by Jenene Rauth, Notre Dame Associate
The first reading for lays out the difficulties and despair felt by those who traveled with Moses for 40 years. Moses reminds the Jews of the tests God inflicted on them as they struggled through the desert on their long journey to a new land. At times the people complained mightily against God in their hopelessness. Moses, however pushes them hard to see the many blessings God bestowed on them. Are we not at times similar to the Jews who traveled so far in discontent, fear and anger? Do we not rail at times against God, forgetting our many blessings? Yet God, the good parent, never leaves us. He is there when we follow our faith and when we go astray.
Paul, also prods his people to look upon their blessings in a different way. His people may have seen and followed Jesus. They know his great sacrifice for the people.
In the gospel, Jesus states clearly the necessities we face if we wish to be with him someday. "Eat my flesh and drink my blood and you will have everlasting life." Jesus looks back to those desert wanderers who followed Moses and reminds his current audience how his sacrifice saves us. We have the privilege of renewing ourselves with the body and blood at Mass. Is it not the greatest gift we will ever receive?