On Tuesday Mar 24th we learned that we will not be able to have public Masses at least through mid-April, meaning that as a parish we will not be able to observe Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, or Easter week. The Easter Vigil is my favorite Mass of the year, especially when all of the readings are included! The third reading is Exodus 14 with the crossing of the Red Sea, and the “Psalm” following that reading is the song of Exodus 15.
The Israelites rejoiced at their salvation. The Egyptians had them trapped and wanted to kill or re-enslave them. God saved them in a most unexpected way.
Verses 14-16 describe the reaction of the other peoples who hear of this salvation. God is trying to reveal Himself to all peoples, not just the Israelites.
Vs 16 refers to the Israelites as the people whom God has purchased. This is called redemption. Remember redeeming a soda bottle? Coke owns the bottle, and we are holding on to it. The store redeems the bottle from us for a price. The Israelites were God’s people, but were being held by the Egyptians. God payed a price of saving actions to the Egyptians to redeem the Israelites.
The water is bitter and undrinkable, as the Nile had been undrinkable. The LORD shows Moses a tree that cures the water. The LORD is trying to teach the people the importance of listening to Him — we shall see how that goes!
The people grumble against Moses, and God delivers oodles of quail for the evening, and a steady supply of manna. The quail likely were on a migration route, and were exhausted from having crossed the sea. This is a natural annual event. The miracle comes from their migration taking place that particular day.
The manna comes overnight so that it can be gathered in the morning. “Man hu” is Hebrew for “What is it”? So, “manna” means “what is it”? The manna is God’s gift for the 40 years the Israelites will be in the desert — it stops when they enter the promised land. Manna is the bread from heaven that the Israelites will remember as a sign that God will provide for their needs even when it seems impossible.
In the book of Deuteronomy 8:3 God cautions that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Jesus quotes this to Satan, as we heard on the first Sunday of Lent. Jesus, the real bread from heaven and the real Word of God, gives us Himself in both ways we most desperately need! In these sad days when we cannot receive the bread from heaven in the form of bread, let’s turn even more to the Word of God — reading and pondering the Bible, conversing with Him in prayer......
Fr Jim Dubrouillet
on Wednesday, March 25 at 6:00AM