Whenever I read about how Jesus' disciples did not easily understand his teachings, I remember not to be too hard on myself in my own struggles to get my lessons.
Today's Gospel woke me up. The brief background before my sharing is this: things are moving verrry slowly in my job applications. I am being stretched in ways I never imagined possible. Yesterday I heard from my friend who encouraged me before to apply in her office, one which I highly respected and also dreamed of entering during my student days. I gathered all the necessary documents, carefully filled out the Personal Data Sheet this time (I hate filling up forms like those), and arranged where to meet her so we could be at her office first thing in the morning.
Then I got a call from her at 4:45 a.m. Her mom's blood pressure shot up and she could not leave the house yet. She said we had to move our plans but would still go to her office. Another call at 8 a.m. from her, this time in a frantic voice telling me that she called an ambulance and was going to bring her mother to the Philippine Heart Center.
I texted our friends from the chapel and prayed hard for her mother. Then I went to my prayer time, where I had to face my own reality: I still had nothing submitted to that office, which seemed to be the one I was most suited to, and that meant I would have to wait longer before being scheduled for interview.
I came before the Lord helpless, depressed, and afraid. I enjoyed the blessings that had come my way the past two months of joblessness, and I knew I was not in a completely pitiable state yet, but still the lack of certainty about my future was testing my faith to the limits.
Then I read this passage from 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?”
These are men who walked with the Lord yet still they could not easily grasp what He was teaching them. I cannot blame the disciples because it was natural to focus on what was familiar to them. How could they connect the leaven that Jesus was talking about to the teachings of the Pharisees? Surely the Lord must have known that they forgot to bring bread and that was what he was warning them about, so they would not forget again, but they were wrong. I looked at how Jesus patiently taught them, despite their stubborn resistance, to look beyond what their eyes could see. He reminded them of the miracles they had already witnessed.
I was humbled by this exchange. I imagined Jesus talking to me, asking me, "Ella, do you still not understand? Is your heart hardened? Do you have eyes and do not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember how I pulled you out of pits and dangers in the past, how I saved you from temptations and desolations, and allowed you to witness my miracles unfolding in your life?"
My heart has been hardened, Lord, and you know that. My eyes cannot see clearly right now, and my ears are not so attuned to you. I have forgotten how good you are, and how perfect your timing. Teach me again. Show me again. Remind me again. For I am a stubborn child and am slow of learning.