Christ is The Bread Of Life

Christ is the Bread of Life

Matthew 26:26 (NRSV) “While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”

In the Hunger Games Collins uses bread throughtout as a symbol of life and hope and generosity.  The name “Panem” literally means “bread,” and since bread symbolizes the most basic necessary food for survival it is an important part of the experience of the hunger games. People are starving accept in the Capitol.

Jesus is called the bread of life because he gives the bread that feeds the spirit, and the reality is he calls his followers to give the bread that feeds the physical bodies.

If you have never been without the means to buy food, you will never know what it is to go hungry. When I was a hustler there were days I had nothing to eat in the the middle of the wealth of Hollywood; there were days when I first came to San Francisco, I gave up food, so that others might eat. It is a horrible, horrible experience to see food around you and not be able to eat; and people in San Francisco do that every day. Tonight 19 year old Jared was sitting on a corner in front of a new vegan restaurant in the Haight. He had had nothing to eat all day, and he was crying, people just passed by. I took him in and let him buy whatever he wanted, and there was more joy in those moments than I have experienced in days.

People starve on our streets, and one our merchant associations suggested you give money to selected non-profits rather than to the homeless., they  asked me if I wanted to have Temenos as one of those and I said, “Hell no!” because all they are doing is helping themselves to remove the homeless from their sight. 

People should have food regardless of who they are. The message of the Hunger Games is that in the United States we live in the Capitol, where we dress nicely and ignore the pain around us.  There is no excuse, absolutely no excuse for any one to go hungry in this nation, and for that matter any where in the world.

Food is a key element to our ministry, in each meal we cook and serve, each meal we buy, each candy bar we give out, we see the body of Christ broken.

During this Advent I cry, and I cry,  as people celebrate in the midst of the decorations–and they see no one but themselves, their tribe, their group of friends.  I usually have people go out with me and hand out gifts and food on Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.  Recently several of the guys asked me just to come alone, because they get tired of “making people feel good.” And so this year I will have sandwiches and gifts and do it alone, because essentially these guys are right.  I will hang out with them for hours, we will laugh, and open gifts and eat together. And I will be criticized as being self- centered, a loner,  among other things, and frankly all I am is simply a priest, with all the faults and failures of any human being, but a priest, who hopefully allows the bread be transformed into the living body of Christ in our midst.  Teddy Roosevelt essentially said it is better to try, to do something, than nothing at all, for it is the doing that you are human, and so we try, and do our best, and we fail most of the time, but occasionally we hit the bull’s eye. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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