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We expect children to quarrel… over petty things like toys and food.

When adults quarrel, we even say, “Oh you are like little children!”

But the fact is, quarreling is in everyone’s genes. It happens everywhere –

               In a family meal

               In a board meeting

               In a sports event

               In organizing an event

               In international affairs between nations

               In matters of money, power, or pride

People quarrel night and day. When was the last time you quarreled or almost got into one?

In today’s first reading, we hear the place Meribah and Massah; the place where people, because of thirst, vented their anger on Moses. By doing so, they questioned, they tested, they doubted and they quarreled with the Lord who Moses represented before the people.

The people were hot-headed not just because they were thirsty and the day’s temperature was too high. They got angry because they doubted God’s power to provide them what they needed.

They forgot, or ignored maybe, the many wonders God has done for them when he liberated them from Egypt.

Isn’t that what happens when people quarrel among themselves? They do so because they overlook the goodness, the kindness, or the sincerity of the other person. They have lost trust.

               He will deceive me!

               She wants to take advantage of the situation again!

               I will not let him have his way!

               Let’s see who is the boss around here!

We do not quarrel with the one we truly love, respect and honor. Instead we try to understand, to consider, to accept what that person says or does, believing that it is right or good for us, for the situation.

It is not the Israelites alone that quarreled with God. We also do.

We accept good things as blessings but when things go wrong, we are up in arms against the Lord.

Some stop praying when they think God doesn’t answer their prayers.

We avoid going to Mass when problems – personal, family, financial – overwhelm us and we cannot explain why God allowed this to happen to us.

We deliberately do what we know is wrong because we think God is unfair and indifferent to our situation anyway.

In all these, look at God! When we raise our voices, when we clench our fists, when we bang on the table, He does not fight back with us. He did not punish Moses’ crowd. He just told Moses to show them a miracle, to give them water to cool their heads and satisfy their thirst.

Our anger or frustration, our rebellion or protest – these will not change the way God is. He will continue to be good and merciful to us. He will continue to provide us what we need… once we calm down our emotions and lower our voices.

Is there any hard feelings you are keeping in your heart against the Lord? Because you cannot understand what is happening in your life, are you running away from Him?

Have you been at odds with anyone lately in your life due to some disagreement, misunderstanding or wrongdoing?

You cannot solve any thing with shouts and violence.

This Lent, the Lord invites us to re-unite with him and with each other. He challenges us to trust again or at least try again to believe in the goodness of another person. He leads us to try the way of understanding, discussion, and peace in our relationship with him and with the people around us.