I know that I’ve never been actually hungry. Food is all around me and I can take it at any time. But when I hear Moses say “He let you be afflicted with hunger, then fed you with manna….that you might know that not by bread alone does one live, but by every word from the mouth of God” I really resonate with that. I have counted calories and dragged myself away from the table and fought off food cravings just about every day of my adult life. I think I know what it is to be hungry, to go to bed hungry, to fixate on food and dream about it.
Today Moses tells the Hebrew people who lived and hungered with him in the desert all those years to remember what it was like when they were utterly dependent on God for the astonishing manna—a food unknown to their parents—sent from the sky six days a week to heal their hunger.
That’s where hunger can take you—weak enough to be ready to accept the gift of healing which God alone can give. This manna wasn’t what they were used to. It came from the sky and was probably some sort of chewy dew. They were grateful to accept it, and their bodies were made strong with it, and there are no accounts of a single one of them dying of hunger during the 40-year sojourn.
So on this day of gratitude we process, hungry, towards the Body and Blood of Jesus. We remember our hunger, and who alone can heal it. Come to the feast.
Can you remember any experiences of the power of the Eucharist in your life?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).