In ordinary parlance, “manna” refers to anything badly needed that comes unexpectedly. For someone short of cash, a check from winning in the lottery is like “manna from heaven.”
The original manna is food that the Israelites ate during their sojourn in the desert, after they had escaped the slavery of Egypt. The Lord supplied manna to the Israelites until they reached the border of Canaan and could eat from the produce of the Promised Land.
Among the Jews, there was a popular expectation that in the final days God or his Messiah would again provide manna. A rabbinic saying goes: “As the first redeemer caused manna to descend… so will the latter redeemer cause manna to descend.”
The Jews, in the Gospel, demand a sign: to rain bread from heaven similar to the manna. Will he give them something comparable to the manna? Jesus replies that the manna was not the genuine bread from heaven. He is the true bread from heaven: he comes down from heaven, and he offers himself as the bread of life that preserves from death.
Gospel • JOHN 6:30-35
The crowd said to Jesus: “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” So Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
So they said to Jesus, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2019,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.