Monday, August 7, 2017

Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

(Numbers 11:4b-15; Matthew 14:13-21)

People’s complaining about government services has a long history.  Today citizens expect a host of benefits – education of children, protection from mercantile fraud as well as the building of roads and the defense from foreign powers.  The first reading today shows what people in Moses’ day demanded.

The Israelites have become tired of eating manna.  Although it provides them calories, they evidently find it bland to the taste.  In any case because it is all they have to eat, they have begun to abhor it.  They take their case against God to Moses, his representative.  “Give us something else;” they demand, “it was better for us in Egypt.”

We might call the people ungrateful for forgetting the drudgery of life in the old country.  But God is more understanding.  He will provide meat to enhance their diet.  Much more significantly, in time he will send his Son Jesus to feed them the Bread of Life.  In today’s gospel Jesus gives his listeners a foretaste of the banquet to come.  The people receive sustenance for the journey home.  One day they will remember this ersatz meal as like the Eucharist.  In that meal they will be nourished spiritually so that they may experience eternal life.