The children of Israel lamented,
“Would that we had meat for food!
We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”
Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its color was like the color of gum resin. The people went around and gathered it, ground it in mills or beat it in mortars, then boiled it in pots and made cakes of it; and the taste of it was like the taste of cakes baked with oil. When the dew fell on the camp in the night, the manna would fall with it.
Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, all at the entrances of their tents. Then the Lord became very angry, and Moses was displeased. So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you treated your servant so badly? Why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? Did I conceive all this people? Did I give birth to them, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a sucking child, to the land that you promised on oath to their ancestors’? Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they come weeping to me and say, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I am not able to carry all this people alone, for they are too heavy for me. If this is the way you are going to treat me, put me to death at once—if I have found favor in your sight—and do not let me see my misery.”
“But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
to follow their own counsels.
O that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
Then I would quickly subdue their enemies,
and turn my hand against their foes.
Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,
and their doom would last forever.
I would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
We think about the Hebrew people in the desert with Moses and wonder if we are any different at all, complaining and crying out for different food. The Israelites knew that God was feeding them miraculously already, yet they didn’t trust.
It seems that we never have enough trust. God always has to prove himself and his power and his love. No matter how many miracles God works, we are never satisfied.
God knows what we need. We read in the Gospel today, in the story of the loaves and fishes, that it is God's desire to feed us and provide for us if we have been faithful to listen to him. Listening to God is an act of faith. Receiving his Word and believing in it is the way we are fed spiritually. And faith is something that we can have in this life that, instead of being consumed and spent, it grows and transforms us into people who come to depend on God in greater and greater ways. It has ultimately, eternal value.
With faith in God, we are no longer little babies crying out for food, but we can be fed by the word and empowered to feed others.
Talking to the Lord may not seem to offer an instant reward but taking time to listen to him and recharge your spirit is the only real satisfaction we can get. Today, let us pray that our confidence in the Lord will grow and that faith in his love will produce for us a harvest of abundance that will satisfy us and all those the Lord gives to us.