“Give us this day our daily bread.” This petition is a bit of a hinge within the Our Father. The previous petitions have focused on the glory of God: hallowing His name, the coming of His Kingdom, His will being done. With this petition, we begin to beg God to provide for our needs, and that is apparent within the petition, “Give us this day our daily bread.” In essence, we are asking God to provide for our material needs: food, water, shelter, clothing, etc. Furthermore, this petition, then, is a recognition of our dependence and reliance on God; without Him, we cannot even take a breath. Everything comes from Him, and without our Father, we cannot do anything, nor do we have anything. God is truly a good Father who provides for all of our needs, and therefore , we can place our trust in Him.
Notice, however, that we ask God to give us this day our daily bread. In other words, we are asking God to provide for the needs of this day, of today. If we are honest, we don't want God to provide for our needs today. Instead, we want God to provide for our needs this day and everything in the future. What's wrong with this? While we are fixated about everything in the future—what could go wrong and what will be needed—God meets us in the present. As I type this on the feast day of St. Wenceslaus, it is said that on the morning of the day of his martyrdom he woke up and said, “Praise to you, Lord; you have allowed me to live to this morning.” Every day is a gift. It is in this day, today, that we encounter God the Father: not in the past, nor in the future. It is in this day, today, that we ask our Father to give us what we need. Jesus reminds us in the Gospel of St. Matthew, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil [worries] (6:33-34).”
It is also worth noting the redundant nature of this petition, which leads us to understanding that we are asking our Father to also provide for our spiritual needs on top of our material needs. It seems repetitive to ask our Father to give us daily bread on this day. The word “daily” comes from the Greek word epiousion (επιουσιον), which is not easily translated in general. If epiousion is translated literally in English, it would be translated as supersubstantial. We ask our Father to give us this supersubstantial bread. Supersubstantial bread is far greater than a pretzel bun, a ciabatta, a brioche, or a focaccia. This supersubstantial bread is the Bread of Angels; it is the Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Eucharist. We are asking God to provide for our spiritual needs, nourishing us with the supersubstantial Bread of Life.
We are all saints under construction, dependent on our good Father who provides for all of our needs and nourishes us with the supersubstantial bread of the Holy Eucharist. Have a great week!