Greetings on this the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Ex 16:2-4, 12-15; Ps 78:3-4, 23-24, 25, 54; Eph 4:17, 20-24; Jn 6:24-35
Notes: We live in an age of discontent. Sociologist talk about rising and/or unrealistic expectations, generational wealth gaps, as well as, the progress and regression in the social contract.
For those of us who trust in the Lord, we have difficulty in understanding the gifts given us.
First the Manna then the Eucharist.
- Manna was a thing given and rejected. This bread meant for the entirety of the journey to the promised land.
- Eucharist is a person given and rejected. This bread meant for the entirety of the journey until the end of times.
How do we break through our own worst instincts?
As the responsorial psalm says: The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
At first the Manna and Quail were received gratefully.
It wasn’t long after that the joy turned to Contempt of the Familiar.
The Manna and the Quail.
“so the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in the wilderness, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!” Num 21:5
On the quail, ten homers of quail is equal to 10 donkeys fully loaded down with quail to carry. A huge amount. An excessive amount.
But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it could be chewed, the LORD’s wrath flared up against the people, and the LORD struck them with a very great plague. Num 11:33.
The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
- We need to declare to the generation to come the glorious deeds of the LORD and his strength and the wonders that he wrought.
- We need to declare that He commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven; he rained manna upon them for food and gave them heavenly bread.
Leveraging the Quail story above (ten homers of quail).
[We need to] put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.
This is the cure for Contempt of the Familiar.
One does not live on bread alone,
but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
There is but one word from God, a perpetual word: The name of Jesus.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (Jn 1:1).
The gospel portion today shows how we can place natural good above the divine good the Lord has planned for us.
They seem to be saying: Give us this bread and leave us alone, translated, give us the power to produce the bread like Moses did and then we have no need for you.
Jesus addresses the core issue.
He is the very bread you should desire. Not to possess and hoard like the Quail.
But to encounter and cojourney with him.
Cure for Contempt of the Familiar:
- Praise God his care for us.
- Recall his mighty deeds.
- Put away the former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires.
- Be renewed in the spirit of your minds, righteousness and holiness of truth.
Then the Eucharist will be for the individual what it is objectively already.
Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”
Thanksgiving, life saving bread, that is Jesus.
Peace be with you,