Our site uses cookies to improve the user experience and we recommend accepting its use to take full advantage of the navigation

Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading (Jas 1:12-18): Blessed is he who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proven he will receive the crown of life that he promised to those who love him. No one experiencing temptation should say, «I am being tempted by God»; for God is not subject to temptation to evil, and he himself tempts no one. Rather, each person is tempted when lured and enticed by his desire. Then desire conceives and brings forth sin, and when sin reaches maturity it gives birth to death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers and sisters: all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change. He willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
Responsorial Psalm: 93
R/. Blessed the man you instruct, o Lord.
Blessed the man whom you instruct, o Lord, whom by your law you teach, giving him rest from evil days.

For the Lord will not cast off his people, nor abandon his inheritance; but judgment shall again be with justice, and all the upright of heart shall follow it.

When I say, «My foot is slipping», your mercy, o Lord, sustains me; when cares abound within me, your comfort gladdens my soul.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 14:23): Alleluia. Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord; and my Father will love him and we will come to him. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 8:14-21): The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” They concluded among themselves that it was because they had no bread. When he became aware of this he said to them, “Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread? Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?” They answered him, “Twelve.” “When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?” They answered him, “Seven.” He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

“Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees”

Fr. Juan Carlos CLAVIJO Cifuentes (Bogotá, Colombia)

Today, —once again— we can see the wisdom of our Lord Jesus. His behavior is amazing, as it is so different from the rest of the people…, it is original. He has just worked some miracles and now He is going somewhere else where the Grace of God must also reach. In such a context of miracles, before a new group of people who are waiting, He warns them: "Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." (Mk 8:15), for they —the Pharisees and Herod— do not want the Grace of God to be known, and they would rather spend all their time spreading bad yeast throughout the World while sowing discord.

Our faith does not depend on our deeds, for “a faith which we ourselves decide about is not a faith in absolute” (Benedict XVI). On the contrary, it is our deeds that depend upon our faith. To have a true and authentic faith implies an active and dynamic faith; not a conditioned faith that stays only on the surface, in the external appearance, that gets off the track… Ours must be a genuine faith. We must look at things with the eyes of God, not with the sinner’s eyes: “Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened?” (Mk 8:17).

The Kingdom of God expands in our world just as the yeast grows in the dough, without our knowing why. The authentic faith must be like that, a faith that grows in our love for God. Let nothing and nobody, therefore, befuddle us of the encounter with our Lord and His redeemable message. Our Lord never misses an opportunity to teach and, today, He keeps on doing it: “We must free ourselves from the false idea that faith has nothing to say to today’s men” (Benedict XVI).

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “Lay aside, therefore, the evil, the old, the sour leaven, and be changed into the new leaven, which is Jesus Christ. Be salted in Him, lest anyone among you should be corrupted, since by your savour you shall be convicted.” (Saint Ignatius of Antioch)

  • “By denouncing the ‘leaven’ of Herod, Jesus Christ unmasks one of the facets of the sinful temptation: the appearance of realism. When making decisions is when the question arises: what really matters in my life?” (Benedict XVI)

  • “As leaven in the dough, the newness of the kingdom should make the earth ‘rise’ by the Spirit of Christ. This must be shown by the establishment of justice in personal and social, economic and international relations, without ever forgetting that there are no just structures without people who want to be just.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 2832)

Other comments

“Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?”

Fr. Lluís ROQUÉ i Roqué (Manresa, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we see that Jesus —as often happened with the Apostles— was not always understood.

At times it is difficult. We may see wonders, have things explained crystal clear or receive a good doctrine. No matter, we deserve His scolding: “Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened?” (Mk 8:17).

We would like to tell Him we understand Him and that our mind is not closed, but we do not dare to. Like the blind of the parable, we may ask Him, to listen to our pleading: “Lord, please let me see” (Lk 18:41), to have faith and see; and, as the psalmist says: “Direct my heart toward your testimonies and away from gain” (Ps 119:36) to have a good disposition, to listen, receive the Word of God and make it fruitful.

Today and always, it would also be good, to pay attention to Jesus' warning: “Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees.” (Mk 8:15); the truth is so far away... We seem “fanatical believers”, who do not understand “when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth” (Jn 4:23). We must also beware “the leaven of Herod” which is proud, despotic, sensual, and only wants to see and feel Jesus for pleasure's sake.

But, how to keep away from this “yeast”? Well, just by doing a continuous, intelligent and pious evaluation of the Word of God which will let us grow individually “pious as infants: but not ignorant, because each one of us must try, to the best of his abilities, to seriously and scientifically study the faith… That is, to have the piety of children coupled with the doctrinal knowledge of a theologian” (Saint Josemaria Escrivá).

Thus, enlightened and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, alerted and led by the good Shepherds, stimulated by all the faithful Christians, we shall believe what we ought to believe and we shall do what we ought to do. First, though, we must have the “desire” to see: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (Jn 1:14), visible, palpable; and the “desire” to listen: it was the Virgin Mary's response that made Jesus say: “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it” (Lk 11:28).