Tuesday of the Sixth week in Ordinary Time

The sign of the bread

They had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. He 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?” Mk 8,14-21

The today gospel speaks to us of the Providence, giving a sequence of seven questions, which conclude with the most tragic one among all: “ Do you still not understand?” The disciples are worried because, after being on board of the boat to cross the Tiberias lake, they realize to have one only bread, which would not be sufficient for the whole of them. The fact to have been witnesses of the two experiences of the multiplication of the breads, when five thousand before and four thousand after have been  appeased, has not release them from the fear of not having an adequate quantity of bread. In the boat, which represents the Church – also the  domestic one – one only bread is necessary: Jesus Christ. We will never be starved with this bread and there is enough to appease also several other persons, as Jesus recalls to the worried disciples. We are not  dealing only with the material bread, but of every other need for us, because every need is included in the pray of our Father: “ Give us today our daily bread”. Unfortunately, the continuous miracle of the daily bread has to face two huge dangers, which reduce its strength and hide its sign; “Be careful, pay attention to the yeast of the Pharisees and to the yeast of Herod!”. The bread of the Providence, to give all its strength, has to be liberated from the ideological corruption of the law and of  the economical-political power, represented by the yeast of the Pharisees and from the yeast of Herod.  The law, which should be for the protection of the weakest people, when the selfishness of the individuals and of the social groups prevails, risks to be identified with the right of the strongest. This always happens in the dictatorial regimes, either manifest either masked, where the “law” and “power” are in agreement, on the basis of compromises which end up in prevailing on the most undefended people. The yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod, to which we too risk to be aligned, cancel often the miraculous power of that bread, which the Lord donates each day to all but which, unfortunately, reaches  only few people.

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