The Gospel according to Mark (8:14-21)
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?”
One of the sources I use for these daily Gospel reflections mentions how Mark is particularly hard on Jesus’ Apostles, often showing them to be slow to understand what it was that Jesus was trying to teach them. Today’s story is one such example, where the Apostles think that because they only have one loaf of bread, they won’t be able to eat. Somehow, they totally forgotten that Jesus had fed thousands with just a few loaves – how could they think that they were in danger having only one with only the dozen of them?
The truth is that even those of us who are modern-day followers of Jesus can be unseeing and lacking in understanding of what Jesus is doing in our lives and in our world. We see all the evil and suffering, those impacted by natural disasters, those impacted by war and division, and we wonder, where is God in all this upset? Why doesn’t He DO something?
We forget that we (you, me, and all followers of Jesus) are the feet, the hands, the voice, the love of Christ in our world today. God does DO something, as long as we cooperate with His will for us and for the world. We DO something by loving those nearest to us. We may not be able to impact those larger problems, but we leave them in God’s hands to address, and trust that He will do what is right for His children. And, if it seems like He isn’t taking the right steps, we have to recall that we don’t have the whole picture. It’s hard to do for us human beings, because our vision is fixed on what we see NOW.
We are asked to trust, even when we don’t understand. That is what Jesus was asking His Apostles in the boat in today’s Gospel story, and that is what He asks us to do as well. We are called to act, but also to trust. Not an easy path, but then the path of a follower of Jesus was never promised to be easy then, was it?
Action for the Day:
Take time today to reflect on when you’ve doubted God’s plan for yourself, or for the world at large. Ask Him to give you a bit of His vision, so you can trust, even if you don’t understand. Then, look to see where you can do something to help God’s mission in the world by loving those nearest to you.
If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below!