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Faith Daily | 13 February 2023

PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p537

Let your merciful ears, O Lord,

be open to the prayers of your humble servants;

and that they may obtain their petitions

make them to ask such thins as shall please you;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.


GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 8: 11-13


11The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, asking him for a sign from heaven, to test him. 12And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13And he left them, and getting into the boat again, he went across to the other side.


GOSPEL REFLECTION: Hilary Bell


“The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, asking him for a sign from heaven, to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, ‘Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.’ And he left them, and getting into the boat again, he went across to the other side.”

These three verses are like a short act in a play.


In Verse 11 Mark sets the scene and introduces the participants. The protagonist is Jesus, the antagonists the Pharisees who confront him.


They want to test him. They reject his teachings and the miracles of healing and feeding he has already performed and refuse to believe that he is the Messiah.


Verse 12: the words that Jesus proclaims “No sign will be given”


Verse 13: The decisive action: “ Then he left them”

Within this short passage which moves along with Mark’s characteristic brevity the three words “He sighed deeply” stand out. Even in the context of the arrogant Pharisees refusing to believe that Jesus is the Messiah despite his teaching and miracles, the Son of God is troubled.

Do humans not learn nor change? Are the “stiff necked people” of Exodus with whom Moses wrestled, even when God provided miracles and signs, any different from the Pharisees who are determined not to believe? I can’t help thinking that even if Jesus had given the Pharisees a sign they would have remained stubborn unbelievers, somehow twisting it to claim the sign came not from God but from Satan and trying to establish their own erudition and exclusive right to rule on matters of faith and doctrine.


Does Jesus sigh over our generation who similarly reject Christ, his teachings and the testimony of contemporary disciples? Is he troubled by those closed minds who claim Science and Reason as their exclusive domain incompatible with faith?

Yet we have the assurance that Jesus will never leave us or forsake us.


FINAL PRAYER (from TIS 253 Aboriginal people of Arnhem Land)


“Now we praise you for your Word,

living, true and full of light.

Yours the hands that rest on me:

hold me for all time. “

Amen.

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