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Notes & Transcripts

Breadware: Eternal Life Applied

Proper 15, Year B RCL

August 16, 2009


Our Constant Hemorrhaging

Dr. Samuel Weinstein is the chief of pediatric cardio-thoracic surgery for the Children's Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York. In May of 2006, he traveled to El Salvador with Heart Care International in order to provide life-saving operations for less-fortunate children. However, it would take more than his expertise and advanced equipment to save the life of 8-year-old Francisco Calderon Anthony Fernandez.

Dr. Weinstein and his team began operating on Francisco's heart shortly before noon. Twelve hours later, the procedure took a deadly turn. "The surgery had been going well, everything was working great, but he was bleeding a lot and they didn't have a lot of the medicines we would use to stop the bleeding," Weinstein said. "After a while, they said they couldn't give him blood because they were running out and he had a rare type.'' In fact, Francisco's blood type was B-negative, which-according to the American Red Cross-is present in only 2 percent of the population.

As it was, the only other person in the room with a blood type of B-negative was Dr. Weinstein. Knowing what he had to do, he stepped down from the operating table. As his colleagues continued their precision work, Dr. Weinstein set aside his scalpel, took off his gloves, and began washing his hands and forearm. Then, in the corner of an unfamiliar operating room, the prestigious doctor from one of the most advanced hospitals in the world sat down to give away his own blood.

When he had given his pint, Dr. Weinstein drank some bottled water and ate a Pop-Tart. Then-20 minutes after stepping away from the table-he rejoined his colleagues. After watching his own blood begin circulating into the boy's small veins, Dr. Weinstein completed the operation that saved Francisco's heart-and his life.

David Slagle, Atlanta, Georgia and Sam O'Neal, St. Charles, Illinois; Source: Jim Fitzgerald, "Doc Stops Surgery to Give Own Blood to Patient," (5-26-06)

The only way you make it to the next day is through him.

Getting to the Main Dish

An Armenian Christian says that Westerners do not understand what Jesus was saying when he said, "I am the Bread of Life." You see, in the Middle East, bread is not just something extra thrown in at a meal. It is the heart of every meal. They have those thin pieces of pita bread at every meal. Those strict people would not think of taking forks and putting them in their mouths. To put an object in your mouth defiles it. You certainly would not take a fork out and put it in again and go on defiling yourself like that. Instead, you break off a piece of the bread, pick up your food with it and eat it. Indeed, the only way you can get to the main dish, he said, is with the bread. Jesus was saying that the only way you can come to life is through him.

Pushing the Empty Gauge


We are always complaining that our days are few and acting as though there would be no end of them.

   -- Seneca, Leadership, Vol. 5, no. 1.


Henri J. M. Nouwen

   I often think: "A life is like a day; it goes by so fast. If I am so careless with my days, how can I be careful with my life?" I know that somehow I have not fully come to believe that urgent things can wait while I attend to what is truly important. It finally boils down to a question of deep and strong conviction. Once I am truly convinced that preparing the heart is more important than preparing the Christmas tree I will be a lot less frustrated at the end of a day.

   -- Henri J. M. Nouwen in the New Oxford Review (Nov. 1986). Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 18.

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