Introduction: our sixth ‘Lectio Divina’ follows the topic of the previous month, from the same Gospel of Mark 8:14-21,
Open our hearts and minds
to understand and see all that
your Son Jesus does and says
to us in our daily life;
do not permit us to harden our hearts.
- Read the Gospel of Mark 8:14-2, read it slowly and listen attentively to the scriptures with the ‘ear of your heart’. What word, sentence or phrase stands out for you?
- Reflect: read the passage again and pay attention of what touches you; why is it meaningful for you. What thought or reflection comes to you.
- Respond: read the passage again and this time respond spontaneously to the word of God. In other words, make a dialogue with God what comes from within you. What gift does this passage lead me to ask for from the Lord?
- Stay with the Word: read the passage a final time and rest in the word. Allow God to speak to you in deep silence. Don’t say anything just listen to God’s words. What is He saying?
- Take now the word, sentence or phase, into your daily life/activity; allow it to become part of you. Always listen to it, reflect on it, pray over it and rest on it as time allows during the day. Then allow the Word lead you action.
Concluding your ‘Lectio Divina’ with the ‘Our Father’…
Introduction: This particular text could be seen as the climax of the two previous texts. All three texts take place in boat scenes and they referred to the failure of the Discilple’s understanding of Jesus and the messianic sings he worked. Jesus comperes them to the Pharisees who “have eyes but cannot see and ears but cannot hear” and he warns not to fall into that trap.
Central Message: “keep your eyes open, be on your guard against the east of the Pharisees and the east of Herod”. Do you not remember? “Do you still don’t get the message?”
a) “Keep your eyes open; be on your guard”: after seen that his disciples could not grasp the whole message, the miracles and the person of Jesus, Jesus made them aware that they have already fallen into the same trap of the Pharisees and Herod’s yeast, meaning that they have been influenced by their attitudes and way of thinking that they made them blind and deaf to the message of Jesus.
The yeast of the Pharisees (religion) can be interpreted as the behaviour towards God and others. In relation to God they focused on ritual, rules and regulations ignoring the needs of the people.
Their God was the Law and not a loving merciful Father. In relation to others they drew clear boundaries between them and what they called “the impure/sinners”. They were blind and deaf to Jesus saving action. The yeast of Herod (government) is interpreted as the desire for power, prestige and reputation. He did not care about the values of life but his personal “honour”. He murdered John the Baptist to keep his reputation and fame.
So Jesus is telling us to open our eyes and be on our guard against the subtle influences of world of individualism, narcissism and homophobia which can hinder listening to the word of God, the Good News, and are contrary to Jesus’s values: the respect for human life (love your neighbour as yourself) and God’s creation.
b) “Do you not remember? Do you still don’t get the message?” These two final questions Jesus asked the disciples referred to what they have just experienced in the multiplication of the bread, a tangible saving action of Jesus, which they still could not grasp and understand the meaning.
The way Jesus ends up asking those questions, one after the other, was as if he did not give a chance for an answer because he knew their hearts were hardened (Mk8:17), like those of the Pharisees, and that seemed to have created a clash between Jesus and his disciples. And the cause of that clash had something to do with wrong expectations the disciples had of the Messiah.
They expected a powerful leader who would have come to overthrown the power of the oppressors and liberate the people from oppression and to get for themselves a political position for being part of Jesus’ followers or associates. But not body expected a Servant Messiah, announced by the Prophet Isaiah (Is 42:1; 49:3), a Messiah who came to render service to the people of God and the whole humanity.
A Messiah who endured suffering, humiliation and death for the salvation of all. This created in the disciple a big confusion that made difficult to understand the whole issue of the coming of the Messiah. But it is only in accepting the Messiah as the Suffering Servant, that they will be capable to open their eyes and to understand the Mystery of God in Jesus.
Despite the misunderstandings and the weakness of Jesus’s disciples He did not stop his mission, He continued to work with them, because He loved them, He hope in them and He would reveal to them the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.
Some questions for our reflexion:
- What/Where is the yeast of the Pharisees and Herod in our modern world which prevent us to see and understand God’s saving action in our lives?
- What do you do to prevent falling into the trap of the Pharisees and Herod’s yeast?