Daily Reflection for Tuesday February 16, 2021
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Tuesday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Genesis 6:5-8; 7:1-5, 10
Responsorial: Psalm 29:1a and 2, 3ac-4, 3b and 9c-10
Gospel: Mark 8:14-21
Our reflection on Tuesday’s readings:
Do you still not understand …? Mark 8: 21
As a young person, I remember being in the company of older relatives and family friends. Their conversations invariably evolved to sharing stories and memories from long ago--often in excruciating detail--inducing eye-rolls in their younger audience. Recently I’ve cut those older folks some slack as I ruefully notice that my own conversations now sometimes slip into that pattern. Why do we do this? I suspect that good memories may engender a sense of well-being, that life has been pretty good after all.
Yet even with a long history of good memories, faith can be challenged when a crisis appears. I’m thinking of friends who have faced hardships this past year—deaths, serious illnesses, family crises. It’s hard to remember the good times when you’re in the midst of bad times.
In today’s gospel, the disciples are agitated because they’ve forgotten to bring bread for a short boat trip on the Sea of Galilee. As they fret about the day’s failure, Jesus challenges them to remember the times He provided an abundance of bread:
“Do you not remember when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?. . . Twelve.”
“When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up? ...“Seven.”
In apparent frustration, Jesus concludes his conversation with the disciples with the question, Do you still not understand?
I imagine Jesus posing that same question to me. What it is that Jesus so intensely wants me to understand?
Maybe Jesus wants me to understand him. Jesus yearns for me to know him, to love him, and to draw ever closer to him. Those are the desires of every friend and lover. How stunning that our infinite God desires that from me.
By focusing on the “leftovers,” maybe Jesus wants me to understand the super-abundance of God’s love and grace. God is extravagant when it comes to caring for us. We can surrender our anxieties and our needs to God. That's a hard lesson to learn in a culture where we are encouraged to be self-reliant.
What message can we draw as we begin Lent tomorrow? Definitely a commitment to daily prayer so as to understand and love God more deeply; definitely trusting more in God’s abundant grace; definitely asking God to guide and empower our own well-intentioned actions. Our Lenten practices, good in themselves, are most importantly ways of opening ourselves to God’s transforming grace, the only thing that will truly transform us this Lent.
Wishing you an abundantly blessed Lent,