Num. 21:4-9, Ps. 102:1-2.15-17.18-20, Jn. 8:21-30
Rev. Fr. Ephraim Itaman
1.‘Nothing great is ever achieved without enduring much’-St. Catherine of Siena
2.The readings of today present to us two realities in the life of a Christian-suffering and complaining.
3.Often times, we complain in order not to suffer or to end an on-going suffering.
4.We see this in the life of the people of Israel in the first reading of today.
5.Here what they said to Moses: ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the Wilderness?’ Hence, God sent them fiery serpents.
6.Like the people of Israel, sometimes, we are tempted to complain. This is human, but we are called to be perfect like God who is Divine (Mt. 5:48).
7.To complain is to insult God. God cannot deceive us. His words are clear on this: ‘What I have said, I will do. What I have planned, I will perform’-Isaiah 46:11
8.Those who put their trust in the Lord cannot suffer.
9.A Christian can only be tried. When a Christian is sick or confronted with one problem or another, the Christian is not suffering but rather being tried or tempted.
10.Suffering is due to punishment and that was the job of the fiery serpent on the Israelites; while the thirst in the desert, was a temptation.
11.While suffering leads to death; temptation makes us stronger. While suffering destroys, trial repairs.
12.God has not given anybody or force permission to suffer (punish) us. But like Job, we may be tried and tempted.
13.In the face of temptation, the Responsorial Psalm calls us to turn to God in prayer.
14.No matter the situation you are going through today, to complain will not remove the pain.
15.It pays to pray.
Rev. Fr. Daniel Evbotokhai
In the first reading, the Jews turned against God in the wilderness and began worshipping false gods. Moses fashions a bronze serpent which saves those who look at it. In the gospel, Jesus uses the Old Testament formula of the divine self-identification: “I am He”. So Jesus is God. They did not see Him as God. Then He told them ‘I am from above and you are from below.’ The “above” meets the “below” in the cross. So when we look at the cross we pass from what is “below” (sin) to what is above (righteousness). In prayer we move from below to above. Like the bronze serpent on the pole, Christ on the cross will save us from this poison.
An Act of Spiritual Communion
My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen