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(Part 92)


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?” (v.21).

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.

Jesus’ questions 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.

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