Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Sunday Word

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ex 16:2-4, 12-15

God tells Moses that he is going to “rain bread from heaven” on the people and cause quails to even land among them. “At twilight you shall eat meat,” says God, “and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.” That statement sums up the deeper meaning behind the provisions the Lord was supplying. The food was not only to meet their dietary needs, but also to feed them spiritually. In short, the lesson was “one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord."

The Israelites missed the point, however. They craved and preferred the slave food of Egypt to the soul food of the wilderness: “We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at." Far from finding spiritual sustenance, what they found was gastronomic boredom.

We who like variety in our daily ration of food can perhaps sympathize with them. From a purely dietary standpoint their menu probably was just a bit monotonous. But their comment suggests that they wanted some come and go in their relationship with God. They weren’t all that interested in the steady, ongoing relationship that committed them to unwavering faithfulness to God. When it came to their religious lives, there was a good bit of “let’s see what else is on the menu” in their attitudes.

The same could be said of us. God has provisioned us with so many sources of divine nourishment — prayer, spiritual reading, Eucharist, fasting, mediation, etc. Yet sometimes we consider those things with a take-it-or-leave-it mindset.

As we are sent into the world, let us remember that God does not promise us an easy road.
But God is with us. God does not provide us with all that we desire. But God provides manna.God does not promise us a trouble-free life. But God provides eternal life through Jesus Christ, who goes with us, as we serve the world in Christ’s name.

May the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit be glorified in all place through the Immaculate Virgin Mary. Amen.