Each day we will take a look at a sentence from the Lord’s Prayer.
Give us this day our daily bread. Give us today our daily bread.
While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, ’Take, eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’ Matthew 26:26-28
When friends know that they are about to part, they often share a meal and give meaningful farewell gifts to one another. The Passover meal that Jesus was celebrating with his friends was a solemn occasion which every family in Jerusalem would also have been enjoying. It began with a prayer praising God for his deliverance, his guidance and his goodness. Because bread had become the silent symbol of God’s faithfulness to Israel, the father of the family would then take the crisp Passover loaf in his hands and break it. Jesus followed this tradition closely. He, too, took the pitta-like loaf in his hands, blessed it and broke it, but as he handed it to his friends, he added onto the traditional prayer one of his own: ‘Take, eat; this is my body’. Later, again taking the tradition, he took a cup of wine and haven thanks for it and gave it to them, and then he added, ‘Drink from it all of you; for this is my blood……poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’.
I’m sure those first disciples felt moved and amazed if not confused by these events. For by breaking open the loaf, Jesus was implying that he himself was open to them, offering the whole of himself voluntarily. They would realise that Jesus’ offer to ‘take’ demanded a response: it was an invitation to them to commit themselves to him and his mission.
For us when we come to celebrate the Eucharist, the Holy Communion, Jesus is saying – I am offering you the gift of myself. Will you in return, give yourself to me?
Hold a lump of bread. Feel its texture. Smell it. Break it. Then eat it – slowly. Be aware that it is becoming a part of you. Think of Jesus’ invitation to ‘take and eat’. Think, too, of the wider implications of that invitation. Place a lump of bread with the Palm Cross, Photo/names, battery ad keys, to remind you that Jesus is our daily bread.
Make your own response to the invitation.
Bring your needs to God and thank Him that He meets those needs.
Pray for those who are in need, especially those in need of food and friendship.