Once before going on a pilgrimage, I looked at the itinerary and I was surprised that there was a Chinese restaurant every three days. “Why eat at a Chinese restaurant when the food in Europe is very delicious?” I asked myself. When we were on tour, I found out the response. No matter how delicious the food was in Europe, Filipinos will always look for rice. The best place to find rice in Europe is in a Chinese restaurant.
My dear friends, what rice is to us Filipinos, is bread to the Jews. No meal is complete without bread. No meal is delicious without bread. No meal can be shared without bread. That is why when Jesus said that “He is the bread that came down from heaven” and “He is the bread of life,” the Jews understood Him immediately.
Hence, as Christians, three things we remember with the bread of life.
- We hunger. As human beings part of our reality is that we hunger. Hence, we feed our bodies with food. But remember, we too have our soul. Our soul hungers. We are hungry for love, we are hungry for affection, we are hungry for happiness, we are hungry for meaning. Hence, what is the food of the soul? – God. We consume the real presence of God in the Host during the Mass.
- A God of Miracles. How can bread become the Body of Christ and how can the wine become the Blood of Christ? This is a testimony that with God nothing is impossible. The Eucharistic Miracles in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Luciano, Bolsena, and Sienna in Italy; Chiratakonnam, India; Santarem, Portugal; Titla, Mexico; Cua, Venezuela; and Sokolka, Poland are places where the Eucharistic Miracle took place. That is, blood and flesh appearing in the Hosts.
- The Reality of the Divine. In the Nicene Creed, we profess that there is the “Seen and the Unseen.” Saint Paul reminds us in Ephesians: “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.” In the Ministry of Exorcism, notice how possessed people react with the sacred: the Rosary, the St. Benedict Medallion; Blessed Salt and Water; and yes, the Blessed Sacrament.
In closing let me share with you an experience in Ciudad Juarez in Northern Mexico. From 2008–2010, it was listed as one of the most dangerous cities in the world, due to drugs and gang-related violence. Now in a dramatic turnaround, the city is considered safe. Why? They opened the Adoration Chapels 24 hours a day and thus, a very significant decrease in violence.
We in the Philippines are very blessed. We have Churches and Blessed Sacraments all over, but we don’t take full advantage of this blessing. For us, a Mass is an obligation and not a blessing. For many, The Blessed Sacrament is a waste of time. When we are so consumed with so many things in this world, never forget the Bread of Life: Food for the Soul; Presence of the Divine and a Reminder that God never stops doing Miracles.