Biblical Reflection of this week:
In the First Reading, we hear Moses complaining to the Lord who was angry with the Israelites
who grumbled for food. Moses felt that the Lord had given him a heavy burden which he was
unable to bear on his own. Moses was entrusted with the care of the Israelites on the way from
Egypt to the promised land. He questions God who told him to ‘carry them in your bosom, as
a nurse carries a suckling child’ (Num 11:12b). He wishes to die rather than leading these
people. God listens to Moses’ appeal and asks him to gather seventy elders to share the burden.
However, the interesting thing is that God takes away from Moses some of the spirit that is on
Moses and put it on them that they shall bear the burden of the people along with Moses so that
he would not bear it all by himself.
Here, what was the need for God to take some of the Spirit from Moses himself to give it to
the elders? He could have given it to them without taking it from what was given to Moses. It
leads us to the realization that Moses was given all the grace that he was in need of to lead the
people. He was never asked to do what was beyond his ability. However, Moses was agitated
and apprehensive and did not trust in his ability which God had given him because of the
constant grumbling of his people who were led out of the slavery in Egypt. If the people amidst
whom and for whom we work themselves grumble, we might lose our patience, enthusiasm
and interest to work for them. However, remember that the good Lord has given us sufficient
grace to fulfill our mission, as St. Paul would say, ‘His grace is enough for me’ (2Cor 12:9).
However, In the Gospel reading, we see John the Baptist’s proclamation of the identity of
Jesus: “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”! Unlike Moses, who
complained to God for the burden given to him, Jesus is someone who takes upon himself the
entire burden of humanity. He would not complain to God the Father, but rather, surrender
himself in obedience to the will of the Father. He was “like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter”
(Jer 11:19). Isaiah 53:7 says, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his
mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter”. The Scripture is being fulfilled in Jesus as he
carries the burden of sin.
John the Baptist realizes his unworthiness to be like Jesus and proclaims the latter’s greatness.
From Moses a portion of the grace that was given to lead the Israelites was taken back and
given to others, that with the help of this grace they may help Moses to carry out his mission.
On the other hand, in Jesus we see an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in a symbolic way as the
Spirit descends from heaven like a dove and it remained on him. Jesus, before he left this world,
would give his spirit to the apostles that now they may continue the mission of Christ. Spirit is
given to us on the day of our baptism to fulfill a mission, to spread the gospel message, to make
the name of Christ known, to establish God’s Kingdom. Those who are docile to the spirit
continue the mission of Christ, seeking his will and glorifying God.
How many of us keep complaining to Jesus expressing our inability to carry the burdens of our
life? Those who are not spiritually mature avoid suffering by all means. On the other hand,
those who understand the weight of the Cross and want to share in the cross of Christ, willingly
take upon themselves the burden of the Cross. They never complain. They do everything out
of love for Jesus. They have encountered the Lord on the way to Calvary. They are the true
disciples of Jesus who walk with Mother Mary to Calvary to experience the ineffable love of
God manifested on the Cross in Calvary. Let us ask ourselves the question: in uncomplaining
obedience, am I ready to take upon myself the burden of others. Am I ready to be innocent like
the lamb, to live without blemish and to suffer for the sake of others? Let our answer be like
St. Paul: His grace is enough for me.