THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
GUARDING AGAINST LEAVEN
February 18, 2014
Today’s gospel: Mark 8:14-21
From the start of his Galilean ministry, Jesus had accomplished
a lot of awesome works. He healed many, drove out demons,
taught, appointed and trained his core group, spoke wisdom
through parables, performed miracles, raised the dead. Yet,
in this particular instance, his disciples still could not
figure out what he was saying. “Do you still not understand?”
It is the same with
us as CFC-FFL. God has been working in our midst for over
32 years, has given us a clear vision, has formed us and taught
us, has allowed us to experience His power in our ministry,
has used us as His instruments of salvation and liberation.
Yet, when we are taken on a challenging and radical path,
entirely consistent with our vision and mission, we hesitate,
we balk, we doubt, we do not act decisively, we resist.
to his disciples are appropriate for many of our brethren,
including leaders. “Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears
and not hear?” (v.17b-18a). God touches our whole being--mind,
heart, sight, hearing. He wants us integrally understanding
and consequently totally committed to the mission. How should
we act in relation to God’s call, especially as sounded
by the founder?
“Do you not yet
understand and comprehend?” We need to take the trouble
to understand and comprehend the vision and mission being
given to us. We do not just reject something outright, because
it makes us uncomfortable, because it is too radical or challenging,
because it does not conform to our own ways of thinking.
“Are your hearts
hardened?” We need to be open, in humility and submission.
We resist the thought that we know better, even as we can
respectfully raise questions or issues. We keep our hearts
pure, trying to see the hand of God in whatever is being put
forward. We try to take delight in God’s creative work,
with awe and amazement, even like little children.
“Do you have
eyes and not see?” We need to see the larger picture
being sketched for us, that taps on to the mind of God. We
need to be able to look beyond the difficulties (money, resources,
obstacles, etc.) and have confidence in God’s provision
for every authentic call. We need to look to what God can
cause to happen, even as these would be clearly beyond our
resources or powers, necessitating His divine intervention.
“Do you have
ears and not hear?” We need to listen intently to what
is being told to us, and allow what we hear to be internalized
and made a part of us. We need to recognize a prophetic voice,
knowing that prophets often speak in challenging and even
hard-to-accept ways. We need to reject the voices of those
who gossip, malign, tear down.
Jesus warned his disciples
about the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod (v.15). The
corruptive action of leaven pointed to evil dispositions or
rebellious attitudes toward Jesus. The same can happen with
us. At times even unknowingly, we might unwittingly be already
opposing what God wants to happen. We can avoid this by not
being negative or defeatist or argumentative, by being humble
and submissive, by allowing our senses to be formed in God’s
way, and by being fully supportive of the founder. This is
not blind obedience, as discernment is always appropriate.
But it is a basic attitude that shows that we now understand
how God works in us and through us as an ecclesial movement.