The rabble among them had a strong craving; and the Israelites also wept again, and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”
Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its color was like the color of gum resin. The people went around and gathered it, ground it in mills or beat it in mortars, then boiled it in pots and made cakes of it; and the taste of it was like the taste of cakes baked with oil. When the dew fell on the camp in the night, the manna would fall with it. Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, all at the entrances of their tents.
Then the Lord became very angry, and Moses was displeased. So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you treated your servant so badly? Why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? Did I conceive all this people? Did I give birth to them, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a sucking child,’ to the land that you promised on oath to their ancestors?
Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they come weeping to me and say, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I am not able to carry all this people alone, for they are too heavy for me. If this is the way you are going to treat me, put me to death at once—if I have found favor in your sight—and do not let me see my misery.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
I find the Isrealites in this first reading so very relatable. They have just been given what they deeply longed for, freedom and nourishment, and yet they complain for more. They want not just food, but delicious food. I get it! I can think of so many moments of longing in my life. As I look back, those needs were generously met by God, and yet I still find more to long for and more to complain about.
This first reading and the Gospel (Mt 14:13-21) both remind us that God feeds us. Whether we are grateful or not, we are sustained with God’s love. We are not taken care of because we notice or remember, but noticing and remembering also sustains us. If God has given us what we need in the past, faithfulness tells us God will do it again and again.
—Megan Agliano teaches in religious studies at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix, AZ.
God of care, help me to rest in the gifts you have given me. Save me from the distraction of my longing. Thank you for all the ways I have been fed and nourished by you. Amen.
—Megan AglianoPlease share the Good Word with your friends!