In our first reading this morning, we have more of the murmuring of the Israelites as they make their way out of slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land. This time, they hold a council against Moses and Aaron because they don’t have water to drink. Notice clearly, they don’t ask for water, they don’t pray for water, they hold a council against Moses and Aaron because they have no water. We would certainly recognize that as a completely backward way to address the problem.
Murmuring is horrible, because it is a cancer in the community. We see it sometimes in parishes, when people bicker and gossip in the parking lot rather than ask a question or seek clarification. Then, without clear and correct guidance, misinformation spreads.
Murmuring can also affect a leader. Earlier on in the book of Numbers, the people murmur because they have no meat to eat. Moses was tired of the grief and said to the Lord: “Why do you treat your servant so badly? Why are you so displeased with me that you burden me with all this people? Was it I who conceived all this people? or was it I who gave them birth, that you tell me to carry them at my breast, like a nurse carrying an infant, to the land you have promised under oath to their fathers? Where can I get meat to give to all this people? For they are crying to me, ‘Give us meat for our food.’ I cannot carry all this people by myself, for they are too heavy for me. If this is the way you will deal with me, then please do me the favor of killing me at once, so that I need no longer face my distress.” Yikes.
And that leads to what happens at the end of the first reading today. The murmuring has affected Moses and Aaron so much that they cannot serve God with faithfulness to his sanctity, so God puts them out of the Promised Land, to await a Savior.
Today, let’s be on the lookout for any tendency we might have to murmur, and to savagely put it out of our lives. Because we want to go to the Promised Land.