Jesus rebukes the Pharisees’ request for Him to perform a miraculous sign. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Fruit of Faithfulness from the Holy Spirit so he never challenges or tempts God and by building the Virtue of Meekness so he can reject unrighteous anger and grow in meekness. 

Liturgy

6th Week in Ordinary Time – Monday – Mk 8:11-13

Commentary

Traveling to the desolate east shore of the Sea of Galilee in the area of the Decapolis (“ten cities”), Jesus miraculously performed an act of mind-boggling scope; in the deserted location, Jesus fed 4000 famished men (and many additional women and children) with a massive amount of food He supernaturally created out of a few pieces of bread and fish. It is a sign of such immensity that it confirms His Divinity, for no human being could perform such a miraculous act. 

Despite His many miracles, a group of Pharisees come forward and seek to challenge Jesus. The Pharisees (“Separated Ones”) were a dominant Jewish sect that believed God would deliver political freedom for Israel if minute details of religious practices were rigorously carried out; already, Jesus had clashed with the Pharisees on multiple occasions. Now, the Pharisees attack again, demanding He perform a sign from Heaven so as to test Him, similar to how Satan sought to test Jesus by demanding a sign in The Temptation. Blinded by their ideology and demanding God conform to their expectations, the Pharisees have failed to grasp the miraculous sign of The Feeding of the 4000 and the many other miraculous signs of Jesus.  

Frustrated and perhaps sorrowful for their hard-heartedness, Jesus sighs deeply in spirit, suppressing His anger, and harshly rebukes the Pharisees, saying, “…no sign will be given to this generation.” Jesus’ words condemn the sinfulness of the Pharisees, and recall God’s words to the rebellious Jews during the Exodus who refused to accept His many signs, and were not allowed to enter into the Promised Land (Deut 1:35; 32:5). Unable to break through to the sinful Pharisees, Jesus departs by boat. 

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Be impressed by Jesus: while He could effortlessly perform miraculous signs at any time, He Shrewdly (a part of Prudence) refuses to be tested by the hard-hearted Pharisees; the perfection of Charity, Jesus Admonishes the Pharisees (a Spiritual Work of Mercy); the perfection of Reason, Jesus uses the Authority of Scripture, a Warning they could grasp, to call them to repentance; rather than respond with just Wrath (He “sighed deeply in His Spirit”), He diligently maintains Self-Control (a part of Justice) and patiently responds with Meekness (a part of Temperance).

Seek faithfulness and never tempt God

Realize: Like the Pharisees tried to test Jesus by asking for a sign, men, during times of stress or doubt, sometimes attempt to test Jesus, by sinfully demanding that He give signs, or provide a specific “acceptable” outcome. 

Believe: Reflect upon the sin of Tempting God (CCC 2119, 2139).

Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Fruit of Faithfulness so I always accept and strive to do Your perfect will, never temp You by demanding that You do my will, and simply pray for Your will to be done in my life in every circumstance. 

Reject unrighteous anger and grow in meekness

Realize: Jesus demonstrates spectacular meekness and patience in bearing the Pharisees’ constant attacks, unjust accusations, and secret plots to kill him; every Catholic man called by Jesus to reject unrighteous anger and pursue meekness (Mt 5:5).

Believe: Reflect upon the Spiritual Work of Mercy of Patiently Bearing Unjust Wrongs against you (CCC 736, 1825, 1832, 2447).

Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Meekness, help me grow in the Virtue of Meekness (a part of Temperance) so I reject and conquer the vice of unrighteous anger, meekly and patiently bear unjust attacks against me, and trust that my meager attempts to imitate You those who attack me unjustly might repent and be saved by You.