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As a Filipino, I just had to be there.  With some priests from Tagaytay City, I attended the wake of the late President Cory Aquino at the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral.  Before the question was “Where you there at Edsa?”  Now the question is “Where you there at the funeral of the century?” Around the cathedral area, the spirit of Edsa lived again. People unperturbed by the strong winds and heavy rains, the floods in the streets and standing in line for 5 hours – this is something only Cory Aquino can cause to happen.
Why did Filipinos listen to Cory’s voice in 1986? Why did they join her funeral cortege in 2009?  It is because our people are a hungry people.  We are hungry for role models, for inspiration, for leadership. We are hungry for life – for a full life, a life filled with meaning and grace.

But even Cory will say that she has no power to satisfy the hunger of the heart and of the human spirit. She was just an instrument in life as she was in death. She was us pointing to something else… or more appropriately, to Someone else.  She found Him in her life and she recommends Him to all of us:  Go to Jesus, the Bread of Life. This woman admired by the world, knew her power source was her deep faith in Jesus, the Bread of life and in her devotion to the Rosary of the Blessed Mother.  And through Jesus and with Mary, she entered into eternal rest.
Today Jesus calls to us:  “I myself am the living bread come down form heaven.  If anyone eats this bread he shall live forever; the bread I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.”  These are words of power – transforming, energizing power. As Catholics we are blessed to have this presence of Jesus with us as we gather around the Eucharist every week.  The Eucharist is the center of our lives because here we receive the satisfaction of our hunger, the fulfillment of our deepest yearning.  When we receive the Body of Christ, we are nourished by It for the difficult journeys of life.
Cory Aquino’s faith in the Body of Christ shaped her into the hero she is now. Probably we see ourselves incomparably smaller than the late president’s spiritual stature.  Our reaction to adversity and pain is not the same serenity that we see in her.  Our endurance against temptation and evil not as robust as hers and as other saintly men and women we know. But we must also realize that faith grows with contact with God.  Growth in faith is not automatic but gradual.  Our faith, which is weak and frail, is like a plant that needs to be  watered, like an infant that needs constant attention. Our faith needs its food to grow and mature.
As we travel through life, we go hungry, not for mere physical food, but for the food that cultivates the spirit and tends the soul. In the first reading, the angel encourages Elijah to eat for the journey is long and tiring.  In our life, we go through varied and challenging journeys that concern our family, our health, our relationships, and many of our personal struggles.  In all these, we need sustenance; we need food.  Like Elijah, we discover that this food comes from God.  Like Cory, we realize that this food is God’s generous gift in the Eucharist.  We are constantly hungry for the essential food. Let us receive Jesus in the Eucharist and gain vigor for life, strength for the journey.