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18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
O God, come to my assistance;
O Lord, make haste to help me!
You are my rescuer, my help;
O Lord, do not delay. Ps 70 (69):2, 6
(When it is prescribed, this hymn is either said or sung:)
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people of...
Daily Meditation: Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15
Would that we had died at the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, as we . . . ate our fill of bread! (Exodus 16:3)
As the old saying goes, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” It’s better to have a sure thing than to hope for something better that’s not guaranteed. That seems to capture the Israelites’ complaint to Moses. They would rather be enslaved in Egypt and have enough to eat than trust God to lead them to the Promised Land. After all, they are hungry!
It might seem shortsighted. God had just freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. He parted the Red Sea for them to pass through and provided water in the desert. Why didn’t they trust him to take care of them? Why were their sights set so low, on such immediate needs?
The short answer is, it’s human nature. The needs that loom before us can make us forget God’s faithfulness. It’s like the crowd following Jesus in today’s Gospel: they searched for him, not because they had seen healings and miracles, but because he had filled their bellies (John 6:26). Even when Jesus told them that he was the “bread of God,” the One who came down from heaven to give life to the world, they still seemed preoccupied with physical food (6:33).
It can be hard to trust that in the long term, God will bring good out of a hard situation when all we want is relief. It can be a challenge to remember his promises when all we can see is what we’re lacking. We need a sign of God’s faithfulness, a reminder that he takes care of us.
The Eucharist is that reminder. Day after day, Jesus offers himself: the Bread come down from heaven. So today, when you receive Communion, place those pressing needs before the Lord. Receive him and know that he has you in the palm of his hand.
“Lord Jesus, you are the Bread of Life. Help me hunger for the food that endures.”
Psalm 78:3-4, 23-25, 54
Ephesians 4:17, 20-24
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