Ex 16:2-4, 12-15
Eph 4:17, 20-24
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Human hunger is deeper than the physical, and the readings today point to Christ as the Bread of Life. He is foretold by the manna and continues to provide our “daily bread” in the Eucharist.
In his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI states that “Development must include not just material growth but also spiritual growth” (n. 76). Today’s readings help us to focus on both realities and on the interrelationship between the two.
Moreover, they focus us on the fact that the spiritual growth we acquire in Christ, the Bread of Life, impels us to take on a whole new way of life, in which life itself is affirmed generously and the ways of the culture of death are rejected.
Embracing life, particularly amidst economic difficulties, requires the kind of trust in God and human solidarity experienced by the Israelites on their journey in the desert. It requires the kind of trust, furthermore, that the promises of Christ inspire in his words in today’s Gospel.
Drawing again from the encyclical Caritas in Veritate, we find this summary of these truths:
“Development needs Christians with their arms raised towards God in prayer, Christians moved by the knowledge that truth-filled love, caritas in veritate, from which authentic development proceeds, is not produced by us, but given to us. For this reason, even in the most difficult and complex times, besides recognizing what is happening, we must above all else turn to God's love. Development requires attention to the spiritual life, a serious consideration of the experiences of trust in God, spiritual fellowship in Christ, reliance upon God's providence and mercy, love and forgiveness, self-denial, acceptance of others, justice and peace. All this is essential if “hearts of stone” are to be transformed into “hearts of flesh” (Ezek 36:26), rendering life on earth “divine” and thus more worthy of humanity. All this is of man, because man is the subject of his own existence; and at the same time it is of God, because God is at the beginning and end of all that is good, all that leads to salvation: “the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours; and you are Christ's; and Christ is God's” (1 Cor 3:22-23). Christians long for the entire human family to call upon God as “Our Father!” In union with the only-begotten Son, may all people learn to pray to the Father and to ask him, in the words that Jesus himself taught us, for the grace to glorify him by living according to his will, to receive the daily bread that we need, to be understanding and generous towards our debtors, not to be tempted beyond our limits, and to be delivered from evil (cf. Mt 6:9-13)” (n. 79).