July 31, 2018
A common denominator in our first reading and our gospel reading is that people have a short memory and are never satisfied! In our first reading from the Book of Exodus, God has accomplished a marvelous deed of freeing Israel from Egypt, including the crossing of the Red Sea as Pharaoh’s chariots pursued the fleeing Israelites. Yet, no sooner have they began to enjoy their freedom, the Israelites begin to complain that they were better off in Egypt than to die of famine in the desert. As if God would not be faithful in caring for the people who God had just saved! Despite their complaints and groans, God provides manna and quail for the Israelites to eat, lest they perish.
Similarly in John’s Gospel, the people who have just been fed with the loaves of bread are now asking Jesus for a sign. As if multiplying loaves to feed the thousands of people were not a good enough sign! Yet, Jesus deals with the complainers patiently, explaining that He is the Bread of Life and that He will continue to nourish them with true bread.
Perhaps this week we might try to catch ourselves in our groaning and complaining, and look instead for the hand of God in our lives. Rather than complaining of what we do not have, perhaps we might grow in gratitude for what we have—and trust that God knows what we lack and will provide us with the sustenance that we need.