5 May, Thursday — Bread 

Thursday of the 3rd Week of Eastertide

Acts 8:26-40 
Jn 6:44-51 

“I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.” 

“There is a glowing sense of sunlight with each bite of bread, as if the golden light that bathed the wheat is lighting up my core” – Angela Abraham, @ daisydescriptionari, December 25, 2020

Who doesn’t love freshly baked bread? I grew up behind one of those old-school bakeries where they would churn out batches of freshly-baked bread to be supplied to coffee shops. One never took much notice of the aroma during the day, but I do remember a batch that would be completed at night at about 11pm. The aromas would waft into my room which was situated at the end of the house. I would than find any excuse to creep out to buy a loaf of the still piping-hot bread and allow the butter to melt on the bread before eating it. Belly warming and heartwarming indeed!

The manna that the Israelites received would have been heartwarming too. It would have kept them warm in the cold desert nights, sustained them with energy and warmed their bellies and hearts. But the manna (and my favorite childhood bread) would eventually cool down and, over days, become dry and somewhat stale.

For the longest time, I always believed the manna that the Israelites received was God’s demonstration of his love for him and in my context, the blessings that I received – decent enough grades in school, a good job, material benefits. God loved me like the Israelites and so he provided for me and blessed me.

But ‘slow’ me failed to realize — as I lived life and enjoyed these blessings, that God meant for me a higher purpose. While these earthly gifts manifested God’s love for me, it was with these blessings that I was meant to seek, realize, appreciate and embrace the bigger plan that God held – embracing His word and His teachings.

The difference between the Bread of Life and ordinary bread is emphasized at the beginning and the end of this imagery (John 6:27, 50-51) and is confirmed using contrasts — our biblical fathers ate and died (John 6:49), but whoever eats the living bread will never die. Ordinary bread (including manna) does not have the power to sustain life in the face of death.

It was years later that I slowly learnt about the ‘bread’ that lives forever – God’s word and its meaning for each and everyone of us. Savouring God’s word (with or without butter!) warms the soul. It sustains us spiritually and gives us the beacon to live life as His children in a world often so devoid of morality and proper values.

I fall and I fall many times, but it is with this Heavenly Bread that we live our lives, to fight yet another day as Christians – proud to stand up and live by His word.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Gerard Francis) 

Prayer: We pray for those who struggle in their journey toward God. That all of us may begin looking beyond material wants and needs, and look towards our Heavenly Father’s direction to us in His word.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the gift of His word for us. May this continue to sustain us over any earthly ‘bread’ that we seek.

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