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WEDNESDAY OF THE SIXTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Ex 16: 1‐5, 9‐15;

Ps 78: 18‐19, 23‐24, 25‐28;

Mt 13: 1‐9


BE OPEN TO RECEIVE


God is a God Who provides for those who are prepared to receive God’s goodness. The First Reading takes place just one month after the Exodus from Egypt. By now the food that the Israelites had taken from Egypt is exhausted. They begin to complain to Moses (and God) that when they were slaves in Egypt, they at least had food to eat, now they are not sure from where their next meal is going to come.


They seem to have forgotten how God worked mighty signs and wonders (the ten plagues, the “parting” of the Sea, the destruction of the Egyptian army) all within the last few months. Even in the midst of their complaints, God has compassion on them and shows divine providence by providing “manna” and quail to eat. “Manna” was a flour‐like substance that appeared every day on the surface of the desert of Sin (a name associated with Mt. Sinai, not called that because of the grumbling of the Israelites – although their grumbling could be considered “sin” in our understanding). Manna was able to be made into bread. The quail, also another natural occurring phenomenon in the desert of Sin, gives the Israelites evening food. What is miraculous is not that manna and quail appear, but that the quantities of both which are present throughout the seasons of the year and for the many years of the Israelites’ journey through the desert.



In the Gospel, Jesus instructs the people using a familiar teaching tool – a parable. Today’s parable is that of the sower sowing the seed. Some of the seeds which fall to the ground and land on the hardened pathways where they are gobbled up by birds. Other seeds settle on rocky ground where they are not able to sink deep roots. The seeds that find themselves among the thorns are choked and prevented from growing. That seeds which end up in the rich, fertile soil bear a rich harvest and return many times as much grain as is planted.

As I reflect on the readings, I am struck by the efforts of God in getting across the message of the extent of God’s love. God wants people to develop a relationship with the Divine Being. In the Book of Exodus, God has saved the Chosen People and led them out of slavery, and they begin to forget the goodness of the Lord. They cannot see beyond their immediate desires – for food. Because their supply of food is running out, they do not remember that God has promised to lead them to the Promised Land.


The Gospel also relates a message of God’s willingness to produce rich blessings within people, but because of the external circumstances of people’s lives, the fullness of God’s benefits is not always able to be produced. God wants the best for the people who are called, which is everyone.


We realize that we are not much different than the Israelites of old. We too, complain when things do not go as we plan. We worry about what is happening in our lives rather than trusting in God’s providence. When our supplies get low (whether the supplies be physical, spiritual, emotional, financial), we start to doubt that our needs will be met.

We forget how God has provided for us in the past and how the Lord Jesus has promised to not only give us a return on our investment of time and energy, but to do it thirty, sixty, and hundred times as much.


The difficult challenge for us is to focus not on what we don’t have or have in apparently small quantities, but rather to look to the Lord Jesus Who gives abundantly to those who are fertile soil for God’s gifts. This means that we must prepare ourselves to receive God’s goodness by turning over the ground of my life, letting the fresh air of God’s Spirit and the precipitation of God’s love sink into our depths.


We must sometimes allow the stinky fertilizer (manure) of life make our life more ready to accept the gifts from God. That is not easy. It is not always a pleasant experience while we are been prepared as a soil ready to accept God’s seed – The Word of God. Yet, the more that we allow ourselves to be primed for God’s action, the richer will be the harvest we will experience.


Let us reflect on God’s providence, not only in good times (although all times are good times, if we open our eyes to see God’s action), but in bad times as well. Let us keep our eyes focused on the benevolence of God. And let us realize that all experience can help us prepare for God’s planting the divine gifts in us which will produce a rich harvest for the Lord Jesus and His Father.


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