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Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time, July 24, 2023




Reading 1 Ex 14:5-18

When it was reported to the king of Egypt that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his servants changed their minds about them. They exclaimed, "What have we done! Why, we have released Israel from our service!" So Pharaoh made his chariots ready and mustered his soldiers— six hundred first-class chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt, with warriors on them all. So obstinate had the LORD made Pharaoh that he pursued the children of Israel even while they were marching away in triumph. The Egyptians, then, pursued them; Pharaoh's whole army, his horses, chariots and charioteers, caught up with them as they lay encamped by the sea, at Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon. Pharaoh was already near when the children of Israel looked up and saw that the Egyptians were on the march in pursuit of them. In great fright they cried out to the LORD. And they complained to Moses, "Were there no burial places in Egypt that you had to bring us out here to die in the desert? Why did you do this to us? Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Did we not tell you this in Egypt, when we said, 'Leave us alone. Let us serve the Egyptians'? Far better for us to be the slaves of the Egyptians than to die in the desert." But Moses answered the people, "Fear not! Stand your ground, and you will see the victory the LORD will win for you today. These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again. The LORD himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still." Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. And you, lift up your staff and, with hand outstretched over the sea, split the sea in two, that the children of Israel may pass through it on dry land. But I will make the Egyptians so obstinate that they will go in after them. Then I will receive glory through Pharaoh and all his army, his chariots and charioteers. The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I receive glory through Pharaoh and his chariots and charioteers."


Reflection

I actually had to laugh when reading the beginning of this passage. I mean the Israelites are nothing if not dramatic.

“Were there no burial places in Egypt that you had to bring us out here to die in the desert?

Why did you do this to us?

Why did you bring us out of Egypt?”


Why did you bring us out of Egypt????? Are they serious? Did you not beg to be saved? Did we just forget about Pharaoh? Were your people not dying and slaves in that place? You would rather die as a slave in Egypt than free in the desert? Did they think fleeing Egypt would be fun or easy? I don’t know what they were expecting…

Moses was following God’s plan and saved the Israelites by bringing them out of Egypt away from Pharaoh and that wasn’t enough for them. They still did not trust or have faith in God’s plan.

I’m sure it was too hot, they were too tired, the food wasn’t what they wanted and they were going to let Moses know! I think we all know someone who this reminds us of…maybe it’s ourselves. However, no one wants to be around an ungrateful complainer.


But isn’t that so like us today. I know it is for me. Instead of being grateful for the gifts God has given me, I’ll ask for others or wonder why God has given me all these trials and tests that I feel I cannot bear.


Everyone has their proverbial “cross” to bear but so often we only focus on that and the hardships we face. What would happen if we took the time everyday to thank God for simply waking up in the morning. Or if we went even further and offered up some of the small inconveniences or hassles that annoy us on the daily. Maybe someone cuts us off in traffic. Maybe that coworker said something to you again that just gets on your last nerve. Maybe a sibling does something that irked you to no end. Or maybe it is simply too hot outside (I know if you live close to Houston you know what I’m talking about) and all you want to do is complain.


Instead say a prayer and either offer up this small sacrifice or twist it on its head. Be grateful that God has put this little obstacle in your day to challenge you and make you better. See it as a blessing instead. Start seeing more of God’s handiwork and the good in the everyday, from a beautiful sunset to a heartfelt apology or a moving song. These are small actions that can make big differences in our own behavior and how we interact with others.

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