Monday of the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Memorial Feast: Saint Eusebius of Vercelli—Bishop (283-+371), Patron Saint of Vercelli, Italy
Book of Numbers 11:4b-15, Psalm 81:12-13, 14-15, 16-17, & Matthew 14:13-21
'Gathering Manna' by James Tissot, circa 1896-1902
My mother, and most probably yours as well, used to remind us to “Be thankful for what you have” whenever we would begin to complain about what we didn’t have. I was reminded of this saying from the first reading of the day.
The Israelites are roaming around the desert, working their way to the Promised Land. They are learning to be dependent on God. First, they grumble about water, and now they complain about the food. They weren’t hungry, but they weren’t satisfied. They had full stomachs, but they craved greater variety and “better” food than what the manna provided.
Were the Israelites intentionally ungrateful, unsatisfied, and unwilling to accept the gift they received for what it was and not what they wanted it to be? They were just humans, reacting on a sensory level instead of a spiritual level. They were overly concerned with the immediate and did not have enough concern for the bigger picture. They were so misled by the desire to have better food that they forgot the price they paid for the food was the loss of their freedom?
I suspect that we, too, at times, have an attitude like the Israelites. Many of us have had this attitude of not being thankful for what we have. Or, better yet, we want more. I suppose most of us forget at times that all we have, our names, our families, our jobs, our wealth, our faith, and our very existence, are gifts from God. Yet, we still crave bigger, better, and more. We forget that all we receive is from God. One lesson from the wandering in the desert is God will provide all we need.
Friends, we need to accept the truth that we need to be thankful for what we have, and that is a priceless gift. We should rejoice in its simple power and be conscious of our gratitude.
Question of the Day: Can you be genuinely grateful for what you have and remind others to do the same?
Prayer: “One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."