July 21, 2021 – Wednesday 16th Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/072121.cfm)
How difficult and annoying it will be to listen to a person who grumbles every now and then. It will truly be. It sucks out every positive energy and even inner joy to both, to the one who grumbles a lot and to the person who is forced to listen to a person’s endless grumbles.
Moses and Aaron must have felt this as they listened to the many grumbles and complaints of the people. The people already complained to God because of their poverty and slavery in Egypt. When they were brought out of Egypt and were chased by Egyptians armies, they grumbled to Moses for taking them out of Egypt. When they were finally free and were in the desert, they started to complain to Moses and Aaron because there was no food. They said to Moses and Aaron that it was much better to die in Egypt but full than dying in the desert because of hunger.
Certainly, the people must have complained also of the situation they were in. They must have grumbled for having no water, of the hot weather during the day, of the cold wind in the night, of the blisters on their feet, of the diseases they encountered on the road, of the insects and wild animals in the desert, of their neighbors and companions in that exodus.
Indeed, there seemed to be a pattern of grumbles of the Israelites. They must have been blaming God because of the discomforts and difficulties they experienced. Yet, they completely forgot how God showed the divine power to bring a powerful nation to its knees in order to save them. God showed the might of divine justice to show to the oppressors the wrong they did to the poor. God made wonders for the people and faithfully journeyed with them as he has promised. But then, the hearts of the people were just filled with grumbles.
We could have become like this too. When grumbling becomes our pattern, we could easily grumble of the food on our table, of the gift given to us, of the traffic caused by a motorist, of the long queue in a supermarket, of the smell of the person next to us, of the slow internet connection, of the delay of delivery of our online purchase, of the outfit of our friend, of the mistakes of our sibling or child, of the work of our colleague, of the actions of your spouse, of our recurring illness, etc. We could have endless grumblings.
Our grumbles, like the Israelites, are not just because of what surrounds us or of our environment where we are at the moment. If the Israelites were not in the desert, they would still find something to complain about. This means, no matter how comfortable we are in life, a person can still find reasons to grumble.
Our grumbles are rooted in our heart that has turned ungrateful. No matter how educated we are, or no matter how much money we have in the bank or influence we have in our organization or community, our heart can still be sick of grumbling because of our ingratitude and unawareness of God’s grace and tremendous presence in us.
Yet, God does not want this to happen to us. God desires the ultimate fulfillment of our heart. This is the reason why God sent manna and quail for the Israelites. This act of grace from God was not meant to condone the people’s grumbling but to remind them of God’s graciousness. Later Moses kept two jars of those manna that remained fresh and free of spoil. This reminds the Israelites that God provides and God sustains us.
This is the invitation for us today – to remind ourselves, to remember and be constantly aware of God’s graciousness and loving presence. Gratitude in our heart grows when we also learn to remember, to store God’s story with us and the many wonderful things God has done for us, in the memory of our heart.
The Eucharist that we celebrate is an act of remembrance of Christ’s memory. As a community of faith, we make Christ ever alive in us. This means that the Eucharist is not a mere remembering of the distant past, but making Christ alive and present in this very moment, in the here and now.
This is how we are also called to make alive our memory of God’s gracious actions in us through our actions and words that express gratitude. Let our hearts be filled with gratitude then, to free our heart from the spoil and disease of complaints and grumbles. Hinaut pa.