This week we get a powerful reminder of God’s great benevolence even when we do nothing but complain about what’s not right in our lives. This week is an opportunity for us to count our blessings. Recall God loves each of us so much. God is always willing and able to look beyond our faults and provide for our needs.
As a priest and spiritual director the opportunity and invitation to journey with parishioners and those who seek spiritual guidance is truly a blessing. When we face a crisis or a challenge we are inclined to see in what we face a picture of life that can seem hopeless and leading us to a path of despair. When I encounter those who are deeply focused on what’s not right and going wrong, I ask them to sit down and make a list of the blessings in their lives whatever maybe good and positive or beneficial. Whether it simple be roof over their head, food to eat, or someone who simply cares, this list goes on and on and they find themselves at a place of joy. Usually the response is a slight smile and the old saying, “I never thought of it that way before.”
Today we are reminded that God seeks not only our good but desires to bless us and bring us through our trials and fears. In our reflection.of Exodus 16 we find God’s people grumbling after being liberated from 500 years of slavery. Preferring death in subjugation and degradation with full stomachs to the freedom God had given them. Fear and depravation bring the people to such despair that they grumble against the God who freed them with His mighty arm, yet they are blinded to the blessing and liberty that they are living.
I think of a confrere, a brother Divine Word Priest. His name is Fr George Kintiba,SVD. He was preaching a sermon at my last parish and in the sermon he had the subject, “Grumblers don’t give and givers don’t grumble.” As he preached he literally was quoting and saying the exact samething I had challenged people to the week prior, and they were Amen and shouting “Alleluia.” Afterwards we spoke and we both laughed. You see the complainers, the grumblers the discontented, were blinded to the very blessings they had. They were so focused on their own frustrations that the failed to see the very blessing was right in front of them.
You might smile now, and ask am I a giver or a grumbled? Can I see what God has brought me through, can I be grateful for the “Manna” he’s blessed me with? Can I appreciate the very meat like quail He’s provided for me? Or do I simply grumble that things weren’t as they were? Do I solely walk away, like going back to Egypt desiring it’s fleshpots and bread?
God is blessing us, liberating us from our own blindness and negativity. Let us pray that God return us to us a spirit of appreciation and thankfulness. Each Sunday we gather to celebrate Eucharist is that very opportunity. All through the week, the challenges, pains and fears wear us down. We are frozen in despair but at the Eucharist we bring all of who we are, our pains, joys and sorrows, these to we present to the Lord and we experience our lives and very hearts changed to Joy! Don’t Grumble Thank God for your blessings! Because if you didn’t realize how profound God’s love is for you, God’s loves you and nothing can change that!