Grumbling and complaining will get you nowhere
Drawing upon today’s liturgical Readings, which recount how the children of Israel complained against God during their journey through the desert and objected to the “wretched food” he provided, the Pope pointed out that God offers us salvation in a thousand different ways. But all too often we are incapable of accepting his “divine ways”.
The Pope noted how, in the Gospel, the Lord speaks of the saraph serpents who were sent in punishment and bit the people, many of whom died.
Moses therefore prayed for the people and, in obedience to the Lord’s command, and he mounted a bronze serpent on a pole, bringing salvation to anyone who looked upon it once bitten.
Only Moses’ intercession, and the symbol of the cross on which Christ would die provided salvation from the poison of the snakes, the Pope said.
Describing the attitude of many Christians today as “spiritually whimsical”, Francis said that we often commit the same sort of error, by “becoming sullen and grumbly”.
Pope Francis said: “How many Christians find themselves ‘poisoned’ by the dissatisfactions of life. Yes: God is good but… we are Christians, but… This kind of Christian ends up not opening his heart to God’s salvation, but always posing conditions. ‘Yes, I want to be saved but in this way…’ This attitude poisons the heart”.
To not accept God’s gift in the way it is offered is a sin, the Pope said. It poisons our soul, and deprives it of joy. And Jesus, he said, solved this problem by ascending Mount Calvary.
“Jesus himself takes that poison upon himself. This ‘tepidness’ of ‘half-way’ Christians who show enthusiasm at the start of Jesus’ journey only to become dissatisfied along the way. The only way to heal is to look at the Cross, to look at God who takes upon himself our sins: my sin is there.”
How many Christians, the Pope concluded, today “die in the desert of their sorrow, grumbling and not accepting God’s way.”
“Let us look at the serpent, at the poison, there in the body of Christ. The poison of all the sins in the world. And let us ask for the grace to accept difficult moments. To accept the divine way of salvation, to accept this ‘wretched food’ that the children of Israel lamented… Let us accept the paths that the Lord leads us on. May this Holy Week, which begins on Sunday, help us to turn away from the temptation to become “Christians yes, but…”.
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