By Linda Bordoni
Reflecting on the First Reading of the day, which is taken from the Book of Numbers, Pope Francis said that at times Christians “prefer failure”, leaving room for complaint and dissatisfaction, a perfect terrain, he said, for the devil in which to sow his seeds.
According to the Reading, the people of God, he explained, could not bear the journey: their enthusiasm and hope as they escaped slavery in Egypt gradually faded, their patience wore out, and they began muttering and complaining to God: “Why have you brought us from Egypt to die in this desert?”
“The spirit of tiredness takes away our hope,” the Pope remarked, adding that “tiredness is selective: it always causes us to see the negative in the moment we are living, and forget the good things we have received”.
“When we feel desolated and cannot bear the journey, we seek refuge either in idols or in complaint... (…) This spirit of fatigue leads us Christians to be dissatisfied (…) and everything goes wrong… Jesus himself taught us this when he said we are like children playing games when we are overcome by this spirit of dissatisfaction.”
Fertile land for the devil
The Pope said some Christians give in to “failure” without realizing that this creates the “perfect terrain for the devil.”
They are “afraid of consolation”, “afraid of hope”, “afraid of the Lord’s caress” he said.
Pope Francis lamented the fact that this is the life of many Christians: “They live complaining, they live criticizing, they mutter and are unsatisfied”.
“The people of God could not bear the journey. We Christians often can't bear the journey. We prefer failure, that is to say desolation.”
He said it is the desolation of the serpent: the ancient serpent, that of the Garden of Eden. Here it is a symbol, he explained, of that same serpent that seduced Eve. It is a way, he continued, of showing the serpent inside that always bites in times of desolation.
Fear of hope
Those who spend their lives complaining, the Pope said, are those who “prefer failure”, “who bear to hope”, “of those who could not bear the resurrection of Jesus”.
Pope Francis concluded inviting Christians to ask the Lord to free us from this disease.
“May the Lord, he said, “always give us hope for the future and the strength to keep going”.