18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
It seems to be a natural human tendency to begin something new with energy and enthusiasm...then the path begins to get long and difficult...our energy and excitement seem to dry up...we begin to doubt our initial commitment and wonder whether or not the change is really worth it...then we slowly fall back into the way things used to be - not because the old way was better, but simply because we were familiar with it, which makes it easier. That's the experience of the Israelites in the first reading, and in response God gives them manna, bread from heaven, food for the journey, so that they have the strength to continue down this new and better (but not easier) path. Jesus is the new Bread from heaven, the Food for our journey toward heaven here on earth. Every Mass, if we have eyes to see, we receive this Food and are given just enough strength to walk another week on our journey: away from our old (but easy and familiar) bad habits, and toward our God and our better selves.