Ordinary Time, 18th Sunday. Long-distance travel brings out the worst in the Israelites. They grumble against Moses because they are hungry. God feeds them with quail and manna, “so that you may know that I, the Lord, am your God.” In the Gospel Jesus reminds us that it was not Moses who fed the people but God the Father who “gives you the true bread from heaven.” Too easily we forget that God himself feeds us.
I recently came back from a trip to South Dakota. Of all the things I saw on the trip, the most amazing was the buffalo. They are born naked, homeless and hungry, and God takes care of them. However, the buffalo cannot thank God for their food. We can. We are the creature that must recognize its creator and thank God on behalf of all creation. I remember when I was young we used to say grace before meals. It was a constant reminder to us that God was the true source of everything. The buffalo are easily satisfied. A little water and a mouthful of grass and they want nothing more. Humans are not. Even a great meal will not satisfy us. We search for something more. God has fed us with food and drink so that we might know that He is our God and might trust Him to provide not only our bodily needs, but our spiritual as well. This is what we mean when we say, Bless us O Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from thy bounty through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(5 Aug 2012)