Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Exodus 16:1-5.9-15; Mathew 13:1-9)
Those old enough to have experienced the gas shortages of the 1970s may remember how people reacted by hoarding the gas that was available. A cartel of oil producers reduced its output so that there was less gas available on the American market. Gas became more expensive, but people did not buy less. Rather they hoarded what was available waiting in line for considerable time to make sure that their gas tanks were always filled. In today’s first reading God wants to see a different kind of response to the shortage of bread that the Israelites experienced in the desert.
Not long after the exodus from Egypt the people food supply runs low. Many start to worry that they would starve and complain that they should never have left captivity. God hears their cries and plans to provide food. But He wants to test the people’s trust in Him by demanding that they do not hoard the bread-like manna that He will send. Rather they are to take only enough bread for their daily ration although twice as much is to be allowed on the sixth day of the week so that they would not have to gather food on the Sabbath.
Fear of not having enough can move people to act greedily. Hoarding is not being prudent but selfish. In times of shortages we need to be especially conscious of the common good and to trust that God will provide for our welfare.