Jubilee, Day 7

“Jubilee, Day 7”
©️2021 by Gloria M. Chang

As manna rained in the wilderness

Then the Lord said to Moses: I am going to rain down bread from heaven for you. Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion; thus will I test them, to see whether they follow my instructions or not. On the sixth day, however, when they prepare what they bring in, let it be twice as much as they gather on the other days.

Morning after morning they gathered it, as much as each needed to eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted away. On the sixth day they gathered twice as much food, two omers for each person. When all the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses, he told them, “That is what the Lord has prescribed. Tomorrow is a day of rest, a holy sabbath of the Lord. Whatever you want to bake, bake; whatever you want to boil, boil; but whatever is left put away and keep until the morning.” When they put it away until the morning, as Moses commanded, it did not stink nor were there worms in it. Moses then said, “Eat it today, for today is the sabbath of the Lord. Today you will not find any in the field. Six days you will gather it, but on the seventh day, the sabbath, it will not be there.” Still, on the seventh day some of the people went out to gather it, but they did not find any. Then the Lord said to Moses: How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and my instructions? Take note! The Lord has given you the sabbath. That is why on the sixth day he gives you food for two days. Each of you stay where you are and let no one go out on the seventh day. After that the people rested on the seventh day.

Exodus 16:4-5, 21-30

The land will produce bountifulness

But during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath of complete rest, a sabbath for the Lord, when you may neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. The aftergrowth of your harvest you shall not reap, nor shall you pick the grapes of your untrimmed vines. It shall be a year of rest for the land. While the land has its sabbath, all its produce will be food to eat for you yourself and for your male and female slave, for your laborer and the tenant who live with you, and likewise for your livestock and for the wild animals on your land. 

This fiftieth year is your year of jubilee; you shall not sow, nor shall you reap the aftergrowth or pick the untrimmed vines, since this is the jubilee. It shall be sacred for you. You may only eat what the field yields of itself. 

Observe my statutes and be careful to keep my ordinances, so that you will dwell securely in the land. The land will yield its fruit and you will eat your fill, and live there securely. And if you say, “What shall we eat in the seventh year, if we do not sow or reap our crop?” I will command such a blessing for you in the sixth year that there will be crop enough for three years, and when you sow in the eighth year, you will still be eating from the old crop; even into the ninth year, until the crop comes in, you will still be eating from the old crop.

Leviticus 25:4-7, 11-12, 18-22

One does not live by bread alone

Self-sufficiency and productivity are not ends in the kingdom of God. The illusion of self-sufficiency lured Adam and Eve into grasping the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil against the divine will, wounding the relationship between humankind and God (Genesis 3). 

In the futile hope of unifying the human race without God, men puffed up by their technological prowess vainly sought to build a self-sufficient city and tower out of bricks and mortar (Genesis 11:1-9).

Bricks of straw became the last straw in the showdown between the God of Moses and Pharaoh who refused to grant the Israelites three days to sacrifice to the Lord in the wilderness (Exodus 5). Pharaoh’s idol of self-sufficient productivity precipitated ten plagues and the drowning of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea.

If production is not an end, neither is consumption: 

He therefore let you be afflicted with hunger, and then fed you with manna, a food unknown to you and your ancestors, so you might know that it is not by bread alone that people live, but by all that comes forth from the mouth of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 8:3

One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

Matthew 4:4

Jesus Christ, the Bread and Word of Life, came to satisfy the deepest hunger of humankind. God is the “glue” that binds the human race and all creatures. Godless self-sufficiency and productivity end in despair.

As manna rained in the wilderness,
The land will produce bountifulness.

4 Replies to “Jubilee, Day 7”

  1. Eat it today, God told them.
    Would they trust
    for tomorrow’s manna rain?
    Do not store any manna.
    Would they obey
    or look at his plan with disdain?
    What is this, they cried,
    No figs, or apples or olives?
    Ungrateful clenched hearts
    Refused gifts, then died.
    It’s easier to give
    than it is to receive.
    When we know the Giver
    we rejoice and live!

  2. Dear GMC, Our Blessed Mother shows us what it means to be sufficient in God. As Pope Francis said, “May the Virgin Mary, who said a total “yes” to God, a “yes” without “but” – it is not easy to say “yes” without “but”: Our Lady did just that… let us savour the beauty of making life a gift.” The response of the Israelites to the manna made me think of this. As always, thank you, GMC, for a beautiful reflection that brings my thoughts and ponderings from everywhere.

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