AFTER FEEDING THE MULTITUDE in the Decapolis, Jesus and His disciples took a boat and crossed the lake to the district of Magedan on the western shore.  There a group of Pharisees and Sadducees came to Him and began to argue, asking Him skeptically to give them “a sign from heaven” as proof of His authority. He answered:

“When it is evening you say, ‘The weather will be fair, for the sky is red.’  And in the morning you say, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and lowering.’  You know then how to read the face of the sky, but cannot read the signs of the times!  An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign, and no sign shall be given it but the sign of Jonah.”

Then He dismissed them and crossed over by boat to Bethsaida-Julias.  On their way, the disciples remarked that they had forgotten to bring a store of bread and now had only one loaf with them.  Recalling the encounter with the skeptical’ teachers in Magedan, Jesus said:

“Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

When they began arguing about their misfortune, He said:

“You of little faith, why do you argue among yourselves that you have no bread?  Do you not yet understand, not remember the five loaves among five thousand men, and how many baskets you took up?  Nor the seven loaves among four thousand, and how many large baskets you took up?  Why do you not understand that it was not of bread I said to you, ‘Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducess’?”

Then they understood that Jesus had referred to the teaching of these hyprocrites.

At Bethsaida a blind man was brought to Him to be healed.  Jesus took him by the hand and led him outside the village.  Moistening His fingers with spittle, He touched the eyes of the blind man, then laid His hand upon him and asked him if he could see anything.  The man indicated he could see the Apostles, but vaguely, like trees moving about.  Then Jesus touched his eyes again.  He could see plainly now, and Jesus dismissed him. saying:

“Go to thy house, and if thou enter the village, tell nobody.”

Matthew 15:29-16:12  |  Mark 8:1-26  |  Luke 12:54-56

Meditation:  The Pharisees and the Sadducees had closed minds.  Nothing Christ did could convince them of His mission.  The miracle they requested on this occasion would not have helped.  Therefore, Christ did not grant their request.  Seeing their obstinacy, we can examine our own consciences.  For example, how willing are we to accept, on Christ’s authority, the injunction to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us, to pray for those who persecute us?

Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today”  The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959.  107-108.   © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953.  Print.  Drawing by Albert H Winkler.

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