The rabble among them had a strong craving; and the Israelites also wept again, and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.” Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its color was like the color of gum resin. The people went around and gathered it, ground it in mills or beat it in mortars, then boiled it in pots and made cakes of it; and the taste of it was like the taste of cakes baked with oil. When the dew fell on the camp in the night, the manna would fall with it.
Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, all at the entrances of their tents. Then the Lord became very angry, and Moses was displeased. So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you treated your servant so badly? Why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? Did I conceive all this people? Did I give birth to them, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a sucking child,’ to the land that you promised on oath to their ancestors? Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they come weeping to me and say, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I am not able to carry all this people alone, for they are too heavy for me. If this is the way you are going to treat me, put me to death at once—if I have found favor in your sight—and do not let me see my misery.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
The Pentateuch readings these past weeks have detailed the travels of Israel from Egypt into the promised land. In today’s reading from the Book of Numbers, the Hebrews complain bitterly to Moses about the loss of “the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic.” “We see nothing before us but this manna,” they shout. In utter frustration, Moses complains to God: “Why do you treat your servant so badly.”
No doubt many of us have shouted to God about our lot in life….loss of health or job, frustration at the pain inflicted by family members, co-workers, neighbors, friends. “I can’t take any more…when will all this end?” we may say to the Lord. The truth is that God’s love for the Israelites was pretty intense, even ferocious. And God trusted Moses with the herculean task of bringing his people into freedom.
Can I consider the possibility that God loves me with equal intensity? That God entrusts me with overwhelming situations which may in the end bring freedom, possibility, new life? How is it just today that God invites me to hand over my life, to “let go and let God”?
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Surrender to what is
Let go of what was
Have faith in what will be!