First Reading: Jas 1:12-18
Psalm: Ps 94:12-13a, 14-15, 18-19
Gospel: Mk 8:14-21
In yesterday’s Gospel narration Jesus became quite disturbed. The
Pharisees were demanding an extraordinary event of some sort as a
sign. The idea was that through the sign God would indicate his
pleasure with what Jesus was preaching and doing. In today’s Gospel
Jesus gets angry with his disciples because they don’t recognize the
signs that he has already given them.
Jesus and his disciples are in a small boat crossing the lake. The
apostles forgot to bring food with them and all they had was a loaf
of bread. While this anxiety is at the top of their minds, Jesus,
who’s concerned about more serious matters, suddenly warns them to
beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod. So the
disciples let their worries go, figuring that his talk about leaven
means how they’ll get their next meal. Jesus explodes: “Can’t you
get your minds off your bellies? What about the signs I gave you
when twice I fed thousands with a couple of loaves and a few fish?
And you’re worried about your next meal? You still don’t
understand, do you?”
What Jesus is suggesting here is that the disciples (and we) look to
their (and our) past experiences. Our past experiences are signs
given us by God, assuring us that we are safely held in his hands.
We’ve all suffered deep sorrows. Yet in the past God has always
been with us, helping us to survive the pain. We’ve undergone
serious illnesses and recovered. We’ve faced insoluble problems and
somehow we solved them. We’ve been confronted by irresistible
temptations and somehow we managed to resist them. We need to
realize that God is worthy of trust and that he will continue to be
with us to the end.