Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July 24, 2019

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Today, in Mercy, our readings are all about food in the many forms and senses of that word.

Exodus16_4

The Israelites have been in the desert for a while.  The burden of travel is beginning to weigh upon them.  Food is short, tempers even shorter.  Things seem so bad that, in a fit of stupendous forgetfulness, they tell Moses they were better off as slaves in Egypt.

Moses asks God to intervene, which God does with the gifts of manna and quail.

The folks in today’s reading remind me a lot of people I know — even myself.  Haven’t we all heard, and maybe uttered, the complaint that things were so much better in “the old days”.  Haven’t we critiqued a challenging situation with the unhelpful assessment, “Well, it’s not like it used to be!”

But the God of Exodus is so patient, as is Moses.  God doesn’t become angry with the complainers. Instead God promises to take care of them and to stay with them forever on their journey. God makes good on this word by initiating the naturally occurring phenomena of morning manna and migrating quail so that the community is fed.

Some areas to focus on as we pray with this passage:

God does not deliver the Israelites immediately to their destination. Life is a journey, not an arrival.

God intervenes to meet their needs, but through ordinary occurrences rather than miracles. God uses manna and quail, surprising but nonetheless naturally occurring events in the Sinai desert.

God expects the Israelites to interact with grace, to recognize that God is about the continuing work of Creation and Covenant, even within the natural circumstances of our lives.

For us, the profound reminder that God accompanies us in drought and abundance, in joy and sorrow, in wilderness and stability; that God is listening under our hungers; that God is sustaining us in graces we may be slow to recognize.

Music: Panis Angelicus – Luciano Pavarotti

Panis angelicus
fit panis hominum;
Dat panis caelicus
figuris terminum:
O res mirabilis!
manducat Dominum
Pauper, servus, et humilis. 

Te trina Deitas
unaque poscimus:
Sic nos tu visita,
sicut te colimus;
Per tuas semitas
duc nos quo tendimus,
Ad lucem quam inhabitas.
Amen.

Bread of Angels,
made the bread of men;
The Bread of heaven
puts an end to all symbols:
A thing wonderful!
The Lord becomes our food:
poor, a servant, and humble.

We beseech Thee,
Godhead One in Three
That Thou wilt visit us,
as we worship Thee,
lead us through Thy ways,
We who wish to reach the light
in which Thou dwellest.
Amen.

2 thoughts on “It’s Raining Bread!

  1. The wilderness seems to resemble our sojourn on earth by being a testing ground on which we have to learn to put our trust in God despite all the hardships and setbacks for what lies ahead. Before we can enter our promised land by putting our past enslavement behind us, we must prove ourselves worthy by living a life detached from all the allurements of the material world. This calls for denying the self and offering our bodies as spiritual sacrifices to God whom we should worship. Many of the Jews who were in Egypt assimilated with the local people, espoused their cultural norms, and offered sacrifices to their false gods. They had homes on farms where they raised livestock and tilled the land for the Egyptians, which could explain why many eventually grumbled in the desert where they couldn’t possibly enjoy life or even survive like they did back in Egypt. But the wilderness served to remove them from their past influences and distractions so that all they could do was focus on God and rely solely on Him, if God should indeed be the center of their lives in their new homeland. This was a time of learning discipline, purging, and preparation which most of the Jews could no longer endure. Most of the first generation of the Israelites never made it to the promised land because they no longer trusted God and lost their hope in His promises which appeared would never be fulfilled after so much time of suffering and toil in the desert. They could have survived but didn’t want God’s help and protection from the dangers of the wilderness any longer. The thought of God made them feel insecure, recalling how without God in Egypt they fared much better. What God offered them to live failed to meet their sensitive appetites. They preferred the material goods and comforts of this world rather than the manna that came down from heaven. Their hearts and thoughts were still attached to living a life of security in this world and making it on their own without God. God honored their decision which left them as vulnerable as we all are to the hostile elements of this world. God won’t protect us if we willfully refuse his help. So, if we hope to reach our promised land, we must never lose confidence in God and spurn His help; we should detach ourselves from the luxuries of this world and renounce its false idols. Worldly life should recede into nothingness and the past be entirely left behind. We should look towards enjoying the true life which is to come with God at the center of it. God has given us the spiritual nourishment we need to survive in the wilderness of our pilgrimage of faith: Spiritual food which is “the bread of life” and the “true manna come down from heaven” which we can consume daily by attending Holy Mass in our seemingly endless sojourn on earth with all its trials. We have the chance of entering the promised land of heaven if we place God at the center of our lives and accept His aid and guidance with complete trust and a distaste for the wisdom of this world. God has given us ploughs in the forms of his actual graces for tilling and enriching the land of our souls so that we do get to heaven. Holding our ploughs, we should never look back, or we just might lose our desire for God and let go.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wish I could have heard Panis Angelicus by Pavarotti. I saw his docudrama at the Ambler theatre.What a voice. Thanks LOL Donna

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless Device

    Liked by 1 person

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