A new insight! I do not recall ever hearing about Jesus being the “one loaf” mentioned in Chapter 8 of Mark’s Gospel. Jesus, in this chapter, has just fed 4,000 people and the disciples gathered the leftovers, seven baskets full of bread. As they depart by boat, this, miracle bread, is the forgotten bread mentioned. There is some confusion in our reading of this section of the Gospel, as the disciples say they both had “no bread” and, at the same time, “one loaf”. Yes! Now it makes sense that this “one loaf” is the Bread of Life in their midst. How often do we overlook the importance of the Eucharist, the Bread of Life, in our lives? Even at Mass, other things are, at times, more important than the “One Loaf”. Years ago, one of the most unusual complaints I received was from a parishioner who was upset because the pastor was not the one who gave Eucharist to the First Communicants at a particular Mass. Wait! The child just received the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus for the very first time. There is no thing or no person that could enhance or detract from their reception of that Eucharist, even if the Pope himself were celebrant.
In this chapter, Dr. Gray also discusses the healing of a man who was blind. Gray points out the implications for Jesus taking the man outside the city, outside of Bethsaida, before performing the miracle. He says, “Bethsaida was a place of pagan worship and culture. Jesus had to take the man out of this context so that he could see clearly. In a similar fashion, we can become blind to Christ and the ways of God if we put ourselves in a bad environment. ”
Then Grays asks insightful questions for us to ponder in our discussion!
• What is the place in our lives that Jesus wants to lead us away from because it has become a barrier to our relationship with God?
• Do we need to avoid something that has become an occasion of sin for us or causes spiritual blindness?
– Deacon Ralph
Feel free to comment on the questions above or on any parts of this chapter.