Bread for others

GOD'S WORD TODAY - Ruben M. Tanseco S.J. - The Philippine Star

In today’s Gospel reading, the human-divine Jesus reveals to us how he would love and live his life here on earth, and thus be the realistic role-model for all of us, who will commit ourselves to be his faithful disciples. To be the “living bread” for others. The very nature of bread is to be broken and consumed, so that it would nourish and sustain the life of the one who takes it.

Thus, the very life of Jesus is to be given to one and all, to be sacrificed for our sake. In return, we are then given the same mission to love and sacrifice our lives for the sake of others — to be bread for others. Christ as “living bread” is the most meaningful divine way of reaching out to each one of us through the Holy Eucharist. His active life, as narrated in the New Testament, is nothing more and nothing less than the “living bread of compassion, of reconciliation, of justice, of peace that not only nourishes us but inspires us to become ‘bread’ for others, the bread that is not only from Jesus but is Jesus.” (Connections, August 2012).

Let us contemplate on the life of Jesus and once again be deeply aware of how he lovingly offered his whole life as bread for others.

COMPASSION. Early on in his public life, this was his overwhelming quality as a person. “Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues; proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Mt. 9:35-36; Mk. 8:1-3). He reached out to all, especially those who needed him most. The compassionate Good Shepherd. The Living Bread for others.

In the Gospel of St. Matthew alone, we are deeply moved by the way Jesus healed the miserable leper, the centurionÅfs servant, PeterÅfs mother-in-law, the paralytic, and the woman who was suffering from hemorrhage, among others. Let me single out one incident when Jesus went to a deserted place for some silence and solitude, after John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod. But a huge crowd followed him and insisted on listening to his teachings and have their sick cured. Here again, “his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.” Not only that. It was already evening, and the crowds had nowhere to buy food. So there again, the all-compassionate Jesus performed a miracle to feed no less than five thousand people. The language of Jesus is the language of the heart, and not of logic. (Mt. 14:13-21; Mk. 6:34-44; Lk. 9:10-17; Jn. 6: 1-15).

Even beyond this are all of mankind Ñü the universal family of Jesus. ÅgBut he said in reply to the one who told him, ÅeWho is my mother? Who are my brothers?Åf And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, ÅeHere are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.ÅfÅh (Mt. 12:48-50; Mk. 3:31-35; Lk. 8:19-21). All who follow the one and only law of God, the Law of Love, whatever is their race, culture, and religion. The universal family of God.

ENDLESSLOVE. Thelove of Jesus is unconditional. ÅgBut to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat youÅc. Do to others as you would have them do to you.Åh (Mt. 5:44-45; Lk. 6:27-31). When Peter asked him, ÅgLord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him?As many as seven times?Åh ÅgJesus answered, ÅeI say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.ÅfÅh (Mt. 18:21-22). And Jesus lived this to the very end, when he painfully whispered as he hung on the cross, ÅgFather, forgive them, they know not what they do.Åh (Lk. 23:34). For all the love and miracles that he did, he was not only persecuted by the self-righteous Jews, but he was rejected by his very own townmates. Not only that. The betrayal of Judas and the denial of Peter must have hurt him deeply. These two were his own apostles!

All that and more were what brought him to a new life. The cross in human life is nothing less than an opportunity to love even more. For us, then, the conditions of discipleship are the only ways we can learn how to love as Jesus did, and does.

ÅgIf anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.Åh (Mt. 16:24-25; Mk. 8:34-35; Lk. 9:23-24).

That is the one and only meaning of LOVE, our mission here on earth. And in living this, let us throw fear away, for Christ no less is our constant companion in loving and serving God and neighbor, through joys and pains, failures and successes, all the way to our mortal death and beyond. Let us fearlessly follow Christ in becoming Bread for Others.












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