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People often have the habit of complaining. I have done it more than my fair share of times myself. Instead of being thankful for what we have, we complain about what we do not have. We focus on the negative instead of the positive.
That is the case of the Israelites, who newly freed from slavery, complained about the food they were getting in their desert escape: “We are disgusted with this wretched food!” Granted, food and water was in limited supply, but they had just been freed from slavery! God punished the people for their lack of gratitude. In reality, perhaps our lack of gratitude punishes us without the need for God to intervene. Do ungrateful people really lead happy lives? Not often.
Today, in the Gospel, Jesus predicted that he would be crucified: “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM.” Somehow, when we look at Jesus, lifted up like the serpent on the pole in the Old Testament reading, we find life and healing. Perhaps that is because, when we look at Jesus on the cross, we become grateful for Jesus who died for our sins. When we begin to complain about what we do not have, maybe it is time to look at a cross and remember what we do have. We have life in Christ Jesus, Our Lord. Nothing can take that from us unless we permit it. He gave his life for you, so that you could have life with him. Thank him!