Jesus: Food for our soul and Light of our mind
One day daw, nakit-an ni boy si girl ug iya gi-ingnan:
Boy: Miss, mura lagi kag ampalaya..
Girl: Ngano gud tawon?
Boy: Kay bisag pait kaayo ka, ikaw gihapon naghatag ug sustansya sa akong kinabuhi!
Food is one of life’s basic necessities. Without food one goes hungry. Hunger is defined as uneasy and or painful sensation caused by want of food. Lack of sufficient food makes one malnourished. Malnutrition is defined as lack of nutritional elements necessary for human health.
Statistics show: 7 billion people in the world – 925 million are hungry. Most are in Asia-Pacific Region with 578 million. 5 million children die each year of hunger. In the Philippines, 21.1% or 4 million Filipino families go hungry according to Social Weather Station Survey.
There are 3 causes of hunger (source: www.worldhunger.org)
1. Poverty – lack of resources; unequal income distribution (poverty & hunger are twins..). The famous Filipino Singer, Bamboo has a song entitled: “Tatsulok (pyramid). His lyrics are very revealing:
“Hindi pula’t dilaw ang tunay na magkalaban / ang kulay at tatak ay di syang dahilan
Hanggat’ marami ang lugmok sa kahirapan / at ang hustisya ay para lang sa mayaman /Habang my TATSULOK / di matatapos itong gulo”
2. Harmful Economic Systems – caused by political neglect; lack of government concern:
3. Conflict – such as violence or war that displace people; becomes refugees or homeless
One famous example is the Famine in Ethiopia (1983-1985). It was the worst to hit the country in a century; almost half a million died. The main cause was drought – adverse weather condition; lack of food supply. But the famine was also the result of 2 decades of war & conflict; indiscriminate violence against civilians that displaced thousands – thus out of work they had no means to buy bread. Farmers also suffered widespread confiscation of lands by the wealthy. Famine & internal war put the nation’s economy to a state of collapse..
In response to this tragedy, several famous groups made relief attempts:
· Northern Lights – a rock group from Canada recorded a charity single “Tears are not Enough” in 1985
· Band Aid – headed by Bob Geldolf of England released the song “Do they know its Christmas” in 1984
· In the US – Michael Jackson & Lionel Riche organized the American artists for USA for Africa in their famous charity single “We are the World”
In the Gospel, Jesus helped people in their material need. He multiplied bread for 5,000. But at the same time, Jesus wants people (us included), to go beyond immediate satisfaction for material need. He wants us to open our horizon not only to mere daily concern of food, clothes or career but food that does not perish; the food that brings eternal life – not just temporary relief. What amazed his hearers is that He himself is this Food from Heaven – the Living Bread, the flesh for the life of the world. Thus we could understand their complain: “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” This is crazy; its absurd!
Yet Jesus is Teaching us something very important & very essential: He is the center of human existence. He is the Source of Life. When Lazarus died, Jesus told Martha: I am the Resurrection and Life – do you believe? Martha said: Yes Lord – I believe! It is a question of faith.
For the Jews the “Bread from Heaven” that nourished them originally was manna given by God through Moses. Later, it acquired a symbolic meaning: it referred to the Law – the Word of God or Torah which was both food for the soul & fire for the mind (wisdom). Now when Jesus reveals himself as “Bread from Heaven,” He is testifying that He is the Word of God in Person. He is the Word Incarnate – He is God’s Wisdom in Person. Thus He can guide our existence. He can be the center of our life! This is precisely what the Eucharist is all about.
The Eucharist is the flesh of Jesus in the form of Bread. This Bread is the very Person of Jesus who is God’s Word and God’s Wisdom to become food for our souls and fire for our mind.
Let us hunger for this Living Bread so that we can be empowered in our daily journey through this life.