Click the arrow below to hear a member of the Assumption community read today’s Gospel.
Selfishly or unselfishly selfless!
I don’t know if you like selfish people. I do not. You know why? Because they do not care about me! Actually, we are not that selfish. We do care about people, at least about our own family members and friends. For instance, a father is ready to do whatever he can to take care of his son.
From father to son
In today’s Gospel, Jesus said that a man would not hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread. Because of his fatherhood, a man does not allow himself to give his son a stone instead of a loaf of bread. Here we can see a contrast with the account of the temptation in Chapter 4 of Matthew’s Gospel. There, the devil asked Jesus, in the name of his sonship with God, to command stones to turn into bread: “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread” (4:3). Jesus did not satisfy the devil’s request precisely because of his sonship with the Father: “One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God” (4:4).
From one father to another
Like Jesus, we are to focus on our filial relationship with the heavenly Father in order to be good and to do good. It is possible to take today’s Gospel as a commentary on the petition of the Our Father: “Give us this day our daily bread.” We are at the beginning of chapter 7 of Matthew’s Gospel and the Lord’s Prayer was mentioned at the beginning of chapter 6. This connection allows us to see a deep meaning of Jesus’ teaching. Sinful by his very nature, a human father is still willing to give bread to his son. How much more the holy and heavenly father is willing to do the same for his children.
From perseverance to goodness
Our heavenly Father gives us our daily bread because of his great goodness to us. What we request reluctantly, God gives us abundantly. Today’s Gospel does not focus on the perseverance of the petitioner. Rather, it shows us the difference between the goodness of the human father and that of the heavenly Father. From the goodness of the human father, we come to know a little more about the great tenderness of our heavenly Father. God’s goodness is beyond every kind of goodness that we can experience.
What do we ask for? “Give us this day our daily bread.” We do not say selfishly: Give me this day my daily bread. When we pray for our bread, we also pray for bread for others. If God shows his goodness and generosity to us, we are called to do the same for others. As Saint John Chrysostom said, “every bite of bread in one way or another is a bite of the bread that belongs to everyone, [a bite] of the bread of the world.”
Prayer: God of tenderness, help us to share our bite of bread with those in need.
Resolution: Think about those who are included in the “us” when I request for daily bread.