Immersed in Christ: February 15, 2020
Saturday, Week Five of Ordinary Time
Lord, remember us, for the love you bear your people.
(Responsorial: Psalm 106)
1 Kings 12:26 to 13:34: Jeroboam, though he was chosen by God to be king, led his people to worship false gods. His reasoning was:
If this people continues to go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the LORD at Jerusalem, the heart of this people will turn again to King Rehoboam of Judah.
[So he] made two calves of gold. He said to the people... “Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” He put one in Bethel, and the other in Dan.... He also built temples on the high places, and made priests from among the people, who were not Levites
We ask how the people could be stupid enough to forget their history, ignore all that the prophets had preached to them, and go against God’s revelation and commandments. But then we have to ask why people today stop going to Catholic churches, forsake the one Sacrifice offered there that has replaced all others, forget the fifteen hundred years of history before Protestantism existed, ignore all the deep theology, and spiritual writings that have enlightened the world for two thousand years, break off communion with all the Catholic martyrs, saints and mystics, and embrace Christian sects with no foundation in Scripture, history, theology or mystical experience. And they “make priests from among the people,” who are not accredited by any connection with the Apostles or the bishops who followed them.
Worse: some reject Christianity itself to devote themselves with uncritical gullibility to “myths... that promote speculations rather than the divine training that is known by faith.”
For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. 1
There is not much difference between today’s defectors and those whom Jeroboam was able to sway so easily to the worship of false gods. Both groups could undoubtedly plead the excuse of disgust with unfaithful or incompetent priests and ministers. But it is not the priests they abandon. It is their sacred history and covenant with God.
If they were disciples, students of Scripture, religious doctrine and history, they would not put so much credibility in those who “desire to be teachers... without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make assertions.” 2
A difference between Mark 8:1-10 and the parallel multiplication of loaves in Mark 6:31-44 is that the disciples have a lesser role. The initiative comes from Jesus (8:2-3), and Jesus does not say to the disciples, “You give them something to eat.” He just asks how many loaves they have and multiplies them. This “focuses attention on Jesus who alone can satisfy the need for bread.” 3 It reminds us that our faith always depends on Jesus, not on humans.
Initiative: Look beyond humans to Jesus’ words and presence in the Church.
View Today's Readings Here
1 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 4:3-4.
2 1 Timothy 1:6-7.
3 See the 1968 Jerome Biblical Commentary.