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'Stop, Look, Listen'

Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?

- Mark 8:18

In today's gospel, the disciples bring Jesus their immediate worry about, and fear of, hunger since they have only one loaf of bread in the boat. Jesus' response is to strongly tell them that, even though they witnessed the feeding of the multitudes and gathered leftovers in wicker baskets, their eyes do not see, their ears do not hear. In a word, they doubt.

Like the disciples, we also have aching concerns--the cries of our brothers and sisters across the U.S.A., the cries of the hungry children of the world, the sadness of family, friends and neighbors often in spiritual crisis or economic decline. We are concerned for the incarcerated missing their freedom, the confused and lonely elders in our nursing homes waiting for visitors who never come. We believe, sometimes shakily, that what Jesus has done for others, he will do for us and for those about whom we care. May a renewed deep-seated hope and unflinching faith dissolve our doubt, hone our vision and sharpen our hearing.

- Sr. Bridget Haase, O.S.U.
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So what exactly is Jesus' warning to the disciples in today's Gospel?

Mark 8:15, "Jesus enjoined them, "Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod."

What is the 'leaven' Jesus referring to?
* Since it is given as a warning, it is not a good thing because it is from below (human - Pharisees and Herod)!
* Jesus has used leaven in a positive light in Matthew 13 and Luke 13 because it is from above (God - Kingdom of Heaven).

The disciples did not have the understanding of His warning because their hearts were hardened and so they could not see or hear in Mark 8:17b-18, "Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?"

How do I keep my heart opened and not harden?

Matthew 13:12, "To those who listen to My teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them."

I have come to the conclusion that I cannot do this on my own because it is circular:
* Understanding comes from listening
* Listening comes from ears to hear and eyes to see
* Hearing and seeing come from an opened heart
* An opened heart comes from understanding

Who can break this cycle? God, the Holy Spirit! How do I come to that conclusion? God, the Holy Spirit!

* Leaven from men is bad;
* Leaven from God is good!
* Understanding cannot be established with my human hardened heart because I don't see, hear or listen;
* Understanding is established with the Holy Spirit opening up my heart, my eyes, and my ears!

I love You, Lord Jesus! God the Holy Spirit helps me keep Your Word. And God the Father loves me and all of You come to me! I am so grateful as I learn there is nothing I can bring to the table, just come as I am. For Paul says in Acts 4:12, "There is Salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved." Only the Name of Jesus!

Blessed am I whom You instruct, O LORD, whom by Your law You teach, giving me rest from evil days. When I say, "My foot is slipping," Your mercy, O LORD, sustains me; When cares abound within me, Your comfort gladdens my soul. In Jesus' Name, I pray! Amen!
Salina | Posted on: 2018-02-13 09:02:47
annie | Posted on:: 2018-02-13 09:29:57
annie | Posted on:: 2018-02-13 09:31:29
annie | Posted on:: 2018-02-13 09:31:29
freeter | Posted on: 2018-02-13 08:18:11
Lord, help me to turn any doubt that I may experience into always believing and trusting in You. Amen.

Thank you Sr. Bridget for today's reflection on the scriptures.
Sandy | Posted on: 2018-02-13 08:15:26
Amen. Thank you Holy Father for this day and for today's Gospel. Thank you Lord for my faith, my life and for my family. Thank you Holy Father most of all for your great sacrifice and for the opportunity of forgiveness and reconciliation. Please Lord have mercy. Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ now and forever. Amen
A Sinner | Posted on: 2018-02-13 07:37:06
Dear Jesus, please open my eyes and ears to the wonderful Lenten opportunities around me to strength my relationship with you.

As Sr.Bridget mentions here today, there are many others that need our love, friendship and ears to hear their calls for help.

I pray to strengthen my personal relationship with Jesus this Lenten season through the Scriptures.

God Bless.
Tim | Posted on: 2018-02-13 07:25:18
Jesus, I believe. Help my unbelief.
Beth | Posted on: 2018-02-13 06:54:12
Salina | Posted on:: 2018-02-13 07:49:09
Thank you for this devotional. Reminders are always appreciated. Please Lord be patient with me. Amen.
Cindy | Posted on: 2018-02-13 06:27:34
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