Friday, January 25, 2013

Return to Faith Every Day ***

S. Matthew 15: 29 – 16:12

O. After finishing a teaching with the people, Jesus directs his disciples to feed them. The disciples’ concerns offer another opportunity for teaching.

A. The level of faith in the disciples is constantly a focus of Jesus. Conditions and situations constantly arise that challenge their faith, and consistently it is shown that they lack it. That even Jesus’ disciples continuously struggle with faith and belief is a crucial lesson for us. We may falter on the path, but Jesus is still there to help guide us. His steps can be our steps. He shows patience; he shows understanding; he shows compassion.

All of these are displayed at the end of Matthew 15. Once again, the disciples lack the faith that Jesus can deliver on his promise of feeding those in need. And, he had previously shown them that he could do this. Yet, there was plenty of food for those that had gathered. Then, upon returning to the other side of the lake, the disciples realize they had forgotten to take any food with them from the gathering. They begin to argue amongst themselves.

Jesus responds.
“You have so little faith! Why are you arguing with each other about having no bread? Don’t you understand even yet? Don’t you remember the 5,000 I fed with five loaves, and the baksets of leftovers you picked up? Or the 4,000 I fed with seven loaves, and the large baskets of leftovers you picked up? Why can’t you understand that I’m not talking about bread? So again I say, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’” Then at last they understood that he wasn’t speaking about the yeast in the bread, but about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees
Like the disciples, I forget maintenance or attention of crucial aspects of life all the time. Sometimes, I forget things, important things like taking care of myself and my immediate surroundings. When we examine the lives of others, we can see how we all are lacking in so many ways. Despite all that we lack, despite all of our sins, Jesus remains steadfast in belief in us.

Even his disciples had problems with not just their own lives but also their faith and belief. He never abandoned them; he never stopped trying to teach them. Jesus always persevered; his faith was profound. Our faith can be as well.

What we feel we lack, in resources or in faith, are self-created obstacles. We must return to faith to see us through. Anger at ourselves or the condition in which we find ourselves is wasted mental and emotional energies. We can focus this angst over our pain and suffering toward our relationship with God and the universe. We will have to do this repeatedly.

We, just like the disciples, don’t always get it right, yet Jesus remains with us.

At the end of this scripture, Jesus brings up another concern. He talks about the ‘yeast’, the teachings of others. Yeast is an active ingredient. It begins a process in dough that makes it rise. When yeast is added, chemical reactions begin to take place that alter chemistry. The same can be said of ‘deceptive teaching.’

When we listen to it and take it into us, it can alter us. Therefore, we must be careful of what we let into our lives, mindful that it not alter our progress on our path. The way we counteract this is with our deep relationship with God and the universe. It is only through that relationship that we can see and experience truth.

P. May I reaffirm and rediscover my faith in every day.

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