Moses said to the people: ‘Remember how the Lord your God led you for forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, to test you and know your inmost heart – whether you would keep his commandments or not. He humbled you, he made you feel hunger, he fed you with manna which neither you nor your fathers had known, to make you understand that man does not live on bread alone but that man lives on everything that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
‘Do not become proud of heart. Do not forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery: who guided you through this vast and dreadful wilderness, a land of fiery serpents, scorpions, thirst; who in this waterless place brought you water from the hardest rock; who in this wilderness fed you with manna that your fathers had not known.’
The First reading at Mass today, the feast of Corpus Christi, refers us to God’s feeding of Israel with manna, during their long journey from enslavement to the Promised Land. The food and the journey are viewed by Christians as types for, anticipations that will be fulfilled by, the Eucharist and our salvation in Christ.
The gift we receive is greater than that offered to Israel. And yet the fruitfulness of our reception of it lies equally in doubt.
The feast of Corpus Christi provides us with further reason to pause and take stock on how carefully we receive the gifts of God and how we try to live them for our good and the good of all.
Detail from altar and sanctuary in chapel of St Bernadette, Lourdes. (c) 2016, Allen Morris