The Bread of Life takes on a whole new meaning when you consider how intimate and personal the making of bread was during the time of Jesus. Bread making was an essential part of daily life, without bread you didn’t eat; without mom making bread you didn’t eat.
You can imagine this is just as true for the children.
I can imagine Mary’s hands shaping, kneading the bread. For those of us who do make bread we know what an intimate thing it is. You are truly putting yourself into that bread. Just as it is in making bread, raising children is an intimate process; one in which we put so much of ourselves into.
Can’t you just picture Mary sitting much as the woman in the picture with all she needs ready around so she can work it into bread? It is important that we too have about us all the resources we need to help us shape our children. Her hands shaping and kneading the dough; just as we shape and knead our children. Everything we do, say becomes a way we are shaping our children. We work their malleable souls with the loving fingers of our words, with the shaping of our loving actions. We stretch our children by rules, expectations and disciple to do more than they think they could. We give just the right amount of yeast, teaching, so they may rise beyond what they believe they can. Than we must do the most difficult thing in bread making and in life: We must leave our children to raise or fall as they will. If we have measured out our flour, water, and yeast well, put them together in the right order, given them the right amount of warmth; then our children will raise well.
It was the same with Mary, working the dough to feed her family, doing the same to feed her son. We feed our children more than just bread, we feed them with all we do and say. Let us hope that our actions and words are more nurturing than bitter.