The Bread of Life

Luke 6: 1-5
1Cor 4:6b-15 / Psa 145

The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.
(Luke 6:5)

All acts of piety are useless
If in our hearts enmities remain;
Don’t let your faith be dry and worthless
Like chaff separated from the grain.

One Sabbath, while going through a field of grain, the disciples of Jesus began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Luke 6:1-5)

Reflection

Today’s Gospel passage appears to be a seamless continuation of the message that our Lord was teaching in yesterday’s Gospel account about the “new wine” that He was trying to introduce, but could not be accommodated by the “old wineskins” (the Pharisees). This time, Jesus compared them to the chaff removed from the grain, dry and worthless, blown by the wind. They had no substance, were superficial, their beliefs skin-deep, and their sole concern the observance of rituals and laws that they themselves had crafted, which only served to burden the Jewish people.

It is significant to note that Jesus cited the case of King David and his companions, who went inside the temple to partake of the sacred bread to ease their hunger. The wheat that our Lord’s disciples plucked to eat would have been crushed into flour, and baked into bread. Significantly, Jesus would later refer to Himself as the “Bread of Life” (John 6:35), Whom the Pharisees would reject and never be able to partake. He said, “Whoever comes to me will never hunger…” Indeed, we receive our spiritual nourishment regularly in the Holy Eucharist of the Mass, where the sacred bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Today, the members of our Brotherhood celebrate the Sabbath with our “Lord’s Day” meal at Eden Ridge, in the hills of Mt. Talomo. Here we will partake of unleavened bread and drink red wine, as we reflect on the significance of this ritual in Sacred Scriptures, from the time of Lot, Abraham’s nephew, who baked unleavened bread for the angels who visited him in Sodom (Gen.19:3); to the Passover ritual of Moses in Egypt (Ex.12:15), and up to the breaking of the bread in the Last Supper of Jesus with His apostles (Lk. 22:14-20).

We are grateful to the Lord for the strong spiritual support and peer pressure in our community that keep us faithful to the values that we apply in our homes and places of work. We are fed constantly not only in our breakfast fellowships and prayer meetings, but by the Lord’s grains of truth in our regular reading of His Word.

Lord, thank You for helping us discern the chaff from the grain. Sometimes we are more concerned about following rituals and regulations which bear no relation to the true meaning of compassion, understanding and mercy. Help us to achieve being “poor in spirit”, and to humbly accept the things that we cannot understand. Make us realize that it is better to be forgiving than to be right, and that charity weighs far more than justice. Help us to live the real meaning of love in Christ Jesus as we break bread together in our community. Amen.

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