“Why We Need a Sign; or Do We?!” – Mk 8:11-13


Monday morning, and I am up earlier than normal.  The cats, one dog and I have the quiet house to ourselves (for a few minutes).  I think I’ll cherish the moments.

  

On this day, in the year 1764, St. Louis was founded as a French fur-trading post.  I love history, but if my children ever read this blog: “No, I was not there, and I did not help at the trading post!”

  

Today is a discussion about the Pharisees, and signs of faith.  Thanks for being with me on my journey of finding the truth in the Bible.  If you haven’t, please put my blog on your favorites list.  God Bless. 

"Bible Study"

 

Quote or Joke of the Day:

  

The best and most beautiful things cannot be seen or touched – they must be felt with the heart ~ Helen Keller

  

Today’s Meditation:

  

The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.  He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”  Then he left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore.  (NAB Mk 8:11-13)

  

The Pharisees were one of the three major religious groups of Judaism at the time of Jesus.  They were often the most vocal and influential of the three.   The name “Pharisee” is translated from Hebrew to mean “the separated ones;”  and were probably the most bitter and deadly, of Jesus’ opponents, and the message He was giving to all that listened to Him. 

The Pharisees meant to obey God, but eventually they became so devoted and extreme in “The Law,” and all that they added to it, instead of the meaning and intent of the law.  They could not recognize the Messiah when He was in their midst.  They saw His miracles.  They heard His words, and His teachings.  But instead of receiving it with joy, they did all that they could to stop Him. Eventually, they plotted to get Him killed because He claimed to be the Son of God. 

What kind of sign did they expect to see in order to change their preconceived notion of  God’s return.  By history, training, and culture, the Pharisees had a hard time thinking outside the box.  They would make great politicians today!  The Pharisees believed that Jesus’ miracles were not satisfactory in proving the arrival of God’s kingdom.  There boldness and ignorance compares to the request of the crowd, in John 6:30-31, for a sign: “So they said to him, “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do?  Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'”   

Jesus’ angry and frustrated response shows that a sign, “by demand”, will not be tolerated or provided.  In  Numbers 14:11, 22, it is written, “And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people spurn me? How long will they refuse to believe in me, despite all the signs I have performed among them?  All the men who have seen my glory and the signs I worked in Egypt and in the desert, and who nevertheless have put me to the test ten times already and have failed to heed my voice.” 

We need to learn from our mistakes.  Limiting ourselves to a narrow scope of preconceived ideas about God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit may limit our ability to see the arrival of Jesus, and thus be left out of his majestic vision. 

“Lord, keep my eyes open wide, looking for your return with great attention.   Do not allow me to have preconceived ideas of the future with you.  I know this is a mystery, and as with any gift, the best part is the discovery.  Amen” 

  

Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

  

*****

  

Franciscan Saint of the Day: Transfer of the Body of St. Anthony of Padua

  

When St. Anthony died on June 13, 1231, his body was buried in the little Franciscan Church of St. Mary in Padua.  By 1263, the building of the present great basilica was advanced far enough so that his remains could be placed beneath the high altar.  When the coffin was opened on the occasion, it was found that the saint’s body had been reduced to ashes except for a few bones, but his tongue was intact and life-like.  St. Bonaventure, who was present as minister general of the Friars Minor, took the tongue reverently into his hands and exclaimed, “O blessed tongue, which has always blessed God and caused others to bless Him, now it appears evident how great were your merits before God!”  The tongue of St. Anthony was placed in a special reliquary, and can still be seen today in a separate chapel on the epistle side of the basilica.  In 1310 the basilica was almost finished, and the remains of St. Anthony were transferred to a tomb in the middle of the nave.  The final transfer of the relics of St. Anthony to their present chapel on the Gospel side of the basilica took place in 1350.  It is the latter transfer that is commemorated on February 15. 

from: The Franciscan Book of Saints, ed. by Marion Habig, ofm.,
© 1959 Franciscan Herald Press 
(From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)

  

Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #15:

  

Let them individually and collectively be in the forefront in promoting justice by the testimony of their human lives and their courageous initiatives. Especially in the field of public life, they should make definite choices in harmony with their faith. 

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