Tuesday of the 6th Week of the Year

Mk 8:14-21

The Leaven of the Pharisees


It seems unfortunate that leaven is made an example of an evil action subtly influencing one’s life. In today’s gospel, leaven is connected to the evil inclinations of Herod and the Pharisees.

Just lately, a parishioner of mine shared the story of how a close friend was gradually influencing him by his corrupt and dishonest way of managing the affairs of the local government. He opted to be jobless and penniless. He withdrew from his company and resigned from his job.

In leaving or refusing the evil influences of the leaven of the so-called friends, one would have to sacrifice his job, position, and even life. It is not easy but not impossible. (Fr. Tony Pezon, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


The parish told his sacristan to prepare the kit for a barrio mass some few kilometers away. Upon arriving, just as the Holy Mass was about to begin, the sacristan, in fear and trembling, announced that he forgot to bring the mass wine. Unable to contain his anger, the priest drove the boy out to get wine alone from the town.

After the Mass, the boy was bracing for a violent scolding to come. But to his surprise, the parish priest was compassionate and supportive; he was bubbling with joy. The companion the sacristan explained that while he was away, the parish priest was caught up with hearing confessions and consultations and was very much satisfied with the response of the church goers.

The apostles forgot to bring along bread for their journey. Some apostles were grumbling that this came to the attention to the Lord. But somehow this frustrating situation became an occasion for the Lord to talk about the Bread that matters. From worry and disappointments, the Lord slowly taught them to see beyond the surface. God is not absent. God desires to feed and satisfy the hungry.

We hunger for many things from the physical to even metaphysical. We regret many times the past, afraid of the future and discontented with the present moment. But God wants to infinitely satisfy and provide our needs anytime, if only we open our eyes and hearts to Him. Jesus is telling us as he did to his apostles a long time ago: “Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?” (Fr. Ben Linsuan, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


Jesus was warning His disciples to watch out for teachings or doctrines that maybe misleading. “They have eyes but they do not see; ears and not hear…” it is a reality that many matters concerning faith and religion are beyond the easy comprehension of ordinary people. That is one reason why superstitious beliefs persist in the midst of people. My experiences in Mindoro attest to this. The simple people in the rural areas are deprived of many opportunities to increase their knowledge about God and faith. One reason for this is that they are mainly preoccupied with the daily struggle to keep alive. However when opportunities come, they are quite open to fill their minds with spiritual matters. There is undeniably a hunger or thirst for things spiritual. Hence the first articulate and convincing speaker to get to them can easily win them over. On places not often visited by the priests, people have been won over by other sects and non-Catholic groups. This can partly explain why there are so many different churches, sects, cults, what have you, in the rural areas. The harvest is indeed great and they go to those who are first to gather them. One sees here the need for more priests and religious, for more catechists and lay leaders, for more genuine Christians who can enlighten their fellow to the truth.

It is a call for more proclaimers of the Word. We feel sad that vocations to the priesthood and religious life are dwindling. However the mission to proclaim the gospel is not only the work of priests and religious. The lay people who comprise the majority of the Church can be a rich source of manpower for the task of evangelization. It is a timely reminder for all of us that many are being misled by the ‘leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.’ Many claim to give the bread of eternal life, but there is only one-true bread and one true leaven. Lay empowerment or more lay involvement can help provide the ‘true leaven’ to those who need it. (Fr. Gil Alejandria, SVD Bible Diary 2008)


I had a three-day summer break in the islands of Batanes last May courtesy of a friend. There I saw the beauty and wonder of those small northernmost islands of our country. For me, it was a wish fulfilled!

While traveling around and seeing the island’s remarkable and awe-inspiring natural attractions as well as talking to some folks, I was overwhelmed, not only emotionally but more so spiritually.

I met a very young diocesan priest, Fr. Ariel Oguan, a Masbateno who opted to be assigned there as parish priest in Sabtang island whose simple life and missionary zeal, enthusiasm, faith and hope touched me tremendously because he simply manifested God’s presence. Curious that I was, I asked him, “Father, you seem to have a lot of money because you were able to renovate the church!” “Pads, I don’t have money,” was his spontaneous response. “Then how were you be able to do it?” I asked. He said, “Pads, God provides. The money is with the people and they are willing to help. They are so generous.” His faith-filled statement put me to shame. How I wished I, a religious missionary, had that kind of trust in Divine Providence. Truly that moment was a moment of grace, conversion and renewal for me.

In today’s gospel reading, I can see the same concern of the disciples. They are worried about not having enough to eat, even if Jesus has fed big crowds on two different occasions. Jesus seems to say, “Hasn’t experience taught you anything? Where is your trust that I care about you and will take care of you?”

Once in a while, let us ask ourselves this question, “How much do we trust God’s compassion and love?” (Fr. Eliseo YYance, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


Tuesday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time (Year B) Marcos 8:14-21.

“Bugo naba gayod kamo kaayo?” Makusganon nga gisaway ni Jesus ang mga tinun-an tungod sa kahuyang sa ilang pagsalig Kaniya. Nasaksihan nila sa kaugalingong mga mata ang milagro nga gihimo ni Jesus sa dihang Iyang gipadaghan ang pan ug isda. Pero, gibati gihapon silag kabalaka sa dihang usa na lang ka pan ang nahibilin kanila. Klaro kaayo nga wala gihapon sila makasabut. Isip mga sumusunod ni Cristo, kinahanglang maglakaw kita ning kalibotan – magtoon, magtrabaho, o magnegosyo – uban sa dakong pagsalig sa panabang sa Ginoo. Dili kita magsige’g kabalaka tungod kay kini dili makatabang kanato. Buhaton lang nato ang atong makaya; Dios nay mag-igo sa dili nato mahimo.” (Fr. Abet Uy)



COMMUNING WITH GOD’S SPIRIT – “Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?” – Mark 8:18

The lines, “People talking without speaking. People hearing without listening,” from Paul Simon’s “Sound of Silence,” run parallel to the Lord’s query in today’s Gospel.

“Have you eyes but no sight? Ears but no hearing?” Our fault as humans is that we enjoy so much what we get from our external senses that we fail to internalize them. Paul Simon wrote that we have to go one level deeper — to connect what we say and hear with our hearts. That’s real, honest and meaningful communication. But Jesus, I feel, is asking us to go even deeper — two more levels down, or three, or as far down as we can, when we are with Him.

As God and Lord, He can tell us a million things from one Bible verse. We just have to go beyond our eyes and ears and allow His Spirit to commune with us. Cristy Galang (cristy_cc@yahoo.com)

Reflection: How focused are you on the Lord in your prayer time? When you read Scripture?

Lord Jesus, I ask for the grace to be open to Your Spirit at all times. I desire that You lead me, guide me, teach me and be everything to me. And I know this can only happen if I tune in always to Your Spirit. Help me, Lord, because I desire to be fully in touch with You. Amen.



THE WAGES OF SIN – Today’s First Reading depicts the great flood that destroyed the world during Noah’s time. According to the opening line of Genesis, God despised the wickedness of that generation. The message is clear. Sin is not without its punishment.

But more than seeing the wages of sin as a punishment imposed from without, it will do us well to pay attention to the punishment that is inflicted from within. The good news is that God is also merciful. But even if He relents His punishment for sin, sin is actually its own punishment. For when we sin, we punish ourselves — we alienate ourselves from God, and not the other way around. More so, we alienate ourselves from our own selves — from our nature. Ever heard of the principle, “God forgives, nature does not”? We can understand that on several levels.

Mother Nature does not forgive. The garbage we throw at nature will one day be thrown back at us by nature — and with interest. How many floods and other natural calamities have been attributed to man’s irresponsible stewardship of the environment?

Nature also refers to our physical well-being. Smoking is its own punishment for the damage it brings to the lungs. Excessive drinking is its own punishment for the damage it causes the liver. But more than the physical, there is also our psychological and spiritual well-being. When we sin, we wound who we are and who we are called to be. We have a term for it: mortal sin. Mortal comes from the Latin mortis, meaning death. Mortal sin “kills” the life of the spirit, our openness to the sanctifying grace of God. Grace builds on nature. When we compromise our nature, we jeopardize the action of grace upon us. This is graver than any external punishment that can be imposed on us. God does not want us to sin, not for His own sake but for ours. When we violate God’s commands, it is not really God we hurt. We hurt ourselves. Sin is its own punishment. Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: What is your concept of sin? Is it a mere violation of a precept or a compromise of our humanity?

We deserve Your just punishments, O Lord. Open my mind that I may spare myself from the unjust punishment I willingly inflict on my. Amen.



See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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