Monday of the 6th Week of the Year

Mk 8:11-13

The Demand for a Sign

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

As human beings, every time we encounter events that are beyond human explanation we ask God to give us signs to shed light on these occurrences.  There are certain phenomena that human reason can’t expound or verify. Most of time we insist on these signs to dispel doubts in our hearts and minds.

Sometimes, we fail to understand what God wants us to know in an event because we are not focused on His own revelations. During those trying moments of our family, God showed us His wonders through countless individuals who consoled us in our grief. People went out of their way to sympathize with us even though they could not provide answers to our uncertainties. Various families assisted us to overcome the pain that will take time to heal. Moreover, it was a time that God provided us the strength to move on despite the wounds that keep on reminding us that life in this world is indeed too short.

The Gospel of today is a manifestation that God reveals Himself in different ways. Jesus Himself gave the Pharisees no sign that they will interpret through human knowledge. He provided them an ultimate proof of His Divinity through His resurrection. This is an assurance that God is always with us and He is true to His promise not to leave us in all circumstances of our lives. (Fr. Marlon Ramirez, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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In times of hopelessness signs of faith are evident. But in times of stability and prosperity we question God’s ways. We want a sign of His power as proof that He is mightier than man.

In the gospel, the Pharisees, instead of striving to make themselves open to God’s revelation, were challenging Jesus to perform something that were please their senses. They were seeking for a sign, hoping Jesus will perform magic. They were waiting for an act that suggests an easy solution to life’s complexities. Yet Jesus’ way is not man’s way. God’s presence is most intense when He seems hidden and so far from us, particularly in moments of humiliation and nothingness. In my weakness, I am very strong, says St. Paul. In our sinfulness, the opportunity for God’s mercy and our conversion is there.

Let us strive to perceive God’s signs among the voiceless, those whom we have rejected and those we see as nuisance in life. In this setting, certainly we see not only signs but also an encounter we with the person of Jesus. (Fr. Martin Mandin, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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In Semiotics or Semiology, one can learn the meanings of signs. A sign tells us what we already know; otherwise it becomes utterly meaningless and useless. In a given society, to be ignorant of signs is to carry the potential burden of risks, conflict or alienation.

With this vantage point in mind, we can easily identify with Jesus’ reaction to the Pharisees’ demand for a sign from heaven to test Him. Pretending to be ignorant of what they should know about Jesus, they become alienated by Him. They always carry with them the burden of testing, questioning and getting rid of Him. With no single word or argument, Jesus left them. “He got into the boat and went off.”

Jesus in another episode says: “The kingdom of God cannot be observed. No one could say it is here; it is there. No one could be sure it is coming or read this sign of its coming. For behold, the kingdom of God is among you,” (Luke 17:20).

True, we can’t be always looking up to the vast heavens for God. Jesus is among us. God is in Jesus. Jesus is in people.

God can be found too in bending low. We can see God also in the needs of hopeless, helpless people. Suffering and rejection can be signs of heaven too, exactly as what Jesus received from the hands of the Pharisees.

Signs indeed can be sources of conflict and alienation. Sometimes we tend to misread or misjudge people’s intentions and actions.

But one thing for sure that clears all doubts of misjudgment or alienation is the ultimate sign of God’s love in Jesus, bending towards us from the cross in humility and sacrifice. With Jesus bending low we can always look up to see heaven! (Fr. Roland Aquino, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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  • I heard others saying like this: “Sus! Father oy, mabuyagan unya ni akong anak. Tuthui, Father kay mabuyagan.”

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All over Metro Manila, at some major roads and intersections, there is this particular street sign that has been puzzling many pedestrians and motorists – Ped Xing. When it is your first time to see it, you would think that it is a street sign bearing the name of some unfamiliar but important Filipino-Chinese historical figure you ought to know but somehow failed to learn about when you were studying history in school. To your surprise, you find out later that Ped Xing is short for pedestrian crossing.

When Jesus traveled all over Israel during His public ministry, He was, in fact and in truth, the most important of all signs. However, the Pharisees did not recognize Him as such. They had eyes but did not see. They had ears but did not hear. The Pharisees could not understand. Or they did not want to understand. They tested Jesus but it was they who failed the test of faith. They were not merely clueless, pedestrians who could not understand the Sign before them; they were completely lost and covered in darkness.

There are two accounts of today’s gospel. Here in Mark, when Jesus “sighed from the depth of His Spirit,” He may well have mourned for the souls lost to liars and deceivers. In Matthew 12:39, Jesus said that the generation of lost souls will not be given the sign because they are “evil and unfaithful.” The emphasis in Mark is on how Jesus felt from deep within, while that in Matthew, it is on his diagnosis of why the Pharisees were in the dark.

There is hope for the lost. Once the clueless pedestrian knows that the Ped Xing sign is about him and where he would cross, he appreciates how pedestrian becomes Ped and how crossing is abbreviated Xing. The pedestrian on a spiritual journey realizes that there is ‘ped xing’ along the way. It marks the spot where Jesus walks with him/her on the streets of dangers and sin so he/she can safely cross over to the other side where the Father stands waiting. (Fr. Bernard Abrazado, SVD Bible Diary 2009)

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Marcos 8:11-13 – Matag adlaw ang Ginoo magpakita kanato sa daghang paagi kon giunsa Niya kita paghigugma. Maayong hangin, nindot nga adlaw, lami nga pagkaon, kahimsog sa lawas, gugma sa pamilya, suporta sa mga higala, saktong panghunahuna, kahigayonan sa pag-ampo, ug uban pa. Gihatagan ba nato kining tanan og bili? Gipasalamatan ba nato ang Dios nga maoy tag-iya niini? O, gibalewala lang nato ang mga gasa nga libre natong gidawat gikan Kaniya? Sama sa mga Pariseo, maghulat pa ba kita nga adunay katingalahang mga panghitabo aron kita motoo sa presensya sa Dios sa atong kinabuhi? Kinahanglan pa ba kitang maluwas sa linog, maayo sa kanser, o makadaog og lotto aron kita motoo sa Ginoo? (Fr. Abet Uy)

abetuy.blogspot.com/2012/02/monday-of-6th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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Reflection: When you were young and in love you normally want to see signs from your beloved that you are loved. For example gifts such as flowers, chocolates and so on. And these signs were enough for you to feel that you’re loved.

Unlike the love of a suitor which is often times unstable, Jesus love for you and me is always there for us to feel and see. The food at the table, our new life in the morning and countless more! These are obvious signs of Jesus infinite love for us.

But often times these are still not enough for us, we still seek more signs to strengthen our faith in Him. When we seek additional signs from Jesus it also shows how feeble our faith in Him. Otherwise if we have full faith and confidence in Jesus we would not anymore seek or ask for anymore signs.

It’s enough for us that we go to Mass, it’s enough for us that we pray and it’s enough for us that we listen to Him as He speaks to us in the bible. (Marino J. Dasmarinas)

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2014/02/my-reflection-for-monday-february-17.html

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Reflection for February 16, Monday Sixth Week in Ordinary Time; Mark 8:11-13 – Reflection: What does it mean when we seek signs from the Lord Jesus? It means weakness of faith, it means that Jesus is not yet enough for us to hold-on for our salvation for we still need signs and wonders from Jesus. A true believer and a person of faith will not anymore seek a sign from the Lord. He/She will trust the Lord Jesus regardless of if he/she will see or not see signs from Him.

If we truly love the Lord and if we have faith in the Lord we will not anymore ask for a sign from Him. Why? Because His name alone is more than enough to deliver us from all of our fears and doubts.  This is for that reason that we always feel His abiding presence in our lives.

The Lord is with us the moment we reverently attend Holy Mass most especially when we partake of His Body and Blood during Holy Communion. The Lord speaks to us the moment we reverently read His words in the bible. Jesus is with us the moment we pray with reverence the Holy Rosary.

If only we will invest time to dive deeper into the life of Jesus and our catholic faith we will not anymore ask for any signs from Jesus. Because as we invest time for Him, we will also notice slowly but surely His abiding presence in our lives.

Let us not ask for signs let us instead get intimate with Jesus and our faith by our faithful presence at Holy Mass. By having a daily habit of reading our bible and by humbly submitting ourselves to the healing Sacrament of Confession. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2015/02/reflection-for-february-16-monday-sixth.html

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SEEKING SIGNS – “Why does this generation seek a sign?” – Mark 8:12

Signs aren’t bad. We see directional signs all around to guide us. Just the other day, Valentine’s Day, we had signs and symbols of love everywhere. We read the “signs of the times” in our natural and moral environment, and we respond to it.

We experience non-verbal signs expressed by our spouse, our children, our siblings and our friends. Someone who is suddenly quiet and not talking to anyone is a sign that this person is going through something. Skin rashes may be a physical sign of allergy or something more serious that needs attention.

Signs are helpful.

But in our Gospel today, the Pharisees who came forward and argued with Jesus asked for a sign from heaven to test Him.

Now that’s a bad sign that should simply be ignored. Because signs from God, such as healing and miracles, are purely out of His grace and love for us — and not to prove Himself. As writer Stuart Chase says, “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t, no proof is possible.”

After all, God’s love for you, through His Son, Jesus, is His best sign ever.Alvin Barcelona (apb_ayo@yahoo.com)

Reflection: Look around you and inside you. See and feel the sign you need today. It is the sign of God’s presence of hope, peace and love for you.

Dear Lord, may I serve as Your sign to others too – that they may see, love and serve You more through Jesus, Your greatest sign. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-02-16

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THE POWER OF CHOICE – One time, I was invited to attend the thanksgiving Mass of a newly ordained priest-friend from another diocese. During his thanksgiving speech, he introduced every member of his family but mentioned that another member was absent. His younger brother, to whom he was very close growing up, wasn’t there because he was serving an eight-year prison sentence for a crime he committed. He said that he will spend a good deal of his priesthood in prison ministry.

That brought me to reflection: two brothers, same parents, same religious education, but totally different life orientation. In the First Reading today, we see a similar case. We have two brothers, Abel and Cain. They had the same parents. Presumably they had the same formation. One chose to be godly, the other chose to be a murderer. It all boils down to what we do with our power to choose.

Didn’t the same happen to Judas and Peter? Judas chose to hold on to his guilt; Peter chose to hold on to God’s mercy. Judas ended up hanging himself; Peter ended up a saint, hanged on a tree upside down for the sake of Christ.

In the Old testament, we are encouraged to orient our choices to life-giving choices. “This day, I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live,” says the book of Deuteronomy (30:19). In the New Testament, Jesus encouraged us: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

What we do with our power to choose determines the difference between life and death, between being a sinner or a saint.

What will it be for you? Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTION: Consider the fruits of your life choices so far. Have they been life-giving? Is it time to make a redirection or refocus?

Lord Jesus, may I know You more clearly, love You more dearly, and follow You more closely. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-02-16

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year  II

Back to: Monday of the 6th Week of the Year

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