February 18, 2019
by Tom Lenz
Creighton University's School of Pharmacy & Health Professions
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 335

Genesis 4:1-15, 25
Pslams 50:1 and 8, 16bc-17, 20-21
Mark 8:11-13

Praying Ordinary Time

When I was growing up in rural Iowa many years ago, I occasionally remember hearing adults and older adults saying things like, “Kids these days…I just don’t understand them!” Now that I am one of those adults (and a parent of four), I sometimes find myself saying (or at least thinking) the same thing. Upon first glance at Mark’s Gospel reading for today, I kind-of chuckled to myself because it almost seems like Jesus is saying the same, “Why does this generation seek a sign?” In other words, “Kids these days…they are never satisfied!” As Mark told us in yesterday’s Gospel reading, Jesus just fed 4,000 people with seven loaves of bread and a few fish. If that is not sign, I don’t know what is. It made me smile because I felt like Jesus and I could relate to one another in some way. I’m not actually sure what Jesus was feeling that day, but it was a fun first glance through the reading anyway.

As I read Mark’s Gospel again and spent a bit of time thinking about it, other thoughts came to mind. Questions came to mind, too. Why is it that we have a hard time believing in something unless it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt? Why can’t we just believe? Well, with my professor hat on, I would say it’s because science and research help us understand things about our world regardless of opinion. It’s an evidence-based, reductionistic world and we are trained from kindergarten to adulthood that evidence rules. But, that answer (which is one that I regularly tell my students) somehow feels incomplete. I am dissatisfied with the notion that evidence-based reductionism is the answer to all of our questions. And, therein lies the beauty in Jesus’ words.

I see this Gospel reading as, yet again, a message of faith and trust. The people who lived at the time of Jesus were fortunate because they could personally witness the amazing signs that he was giving – like feeding the four thousand. But we, too, are fortunate because we can read the stories and imagine ourselves in the crowd seeing, listening, and being part of the experience. For us, that means faith and trust. We can feel God living within us in our daily lives, and we know how great that feels. We don’t have evidence to prove it, and we don’t need any – because we can feel it. My prayer for us is that we all can feel the grace, joy, and happiness that God wants for us and brings into our lives today.

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