Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Ex 16:1-5, 9-15; Ps 78:18,19, 23-28; Mt 13:1-9

“The doors of heaven he opened.”

The children of God tempted the LORD.  We too, tempt the LORD.  We demand the food we crave; not only food but our justice, our rights, our comfort, we still make demands upon the LORD Our God.  The One who made us knows what we need, and this is what the LORD gives us, “bread from heaven.”  In response to our beating on the doors of heaven, the LORD opens the doors of heaven.  Indeed, we eat the bread of angels, food for the body, mind, soul and spirit.  We receive food in abundance and drink from the side of the Rock, who is Christ.  All around our tents the LORD rains down meat upon us like dust, like the sand of the sea.  Could we be better cared for?  Could the LORD be more generous?  We ask for earthly nourishment, and he gives us heavenly bread, His own body and blood.  We seek to quench our thirst, and the LORD floods us with the abundant wisdom of his parables.  The LORD God spreads a table in the desert of our lives.

Only after two months of liberation from the land of Egypt, and the children of Israel are already lamenting.  Liberation is not easy.  Freedom is not free.  Our ancestors learned the hard way, and we still learn the hard way.  The desperate situation of hunger and thirst brought them to near despair.  It was their fear of death that provoked their grumbling against the LORD, and His chosen ones, Moses and Aaron.  They wanted to turn around and return to the fleshpots and have their fill of bread in the land of slavery.  They wanted food, more than freedom.  Can we have freedom without food?  We need both food for the flesh and freedom for the spirit.  Without both, man has no life.  The LORD provides life, abundant life, for those He liberates.  The New Moses, Jesus Christ, takes the urgent grumbling of the whole assembly with him in his flesh upon the altar of the Cross.  There He cries out to the Father, “They know not what they do!”  Still the Father hears his Son, and we are saved, liberated, and nourished all through our perilous journey through the desert.

No one listening to the Parable of the Sower, or as it is sometimes called, the Parable of the Seed, could have avoided a little smile at the very end.  Although they were not all farmers, they were well aware of the wisdom of the day.  Everybody knew that a great harvest was between ten and fifteen percent profit.  Even thirty fold was unheard of and laughable.  This is how a parable works.  It catches you off-guard.  It speaks about the mystery of the kingdom with the language of the common place.  Heaven and earth meet in the everyday event of sowing and harvesting.  Anyone who has ears has the potential to hear, but only those who chuckle will be listening to the unfolding of the mystery of the Kingdom of God.  This method of teaching works well with the crowds and with his opponents who are so often looking for him to trip up in speaking so that they can condemn him for his teaching.  Even the scribes and Pharisees were caught up in his parables.  Even his enemies were invited to repent and believe the good news.  The radically good news that the Kingdom of God has come, and it is as near as your hearing and as close as your heart.