Mark 8:14-21 Reflection: The Yeast of the Pharisees and Herod

A reading from the gospel according to Mark 8:14-21:

14 The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.
15 Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”
16 They concluded among themselves that it was because they had no bread.
17 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?
18 Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember,
19 when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?” They answered him, “Twelve.”
20 “When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?” They answered him, “Seven.”
21 He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

Reflection: Understanding

When Jesus strongly warned against the leaven (meaning sin or corruption) of the Pharisees and of Herod, His disciples thought He was upset with their unpreparedness and forgetfulness because they brought only one loaf of bread while they were in the boat. This happened after they witnessed the multiplication of bread. However, it was their lack of understanding of Who He is that really disappointed Jesus. We must recall that Jesus reprimanded the Pharisees for being meticulous about eating physical bread but forgetting the real bread which is the Word of God.

Jesus asked His disciples at least eight rhetorical questions to show them His dismay. Why would His disciples worry over physical food when the God of creation is with them? Did He not feed thousands of hungry mouths with five loaves? Did He not cure the sick and cast our evil spirit? Did He not stop a storm that endangered their lives? Jesus was practically rebuking them for their lack of faith that He is the Messiah, the Word Incarnate, and the Bread of Life.

Let us pray that we may have the eyes to see His power and the ears to hear His words of salvation. Above all, may we have the wisdom to understand that, as the King of kings and the Lord of lords, He is more than enough to supply all our needs especially our daily bread, physical as well as spiritual.

Gospel Reading and Reflection
Gospel Reading and Reflection

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