HUNGER FOR “BREAD”
In the bread of life discourse in the gospel of John, Jesus uses natural hunger and thirst to teach us that we long to be satisfied spiritually. This is to help us see our natural longings as an analogy for our spiritual longings. We eat and drink but after some hours, we hunger and thirst again. Something we cannot avoid.
The Church then must not ignore the natural hunger for bread since it has a consequence on the spiritual level. For just as we cannot pray once for the satisfaction of our spiritual longings forever, similarly we cannot eat once and be satisfied forever.
THE CHURCH THEN
The Church primarily exists to evangelize but to effectively discharge this mandate by making disciples of every nations, she cannot ignore the material needs of the disciples. This she achieves through the disciples who voluntarily out of Christian charity attend to the material needs of the disciples who are in need ; the poor, the sick, the aged, the widow and the orphan. As our world battles with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting job losses, the Church must not only offer the disciples consolation through preaching but in concert and practical terms attend to their physical needs. Of what use is the greeting to our health workers when they have no PPE’s to work or to the poor when they have no face masks, no hand sanitizers (James 2:16).
This is not the time to ask what is the Priest doing, what is the PPC doing but rather what am I doing to help the poor family or neighbor next door? Remember that no one is too poor to the extent that he or she cannot give or so rich that he or she does not need anything.
The Church during this period must not only gather around the altar in the sanctuary but also gather around the table of bread in the homes of the disciples. We are not to neglect our primary purpose of evangelization but while focusing on fulfilling this mandate, we should not be oblivious to material needs of her children, for man is both a spiritual and a physical being.
This is the time not only to preach faith but to live faith in a more concrete and practical way, to reaffirm the “do you love me? feed my sheep ” episode between Jesus Christ and Peter at the sea of Tiberias(John 21:17). Finally instead of blaming someone for not attending to the needs of the poor, the sick, the aged, the widow and the orphan, please be our touch bearer and start caring for the poor person in your community so that seeing your good example, we may also replicate same in our own communities and thus make this world a better place for the entire human race.
Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Dolphyne