Tuesday, 1st Week of Lent

            In the desert the devil tempted Jesus by saying: “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.” This is one of the three temptations of Jesus that we heard last Sunday. In subtle ways – on TV commercials, on billboard ads, through pages of magazines, through shop talk with friends, “the tempter” whispers, “One lives by bread alone.” Sometimes we are so snared and deceived by this whisper that our lives become feverish attempts to insure that we and our loved ones have enough of this bread.

            The term ‘bread’ here stands for the things that satisfy our physical needs. Many people work too much for this ‘bread’. They work as if it were the most important thing – or the only thing that matters in their lives. They tend to compromise decency, honesty, and integrity in their pursuit for “more bread.” They set aside concern for the welfare of their neighbors by hoarding bread more than they need. In other words, we are tempted “to live by bread alone.” But as Jesus tells us, quoting the Scripture: “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.”

            Somebody told me before (actually it was more of a satire): “I pray the Lord’s Prayer but I always change the part that says ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ to “Give us this century our daily bread.” “I am just being honest when I say that. What I’m really asking God is to give me what I want and need not only for ‘this day’ but for the next many years.”

            As I have said, it was more of a satire (or sarcasm). He was actually mocking those who pray “Give us this day our daily bread” but, in reality, they are too preoccupied and too consumed about getting and hoarding bread for the next many, many years.

            Lent invites us to examine our thoughts and disposition in praying, “Give us this day our daily bread.” When we pray this, is our heart rooted in the divine providence? Is our prayer a genuine expression of our trust in God who provides? The Lord’s Prayer is the antidote to the temptation of working to death to have “more bread” for our satisfaction and pleasure. It is the antidote to a frenzied pursuit of our wants and needs. May our praying of the Lord’s Prayer come from a heart that truly trusts in a God who provides our daily bread.

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