Beyond the Forgotten Bread: Unravelling the Deeper Truth in Mark 8: 14 -21

Today’s Gospel builds upon the miracle of Jesus feeding about 4,000 people with seven loaves and a few fish. At the end of this mission, Jesus and His disciples entered a boat and sailed to the other side of the river. Now, imagine being in this boat with Jesus, crossing the river, when the realization hits: we forgot the bread. The panic can easily escalate; whispers switching into heated arguments. Beneath the surface of this forgotten bread lies a deeper message, one that is profoundly relevant to us Christians living in an often-changing seas of modern life.

Jesus warns of the “leaven of the Pharisees and Herod.” Leaven, used for baking bread, can symbolize both growth and corruption (fermentation). The Pharisees represent the religious authority while Herod represents the political powers. So, Jesus is warning us to beware of the hypocritical and ideological teachings, worldly and political influences that can ferment doubt and fear in our hearts, seeking to control and lead us astray. Just like the disciples fixated on their lack of bread, we too can easily get consumed by daily anxieties, the relentless bad news, the uncertain future, the ever-present fear.


Jesus’ demeanor towards His disciples is remarkably poignant; instead of scolding them, He questions them: “Do you not understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you not have eyes that see and not see, ears that hear and not hear? Do you not remember when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up? “Twelve,” they replied.

Dear fellow Christians, these questions are also addressed to us. The things that capture our attention, our perception of the world, reflect the quality of our relationship with Jesus. Jesus’ disciples had witnessed many miracles: they saw Him calm the storm with His word, heal the sick, cast out demons, and even raise the dead. Yet, they became panicked and anxious because of the forgotten bread.

Are We Consumed?

The attitude of the disciples is a human reality that can raise questions in us. Are we so consumed by daily concerns that we miss the deeper meaning of life? Do we truly hear the cries of the world, those close to us, the whispers of hope, the call to Gospel-inspired actions? Let us remember this: faith is about seeing the world through the eyes of the Crucified Jesus, hearing His voice in the silence, and remembering His promises of Love, Joy, Justice, and Peace.

Shift Your Gaze

Today, Jesus invites us to shift our gaze from problems to solutions. Firstly, by acknowledging God’s abiding presence among us. Secondly, by moving from fear to faith. Jesus’ call is not to ignore life’s challenges but to see them through the lens of faith. When anxieties tend to grip us, let us learn to pause, meditate, and pray. Let us reflect on the past moments of God’s faithfulness in our lives and that of others. Gratitude unlocks the door to trust; it reminds us we are not alone.

Also, Jesus invites us to be living testaments of His message. As we open our lives to God’s grace, we become capable of offering a compassionate ear, empathy, moral and spiritual support to those struggling with anxiety around us. In this way, our actions become the antidote to fear and spiritual paralysis. May the Lenten season we are about to begin be an occasion for us to be more attuned to God’s Word…Amen.

Uncertainty loses its grips on us when we remember that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega. Let us open our eyes, ears, and hearts to God’s presence, remembering that even amid darkness, He offers us abundant love, guidance, and strength. Therefore, let us step out, share the bread of love, and incarnate the hope and light that shine brightly in an uncertain world.

[Readings: Jas 1:12-18; Mk 8:14-21]

Fr. Alex Igbozuruike

Fr Alexius. C. IGBOZURIKE, is a priest of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He is a chaplain at our Lady of Lourdes’ Sanctuary in France. To contact him, Sanctuaire Notre Dame de Lourdes, Maison des Chapelains, 1 Avenue Mgr. Théas, 65108, Lourdes Cedex, France. Email : [email protected]

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