Today’s reading is Mark 8:14-21:
Now they had forgotten to bring bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “We have no bread.” And being aware of it, Jesus said to them, “Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”
Jesus Christ is always knocking on the doors of our hearts. How do we respond? In these verses in Mark’s Gospel, our Lord, Jesus Christ, responds to the disciples’ apparent lack of food and sustenance with questions. As He probes the disciples’ hearts, we discover Him probing our hearts:
Why did the disciples question/doubt that Jesus would not do the same thing for them that He had done for the crowd?
Why did the disciples doubt and show skepticism toward the power of God?
Why did the disciples forget to bring bread?
Why did the disciples not blame anyone for forgetting the bread and not call it a mistake?
Why did the disciples not consider Christ wanting to use even their mistakes/forgetfulness and multiply whatever they did or bring to Him?
Why did the disciples need Jesus remind them of everything He had done?
Why did the disciples have the state of their hearts questioned?
Why did the disciples struggle with hardness of heart?
Why did the disciples need leaven (makes bread rise and grow bigger; Pharisees and Herod) compared to actual multiplication (distinct new products; Jesus)?
Why did the disciples say they had “no bread” rather than saying they had “one loaf”?
Why did the disciples not seem willing to offer even a little bit of this bread to each other, to Jesus?
Why do we disciples not yet understand?
Federica Wade is in her second year at Harvard as a missionary with FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students).