Thursday, July 26, 2007

Exodus, complaints, grandparents, and Saint Jude

First of all, a message to you grandparents:

May Jesus, through the intercession of his grandparents Saints Joachim and Ann, bless you abundantly, Amen!

Now, about Exodus:

Most days I'm treated to the readings and commentaries of the Mass scriptures of the day before settling down to work.

(Not, mind you, that I get much appreciation from my business partner, or for that matter, our clients, for the work I put in each day. And, of course, since I'd forgotten to turn on the coffee maker—and who could blame me, with all I've got on my mind?—I was a little late in getting to my desk, and by the way, who anointed me the Only Person Who Answers the Phone, I'm wondering? Besides that, the melon I ate tasted funny, somehow.)

As you probably know, we're reading Exodus these days.

Upon reflection, It Seemed to Me (harrumph!) that the Chosen People had a lot of nerve, complaining as they did about everything and anything. The food. The weather. The loneliness. The strange surroundings. I mean, for Pete's sake, they'd been delivered from bleeping bondage, crossed the Red Sea, and, in today's reading, actually got a chance to get close to God Himself! Yet all they seemed to know how to do was kvetch, kvetch, kvetch.


Complacently, I did my work and at about 3:50 PM, headed toward the bus station to go to Mass.

(Normally, I'd walk. But it was so bleeping hot! All day it was sweltering. My fingers actually slipped off my keyboard more than once, do you believe it? At least the bus would be air conditioned. Maybe. Of course it would be—and was—as crowded as Noah's ark and, of course I had to stand. And trust me, the air conditioning wasn't, in my humble opinion, worth the buck fifty I had to pay. Oh, what I go through to get to Mass!)

In his homily, Father Dave focused on Exodus.

To my delight (to say nothing of my justification) he started right in on the incredible gall of the Israelites' complaints.

(Of course, it was a bit difficult for me at first to actually hear what he was saying, what with that baby three pews up from me mewing like a miserable kitten, to say nothing of the bozo behind me who decided at this moment to blow his nose loudly and with gusto.)

I found myself smiling and nodding during Father Dave's comments. Exactly. Just as I'd thought myself while going over the readings earlier that day (despite the many interruptions I'd had in endeavoring to do so!)

Then he said something

"We think, sometimes, that these passages in Exodus—and throughout the Bible, for that matter—are directed at this instance, the Israelites. But the Word of God is alive, and His Word is directed at us, too. Because, for example, we complain. I complain. I know I do. About the weather, food, our neighbors. Perhaps you complain, too."


After surreptitiously glancing from side to side, I at least reassured myself that the entire congregation wasn't looking accusingly at me. But I figured Someone probably was. Maybe not accusingly, but most definitely with a message in mind.

As I sat silently, the truth blasted through what I laughingly call my mind:

"Kelly. In the complaint department, those Israelites ain't got nothin' on you."

Today, at Saint Francis Chapel, is "Saint Jude Day."

On Thursdays, after Mass and before the Rosary, we pray to Saint Jude, the Patron of Hopeless and Desperate Cases. In the silence allotted to offer up our petitions, I tend to pray for things like an end to all wars, an end to abortion, a cure for cancer, another Red Sox victory...stuff like that.

Today, though, I gave Saint Jude something he might really get his teeth into.

"Saint Jude? Pray that I receive the grace to be grateful to God for all of His favors...and for Heaven's sake, to stop complaining, Amen!"

After all...nothing is impossible to God.