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So Much More Than Pamana

A reflection for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ

By Bro. Ron Calderon

People with at least a little fortune, get a “pamana.” Pamana is a Filipino word for inheritance or heirloom. A pamana could be a property, a sum of money or a thing, like a car or a violin handed down from parents or grandparents when they pass away from this world. It serves as a special token that reminds people they left behind of their existence and many of their fond memories.

I am from a poor family. When I was a boy, my retired father and I talked regularly while having our lunch, while my other siblings were away to work or school. He would always remind me to study hard because it is the only pamana he can give me. His pamana is his children’s education.

My father was an insurance agent at that time already losing his edge in the business because of old age, sickness and alcoholism. But with what little he has, he poured his resources in order to feed us and give us good education. I feel warm inside whenever I see the academic accomplishments of all of us, his children, and the good life my siblings and I are experiencing at present. All these are my father’s legacy of loving self-sacrifice for my whole family.

Like my father, Jesus in our gospel reading today talks about his pamana.

In fact, if you look at the entire gospel, from the start of Jesus’ earthly ministry up to his passion, death, resurrection, Jesus was preparing a pamana for all of us through his disciples. The pericope today shows Jesus clearly stating his pamana of his life giving bread and drink.

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven...

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood

has eternal life,

and I will raise him on the last day.

For my flesh is true food,

and my blood is true drink.

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood

remains in me and I in him.”

I am the living bread. It means that Jesus’ pamana consist of himself, his corporeal body and, then for us, his resurrected body present up to this day.

He himself is his pamana, who is first, broken like bread in his salvific sacrifice on the Cross to redeem us from sin and death. Then he exceeds the common notion of a pamana in the Eucharist. Whenever we, our Lord’s friends, gather in the holy mass and receive him, body and blood, we don’t simply remember him and his teachings. We believe that what we receive in the Holy Eucharist is our Lord’s true presence.

This reality shows the greatness of the mystery of this metaphysical, meta-spatiotemporal pamana of his body and blood. Yes, you could think that Jesus’ pamana is a remembrance like other inheritance or heirloom. But moreover, His pamana brings us face to face with his true and real presence in the sacrament of the Eucharist.

Christ is our food for our body and spirit so that we could be sharers of everlasting life. And this supernatural nourishment also inspires us to become like him for others, broken and shared.

On this Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, may we continue to hunger and thirst for the true bread and wine from heaven. May our heavenly and life-giving pamana become our nourishment and, at the same time, the nourishment for others as live in Christ and as we share our lives for Him.

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