4th Week of Lent
Sunday, 31st March 2019
Josh. 5:9,10-12; Ps. 34(33):2-3,4-5,6-7; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; Lk. 15:1-3,11-32 (Ps Wk IV)
The manna in the desert was a very concrete sign of God’s special providence for Israel at a difficult time in their journey. The manna was a very special grace. The Book of Joshua records, however, that the manna ceased and Israel had to begin to live from the produce of the land.
God’s special providence manifested through the gift of manna, had to give way to God’s ordinary providence, manifested through creation and nature. At the beginning, they only had unleavened cakes and parched grain. This must have seemed very poor fare indeed compared with the heavenly manna. With hard work and diligence, however, the land would eventually produce much better food — the milk and honey promised by God: “a land flowing with milk and honey.”
This account of the cessation of the manna provides us with an enlightening parable for our spiritual lives. At times of difficulty we will indeed experience God’s providence in the form of special graces corresponding to urgent needs. In the daily run of our lives, however, God’s providence will be manifested in an ordinary way, through the sacraments of the Church, through our own prayer and Christian behaviour and, in times like Lent, through our practices of fasting and abstinence.
Lord, may we experience Your gracious providence in the ordinariness of our daily lives.