18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 5, 2012)

Complainers are all around us. You and I probably do enough of our own, too. I’ve lived and worked with some, and I’ll tell you, there is nothing more destructive of spirit and morale than to listen to constant complaining about this, that and the other thing.

Moses, of course, lost patience with the Israelites. Here’s a guy who literally risked his life to bring his people from slavery to freedom, and they just were not satisfied. Guess they wanted to go right from being slaves to being millionaires, or whatever the equivalent was back then.

Jesus also has tremendous patience. He not only risked his life to meet the needs of His people, He gave His life for us. The thing I like about Jesus is that instead of popping His cork in anger, He used every complaint as a teaching moment. It mattered not whether the complaints came from the crowds, the apostles, or the scribes and Pharisees, He always took the complaint and moved beyond it.

Basically, Jesus asked the “poor me-ers” one question, as we see in Sunday’s Gospel: “What do you really want?” What emptiness within am I trying to fill? Do I complain just to get attention, to get something I want (after all, the squeaky wheel gets the grease)? Those who complain on a regular basis, without taking action, do so because they are deeply unhappy about some aspects of their lives. Something or someone is not meeting their “it’s all about me” expectations. It may be possible that they have found no other outlet through which to express their lack of satisfaction with life, and, as a result, they repeatedly complain about everything and anything.

The “taking action” is important … it’s what Jesus wants of us. Yes, it’s human nature to complain, but its graced nature to move beyond it in order to fill our beings with that which ultimately satisfies us: namely, an awareness of how truly blessed we are. Once we see all the blessing that marks our daily lives, our whole perspective is changed.

Let God smile on you today!

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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