Mon, 17 February 2020
(Jas.1:12-18; Ps.94:12-15,18-19; Mk.8:14-21)
“He wills to bring us to birth with a word spoken in truth.”
But how deaf we are to His speaking.
The disciples exhibit a remarkable degree of ignorance in our gospel today. It would be comical were it not so usual, were it not such a defining trait of us humans. Preoccupied with their forgetfulness to bring bread for their journey, when the Lord mentions the word “yeast” in a chastising instruction, their minds go immediately to the bread they now lack by their negligence. Able to go no deeper than the surface of the words, and able not to see beyond their immediate concerns, they are as blind to the truth Jesus would teach them as so often we weak humans are. For those still struggling with the text at hand, Jesus is telling us that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. Has not the Lord shown this quite directly by feeding the thousands by virtue of a blessing spoken upon a few loaves?
Our hearts should not be set on the bread of this world as are the Pharisees’, whose yeast is a pride in self that rises to condemnation. It is pride that blinds us and concern for the body that produces ignorance. “Keep your eyes open!” the Lord commands. Do not let your minds be darkened by the cares of this world – the body is useless! It is the spirit that gives life. Open your hearts to the teaching of the Spirit, the great gift that Jesus imparts. “Happy the man whom you instruct, O Lord, whom by your law you teach,” our psalmist sings, and so should all blessed to hear the Word of the Lord join his chorus.
James tells us in our first reading that God does not tempt us to sin. “Rather the tug and lure of his own passion tempts every man”; only “genuine benefit comes from above, descending from the Father of the heavenly luminaries.” Do we seek His gifts that are worthwhile, or are our hearts fixed on things below? It may be hard to listen to His Word, to be brought to birth by His truth, but “happy the man who holds out to the end through trial!” “The crown of life awaits… those who love” the Lord, and He is near to sustain us as we climb.
Brothers and sisters, once the Spirit fell upon the apostles, no longer did they experience such ignorance. Is not the life-giving Word at work within us this very day? Then our eyes should be open to His light.
O LORD, help us to be humble before you,
that you might raise us up from our sin.
YHWH, should we not be as children before you? Is your Son not like a Child, O LORD? Is He not the humblest of all? O let us be like Him, and you!
Is there some other image in which we should be made, LORD, than your own? What of this world should beguile our soul? To whom should we aspire but our heavenly Father, and how shall we find you except through your Son? Does He not show us the way by His death on the Cross?
O LORD, let us not be deaf to your speaking to us in His words and actions, for He reveals to us who we must be. Help us to leave the example of the world behind, to abandon all hatred and jealousy, all the sinful pride and insatiable greed wrought into our fallen nature, and come to you even this day that we might be redeemed by your Son’s sacrifice and our sharing therein.
O help us to be humble, LORD, to find the humility only you know. With all our hearts let us serve you, and your glory will be ours.