“Let’s put wood in his bread”
When the enemies of Jeremiah devised this cruel way of tormenting the prophet, they did not realise how they were prophesying the New Covenant. Putting wood in someone’s bread is a way of poisoning him and making life impossible. So they did to Jeremiah, so they did to Our Blessed Lord. But it takes on an entirely new meaning for us.
The enemies of Our Lord put wood in His bread when they condemned Him to a cruel death on the wood of the cross. What they could not prevent was that the Lord Himself would put that very wood into the Bread of Life He would give to His followers. When the priest consecrates the bread at Holy Mass, we can say he truly puts wood in it, in the sense that, far from being an ordinary bread, it is transformed and becomes the sacrificial offering of the New Testament, the death of the Lord on the wood of the cross made present on our altars.
Let’s be mindful of this each time we are privileged to attend Mass and/communicate: the sanctified Bread we receive in Holy Communion has been marked with the Cross; it makes present the death of Jesus and thereby gives us the strength to conform our life with the mystery of His cross, as the Bishop says to the priest on the day of his ordination: “vitam tuam mysterio dominicae crucis conforma – conform your life with the mystery of the Lord’s cross”.
In the midst of the torments His enemies are concocting against Him, our blessed Lord prays: it is a constant theme throughout passion tide: “ego autem orabam – but I was praying”. And it is through His prayer that He obtains mercy for us. “Venit tempus miserendi eius – the time for mercy has come”, He sings to His Father in the midst of His torments.
That time of mercy reaches to us, it is still today, but it is fast coming to a close, as is our life. Let’s make sure we take advantage of the time of mercy given to us. Jesus is offering Himself for each of us, He is offering forgiveness and reconciliation. But night is coming when no man can work. Let us run while we have the light of life, for after death, the time of mercy is over, and it is the time of justice. When you cross over, it’s over. Now is the time to put wood in your bread, to unite your sufferings with those of the Lord, and in so doing, to reap a rich harvest of souls.
Mother of Sorrows, teach us to carry the death of Jesus in our hearts, that His life may be made manifest in us.