As I relax on the pristine sands of Newport Beach, I write this article and think of you trapped in the unforgiving fog belt of San Francisco. Hang in there; relief will come in a few weeks. Gazing off into the cloudless blue-lined horizon, I give thanks to God for the warm sun that scatters its balmy rays over me and literally bakes into my skin. As the waves lap over the coastline, I remember, however, that the greatest of God’s gifts are ever expanding. Though the Lord gives us the beautiful sun, for example, his truest and best gift is the light of the world, Jesus Christ.
The gospel reading this weekend shores up this truth. In the days of Moses, God gave manna to his people starving in the desert. Fine flakes like hoarfrost appeared on the ground each morning after the early dew had evaporated. More than mere deposits of frozen water vapor, however, the gift consisted of tiny particles of bread that actually fed the “hangry” Israelites. Later, after leading the tribes into the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey, the Lord expanded this gracious gift, giving them instead a fertile land rich with fruits, vines, grains, and livestock, which satisfied their hunger even more completely.
In the fullness of time, however, God expanded his already-generous gift even further. “I am the living bread that came down from heaven,” Jesus said in the gospel reading today. “Whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” Once again, the Lord outdid himself.
Though we can never outdo God in generosity, we can follow his lead and work to increase our gifts of time in prayer, energy in service, and treasure in financial giving back to him. After all, we do no less than magnify the Lord when we seek to expand our offering in honor of him who gives us everything.
--Father Roger Gustafson, Pastor
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