Readings and Reflection for July 21 Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time


I will rain bread from heaven for you.
A reading from the Book of Exodus (Exodus 16:1-5. 9-15)

The sons of Israel set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the sons of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. And the whole congregation of the sons of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and said to them, “would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.” And Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the sons of Israel, ‘Come near before the LORD, for he has heard your murmurings.” And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the sons of Israel, they looked towards the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud. And the LORD said to Moses, “I have heard the murmurings of the sons of Israel; say to them, ‘at twilight you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.” In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning dew lay around about the camp. And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as hoarfrost on the ground. When the sons of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “what is it?” for they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “it is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat.

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM   Ps 78:18-19.23-24.25-26.27-28 (R. 24b)
R/. The Lord gave them bread from heaven

In their heart they put God to the test
by demanding the food they craved.
They spoke against God and said:
Can God spread a table in the wilderness? R.

Yet he commanded the clouds above,
And opened the gates of  heaven.!
He rained down manna to eat,
And gave them bread from heaven. R.

Man ate the bread of angels.
He sent them abundance of food;
The east wind he stirred up in the heavens,
The south wind he directed by his might., R.

He rained flesh upon them like dust,
Winged fowl like the sands of the sea.
He let it fall in the midst of their camp,
And all around their tents. R.

Alleluia. The seed is the word of God, and the sower is Christ; all who find him will abide for ever. Alleluia.

They brought forth grain a hundred fold.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 13:1-9)

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat there; and the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away. Other seeds fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Today’s Reflection

The Israelites yet again indulge in what they know best: murmur and complain! With every single experience of hardship comes their loss of trust in Yahweh and Moses. They are too selfish to remember the good they have experienced. But Yahweh yet again comes to their rescue: “At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning, you will have bread to your heart’s content…” Sometimes we allow our hearts to become too hardened, too preoccupied with our own selfishness and too vulnerable to the evil one, that we, like the Israelites, forget God’s mighty deeds in our lives and block the growth of the kingdom of God in us (Gospel). We forget that God gives us the air to breathe, water to drink and food to eat every day; he sustains us and protects us from the evil one. The manna of the desert foreshadows the Eucharistic meal. May we never forget the surpassing value of this precious food that he gives us for our spiritual life.


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