Psalm 78: 3-4, 23-24, 25, 54
“The Lord gave them bread from heaven.”
Our psalm this week is once again
about our spiritual and physical food
that we receive from the Lord.
Just as the Israelites of old were fed
when the Lord 'rained down manna
upon them for food,' so too we are fed
today with the body and blood of our Savior
in the sacrament of the Eucharist.
But are we worthy, are we deserving
of this heavenly food, that comes to us
through the passion of our Lord,
the sacrifice of God's only Son?
Over and over again our spiritual ancestors
turned away from God and were deceitful
despite the 'glorious deeds of the Lord
and the wonders that he wrought' on their behalf.
Must we too be chastised before
we repent and turn back to God?
Our own history isn't much different
from that of our ancestors –
a cycle of divine grace; followed by ingratitude;
then punishment; then renewed generosity.
We are obliged to repeat the history
of our ancestors, and in the end we are
at the mercy of God. In fact without His grace
where would we obtain our 'daily bread'?
Do we grumble until our prayers are answered?
Do we persist in putting God to the test?
Are we grateful for the food we receive
from the Lord? Or are we quick to forget
what the Lord has done for us?
St. Paul tells us (2nd reading) that
we really do need to repent and that
we should 'put away the old self of our
former way of life, corrupted through
deceitful desires, and put on the new self .'
And having done that, we are ready
to receive that precious bread from heaven.
Like the crowd at Capernaum (Gospel),
we plead with Jesus to give of himself
to us each day, so that we may eat of
the bread of life and never hunger again.
Discussion Questions for Reflection
1. Our psalmist promises, "We will declare
to the generation to come the glorious deeds of the Lord ...."
What part have you played in passing on your faith
to the next generation?
2. Our Psalm speaks of the Lord bringing His people
to 'His holy land, to the mountains His right hand has won.'
What does it take for you to be able to climb the mountain of the Lord?