In the first reading today, the people of Israel complain bitterly to Moses about the hardships they have encountered on their way to the promised land.

From Mount Hor the children of Israel set out on the Red Sea road,
to bypass the land of Edom.
But with their patience worn out by the journey,
the people complained against God and Moses,
“Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert,
where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!”

How quickly they forgot the hardships they had endured as slaves in Egypt!  Did they not remember that God had worked many miracles to bring them out of bondage?  Were they not delivered from Pharaoh and his charioteers, who were then flung into the Red Sea?  Why did they so quickly grumble against God?

Well … are we really any better?  Don’t we sometimes complain that God isn’t doing enough for us in times of our own distress?  Isn’t it true that we too forget how generously we have been blessed by God throughout our lives?  And don’t we believe that God owes us a happy and fruitful life?

Of course we do.  We are weak and fail to see the entirety of God’s plan for us, especially the necessity of our suffering, which is an essential component of our salvation. Fortunately, God is patient and merciful, and he understands our weakness, just as he understood the cries of the people of Israel in the desert.

Praise to you, Father!

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