“What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are.” – C.S. Lewis: (1898 –1963: was a British novelist, poet, & academic)
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?"
Today’s Gospel passage makes no sense without yesterday’s. Yesterday, we heard the Pharisees ask Jesus for a sign from heaven “to test him.” Today Jesus warns the disciples against the leaven of the Pharisees. Leaven here is a symbol for their skeptical disposition, their need to see a sign in order to believe Jesus is from God. Leaven changes the bread by making it rise, just as their need to test Jesus changes their faith and relationship to God. Their skepticism makes it impossible for the Pharisees to see that God is with Jesus, to see that sign in what Jesus has already done, just as a little leaven changes the whole loaf. In this metaphor, leaven makes the bread different from the bread used at Passover, another sign of God’s covenant with God’s people. Jesus is just trying to get the disciples to understand that He is the unleavened bread, the new sign of the covenant!
Sometimes it seems to take an overabundance of divine brilliance to get our attention. Have we eyes of faith to see what is right in front of us?