Daily Reflection – 2/16/2021
The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” They concluded among themselves that it was because they had no bread. When he became aware of this he said to them, “Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread? Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?” They answered him, “Twelve.” “When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?” They answered him, “Seven.” He said to them, “Do you still not understand?” (Mark 8:14-21)
To some biblical commentators, Jesus appears exasperated in today’s Gospel. If he was, that’s understandable. Regardless of the true emotion here, he wanted his disciples to be careful of what drove their lives. Where and what was the source of spirituality for their lives. Jesus warned his disciples to avoid the way of the Pharisees and Sadducees who sought their own counsels rather than the mind of God. They were blinded by their own
arrogance and were unable to recognize the truth and wisdom which Jesus spoke in the name of his Father in heaven.
Jesus describes a different leaven – the leaven of faith. He wants the leaven of faith to grow in us, so that we trust in him more and more. He tells us elsewhere in the Gospel that unless we convert and become like little children, we will not enter the kingdom of God. To become childlike is to grow in trust. Sometimes as we age, we become more cynical, less faithful, less trusting in God or in anyone else. We become “wise” in worldly calculations but foolish in faith.
Why is that? What keeps us from misunderstanding the central message of faith?
First, we misunderstand when we live distracted lives. The disciples were focused on what they didn’t have, and that distracted them from what they already had – God in the Flesh among them to lead them to true LIFE!
Next, we misunderstand when we measure everything by ourselves rather than by God. Too often what trips us up in understanding is our focus on our self – what’s in it for me, how can I benefit from this – and so on. When that happens, we lose the ability to focus on God and our mind is gripped by too small a vision!
Finally, we misunderstand when we forget all God has done for us in our lives. The blessings we had are only as good as yesterday. What’s in it for me today? Our bad memory of God’s faithfulness steals our ability to remain grateful and we are captured by fear and doubt!
We can see how easy it is to miss the messages God wishes to send us in prayer, because we are preoccupied only with what is immediate. The insecure heart is pulled away from a healthy vision of life because it is not founded on rock. The soul that lives from the true foundation knows that as long as it has Christ and is doing his will, all is well.
It is important to reflect often and with gratitude on the many benefits we have received from Our Lord. Each of us should remember: It is God who created us and who has begun the work of our holiness. If he has brought us this far with only a modest amount of cooperation on our part, how much further could we go if we were to give him our total dedication? How much more good would flourish in our lives? How many problems would find God’s hand shaping them for our benefit?
Jesus asks you and today . . .“Do you still not understand?”
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, grant me the grace to commit myself more to your will through a deeper trust and confidence in you.”
Mark is telling us, figuratively speaking, that the disciples’ own greatest problem was also vision—how they looked at what they saw. The cure is Jesus: his touch, his presence, his teaching, even his rebuke, but especially his persistent faithfulness with nearsighted, farsighted, and myopic disciples.