The Burden of Responsibility

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Today’s reflection is a tough one for me to write. We see in our first reading today from Numbers 11 a very sad story. Moses had such a huge burden to carry. We’ll talk about it in a moment. In the Gospel reading from Matthew 14, we see Jesus going off to a deserted place to mourn the death of his friend, John the Baptist. But large crowds followed him, and he was “moved with pity for them.” Even though the disciples counseled him to tell the people to leave, Jesus decided to feed them Himself. He took the burden (hunger) of the people upon Himself. See what happens from there!

Moses had a big load on his shoulders. He felt the weight of the whole nation of Israel on him. As we’ve seen time and time again, these people could be real whiners. They were constantly complaining and reminiscing about the “good old days” when they were slaves in Egypt. Having had enough, Moses takes his burdens to God. He tells God, “I cannot carry all this people by myself…please do me the favor of killing me at once, so that I need no longer face this distress.”

Of course, today Moses would be be diagnosed with severe depression and either heavily medicated or put into a psychiatric ward. I don’t say this in a flippant way. I have done battle with some pretty severe depression myself. And I can relate to how Moses felt. But Moses was wrong. (As I have been, and perhaps you, too.) It wasn’t all about him. He never did have to “carry this people all by myself.” God was the one doing the carrying. And the problem was not Moses’, it was the people’s. Just like He does for you and me, God had Moses’ back. It’s just that Moses lost sight of that for a time. Sometimes we lose sight of that, too. May God open our eyes to His provision.

Father, forgive us for those times when we fall into despair, when we feel the weight of the world on our shoulders. Help us to remember that you are truly the one carrying the weight. Amen.

Today’s Readings


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