After Moses and Aaron had put their lives on the line for their people, they paid back by grumbling against them and, invariably, against God. In their situation of desperate need, they forgot the marvels the Lord had done for them. They longed for the years of slavery in Egypt, the years when they once cried for rescue and God answered them. I was shocked, as I read and reflected on the first reading, by the ingratitude of the people. But I was completely flabbergasted by the generosity of God in His response to that ingratitude. I wondered how I would have responded to a similar act of ingratitude and disrespect coming from people for whom I have sacrificed so much. Perhaps the most interesting part of this story is that God did not have to be that gracious to them. Besides, He had the power to make them pay for their misdeed, but he chose not to. In that God sets a new standard of behavior; one that is in keeping with our Christian calling. One that invites us to be who we are no matter who people are. God had to be true to Himself, faithful to the end, even if the people were unfaithful. The true test of a man or woman’s character is how they treat others when they are vulnerable. The truth is that God always treats us with such tenderness, especially when we are most vulnerable. The other truth is that before Him we are always vulnerable. That which he does for us He wants us to do no less. “Be holy as your father in heaven is holy” (Matt 5:48). That is what Saint Paul means when he invites us to put away the old selves, our former ways of life; and to put on the new self, created in God’s way, in righteousness and holiness of truth. That new self, Jesus reminds us in today’s gospel, is the self that is interested in spiritual things, those things that last forever, much more than the things that are perishable. As we gather at this Eucharistic meal, we pray that this communion in His body and blood may renew us in body and in spirit, so as to truly embody the values that make us indeed Christians. Amen.