In today’s first reading, we see Moses striking the rock, not once but twice. In verse 8 of Numbers, chapter 20, we hear God tell Moses, “Take the rod, and assemble the people together, thou and Aaron thy brother, and speak to the rock before them, and it shall yield waters.” They were instructed to just speak to the rock. St. Augustine on this passage, tells us that they were not commanded to strike the rock at all; and when the water did not come at first, they struck again. In verse 10, then, they speak as if the work that they performed was of their own doing, “Can we bring you forth water out of this rock?” For this prideful act, Moses was reprimanded by God and told that he would not be the one to lead his people into the promised-land.

Then again, in the Gospel we hear Christ telling Peter, “Thou are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church.” (Matt. 16:v18) But shortly after saying these elevating words, we hear Jesus tell Peter, “Get behind me, Satan”. This was said, because Peter refused to accept that Jesus would be crucified. He was thinking as man and not as God would.

In both passages, we hear quick rebukes being uttered by God, because of man’s refusal to simply allow God’s plan to play out. These readings today really cry out to us, trying to shake us into reality. Don’t we realize that God’s work will be done, must be done? Man strives to dictate how and by whom things will be done. When we see things happen that we don’t understand, we cry out, “How can God let these things happen?” Why does He allow the baby to die? Why is there so much suffering in this world? Why does He allow evil to co-habit the earth? We don’t understand and like the Hebrew nation of
old, we cry out against God.

We have often heard the adage that God writes with crooked lines. Isaias (Isaiah) in his prophecies pointing towards the Christ, says in 42: verse 16 “I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight: these things have I done to them, and have not forsaken them”. These are powerful words, comforting words from our God. We think He abandons us, has forsaken us. We can’t see the reason for things. We don’t know why things can happen to us and to others. And because we can’t see, because we don’t know… what do we do? We blame God. WE abandon Him!! Our faith gives out. We weep. We use this as an excuse to turn away, to seek our comfort in other things.

God continually urges us to trust Him, to believe in Him. What is faith, if not TRUST? If we really believe that Jesus is God, if we really believe that Jesus, our God, loves us totally, unconditionally, why do we find it so hard to trust Him? We are so reluctant to relinquish the reins of control. We think, “If I don’t hold onto these reins, if I don’t control these horses pulling this carriage, I will truly be hurt. I will suffer.” So we grasp the reins tighter, refusing to let go. We are totally unaware that the horses are running because God lets them run. Will God really do something that will hurt us? Isn’t it really, we are afraid that what God permits will be something that we don’t want. So we refuse to let go. We resist allowing our lives to be guided by our God. And in that resistance we prevent Jesus from working through us.