In the second reading, the image of the bread is the image of unity. St. Paul said, “because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.” The image of the bread for many of us Filipinos is closely related to our breakfast menu. We either take pan de sal or the sliced bread — the pre-partitioned loaf of bread for the family at table. Those who share this loaf of bread share a common bond: whether they are members of a family, a group of friends or companions in a dormitory. In the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, we reflect on what the image of the sliced bread at our common table means to us in our lives.
The partakers of the one loaf are unique individuals. Even if they belong to a social unit such as a family or a group of friends. We are identified by the diversity of talents and abilities, by the various experiences of people whom we lived with, by our self-concept. But the bread that each of these members partake become their common element. Just as every dish our mothers cook brought our families together. In my family, we deeply feel this bond because all of us crave for mommy’s ginataang gulay, stew and garlic adobo. For Catholics with unique and diverse interests and backgrounds, the partaking of the bread and wine during communion makes us one. Thus, the mass is always an experience of community life: there are things we share in common.
Our love for Christ therefore moves us to even greater challenges to the Christian’s desire to create a community in the world. We have established our common love between Catholics. We have established our common love for Christ between Christians. Now, we are having dialogues between religions.
So what else is new? Our modern world today throws us into living with diversity. However there are concerns far greater than just being friends with those of our own lot. Because of global concerns, we too must have a global response. And thus we are asked to collaborate with other people in responding to environmental concerns, poverty, consumerism among others. We have to go beyond our tribal culture or our tendency to be parochial. Today, we live and work with people who do not believe in God and are simply humanists. We work with people who belong to other faith traditions. And we work with everyone who shares the same values as ourselves.
In the past we were concerned about our identity as Catholics. Understandably because we have been challenged by those of our faiths. But today, we must rediscover what common values we all share.