Homily February 13th, 2023

Monday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time – Mk 8:11-13

            Today’s brief Gospel is only three verses long, but it gives us some great insights into Christ’s mission. In the passage that immediately precedes today’s Gospel, Jesus fed about 4,000 people from seven loaves and a few fish. This is clearly a miracle, and is in fact the second time that Jesus has multiplied food. In the previous chapter, Jesus restored hearing and speech to a man, and healed the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter, not to mention the many other miracles. Yet, over and above all these things, the Pharisees demand something more. As Saint John Chrysostom asks: “But what sign from heaven are they asking [for]? Maybe that he should hold back the sun, or curb the moon, or bring down thunderbolts, or change the direction of the wind, or something like that?” The Pharisees want something really extraordinary, something that would leave no doubt in their minds that Christ is the Messiah. However, as Chrysostom continues: “In Pharaoh’s time there was an enemy from whom deliverance was needed. But for one who comes among friends, there should be no need of such signs.”[1] Friends take each other at their word, and rejoice in the good of the other.

            Jesus comes among His people as a friend in order to save them from their sins, not as a military commander or a political leader. The Pharisees don’t understand this, and hence Jesus “sighed from the depth of his spirit,” a very strong phrase. Saint Bede says that just as Jesus gave thanks before He fed the believing crowd, so He groans at the Pharisees’ request; Christ rejoices at the salvation of men, but grieves intensely over their mistakes.

            Today’s Gospel reminds us that, as Catholics, we’re surrounded by miracles: we have the Eucharist, our vocations, daily graces that sustain us, and so many other daily blessings. Jesus comes among us every day as a friend, but if we fail to see those blessings for what they are, as daily reminders of God’s constant care for us, we become like the Pharisees, who demand something else when Christ is right in front of them. “Spiritual fulfillment, our happiness and joy, is not found elsewhere, but here, in the midst of daily life.” If we can’t find God in the midst of what our superiors ask, in the midst of our community, we won’t be able to find Him anywhere, not because He isn’t there, but because we don’t know how to look for Him or how to see Him. We can ask ourselves how well we seek Christ in the everyday, ordinary tasks.      

Let us ask, through the intercession of Mary, Help of Christians, for the grace to learn to see Christ in the midst of our daily tasks and struggles.

[1] Gospel of St. Matthew, Homily 53.3.



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