Scripture: Lectionary 407. Numbers 11:4-15. Psalm 81:12-13.14-15.16-17.
Most of us are not mystics like St. John of the Cross or St. Theresa of
Avila. They can, or, at least St. Theresa can speak boldly and confront God
for the way they feel they are being treated by God! Moses is of the same
ilk as they and the narrative taken from Numbers shows us this in the
bright sunlight of a Mideast day: “If this is the way you treat me, then
do me the favor of killing me at once!”
We learned earlier in Exodus that Moses spoke to God face to face (as a
friend to a friend). The incident of Moses’ complaint and anger is that
God has put him in charge of the Israelites who are not cooperating with
him and what God is telling him. Intimate friends can share like Moses and
God are doing. God even puts up with the chutzpah of his servant and
listens. Only the St. Theresas would be able to be so trusting and open
with God in their prayer life and their friendship with God.
Moses has “fire in his belly.” Such irreverence and impudence only proves
his strong relationship with the Lord. Visceral feedback is Moses’ way of
dealing with his rebellious and wandering flock and he takes it out on God.
We do the same with those whom we love very much and know deep down they
can take such honest openness. Perhaps, that is why Theresa of Avila
experienced the deepest wounds of ecstasy as the famous statue in Rome so
vividly and beautifully expresses. Both succeed in convincing God through
their passionate response to what is expected and happening to them. Moses
is granted another gift from heaven in the quail that provides the food the
Israelites desired and Theresa rests in the wound of love she experiences
with her Divine Love, God.
Jesus gives ordinary bread to those who hunger and to us he gives himself
as the Bread of Live. We are led to thank him for this gift of himself
which enables us to go beyond ourselves and to give generously to the poor,
the unwanted, the neglected children, and the shut-ins in our nursing
homes. We take as our gentle response that of the Psalm for the day: “Sing
with joy to God our help.” Amen.