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Working together for our daily bread

17 April 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.

clearing land before planting       

Sisters and brothers, I am happy to approach you with my word, spoken as a prayer, because our Father joins us all, as brothers and sisters, without leaving anyone as an orphan.

Spiritually speaking, the word 'Father' is what helps us as people to make a leap towards divinity. In saying 'Our Father, who art in heaven', all human beings find their true scope and feel their hearts filled with peace, love and fraternity. 

  • A large part of humanity lacks daily bread and is hungry, above all, for justice.'

Our bread  

During the course of my life, I have always felt a shiver in my heart when saying the words in the Lord's Prayer, 'give us our daily bread', because they refer to people's basic need for subsistence, life as an effect of bread.

A large part of humanity lacks daily bread and is hungry but, above all, hungry for justice. 

Give us

The words 'give us' seem to place us comfortably and peacefully in a paternalistic relationship of complete passivity before the Father, like the Israelites in their walk through the desert, when God conceded them manna from the sky as their daily food.

But no, the Lord's Prayer does not give us the right to relate to God with absolute and dependent paternalism.

The Father, with his Grace, invites us to develop our dignity and build our own personal destiny with responsible and productive work as the way of obtaining the food we need, and with the complete right to do so.

St Paul has already said, 'he who doesn't work, doesn't eat.'

In making our lives more productive, useful and developed, we honour our Father who sustains us.

A life that is useful, responsible and filled with solidarity is the worthy response to the gift of life. This is why our society has a duty and responsibility to become more humane and to take social justice as life's banner.

But we see with sadness that often, so unjustly, people are denied the right to work and are condemned to unemployment, poverty and a life on the margins.

Here it is important to become aware of the decisive role of all those who can offer people work and shelter, and be a source of employment and providers of dignified work.

The Church's social doctrine declares this responsibility as a strict obligation to provide the necessary to those who, with their work, produce our daily bread.

In the world we have built, we see with pain the desperate and urgent situations of unemployment and exclusion suffered by so much of humanity.

For that reason, I encourage believers and people of good will to respond with solidarity and Christian spirit to become our Father's mediators on earth, so that no one goes without their daily bread and so to understand better Christ’s words when he said:

'Come, those of you blessed by my Father, and enjoy the kingdom I have prepared for you, because I was hungry and you gave me food.' 

Ketxu Amezua, Programme Coordinator at the John XXIII Institute, one of CAFOD’s partners in Nicaragua.


Find out more

ENOUGH FOOD FOR EVERYONE IF: join the campaign


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