Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thirsty in the Desert...


Here's the homily from this morning's Mass, reflecting on Psalm 95:8: "“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the desert..."

No one is sure where Meribah and Massa are, but we know it’s where the Israelites hardened their hearts, because they were thirsty. “Give us water to drink!” they demanded of Moses “Why in the world did you bring us up out of Egypt—to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?”

So Moses went to the Lord and lamented, “What will I do with this people?—a little more and they will stone me!”

All because they were thirsty.

Sometimes we get thirsty too. Sometimes we feel like we’re in a desert without a drop to drink. Maybe that thirst is loneliness or frustration or exhaustion…oh God, you call me to be a seminarian, but you didn’t tell me about mid-terms or composites or having to live across the hall from him! Why in the world did you lead me into this desert? So I would die of thirst?!

In the desert, with a divided heart, grumbling. It’s not fair! You don’t care! Why?

There’s a great new prayer from the Missal for such times and it tells the story of what finally happened at Meribah and Massah. Actually its not so new, it dates from the twelfth century and its a prayer for the gift of tears:

Almighty and most gentle God,
who brought forth from the rock
a fountain of living water for your thirsty people,
bring forth, we pray,
from the hardness of our heart, tears of sorrow,
that we may lament our sins
and merit forgiveness from your mercy.

By our tears of repentance, God slakes our thirst and washes away the hardness of our hearts.