5th week in Lent, Tuesday – 28th March 2023 – Numbers 21,4-9; Jn 8,21-30
The first reading reminds us that the Israelites in the desert never realized how much God has done and how He continues to guide and provide for them. In their long journey through the desert to the Promised Land, they were almost close to their final goal. In their way stood the territory of Edom. The Israelites requested Moses to pass through without causing any trouble. However, Moses turned down their request and took on a long route. The people became impatient with him and also with God for the direction in which they were being taken. Tired of eating the manna which God has supplied for them, the Israelites started to grumble against God and Moses. They long for the diversity of food they ate when they were slaves in Egypt. Because they found life hard now, they started relishing the life of slavery. By rejecting the food God was sending to them in abundance, they were rejecting God himself. Their complaints represent their ingratitude to God who fed them in the desert for many years and prevented them from dying of hunger.