March 31, 2020 – Tuesday 5th Week of Lent
Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/033120.cfm)
Have you ever met a person who complains a lot? Or have we noticed ourselves when we complain a lot?
We would surely find ourselves in this situation especially when we are overwhelmed by our worries and anxieties of our personal struggles such as our failures and unfulfilled dreams and desires, or the overwhelming expectations from others, or the issues that our relationships are facing today, or the great demands that your family life is requiring you to do, or the illness of a loved one that pains you.
When we let these one or more issues to overwhelm us, then, we will certainly become disturbed. We will be out of focus that may lead us to become complaining persons. Consequently, our relationship with others and even with God will be affected. We could become negligent and inattentive to our relationships because our worries and anxieties have grabbed us to what are more essential and important.
When we become complaining, this makes us ungrateful too. Complaining persons, especially when complaining becomes our attitude or habit, we become very difficult to live with. When we become like this, we tend to be negative with what surround us. We also tend to see what is ugly and imperfect. We become sensitive to failures and mistakes of ourselves and of others. And because we seemed to seek perfection, then, we are also difficult to satisfy whatever there are in our hands.
However, such attitudes are just reflection of our own negativity and bitterness towards ourselves. The ugly we see in our friend or the wrong that we tend to see from others could sometimes be mere reflections of our own mistakes and ugliness, which we abhor and cannot accept.
Thus, a person who complains a lot is also a person who is anxious and worries a lot. And if we let these attitudes to control us, then, we shall also lose the opportunity to become aware of God’s presence. And what follows is the attitude that does not recognize the many gifts and blessings that we have. We shall surely find life difficult, dark, bitter and hopeless.
This happened to the Hebrew people while they were in the desert. The people have grown tired of their journey. They have become impatient because of the hardships on the road. Hence, they began to complain at everything. They complained against Moses and God for bringing them in that place. They complained how difficult life was in the desert. They complained about and were disgusted of the tasteless manna that God gave them. However, they forgot that God saved them from slavery. They forgot that God saved them from the oppressive Egyptians.
Again, this reminds us of our attitude when we tend to complain. When things are not going well as what we are expecting it to be, we begin to complain at everyone and everything.
But let us also remember, when things are not going well, never jump to complains immediately. A Chinese proverb says, “every crisis that we encounter is always an opportunity.” This was the failure of the people at that time. The crisis that they faced was merely considered as difficulty and not as an opportunity for them to grow as people of God.
That is why, the very crisis that we are facing now as a community and also as individuals is not merely an obstacle or punishment for our sins, but an opportunity for us to grow as persons and as a community, to discover ourselves better, to build relationships stronger, to be able to make a difference to people even in small ways and to be more intimate with this God loves us so much.
Let us take comfort with what Jesus said in the Gospel today. “He who sent me is with me and has not left me alone; because I always do what pleases him. (Jn 8:29)”
God also comforts us with his presence. This tells us that we are never alone in our journey. God is always with us and has never left us alone even in the most difficult moments of our life, not even with this dreadful Corona Virus disease.
We are called then, that even in the midst of a very difficult situation never lose that attitude of gratitude to God. Gratitude will always make us hopeful because it helps us to recognize how God makes himself known to us in ordinary things and people and unexpected places and events.
Thus, as the people were told to look up to the bronze serpent in order to find healing and life in their difficult moments, let us also look up to Jesus in our difficult moments now, so that we too shall find healing and life. And it is only in gratitude that we will be able to look up to him not in our complaints and bitterness. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR