Just as children go to their parents constantly for all of their needs, so do we as God’s children ask our Father in heaven to give us what we need, both materially and spiritually.
Jesus tells us to ask only for “this day,” thereby calling us to ever-deeper trust in God’s providential care.
At one level, “bread” stands for physical nourishment and our basic material needs. We recognize that our sustenance is ultimately a gift from God, Who makes it possible for our needs to be met.
When asking God to provide for us, we also remember our brothers and sisters who do not have bread. We have a responsibility to help meet their needs, from the blessings that God has given us.
On another level, “bread” has a profoundly Eucharistic meaning: we ask for the “Bread of Life,” the very Body of Christ that we receive in Communion, for our spiritual nourishment.
This sense is embedded in the very rare Greek word that is translated as “daily.” The term epiousios literally means “super-essential,” thus referring to the Eucharist – the “medicine of immortality,” in St. Ignatius of Antioch’s phrase.
The Eucharistic aspect also sheds new light on what “this day” is – “the Day of the Lord, the day of the feast of the kingdom, anticipated in the Eucharist that is already the foretaste of the kingdom to come” (Catechism paragraph 2837).
For more, see Catechism paragraphs 2828-37.