Often times, we get just plain tired of life. My husband’s grandmother frequently quipped, “The first 100 years are the hardest-” She would know. She nearly made it to the ripe old age of 100. Well, life is tough at times. It can leave us absolutely frustrated and exhausted. When we are feeling this way, we often do not display our best selves. On our pity pot, we whine and complain, as if doing so will garner some pity or change the situation. Instead, we should unite our sufferings to the cross of Christ.
The Israelites in the desert were tired, hungry and frustrated. They complained about God and Moses. They scoffed at the food provided. How often are we less than excited about the food on our plate? How often are we ungrateful for (or take for granted) the sustenance the Lord has supplied? Do we believe that He is the supplier, and that we could do nothing without Him? I find kids today – mine included at times – especially those living in areas of plenty, very ungrateful for food – turning their noses up at it, or wasting it. We have so many choices – maybe too many for our own good!
The second reading is so incredibly beautiful. I encourage you to read it slowly, line for line, pausing after each to REALLY reflect on the meaning… He emptied Himself. He humbled Himself. He was obedient unto death. He loved us so much that He took on our wretched humanity. He died a grueling death on a cross. He sanctified an instrument of torture by dying to redeem us. He was exalted. At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bend, every tongue confess…
Brothers and sisters:
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
How many time is the Holy Name of Jesus misused in today’s world? What can we do to make reparation for this? How can we better honor His holy name? If we won’t stand up for our Lord, who will?
Finally, the gospel contains the most quoted verse in the bible: John 3:16. “For God SO LOVED the World that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have Eternal Life.” This is our Jesus. This is our hope. He was triumphant over the cross, and with His help we will be triumphant over our crosses – even death. We must have single vision in order to do so – keeping our eyes focused pointedly and steadily on Him.