Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion."

One day St. Teresa of Avila heard someone say: "If only I had lived at the time of Jesus... If only I had seen Jesus... If only I had talked with Jesus..." To this she responded: "But do we not have in the Eucharist the living, true and real Jesus present before us? Why look for more?"

Scripture Text: (EX 16:1-5, 9-15)
The children of Israel set out from Elim,
and came into the desert of Sin,
which is between Elim and Sinai,
on the fifteenth day of the second month
after their departure from the land of Egypt.
Here in the desert the whole assembly of the children of Israel
grumbled against Moses and Aaron.
The children of Israel said to them,
“Would that we had died at the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt,
as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread!
But you had to lead us into this desert
to make the whole community die of famine!”

Then the LORD said to Moses,
“I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.
Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion;
thus will I test them,
to see whether they follow my instructions or not.
On the sixth day, however, when they prepare what they bring in,
let it be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Tell the whole congregation
of the children of Israel:
Present yourselves before the LORD,
for he has heard your grumbling.”
When Aaron announced this to the whole assembly of the children of Israel,
they turned toward the desert, and lo,
the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud!
The LORD spoke to Moses and said,
“I have heard the grumbling of the children of Israel.
Tell them: In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh,
and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread,
so that you may know that I, the LORD, am your God.”

In the evening quail came up and covered the camp.
In the morning a dew lay all about the camp,
and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert
were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground.
On seeing it, the children of Israel asked one another, “What is this?”
for they did not know what it was.
But Moses told them,
“This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.”

Although our faith may fill us, sustain us and guide us, we are not immune to human basic needs. God’s commitment to the dignity and flourishing of all humans was not only through saving this group from Egypt but also providing for them along the way. Our God desires us not only freedom but health as well.

How much can we relate to the grumbling of this group?

It is hard to ignore the pangs of hunger. Once an entire group is grumbling, it can be unbearable. This group was sent out, saved from one kind of oppression only to find them weakened and limited by their humanness. God had promised something to them, but now hot, tired, lonely and hungry in the desert, doubt starts to creep in.

Who are the people in our time who are lost in their own desert journeys who need us to respond to provide spiritual and physical food for the journey?

Imagine that you grew up very poor, and always had to hustle for your next meal. But now you’ve been flown to a wealthy country, and have been taken to a lavish all-you-can-eat buffet for dinner. When you arrive, the host welcomes you in with open arms and a warm smile.

He walks you to the buffet and invites you to eat and drink freely. You’re overwhelmed by the spread—it’s so foreign to you! As you move down the line, you see so many dishes filled with all kinds of new foods. You don’t dare take too much, because you’ve spent your whole life rationing every bite. But your host encourages you not to worry. There will be plenty for tomorrow and the next day as well.

As you help yourself to the first serving, you break into a smile and start laughing heartily. The anxieties that have burdened your heart for so long begin to diminish. As you take up another serving from another plate, you begin to feel peace and contentment.

Where will we find this food? In the Eucharist, of course! Just as the manna seemed to drop from the sky, so the presence of Christ comes down from heaven every time the Mass is celebrated.

“Come without payment or cost (Isaiah 55:1). Come and receive all the good things God has ready for you. There’s always plenty of “food” to keep you satisfied!”

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