Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Our Daily Bread

This post is by Kevin Pesek, a Campus Ministry Intern at St. Mary's.  He and the other interns are guest blogging for us during Lent.

The gospel reading from Mass today was Jesus teaching the apostles the "Our Father" (Matt 6:7-15). This past summer, I had the privilege to make a pilgrimage to Israel. On the Mount of Olives, we visited a French church called the Church of the Pater Noster (see picture) which is dedicated to this teaching of Jesus. One of the priests with our group made this interesting point.

As Catholics, "Give us this day our daily bread" is clearly a reference to the Eucharist we receive at Mass every day. However, in the translation from Greek to English we lose some of the significance of this verse. The word "daily" in "daily bread" does not capture the essence of the original Greek. Essentially, the gospel writer made up a word to convey Jesus' description of the Eucharist (the word used, ἐπιούσιον, only appears one or two other times in the next 400 years of Greek writing). In older translations of the Bible like the Douay-Rheims version, the text says "Give us this day our supersubstantial bread." The Eucharist is much more than our daily bread; it is necessary and more than substantial for our spiritual life.

This has helped inspire me to have a greater love for the Eucharist and to attend daily Mass as often as possible in order to receive it. Let us always thank God for this most precious gift of the Eucharist, and let us pray for a greater appreciation and understanding of this sacrament.

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