In the first lesson for today's Daily Office readings, the Israelites are getting tired of the wilderness adventure. Sure, God provides manna to eat daily, but to borrow from that old commercial, "Where's the beef?" Or any kind of meat, or just some cucumbers and melon?! God treats them with aversion therapy, and promises meat for a whole month, until they are good and sick of it.
Businesses are-opening, but sheltering isn't over for many of us. The fragile health of someone in the household often warrants continued caution. And the novelty has worn off. Like the Israelites, we are starting to long for things the way they used to be.
Zoom coffee hour this Sunday was very profound. We shared about the spiritual manna God is providing for spiritual growth in this wilderness time. David Burgdorf pointed to the life of St. Francis. When the father of young Francis challenged his generosity to the poor, the future saint responded by stripping himself entirely naked, leaving every sign of his inheritance behind. Franciscan spirituality reminds us all to be about the business of stripping away (spoliazione) in order to discover what is important.
God hoped the Israelites would discover that they didn't need meat, or cucumbers or melons; they just needed a God who was truly at their side. Many of the things we made central to our experience of God are gone: our gathering place, Eucharist, our choir. Perhaps the spoliazione will help us better know the God who is right at our side.