Pope Benedict XVI on “Our Daily Bread”

Blessed Teresa of Kolkata & Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger)

Blessed Teresa of Kolkata & Pope Benedict XVI (then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger)

In his exposition of the Lord’s Prayer, Saint Cyprian [of Carthage] draws our attention to two important aspects of the fourth petition: [“Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matt 6:11)] He has already underscored the far-reaching significance of the word our in his discussion of the phrase “our Father,” and here likewise he points out that the reference is to “our” bread. Here, too, we pray in the communion of the disciples, in the communion of the children of God, and for this reason no one may think only of himself. A further step follows: we pray for our bread – and that means we also pray for bread for others. Those who have an abundance of bread are called to share. In his exposition of the First Letter to the Corinthians – of the scandal Christians were causing in Corinth – Saint John Chrysostom emphasizes that “every bite of bread in one way or another is a bite of the bread that belongs to everyone, of the bread of the world,” Father [Peter Hans] Kolvenbach adds: “If we invoke our Father over the Lord’s Table and at the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, how can we exempt ourselves from declaring our unshakable resolve to help all men, our brothers, to obtain their daily bread?” (Der östliche Weg, p. 98). By expressing this petition in the first person plural, the Lord is telling us: “Give them something to eat yourselves” (Mk 6:37).

* This excerpt is from “Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration” by Pope Benedict XVI


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