Lagura: Bread of life, food for the hungry-A A +A
In the service of the Word
Saturday, August 4, 2012
ON Sunday mornings as the church-goers file past the doors of the Santo Rosario Church at P. del Rosario, a good number welcome the cool of the nearest Jollibee to enjoy a burger or two for breakfast. But time and again their eyes are jolted at the heart-wrenching sight of bent beggars and unwashed street-children staring at their delicious meals with looks of pitiful hunger. These unfortunates yearn for food to quell the hunger steadily and painfully gnawing at their stomachs.
Over and aboe the hunger for food is the hunger for recognition of our fundamental human dignity. Sometimes people, seeing the external physical appearance of the less fortunate, look down on them, forgetting that they too share in our common brotherhood.
One can also speak of the hunger for acceptance and of our own importance no matter how menial our jobs are or how lowly our rank is in society. One of the greatest insults that can be hurled is, “You are nobody!”
There is also the hunger for friendship and companionship especially in a society with so many lonely and lost souls after the social network of family and friends slowly vanished in an environment which is fast becoming mobile and impersonal. One can also speak of the hunger for religion, authentic religion at that, for despite all the negative feedbacks, religion or genuine faith in God is still our utmost concern. There is also the hunger for hope, for without hope life in this world would be the greatest absurdity.
Finally we can speak of the hunger, better the love which is not the movie version lasting merely for a couple of years at the most. Rather it is the love, the longing or the hunger for the Being which will guarantee us true happiness that will never end. St. Thomas Aquinas speaks of this particular hunger when he says, “He who is capable of (attaining) the Perfect Good, that is God, can attain (real and lasting) happiness. Now, man can know this perfect good and long for (hunger for) it.” Summa Theologiae q. 5, art. 1.
The Jews, after having been fed by Jesus in the miraculous multiplication of bread and fish, searched for him in order to make him king. Such a king would be an excellent provider. But the Lord challenged them to think beyond the ordinary bread which does not last. Rather, they should hunger for the bread he himself will give for the life of the world. He is the bread of life, the life that will never end. Whosoever partakes of the bread Jesus offers will never hunger again.
Many of the Jews balked at his words and at his invitation; murmuring, “This saying is so hard, who can accept it? And they no longer followed him. Sadly, the Lord turned to his chosen ones and asked, “Will you also go away?”
Many will find difficulty in comprehending the words of the Lord about his flesh given as the bread of life. Yet, like Peter who probably at the moment the Lord confronted him with the challenge, many of us, including the faithful who worship at the Santo Rosario Church, will hopefully feel with Peter and think like him about the hunger for true and lasting life as we pray, “Lord, to whom and where else shall we go? You alone have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:68-69
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 05, 2012.