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 alternatives. At one time chicken was most families’ favorite food. They reserved it for Sunday dinner after church to crown their day of leisure. Today, with mass (and inhumane) poultry farming, chicken has become relatively inexpensive. Many families prefer steak or salmon for special occasions. In the first reading something similar is brewing.
The Israelites have grown tired of the manna which they have had to eat it every day. They return to Moses with the absurd complaint that they would have been better off in Egypt. Moses then goes up to the Lord perplexed about what to do. He knows that the people should be grateful. At the same time he realizes that they are still not holy, still not truly the Lord’s. Moses himself betrays a 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. Rather holiness is going against the grain of human pride to give oneself completely to God. It is overcoming the tendency to see ourselves as entitled and recognizing everything as a blessing from God. Then it is becoming a blessing to others.