Living in the drought-stricken West, whenever we receive rain (and snow in the mountains) we rejoice despite the challenges of recent storms. The reservoirs begin to fill, the aquifers start replenishing, irrigation canals bring precious water to parched fields, and the land turns green with hope of new life.
Isaiah’s metaphor of God’s word pouring down like rain and producing bread for the hungry is so apt. In the Lord’s Prayer of Matthew’s Gospel, bread is not just a symbol of God’s Word, but is true nourishment, the gift of life. Jesus told his disciples that God already knows what we need before we ask, just as we know parched soil needs the rain, and the hungry need bread. We are also invited to pray as if we have already received God’s gift, for so we have.
For those of us at Catholic Charities who have food programs, we know that bread is not just a metaphor. Six days a week at our local agency we feed hundreds of families, many of whom I imagine are praying, “Give us this day our daily bread” as they look to us for help to feed their family members.
How often are our Catholic Charities agencies like the families we serve? Even as they pray for their daily bread, we pray for generous donors to provide our “daily bread” to give us the means to feed them. It is easy to become anxious about not having enough resources to meet the need. But we are invited to fear not, for as the psalmist says: “From all their distress, God rescues the just.”
I invite you to pray the Lord’s Prayer slowly, bringing to mind your hungers and needs and the hungers of the people you serve. Pray the Our Father as if God has already answered your prayer.
Gregory Kepferle is CEO of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County. He and his wife live in Morgan Hill, California.
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