. I shall see that the fruits of the earth and the produce of the fields are plentiful and that you no longer suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations”. (Ez 36, 29-30).
7. -    Jesus faces the bread problem with his disciples. In the line of the prophets, he multiplies the loaves through the sharing. By this way, disciples’ community is a signal of what the society must be. The hanger is something inconceivable amongst a fraternal people: “Emaciated children are begging for alms, but there is no one to help them out” (Lm 4,4). Like in the first Christian communities, the goal is that there is no needy person among them (Acts 4,34)
8. -    Jesus went to the other side of the sea of Galilee, to the Tiberias. He climbed to the mountain and sit down there in his disciples company. Galilee is neither Judea nor Jerusalem. It is the poor people, “in the dark”, needed of redemption. Many people follow him, because they see the signals that he makes with the ill people. The Pasch is near, in the pass a feast of liberation, and now “the feast of the Jews”. In a mountain of Galilee, far from the temple of Jerusalem, Jesus prepares other feast, the feast of the shared and multiplied loaves, the feast of the community (Jn 6).
9. -    When he sees many people came, he said to Philippe: Where are we going to buy loaves for all these people to eat?. He said that to test him. To share is a test for the disciples. Philippe says him: Two hundred silver coins worth of bread are not enough so that every one can have a little. A silver coin was the salary of a worker. Andrew, Peter’s brother says: There is a boy here who has five loaves and two fishes; but ¿what is this for so many people?. We have flourishing here the community’s economy, the widow’s economy (2R4,2), the economy of the little: in this case, the sharing of a boy. The bread is made with barley, like in Elisha´s time.
10. -  Jesus says: Have the people sit down together in groups. In this feast they are not going to eat on their foot, in a hurry; they will eat sitting, with the dignity of the free people: there was much green grass in that place. Besides, they do not eat separated, each one is his home, but altogether. Jesus takes the community bread, the bread of the little ones, the freedom’s bread, and handed them among the people in a thanksgiving ambient for the received gift: “And Jesus took then the five loaves and, after giving thanks, he distributed then to hose seated, and the same with the fishes, all they wanted”. At the end there was leftovers: “They filled twelve baskets.” If we share, hunger in the whole society can be satiated. People perceives the signal, seeing in Jesus the prophet who is to come to the world. They want to make him a king, but Jesus avoids the crowd’s strategy, His kingdom does not belong to this world, although he certainly is the promised king, according with the writings: “May grain abound throughout the land, waving and rustling as in Lebanon; may cities teem with people.” (Ps 72,16).
11. -  The following day, the people looks for Jesus, but no because of the signals, but because of the fact that they had eaten to their satisfaction.  The disciples cannot stop there. The bread is a sign of the biggest of the gifts. The disciples must go farther, they must look for “the bread of life, the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world”, that bread that we also need and that we must ask for: “Lord, give us always of that bread”
12. -  Jesus disciple knows that the man must earn the bread with the sweat of his face (Gn 3, 19) and does not forget Paul’s advise: Anyone who is not willing to work, let him not eat” (2 Thes 3,10). But now, who is seeking over everything the kingdom of God and its justice, apparently does not have ensured tomorrow’s bread. Like in the dessert’s experience, the food needed to live is received daily. This circumstance is assumed in the prayer, knowing that tomorrow’s worry does not fit in Jesus spirit (Mt 6,34). The disciple lives only the present day, his future is in God’s hands. The disciple does not live isolated, but in a community where sharing is the way of life and where nobody is in need. He does not ask only for his bread, but for our bread.
  *  Dialogue: Share some experiences.