When [Jesus] disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with [compassion] for them, and he cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” [Jesus] said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.”
Then [Jesus] said, “Bring them here to me,” and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, [Jesus] said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. (from the Gospel of St. Matthew, 14)
Blessed, broken and given – the imagery is rich; the concept thousands of years old. However, the embodying of this, in my everyday life, is still to a large extent untried.
In the Gospel story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 (which is actually the miracle of feeding more like 10,000 since the number counted was only the men, no women or children were included in this biblical census), we have the simple yet profound statement: Blessed, broken and given. That is the essence of what it means to love God and love neighbor. It is as simple as can be yet we could spend a lifetime trying to ‘embody’ this reality.
We are called by God to be in deep fellowship with Jesus – that is the Blessed. We are called to deny ourselves and take up the Cross and follow Jesus – that is the Broken. And we are called by God to give our lives away for the sake of our neighbors, the poor, the broken, the dispossessed, the most vulnerable of our world – and that is the Given.
We are all in some ways perpetually receiving and seeking the embodiment of being Blessed, Broken and Given. Obviously the greatest embodiment of this is Jesus of Nazareth, Our Messiah Who came to be a Blessing, to be Broken for us and the entire world, and to be Given as a Divine Gift for our salvation (Note: notice how the world salvation is made up of the root word for “salve” – and it is high time for followers of Jesus to put the “salve” back in salvation, no doubt).
We find another example of this idea of being Blessed, Broken and Given poignantly in the Eucharist. As the priest stands before the people praying the Eucharistic prayers we are given another deeper meaning to the Blessed, Broken and Given. For in the Eucharist we are given Jesus all over again, blessed, then broken, then shared among the faithful.
To be Blessed, Broken and Given is to allow for the Spirit to mold us into a Eucharistic People – a people of Thanksgiving who are broken, blessed and given to the world for God’s glory and for the benefit of all.
May we all be blessed and be a blessing; may we find in our brokenness, a call from God to know that we are all broken and in that moment we can find common ground; and in that common ground we are called to give: of our faith, our love, our total being as a “Thank You” back to God for all He has done for us.