In this morning’s First Reading at Mass, we hear of the “grumblings” of God’s Chosen People in the desert against Moses and Aaron. Faced with the prospect of foraging for food in the bleak wilderness of the desert, the Israelites complained against Moses’ leadership, preferring to have remained in Egypt, despite its slavery, so that they could be eat their fill of meat and bread. It is a startling scene when one considers the hard labor that the Israelites faced in Egypt. However, the Israelites are not the only ones to seek to make such a choice.
The simple truth is that we have all fought the temptation to seek “food” over freedom, if you understand “food” to be “whatever we may want, whenever we want it”. At times, “whatever we want” may even be sinful and yet we still choose it over the freedom that God wishes us to enjoy by embracing His Holy Will. The simple fact is that we too grumble against God when we fall into the trap to think that we are in charge of our lives and our preferences, desires and decisions are more important than His.
At the root of such behavior is ingratitude. When we are tempted to choose “food” over freedom, we are often fixated on something that we may desire greatly, all the time forgetting the many other blessings around us. We forget to recognize, appreciate and celebrate the many people, items and experiences that we receive from God’s goodness each day, all designed to help us to choose freely to recognize God’s rightful place in our lives, even when we are walking in the desert. At times such as these, if we truly opened our eyes, we would also recognize that God will provide us real food – food that will help us to leave the desert behind.
We may scoff at the Israelites who complained in the desert. However, perhaps we should remember that people in glass houses should not throw stones.
The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos.