Celebrant: We are deeply aware of our own needs, and strive to be more aware of the needs of the whole human family. With confidence we now bring those needs to the Father.
That the Church may boldly and faithfully point to Christ as the true bread and sustenance for every human need, we pray to the Lord...
That the leaders of nations may work together to provide for the needs of the poor, and may know that such needs cannot be fulfilled apart from God, we pray to the Lord...
In thanksgiving for the Bread of Life, which makes us the People of Life, who proclaim and build the Culture of Life, we pray to the Lord...
That all who teach the Word of God may have grace and strength to live in their own lives the way of righteousness that Jesus teaches, we pray to the Lord...
That all who are ill, especially those who feel alone, may find in Christ and in his people the path to hope and healing, we pray to the Lord...
That those who have died may be purified of sin and share the glory of eternal joy and resurrection, we pray to the Lord...
Celebrant: God of life, you provided for your people of old, and you remain faithful in providing for your people today. As you answer our prayers, grant that we may hunger above all for Christ, the Living Bread, who is Lord forever and ever. Amen.
Hearing the Knock
In his June 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI reminds the world that poverty will not be eradicated unless we rediscover and protect the sanctity of life at every level. Dismissing the unborn as less than human and allowing abortion impedes the work of social justice. He points out with urgency, “While the poor of the world continue knocking on the doors of the rich, the world of affluence runs the risk of no longer hearing those knocks, on account of a conscience that can no longer distinguish what is human” (n. 75).
Ex 16:2-4, 12-15
Eph 4:17, 20-24
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Human hunger is deeper than the physical, and the readings today point to Christ as the Bread of Life. He is foretold by the manna and continues to provide our “daily bread” in the Eucharist.
In his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI states that “Development must include not just material growth but also spiritual growth” (n. 76). Today’s readings help us to focus on both realities and on the interrelationship between the two.
Moreover, they focus us on the fact that the spiritual growth we acquire in Christ, the Bread of Life, impels us to take on a whole new way of life, in which life itself is affirmed generously and the ways of the culture of death are rejected.
Embracing life, particularly amidst economic difficulties, requires the kind of trust in God and human solidarity experienced by the Israelites on their journey in the desert. It requires the kind of trust, furthermore, that the promises of Christ inspire in his words in today’s Gospel.
Drawing again from the encyclical Caritas in Veritate, we find this summary of these truths:
“Development needs Christians with their arms raised towards God in prayer, Christians moved by the knowledge that truth-filled love, caritas in veritate, from which authentic development proceeds, is not produced by us, but given to us. For this reason, even in the most difficult and complex times, besides recognizing what is happening, we must above all else turn to God's love. Development requires attention to the spiritual life, a serious consideration of the experiences of trust in God, spiritual fellowship in Christ, reliance upon God's providence and mercy, love and forgiveness, self-denial, acceptance of others, justice and peace. All this is essential if “hearts of stone” are to be transformed into “hearts of flesh” (Ezek 36:26), rendering life on earth “divine” and thus more worthy of humanity. All this is of man, because man is the subject of his own existence; and at the same time it is of God, because God is at the beginning and end of all that is good, all that leads to salvation: “the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours; and you are Christ's; and Christ is God's” (1 Cor 3:22-23). Christians long for the entire human family to call upon God as “Our Father!” In union with the only-begotten Son, may all people learn to pray to the Father and to ask him, in the words that Jesus himself taught us, for the grace to glorify him by living according to his will, to receive the daily bread that we need, to be understanding and generous towards our debtors, not to be tempted beyond our limits, and to be delivered from evil (cf. Mt 6:9-13)” (n. 79).