You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope. Thomas Merton
Manna as the sustaining gift of God is food that satisfies a deeper hunger—something stronger than the hunger in our bellies. Manna feeds our hunger to be loved—to be seen and known, to have our suffering recognized and our burdens shared. But more even than that, manna feeds our deeper hunger for the courage and compassion to love others—not with our leftovers, but with our first fruits—with sacrifice.
Sometimes the presence of God whispering I will be with you is heard as subtle as a nudge to reach out to someone close by who could use some prayer, or reassurance, or companionship. Sometimes that presence of God is telling us to speak up, to tell the truth, or to seek forgiveness, or to build reconciliation in our lives and in the world. Sometimes the call of the burning bush makes us ask not only Who am I? but Who should I be?
.Jesus—the Son of God, yet fully human—vulnerable, weary, uncertain, and yes just a bit arrogant, shows the disciples—and all of us—that the deep source of true healing is found in the willingness to be changed.
Life is crammed full of disappointments and failures—large and small—and as much as we try to convince ourselves otherwise, you can’t always get what you want.
When we are willing to get over ourselves and to give up trying to arrange our lives around our own desires, when we are willing to release our need to be seen as wise and intelligent and in charge, and to accept the wisdom offered to infants, Jesus is there—offering the yoke made by his own hands that will bind us to him, leading us to follow the voice of the Father who graciously wills a life of abundance created for us before the beginning of time.
Sometimes getting to yes is as simple as letting go of no, and finding that each and every yes—however long it takes to get there—opens us to a life of abundance and blessing beyond anything we could have asked or imagined.
We need to learn again how to share the Good News, just as the disciples had to learn 2000 years ago. But we are not left comfortless.
According to Luke, (and as offered in this painting by Brian Whelan) it must have been a miraculous, stupefying sight for the disciples who reported witnessing Jesus leaving them for the heavens.
It is a wonder and a blessing that our Shepherd King keeps calling us—with a voice we can hear above our own bleating—but he does. He calls us not just into the sheepfold for our own protection but out of our self-focus, our self-interest, and our self-destruction into the one flock of abundant life.