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Bread Taken, Blest, Broken and Shared as One
Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes
Solemnity of the Corpus Christi
HISTORICAL NOTE: The observance most similar to our Father's Day was the ancient Roman Parentalia, which lasted from the thirteenth of February to the twenty-second. This festival, however, was not for living fathers, but was rather a time of remembrance, commemorating departed parents and kinsmen. The ceremonies were held, Ovid says, to "appease the souls of your fathers." This annual observance became a family reunion. Members offered wine, milk, honey, oil and water at the flower-decorated graves. At the concluding ceremony, known as the Caristia, much celebrating went on as the living relatives feasted together, having been cleansed by the performance of their duties to the dead. Father's Day for us, of course, is not intended for honoring the dead. We may pay a minor symbolic tribute by wearing a white rose in memory of deceased fathers, but far fewer of these are seen than white carnations on Mothers’ Day.
On another significant historical note, throughout the history of the church, there is a meal that has been honored as the true banquet of the Lord, the Lord's Supper. In terms of physical hunger, the small wafer and sip of wine that we share isn't anywhere near as satisfying to our human appetite as even the quickest meal at a fast-food restaurant. But we come here to this meal because we are hungry for something more, hungry for the Lord. But, how do we fully satisfy our “hunger”? Let us focus our attention on the four gestures of Jesus, known to be four Eucharistic words we often hear at Mass:
“Taken.” Before the bread is eaten, it first has to be taken. It is like a phone call that once taken could change our lives as we could have been given new responsibilities. Or to put it more concretely, let me cite the role of fathers as we celebrate Father’s Day:
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the vital importance of the father’s role comes from the fact that, with his wife, he cooperates with God the Creator in bringing a new human life into the world. Children who are raised with fathers present in the family have much lower rates of delinquency, drug and alcohol use, teen pregnancy, and so on, than those with absent fathers. The father's presence is also a significant positive factor in the children’s getting a college education, finding a satisfying job, and making a lasting marriage. A girl's choice of partner and satisfaction in marriage is often directly related to the relationship she has had with her father. But before, this becomes a reality, the father has to take on such monumental task at hand as when Jesus took on His responsibility as the Son of God.
“Blest.” He blest it in order that they may come to receive the bread worthily. Jesus took the bread and blest it. He cleansed it in His own divine way taking responsibility over those who were present to partake of the meal.
In like manner, we are called to take or receive him in the bread with true repentance for our sins, due preparation and reverence. What sort of preparations do we do upon receiving the Eucharist? How do we dispose ourselves both physically and spiritually? [A note on Eucharistic fast – to fast at least an hour before receiving the Blessed Eucharist] How do we take the bread we receive in the Eucharist? Is it a “blessing” or maybe a “curse” for us?
“Broken.” The bread is broken into pieces in order that everyone may be able to eat, be full and be able to share. In other words, to break it in order that it may be offered along with Jesus’ very self.
In the very Christian sense of the word, it is for us to offer our lives on the altar along with Jesus’ sacrifice. How? By asking pardon for our sins, expressing gratitude for the blessings we have received and presenting our needs and petitions on the altar. Are we ready to be broken and to become part of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice of himself in the bread that he shares to us in the Eucharist?
“Shared.” The bread is shared to others in order that they too may come to experience Christ Himself, who offered himself not just as bread, but as a Person one like His Father.
In this sense, we are called to become Christ-bearers and conveyers of the Eucharist. By receiving Holy Communion we become Christ-bearers as Mary was, with the duty of conveying Christ to others at home and in the workplace, through love, mercy, forgiveness and humble and sacrificial service.
From her personal experience, Mother Teresa relates a story showing how the poor are more generous than the rich because they have experienced hunger and poverty. Learning of a poor Hindu family in Calcutta who had been starving for many days, Mother Teresa visited them and brought a big parcel of rice to the mother. She was surprised to see how the mother divided the rice into two equal portions and went out with one bundle to give it to her Moslem neighbor. When she returned, Mother Teresa asked her why she had done such a generous deed (given that they also don’t have much). The woman replied, “My family can manage with half the rice in this bag. My neighbor’s family has several children and they are also starving.” Today’s Gospel exhorts us, “Unless we eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, we will not have life within us.” Together with “eating” and “drinking,” we need to be sharers of the glory of God we partake in the Eucharist.
Ultimately, Jesus "takes, blesses, breaks and shares" not only His body and blood in the Eucharist, but his very self, challenging us to do the same with our lives, in order that we may become his "Real Presence" in the world. Just as the bread and wine is "taken, blessed, broken and shared," at Mass, so are we. The quantity is not an issue for as long as we fulfill our own task of being taken, blessed, broken and shared, we can become a wonderful miracle there is!
True indeed, but how should we do this? Simply by following Jesus’ example of taking, blessing, breaking, and sharing the BREAD of LIFE in order that everyone may have their fill of both physical and spiritual food that Christ Himself will provide us. To all the Fathers out here, may you become BREAD and WINE to your families. May through your unselfish efforts, this bread and wine be TAKEN, BLEST, BROKEN and SHARED!
Remember this acronym I made for Fathers:
F – stands for “FOUNDATION,” every father carries with him a noble and yet difficult task of being the pillar of the family for families to lean on.
A – stands for “AGILITY,” he is known for his intellectual acuity. He makes decisions like no other member in the family can … even our moms.
T – stands for “TEACHER,” he teaches me practicality without being too frugal.
H – stands for “HONOR,” he is the first one to tell his folks, friends and relatives about our successes. At the top of his voice he says, “MY SON IS AN HONOR STUDENT!”
E – stands for “ENERGY,” he possesses certain power, which keeps the family moving and going.
R – stands for “REMEMBRANCE,” if all things fail, he is one to tell us that the biggest learning in life is to LIVE the present, LEARN from the PAST and FACE the future without forgetting our humble beginnings.
I thank God for my dad, for making me the best man that I could be!
HAPPY FATHERS DAY!!!