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Bread for others

GOD’S WORD TODAY - Ruben M. Tanseco S.J. () - May 25, 2008 - 12:00am

Throughout his whole life, Christ was continually giving himself as the “bread for others” in some way or other. All the four Gospels are nothing but a record of this. Moved by unconditional love and compassion, he was constantly reaching out to others: healing the sick, feeding the hungry, consoling the desolate, forgiving sinners, all the way to his suffering and death. In word and deed, this was the unquestionable meaning of his life: to be “bread for others.” This was how he insisted and persisted in being one with us.

And this is also how he wants us to be one with him; for us to be “bread for others.” To be bread for one another throughout our lives, all the way to our own personal suffering and death.

For Catholics, a special way of experiencing this is through the Holy Eucharist. When we receive Christ in Holy Communion, the purpose is for us to be one with Christ, so that like him, we, too, may be “bread for others.” In other words, we become what we receive. But unfortunately, not many communicants experience this. Quite often, Holy Communion becomes more a routinary ritual — done for one’s own personal salvation, or with one’s family.

Take this family who attended their regular Sunday Mass and received Holy Communion as a family. Father, mother and three teenage children. Together in their air-conditioned van on the way home, they were stopped by a traffic light, and some dirty, undernourished children — beggars tapped at their glass windows for some alms. The whole family ignored them completely. What was the connection of the Holy Eucharist that this family just received with those poor beggars? You tell me! Upon reaching their house, this family’s househelp were impatiently called to do this and do that. Utos dito, utos doon. In fact, the househelp could not attend Holy Mass and Communion themselves due to their work load and schedules. Over and above that, they were terribly underpaid. Any connection with the family’s reception of the Holy Eucharist every Sunday? You tell me!

In dramatic contrast to this was the late Crispin Beltran, whose whole life was offered as “bread for others.” A fearless labor leader, he was a staunch defender of the poor. He himself chose to remain poor till the very end. An inspiring example of the “anonymous Christian.”

All of us are called to be bread for one another. Every single, ordinary day is a God-given opportunity for anyone and everyone to be blessed, broken, and given to others.

This bread could literally be food for my family which I choose to share with those who need it even more.

This bread could be our monthly budget, so that the meager salaries of our household help would be more, and our luxuries less and less.

This bread could be the karinyo and personal intimacy that my spouse needs which I fail to give.

This bread could be the listening heart that my children keep claiming they do not get from me.

This bread could be my professional time and services given to those who need me but cannot afford me.

This bread could be the big risk I take in investing my resources in a business that would be the bread and butter of a hundred families.

This bread could be the profits of our company ‑ shared with our employees in a more proportionate way, beyond the so-called minimum wage law.

This bread could be our family land that belongs to God and must be shared with God’s people who have no place they can call their home.

This bread could be my courageous involvement in socio-political issues that concern the welfare of my disadvantaged countrymen.

This bread could be my committed love in bringing the message and life of Jesus to those who are on the road to moral and spiritual conversion.

Yes. My bread broken and shared until I have no more.

But replenishment will surely come. Only this time, it will be eternal bread.

Lord, thank you for showing me THE WAY.

BREAD CRISPIN BELTRAN FAMILY HOLY COMMUNION HOLY EUCHARIST
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