Reflections

Tuesday of 6th Week of the Year, February 16, 2021

JESUS IS GOD’S SIGN ON EARTH
Introduction
The memory of big inundations was strong in the lands and cultures of Asia Minor. The Bible ascribes them to God’s punishment of the growing evil in the world. Yet at the same time he spares the innocent.
The theme of yesterday is continued in today’s reading. We should not ask for extraordinary signs but learn to see God’s presence and saving action in the events of life. The apostles have seen the signs Jesus worked among them. We, too, should open our eyes and ears to the good things God does among us.
 
Opening Prayer
Lord our God,
when we do not see clearly in life,
when suffering comes our way,
we tend to blame you or people.
Help us to realize clearly
how much of the evil around us
comes from within ourselves,
from our greed for riches and power,
from our self-complacency and selfishness.
Speak to us your word of forgiveness
and change us from a silent majority of evil
into solidarity of love,
by the grace of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!
 
1 Reading: Genesis 6:5-8; 7:1-5, 10
When the LORD saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth, and how no desire that his heart conceived was ever anything but evil, he regretted that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was grieved. So the LORD said: “I will wipe out from the earth the men whom I have created, and not only the men, but also the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air, for I am sorry that I made them.” But Noah found favour with the LORD. Then the LORD said to Noah: “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for you alone in this age have I found to be truly just. Of every clean animal, take with you seven pairs, a male and its mate; and of the unclean animals, one pair, a male and its mate; likewise, of every clean bird of the air, seven pairs, a male and a female, and of all the unclean birds, one pair, a male and a female. Thus you will keep their issue alive over all the earth. Seven days from now I will bring rain down on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and so I will wipe out from the surface of the earth every moving creature that I have made.” Noah did just as the LORD had commanded him. As soon as the seven days were over, the waters of the flood came upon the earth.
 
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 29:1a and 2, 3ac-4, 3b and 9c-10
R. (11b) The Lord will bless his people with peace.
 
Give to the LORD, you sons of God,
give to the LORD glory and praise,
Give to the LORD the glory due his name;
adore the LORD in holy attire. R.
 
The voice of the LORD is over the waters,
the LORD, over vast waters.
The voice of the LORD is mighty;
the voice of the LORD is majestic. R.
 
The God of glory thunders,
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
The LORD is enthroned above the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as king forever. R.
 
Alleluia: John 14:23
Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord;
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
 
Gospel: Mark 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?”
 
Commentary
The saga of sin continues. By the time of Noah, sin is wide¬spread. But God’s disappointment and his promise of a flood is not without its ray of hope. Noah, his family, and an assortment of clean and unclean animals will enter the ark and be preserved from the devastating waters. An important Old Testament teaching holds that in the face of disaster a remnant will be spared. However severe the punishment, God’s fidelity to this promise remains intact.
Yeast has both positive and negative qualities. Today Jesus advises his disciples to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Herod. Yeast may increase the volume of bread, but it may also be a corrupting element. It is in this latter sense that Jesus uses it today. The disciples incorrectly interpret Jesus’ words as a reproach for their failure to bring sufficient bread. How could they have forgotten so quickly how Jesus had provided sufficient bread for the multitude in the wilderness?
It is often said that God’s goodness appears more often than his punishment. The New Testament says much to support this idea. While sin is never approved, forgiveness is continually emphasized. Sin undoubtedly is part of our lives, but grace is even more abundant.
 
Intercessions:
For those who are tempted, that they may remember how Jesus overcame temptation and ask him to give them the strength to resist, we pray:
For those who have seriously sinned, that they may remember that God still loves them and is ready to forgive them, we pray:
For all of us, that we may see the signs of God’s goodness and of the faith of good people, we pray:
 
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord God, loving Father,
in these signs of bread and wine,
you reassure us that you are always with us
through him who became one of us,
your Son, Jesus Christ.
Give us eyes to see and ears to hear
all the good things you do for us
through people who comfort us
and share with us in the hour of need;
help us to brighten each other’s lives
with a smile and a warm word,
as you are the light of our lives
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!
 
Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
when we look for signs
that you are still with us,
give us the faith and the strength
to be to the world the sign
of your saving love
by our integrity, our ways of peace,
our concern for one another,
for where charity and love prevail
surely you are there
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!
 
Blessing
Just open your eyes and your ears and learn to see the good things God does among us even today. Keep seeing and believing, for there are signs enough. May Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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