AD SENSE

16th Week, Wednesday, July 20

16th Week, Wednesday, July 20

Exodus 16:1-5, 9-15 / Matthew 13:1-9 

God feeds his people; Quail covered the camp.

The appearance of quail in the Israelite camp was once scoffed at by some Bible readers. History and a knowledge of nature, however, have shed surprising new light on this episode. Years ago National Geographic Magazine carried this remarkable bit of information about the Sinai desert: "Every year great migrations of quail wing their way across the Mediterranean and Red Sea en route between Europe and Africa. Even today Bedouin of the Sinai Peninsula catch the exhausted birds after their long flight over the water." Some readers think God took advantage of ordinary events like this to feed his people in their sojourn across the Sinai desert.

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Have we ever sensed the presence of God's providential hand in the ordinary events of our own lives? "Not one [sparrow] falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge." Matthew 10:29

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 It is quite likely that the delicious manna was not as plentiful and frequent as the epic description of Exodus seems to imply. But the authors bring out its theological meaning. When food is scarce and always the same, when the Hebrews cry out for the false securities of Egypt, every day enough manna “rains from heaven” for the needs of the day. Thus, the Hebrews experience that God cares and that they are in his hands. He sustains them on the arduous road to freedom. God gives them – and us – what we need every day. We are not to worry about tomorrow.

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The grass on the other side always seems to be greener. Or so it seems. Until we get there. And then the grass from where we came from would seem to be much better and greener and then we will start comparing again, and wishing we could go back there. We have to admit that we are often not satisfied and contented with where we are at and with what we have and we keep imagining there is a better place elsewhere. 

In the 1st reading, we heard that the Israelites had their freedom from slavery in Egypt. But now out in the wilderness, they began to complain about hunger and the lack of food. Just hardly two months after they had left Egypt and now, they were saying that slavery in Egypt was better than freedom in the wilderness. The Israelites have a long way to go in order to learn that the Lord is their God, and that whether it was in Egypt or in the wilderness, the Lord God is teaching them something. We too, have a long way to go in order to learn that the Lord is our God in whatever situations we are in and wherever we are at.

We may find ourselves on the edge of the path of life; we may feel that we are on rocky ground; we may find ourselves getting mangled by the thorns of life. But there is always a reason for where we are at and the difficulties we are experiencing. Yet, even in the face of difficulties and challenges, we are fed with God's grace and given strength to produce a harvest in spite of adverse conditions. 

So let us listen to God's Word, let us be filled with the Bread of Life and let us produce a harvest of joy. 

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We start today a new section of instructions given by Jesus: Seven parables. The first four are addressed to the people, the next three to the disciples. They are all about the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. The sower calls on the people to be ready to receive the mysteries. Why is it that the kingdom is not received as one might expect? It is not the fault of the sower. Never has there been a better preacher than Jesus. He prepared every sermon of his. He was never dry but full of stories and pictures. It is not the fault of the seed The seed is the word of God It is not the fault of the climate. God gave the rain and sunshine. The fruit bringing grace, the love of God was always there. It is the soil that was not prepared. The soil did not allow its word to take root. It was only for superficial acceptance of the word. Even when there was good soil, there were those who were satisfied with thirty per cent. Some did well. They produced a sixty per cent crop. Only the saints allowed the seed to take hold of their whole person. They worked together with grace and produced a hundred per cent result.

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Jesus refers to the manna as a figure of the Eucharist, which sustains us on the road of life and does not allow death. God looks for good soil to sow his seeds of life. Do we have hearts of stone in which nothing grows? Or hearts, open to the good news, but so overgrown with weeds of constant worrying about the cares of life and things that do not matter that no time is left to cultivate the growth in us of God’s life and love? Let us ask in this eucharist that we may yield a rich harvest, like the prophet Jeremiah.

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Prayer: God of might and tender care, in the gift of life, in our daily food on the table, in the fragile freedom we enjoy, we recognize your provident hand. Give us the wisdom and strength not to seek a hollow security of things that are only provisional, but to move forward in search of lasting values: the freedom of the justice and love of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen