BREAD OF PRESENCE / SHOWBREAD
The bread of presence or Showbread comprised twelve loaves of unleavened bread, representing the twelve tribes of Israel, made of fine flour arranged in two piles on a table made of acacia wood and covered with pure gold. It was known as “the bread of presence” because the priests placed it in the Holy place in the presence of the Lord in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple of Jerusalem.
The Jewish priests kept showbread always on the table and replaced on every sabbath day. When removed for replacement, only Aaron and his sons ate the bread in a holy place (Lev 24:5-9).
SHOWBREAD AND EUCHARISTIC BREAD
The bread of presence or Showbread was a foreshadow of the Holy Eucharist in the tabernacles in our churches. Jesus might have pointed to this bread of the presence and declared, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (Jn 6:35).
The presence of the twelve loves of showbread symbolized the gratitude of the entire Israel for the nourishing them with daily bread through the earthly resources and human labor. Through this, they acknowledged their faith in the true God of Israel. In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread” (Mt 6:11). Let us be grateful to God for His providential care and let us be instruments of God in taking care of the less fortunate in the society.