Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Moses, a model for the parents
Here in the desert the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “Would that we had died at the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread! But you had to lead us into this desert to make the whole community die of famine!” Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will now rain down bread from heaven for you. Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion …On the sixth day …let it be twice as much …The Lord spoke to Moses and said …”in the evening twilight you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread …” In the evening quail came up and covered the camp. In the morning a dew lay all about the camp… Moses told them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. Ex 16,2-5.11-15
About twenty years ago we received a booklet on the Moses’ life, written by the cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, which made us particularly thinking, because, in those pages, we found a lot of similarities with the lives of two parents as we were. We were struck, in particular, by the list of the services which Moses had to do to serve the jewish people during the forty years of travel in the desert before reaching the Promised Land. These are the same which the christian parents have to carry on with their children, to have them growing humanly and in the faith, to become adults christian. These are: the service of the water and of the bread, the service of the responsibility, the one of the intercessory prayer, that one of the consolation in the difficult times and the guide service to understand the word of God. The today’s passage tells us of the “service of the water and of the bread”. When the jews were slaves in Egypt, the Pharaoh assured their food as the wage for the work done from the rise until the sunset. Then, they fled across the Red Sea and, in the desert, they have experienced the price of the freedom: to have to provide for themselves. In the today reading they are complaining to have been released by Moses and Aaron: ” Would that we had died at the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread! But you had to lead us into this desert to make the whole community die of famine!”. The Lord who, at the prayer of Moses, has already arise for the jews the water from the rock, now sends to them their bread and meat in the form of manna and quails. Also the parents have the duty to ensure and to pray the Lord for the needs of the children, as Moses did. It was our commitment for many years, starting from the fact that we have been open to the life without too many calculations, but the Lord has behaved like a great gentleman: he has always provided to our needs via the ordinary work, and when this was not sufficient, through extraordinary means. He operated as in the passage today: by sending the necessary day by day and, when the needs were great, even more, as he did with the Jews on the sabbath day.