Saturday 28 November 2015

Thursday of the 4th Week of Lent

There is song called "When Will They Ever Learn" and part of the lyrics are: "Where have all the soldiers gone; Long time passing; Where have all the soldiers gone; A long, long time ago; Where have all the soldiers gone; Gone to graveyards, every one; When will they ever learn?; When will they ever learn?" In this song, we discover how people seem to have not learnt from the past; how people, especially among the younger generation who are experiencing peace and prosperity, easily forget the evil, the atrocities committed, the suffering endured. When people forget, the consequences can be disasterous. We have seen numerous wars, betrayals, and other deeds which happen over and over again at different points of history. Why is this happening? Some reasons could be: due to our pride, our ego, our impatience with God and with each other, our lack of forgiveness, our selective forgetfulness. When will they ever learn?

In today's reading, the Israelites experienced the liberation from Egypt and the miraculous parting of the Red Sea. God had rescued the Israelites in a spectacular way. But did the Israelites learn from their past? No. They soon forgot about the God who saved them and they created an idol in the image of an animal and worshipped it. As a result, the Israelites ended up wandering in the desert for 40 years as a reminder of who they are and what God has done for them.

We too could end up wandering in the desert for 40 years or even more, if we forget who we are and what God has done for us. We could end up in a vicious cycle, forgetting the many bitter and painful lessons of the past, if we do not make effort to remember and change our ways, our attitudes and our conduct. God is so patient with us and giving us plenty of opportunities to repent, realign ourselves to Him, and live and grow in His love and care. Will we ever learn? Are we willing to learn?

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