Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
August 2nd, 2011
Howie Kalb, S.J.

Jesuit Community
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Memorial of St. Peter Faber, S.J.
[408] Numbers 12:1-13
Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 6cd-7, 12-13
Matthew 14:22-36

Most of us are probably unfamiliar with the episode in today’s first reading from the Book of Numbers.  However, it does contain a very practical lesson that the Lord wanted to teach Moses’ followers and probably for us also.

God had put Moses in charge of the operations of the Hebrew people when they were held captive in Egypt.  Face to face God spoke to him.  “Now, Moses himself was by far the meekest man on the earth.” So in spite of his one-to-one conversations with God, Moses depended upon Aaron and Miriam to do much of the speaking and PR work for him.  Well, as often happens when people are the subordinates in an enterprise, but still have lots of the responsibility and perform much of the behind-the-scenes labor, petty jealousy of the leader often grows because he seems to get all of the credit.

Then the jealousy gives rise to detraction, tearing down the reputation of the leader.  That’s what Miriam and Aaron were doing.  They found fault with Moses on the pretext of the marriage he had contracted with a Cushite woman.

When God saw what was going on, he demanded to meet with the three people involved and to straighten out the situation.  The Lord became angry with the detraction on the part of Miriam and struck her with the dread disease of leprosy. The lesson the Lord taught was how repugnant he found people who belittled others out of jealousy.

Moses does not retaliate against Miriam for her detraction, but instead pleads with God to return her to physical wellness instead.  God is asking us to react like Moses by accepting others in spite of their jealousy and belittling comments.  He wants us to genuinely forgive and even pray for our detractors.  While praying our nightly “Examine of Conscience”, if we become aware of others who might have ignored or ridiculed us during the day, it might be profitable to question ourselves.  How willing are we to respond as Moses did?

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