When we ask God to give us our daily bread it’s a daily reminder that our lives, like our bread, are gifts from God. In the middle of all the talk about heaven and God, the prayer now reminds us that we’re ordinary people who need food to eat, and it’s God’s gift to us.
St. Augustine said that when a priest prays a prayer thanksgiving at the altar it is more about acknowledging bread as a gift of a loving God, and therefore that it’s holy, than it is about any kind of transformation of that the ordinary bread into something strange and extraordinary.
Someone participating in that prayer might think that the bread on the altar looks suspiciously like the bread that they had for breakfast that morning, which wasn’t holy; but at breakfast they didn’t think of that bread as holy. And the Church is saying that’s the point, and after praying over bread at church on Sunday, perhaps you will eat your bread differently on Monday.
St. Gregory of Nyssa noted that in the Lord’s Prayer when we consider all that we need, the only thing we are permitted to ask for is something so basic as bread.
St. Basil the Great said that nothing that belongs to us is ours alone, particularly that which we have in excess of “our daily bread”. The bread going mouldy because we have too much belongs to the hungry. The shoes that are sitting unloved in the cupboard belong to those who have none. The clothes never worn in our wardrobe belong to those who are naked. Our bread is not ours to hoard. Our bread belongs also to our sisters and brothers, God’s gift which, like so many other good gifts of God, we don’t always appreciate as much as we might. You may well think at this point the prayer is hitting too close to home. Things are getting serious.