Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Numbers 11:4b-15; Matthew 14:13-21)
A recent play and movie is entitled Doubt. The plot involves suspicion of child abuse by a priest. But a reflective viewing of the work indicates doubt not only about criminal activity but, more profoundly, about God´s interaction in the world. We find similar this second kind of doubt in the first reading.
Moses has led the Israelites out of captivity. Or perhaps we should say that Moses and the Israelites have followed the Lord’s lead from captivity to freedom. Now they have to live in the environs where their exodus has brought them. The desert, of course, is a difficult place – not only dry but devoid of cultivation and abundant wildlife. It presents a challenge to which Moses and the Israelites must respond with continued trust in God. Unfortunately they give in to the dark sentiment that God might have tricked them. They wonder why they left subjugation in Egypt where they at least had regular food to eat. It sounds like they are just ungrateful but perhaps some of us have given into the same doubt of God´s goodness.
Most of us have never been slaves even in the contemporary sense of the word. But many have walked the paths of self-absorption. Perhaps we used to brag about ourselves all the time or maybe we suffered a worse affliction, like addiction to pornography. Giving up these kinds of vices, we sometimes miss the pleasure they brought us. Of course, we are not likely to complain to God, but we may wonder if the new path that we have taken is worth the effort. Of course, it is, and we can look to Jesus for reassurance. He understands the feelings of loss and doubt that crop up inside us. He also provides the fortitude to keep marching on until we realize all the benefits that our sacrifices afford us.