Gospel: Mark 8:14-21
The disciples had forgotten to bring more bread, and had only one loaf with them in the boat. Then Jesus warned them, “Keep your eyes open, and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.” And they said to one another, “He saw that we have no bread.” Aware of this, Jesus asked them, “Why are you talking about the loaves you are short of? Do you not see or understand?
Are your minds closed? Have you eyes that don’t see and ears that don’t hear? And do you not remember when I broke the five loaves among five thousand? How many baskets full of leftovers did you collect?” They answered, “Twelve.” “And having distributed seven loaves to the four thousand, how many wicker baskets of leftovers did you collect?” They answered, “Seven.” Then Jesus said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
“Do you not see or understand? Are your minds closed?”
One can sympathize with the disciples who often had a hard time judging when Jesus was talking literally or resorting to one of his riddles. When he talks about bread, does he mean, literally bread? And what’s all this about the “yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod”—are we still talking about bread or something else? And when he fed a multitude with seven loaves of bread, was that just about feeding a hungry crowd, or was it supposed to be about something more? Why can’t he just say plainly what he means? These simple men are struggling to keep up, to understand what it means to live in this marvelous human/divine world of their master, for whom every ordinary fact is a window onto some deeper spiritual truth, for whom bread is not just food, but life, compassion, blessing; where yeast is not just the stuff that makes bread rise, but could be about something that corrupts us from within . . . or something like that. “Do you not see and understand?” he asks them. Well, no… not entirely. Not yet.
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