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A collective request

29 May 2013

This is one of a series of weekly Christian reflections and prayers for the IF campaign that focuses on the theme of 'Our Daily Bread', with contributors from CAFOD, Tearfund and Christian Aid.

This week's reflection is a contribution from CAFOD.

circle of people


'Give us this day our daily bread' is one of the most beautiful phrases of the Lord's Prayer and connects us emotionally with God, who is our Father and Mother.

In saying these words, we are filled with the simplicity of children when they ask something from that special person, full of security and convinced that they will not be left without sustenance, shelter or love.

But the 'give us' also represents a collective request, rather than an individual one - a request for food for all of God's sons and daughters.

It is the shared table described by Father Rutilio Grande SJ, the first priest to be assassinated in El Salvador, on 12 March 1977. He spoke of a table with long cloths and a place for each of us, where no one lacks sustenance.

The bread represents life, food, health, shelter, affection, the bread of life, Christ himself, and all that we need to have a fulfilled life.

  • To the extent that people are happy, the Glory of Christ is made manifest. As people find paths of peace, justice, fraternity and love, Christ is being glorified ... through the happiness of a nation.'

Homily of Monseñor Romero, 20 January 1980

That everyone may have daily bread is the blessing that we ask of the Father - to have the means to acquire the food we need and, through his spirit, the opportunities to realise ourselves as God's sons and daughters in building life.

'Give us this day our daily bread' is not a prayer for us to become inactive and wait for someone else to give us sustenance, shelter or medicine.

On the contrary, it is a prayer that inspires us to strive for justice and to work for and with those who have little or nothing, so that everyone has enough food.

We cannot think that God wants some people to have an excess of food while others live in hunger. The Lord's Prayer joins us as brothers and sisters in equal dignity as children of the same God.

We could say, 'stay with us always, every day.' The happiness of men and women, and the happiness of nations, which Monseñor Romero describes to us, should be something permanent, not temporary or given through charity.

Instead, we know that all Christians have the great task of making God's kingdom come.

  • That is God's project: simple life, ordinary life, but giving it a sense of love and freedom. How beautiful our country would be if we all lived in support of God's project! Each of us occupied in our work, without trying to dominate anyone, simply earning and eating the food that our families need.'

Homily of Monseñor Romero, 20 February 1980

God's project is based on simplicity. It opposes today's opulence and profiteering, which creates poverty, hunger, environmental harm and a culture of insatiability in which consumerism is imposed as the economy's engine.

We must change this mentality, so that all families are able to have their daily bread and the Lord's prayer becomes a reality.

Gerardo Morales, Director of the Jesuit Development Service, a CAFOD partner in El Salvador.


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