“And the people spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.’” (Numbers 21:5)
Our first reading takes us back to our forefathers in the faith. God was leading them on a journey to the Promised Land. They saw the mighty deeds God did for them in the land of Egypt, especially how he delivered them mightily from their pursuers when they were about to cross the Red Sea.
The same people who once rejoiced exceedingly at the sight of manna now had the effrontery to refer to it as “worthless food.” Is this not the same thing that happens in our own lives when we become dissatisfied with what God has done for us in the past?
When we start complaining, we soon fall into the temptation of speaking against God like these Israelites. The inability to count our blessings and believe God is leading us somewhere makes us talk about our situation as if God is some irresponsible father who doesn’t care. This was the attitude that merited the appearance of fiery serpents in the Israelite camp.
Our ancient ancestors soon realized their error and repented. They cried to Moses: “We have sinned…!” God pitied them and asked Moses to make a bronze serpent as a SIGN. Although the bronze serpent cured the plague, it was only a sign.
The real deal would come later when Jesus himself would be hanged upon a cross for our salvation. As Jesus reveals in today’s Gospel passage: “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he.” (John 8:28).
Keep a Crucifix in your home, keep one in your car, keep one in your office, and carry one with you wherever you go. Whenever you are feeling ungrateful or unlucky, whenever you catch yourself complaining or feel like shouting at God, bring out the Crucifix and remember the Israelite experience.
Look at the Crucifix and tell yourself that God has already done so much for you by letting His Son die on your behalf, that you really have no reason to complain. Look at the Crucifix and from the depth of your heart, just say “THANK YOU.”
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, increase my trust in your love and provision for me. Amen
Bible Study: Numbers 21:4-9, Ps. 102:2-3,16-21, John 8:21-30).
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu