Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Numbers 11:4b-15; Matthew 14:13-21)
When a commodity becomes plentiful and cheap, people are likely to look for more costly alternatives. At one time chicken was most families’ favorite fare mostly reserved for Sunday dinner. Today, by contrast, with mass (and inhumane) methods of poultry farming, it has become relatively inexpensive, and many families prefer steak or salmon on special occasions. In the first reading something similar is brewing.
The Hebrews have grown tired of manna. Having to eat it every day, they return to Moses with the complaint that they should have stayed in Egypt. Moses goes to the Lord with the dilemma. He may think that the people should be grateful to have sustenance along with their freedom, but he knows that they are still not holy, still not truly the Lord’s. Perhaps Moses himself betrays the same rebellious spirit as he attempts to weasel out of God’s service.
Holiness is a matter of being different. But the difference is not being individualistic. Holiness is going against the grain of human sinfulness that hankers after pride, pleasure, and power. It is overcoming the tendency to see ourselves as all-important, thanking God as the source of our blessings, and then becoming a blessing to others.