Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 8, 14-21

The disciples had forgotten to take any bread and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.

Then he gave them this warning, 'Keep your eyes open; look out for the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.'

And they said to one another, 'It is because we have no bread.'

And Jesus knew it, and he said to them, 'Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not understand, still not realise? Are your minds closed?

Have you eyes and do not see, ears and do not hear? Or do you not remember?

When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of scraps did you collect?' They answered, 'Twelve.'

'And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many baskets full of scraps did you collect?' And they answered, 'Seven.'

Then he said to them, 'Do you still not realise?'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The evangelist is narrating one of the many crossings of the lake that Jesus made with his disciples. But this time - as if to focus our attention on Jesus, the true bread of life - he notes that the disciples had forgotten to bring enough bread for everyone: "They had only one loaf with them." And the evangelist seems to indicate that an argument broke out among them about who was guilty of forgetting. But Jesus interrupts and takes advantage of the situation to teach them something new. They think Jesus wants to weigh in on their internal arguments, as if Jesus were a sort of sedative for their silly disputes. The Teacher does not come down to their level: in fact, he called them not so that they would remain prisoners of their small horizons or their foolish arguments, but in order to involve them in his dream of changing the world, to show them a horizon of mercy for the tired and scattered crowds. And he rebukes them: "Why are you talking about having no bread?" The disciples probably looked at him at bit astonished and surprised, as if they themselves had gone mad, as often happens to us when we hear the extraordinary words of the Gospel. In truth, they had not yet understood: "Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear?" Jesus directly connects the eyes, the ears, and the heart. But the heart is the source of both seeing and hearing. In fact, if our heart is hardened, we are unable to see or hear. We need an open heart, not one that is full of itself, poisoned by its pride and self-sufficiency until it cannot understand what is happening around the Gospel. In effect, the disciples had the "true" bread with them, yet they had not yet understood it. This was not just true symbolically; it was real. Indeed, Jesus reminds them of the miracle of the multiplication of the bread he had just performed. Jesus satisfies both body and heart. This is the meaning of the Eucharistic celebration, but it is also the meaning of our listening to the Gospel every day. We have to remember what Jesus said: "One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God."