Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 26, 2001
'Give us this day our daily bread'
By FR. JOHN SPICER
In last week's WCR we considered the petition, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." And God's will for us, we concluded, is to make the kingdom of God our top priority in life.
All power structures in the world as we know it will cease to be. God's reign is now and forever. Hence its utmost importance.
To make God's reign our top priority makes for the greatest of challenges. We need help. We need sustaining strength. That is why Jesus asks us to ask God, "give us this day our daily bread."
We need food for our bodies and food for our souls. Both of these needs are included in the petition we are now considering.
That this petition includes our spiritual nature is suggested by the word "daily." That we need food for our bodies is evident. Not quite so clear is our spiritual need.
The words "daily bread" in this petition, however, give us a hint. For "daily" is found only here in the entire Bible.
Scholars are not sure of its exact meaning but generally agree that it has to do with the end-time banquet when Jesus will sit down with us to celebrate the final victory of God's kingdom.
As the book of Revelation puts it, "Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb" (19:9).
It was an obvious step for the first Christians, and now for us, to recognize the celebration of the Eucharist as a foretaste of the great banquet of end time. And not only to see it as a foretaste but as real nourishment, real encouragement for the challenge we are given to assist in bringing God's kingdom to fruition.
Thus when we pray "give us this day our daily bread" we are beseeching God to clear our vision and strengthen our resolve to live as Jesus lived. And Jesus lived to bring in the kingdom, the reign, of God.
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