Our sweet Bread of Life — never take it for granted
This year we experienced a true Lent! I don’t think many of us have prayed, fasted, and practiced almsgiving during any other Lent in the same way we did this year.
I join with you all in prayer for the pandemic’s end, and look forward to the Easter victory of our Good Friday. I am sure you have done whatever you can to help each other through loving acts of kindness in the safest way possible.
One thing is for sure: for many, not being able to receive the Eucharist has been a fast they never thought would happen. It is a fast that will have a greater impact on the spiritual lives of many, even more than those things thought up by people at the beginning of Lent. Most of us will likely never again take for granted that the Eucharist will be there for us whenever we feel like receiving it.
As Our Lord always reminds us, we should “be not afraid” as we pray for healing and recovery, so that what we have experienced in this Lent may allow us to emerge as Easter people more renewed than ever before, with a spirit of love, mercy, and respect for one another — and for life itself!
My prayer for healing and recovery: Eternal Father, You made the whole world stop spinning for a while. You silenced the noise that we all have created. You made us bend our knees again and ask for a miracle. You closed Your churches so we will realize how dark our world is without You in it. You humble the proud and powerful. The economy is crashing, businesses are closing. We were very proud; we thought that everything we have, everything we possess was the result of our hard work. We have forgotten that it was always Your grace and mercy that made us who we are.
We are running in circles looking for some cure to this disease, but in fact it takes humility to ask for Your wisdom. We’ve been living our lives like we will be here on earth forever, like there’s no heaven. Maybe these trials are Your mercy in disguise. Maybe this virus is actually Your way of purifying us, cleansing our soul, and bringing us back to You.
In the past, You serenaded us with Hosea’s song: “Come back to me with all your heart Don’t let fear keep us apart Trees do bend though straight and tall So must we to others call Long have I waited for Your coming home to me And living deeply our new lives.” You have been patiently waiting for us. We’re so sorry for ignoring Your voice. For our selfish ways, we all deserve this. We have forgotten You, dear Father. We’ve forgotten that You are God. You only need to say the words, and our souls shall be healed. This we pray in the mighty name of Jesus, name above all names. Amen.
MSGR. JAMIE GIGANTIELLO is the vicar for development of the Diocese of Brooklyn and host of the NET TV cooking show Breaking Bread. He also is pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel-Annunciation Parish in Brooklyn, NY
Bread Pudding Recipe
Serves 6 • Prep time: 15 minutes
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, more for greasing pan
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 loaf sweet egg bread like challah or brioche, cut into 2-inch cubes (about 5 to 6 cups)
2 eggs, beaten
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small saucepan over low heat, warm milk, butter, vanilla, chocolate chips, cinnamon, sugar and salt. Continue cooking just until butter melts; cool.
Meanwhile, butter a 4- to 6-cup baking dish and fill it with cubed bread.
Add eggs to cooled milk mixture and whisk; pour mixture over bread.
Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until custard is set but still a little wobbly and edges of bread have browned.
Serve warm or at room temperature and consider even topping with fresh fruit.