Today is our final scripture reflection of the Spring Quarter. Director for Campus Ministry Tammy Liddell reflects on the readings for the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.
We will be taking a break for the summer, but will soon offer additional reflections from our community that focus on the intersection of faith and justice (coming in July!) Remember you can read all our previous scripture reflections here.
The first reading reminds us of the long, painful, desperate journey of the Israelites. Each day must have felt endless, each new obstacle might be the one that they couldn’t overcome. They wondered when, if ever, they would find their new home? When could they stop moving, stop waking up every day wondering what new trial awaited them? The journey from being an enslaved people to a liberated community happened much too slowly—the journey was too long.
In this exhortation, Moses is reminding the Israelites of their long history of suffering—but he is also helping them remember how strong they were on that journey. That their story of suffering is, at the same time, the history of their covenant with God—a covenant that remained intact, even as, at times, they felt abandoned. God fed them in the desert when they were hungry—made water flow when they were thirsty—protected them when they were in danger. The sustenance for the seemingly unending journey was not just in the form of food and water—but the very Word of God—the promise of God with them. Jesus reminds his listeners of that sustenance. God not only fed the bodies of the suffering people, God fed their whole selves. God was a source of life even in the midst of endless suffering. God’s love was liberation on the road to freedom.
Let us take this message to the streets, where the struggle continues—not for 40 years—but a 400-year journey toward the liberation of Black people in our country. It is time for freedom from institutional violence, inequality in health care, economic and educational access. The Israelites often doubted that God was faithful to them, doubted that they would ever arrive in the promised land. Like the Israelites, we must return again and again to trusting that God is faithful, that God will sustain our bodies and nourish our souls. We must trust that in the breaking open of our unjust beliefs and structures, the body of Christ, the Bread of Life, will transform hearts and change actions to bring about God’s justice and peace and freedom.