August 8: Lament, a Sunday Scriptures blog

In last week’s passage from Exodus, Moses is complaining to God. Even though God had provided the people with manna and quail, they were bitterly complaining about the food they were given. Moses said: “Why … [did] you burden me with all this people? Was it I who conceived all this people? … I cannot carry all this people by myself, for they are too heavy for me.” In today’s Hebrew Scripture, Elijah is so discouraged that he prays: “This is enough, O Lord! Take my life…” In last week’s Gospel, Jesus had tried to go away with his disciples to a deserted place, but there was the crowd that arrived ahead of him. So he fed them with loaves and fishes. But today we hear they also complained, murmured about him, basically saying that this lowly villager, Jesus, had no right to preach to them. Who cannot think about parents as we hear these Scriptures! Parents on 24/7 duty for 18 years or more after the birth of a child, often worn down by long service and lack of apparent appreciation. Or consider others in caregiving professions who care and serve anew each day, dealing with all the issues elderly and ill people have. Exhaustion and compassion fatigue sets in, and the temptation is to walk away from it all. Scriptures give us a form of writing called “laments.” That’s good because it tells us it is OK to lament to God like Moses did. Or we might think of St. Teresa of Ávila who reportedly told God, “If this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few!” When Jesus saw that crowd in his desired “deserted place” of rest and reflection, Scripture says he was moved with compassion. Complaining to God releases our hearts to let the life and help of God get back in so that we can also keep giving. And we learn that we have deeper wells than we knew we had, wells where we can draw up the water of life, the “living water” of God, for our tired souls.

– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia

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