Sunday, June 18, 2006

Becoming Broken Bread

While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them and said, 'Take it; this is my body.'

We are the Body of Christ. Nourished at the table of the Lord, we truly become what we partake. But what does it mean to be bread that is taken and blessed, broken to be shared?

We have all experienced being a crowd, perhaps in a busy street or even in a relatively quiet classroom. We feel lost in the number of people. We are a nobody in the midst of everybody. Suddenly, someone calls out our name. We are brought into the light and emancipated from the anonimity of the shadows. We become somebody. Jesus does the same for each of us. He calls us by name and takes us in his hands, from which we receive all good and every blessing.

But the story does not end there yet. Jesus invites us to become broken bread to be shared to our brothers and sisters; in another pericope, 'to feed the crowd', this same crowd where each one yearns for human recognition and authentic love.

When we have so much food and give 'a little' of what we have, we are not giving broken bread. We are only giving crumbs and these crumbs are good. Recently we celebrated the second anniversary of Pondo ng Pinoy which alone shows how so much good can come from crumbs. But crumbs are like little seeds. They accustom us to give of what we have, little by little. Yet ultimately, a seed must grow into a tree and our love must also mature and blossom. Hopefully, giving these crumbs will lead us to offer ourselves to be broken for others: to give, not only of our surplus, but of our very substance. The Lord did not just let manna fall from heaven. He sent his Son to become one like us and give his very life on the Cross, his very self in the Eucharist, to draw us into fullness of life in the Resurrection. Only when we give our life through Christ, with Christ and in Christ will our giving truly give life. Si mortuum fuerit, fructum affert.

As we celebrate Corpus Christi, let us be grateful for God's having taken and blessed us. But above all, let us be grateful for his gift of self in the Holy Eucharist. With such 'thanksgiving', let us offer ourselves to become the broken bread, the Body of Christ, to feed the hungry and lonely in the crowd.

Featured Art: Sadao Watanabe, Christ Blessing Bread and Fish

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