Today’s reading from Exodus 16: 1-5, 9-15 about the Lord providing manna from heaven for the Israelites to eat in the desert when they were fleeing the Egyptians got me thinking about a great children’s book, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett.
When Fr. Kauffman was giving his homily at Mass this evening, he mentioned that when he was around five or six years old and heard this story from the Old Testament he pictured huge chunks of bread falling out of the sky.
I wonder if the Bible story was part of the inspiration for the classic children’s book in which the people get all of their food and drink from the sky. It is a very interesting concept to think that the Lord would shower down food.
Actually, Fr. Kauffman shared with us this evening that there is a natural explanation for the flakes covering the ground each morning. The secretions of certain insects covered the ground in a sweet, sticky paste that you could eat if you got to it early in the morning before the ants carried it away. Fr. Kauffman witnessed this phenomenon when he spent a week living in the Sinai Desert.
This I found interesting, along with the fact that the freed slaves complained about having nothing but this to eat, so the Lord sent quail down each evening so they could have their fill of meat at well. To be honest, I guess it sort of surprises me that the Lord not only gives them what they need to live, but that He also provides them with something they want, but don’t really need as one of the ways He shows He is Lord. Or maybe it’s that I’m wondering why God gives into their whining (or ours for that matter).
Part of God being a tender, loving, compassionate Father is that He not only provides for our most basic needs, but He often gives us over and above what is essential to get by so that we may share it with others.
I can almost hear the Israelites complaining about being led out of one really bad situation where at least they had decent food into a not-so-comfortable-but-certainly-way-way-better situation in which the selection of entrees wasn’t quite as varied. I am certainly guilty of being grateful that the Lord has brought me through some tough time, only to return to grumbling the next minute about the latest hardship I’m faced with.
In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, the citizens are forced to abandon their town of Chew-and-Swallow when the food starts falling from the sky in gigantic portions that flatten buildings and create a disaster area. They sail away on stale bread to another place where it just rains rain and snows snow, and they have to get their food and drinks from grocery stores. It takes some getting used to, just like it did for the Israelites, just like it does for us when we’re nudged or downright pushed into changing, but it’s still true that “all things work for good for those who love God.” Romans 8 :28
Lord, please help us to be grateful for the blessings You shower upon us each day. Teach us to praise You in every circumstance and through all kinds of weather. Amen.