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?
And having distributed seven loaves to the four thousand, how many wicker baskets of leftovers did you collect?
Then Jesus said to them,
Do you still not understand?
In today’s gospel, Jesus sounded exasperated with his disciples. His questions to his disciples appealed to what their minds and senses had perceived from Jesus’ words and deeds. Despite their privileged positions as Jesus’ companions, they were still not able “to connect the dots,” thus misunderstanding Jesus’ message. They tended to interpret Jesus’ warning literally in the issue of the bread, thinking that he was reproaching them for not having purchased bread. Thus, they missed the significance of the metaphor of the bread and the leaven that Jesus used in likening the Pharisees’ hypocrisy and Herod’s personal ambition as “yeast” that is corrupting the principles and ideals of faith. Jesus’ teachings require a pure and simple heart, not a naïve and undiscerning mind, to understand the true significance of his message. Unfortunately, just as the disciples were too slow to understand Jesus’ parables and metaphors, many of us are similarly indisposed, slow to comprehend that we are not reading literal history, that much of Scripture uses language that invites reflection and deeper understanding born out of faith in God’s word. Jesus invites us to develop a discerning heart so that we may not be easily swayed by misleading principles and beliefs.
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