Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
I hear a parental God in today’s readings. A very frustrated, parental God. In fact, in the first reading from Genesis, God is so frustrated with the state of the world, the “wickedness” of human kind, that God even regrets that he made human kind. And God’s “heart was grieved.” That’s pretty strong emotion. Similarly, in the gospel reading from Mark, we hear of Jesus’ frustrations with his disciples. Almost like a frustrated parent, we hear Jesus
exclaiming, “Do you not yet understand or comprehend? …Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember…? Do you still not understand?”!!
These are adults Jesus is talking to, and yet the disciples forgot to bring the bread and then totally misunderstood what Jesus was referring to when he instructs them to guard against the “leaven” of the Pharisees and Herod. You’d think he was talking to a group of distracted middle-schoolers!
Yesterday we read that Jesus, “sighed from the depth of his spirit” in response to the Pharisees seeking a sign from heaven (to test him) - perhaps a combination of frustration and grief. We, as a people, just don’t seem to get it! And yet, God does not give up on us. Jesus does not turn his back on his disciples. Like an ever-loving, patient, forgiving parent, God gives us another chance, another opportunity. As heard in today’s responsorial psalm,
“The Lord will bless his people with peace.”
We, too, may feel frustrated and discouraged at times, wondering when that blessing of peace, that dove with the olive branch, will appear. We may tire of the waiting, grow weary of the bad news, feel fearful of the unknown, and even grieve the evil and losses in our world. But we are not alone.
Thank God we don’t have a distant, unfeeling god. We are blessed with a God who, like an attached parent, loves us so deeply that God’s heart is “grieved” and Jesus’ sighs are “from the depth of his spirit.” And One who does not give up on us, but does provide what we need, as we are reminded in today’s communion antiphon, “They ate and had their fill, and what they craved the Lord gave them; they were not disappointed in what they craved.” (cf. Psalm 78)
Let us turn to this loving God with trust and encourage one another to open our ears and eyes to the promises of peace even in the midst of frustration and grief.