Our Focus on the World…
To understand what Christ is teaching us, we need to think outside of our worldly existence:
Then (Jesus) left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore. They had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. He enjoined them, “Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” They concluded among themselves that it was because they had no bread. When he became aware of this he said to them, “Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread? Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?” -Mark 8:13-18, NAB
After reading enough stories from the Gospels, it can almost become frustrating. Here again, the disciples are so focused on their hunger, their physical needs, that they cannot seem to grasp Jesus’ spiritual message.
Jesus was trying to warn the Apostles about the Pharisees and Herod. The Pharisees and Herod feared Jesus and would eventually take action against Him. They would persecute Him and call Him a false prophet, and Jesus did not want His followers to fall for their lies.
Christ, through the Church, continues to warn us today. He speaks against the principalities and evils of this world, yet we seem as blind as His followers were. He is doing everything He can protect us; however, our hard hearts and focus on the physical world can prevent us from seeing the truth.
In our earlier studies of St. Paul’s letters, we learned how he repeatedly spoke out against the world; this echoes Christ’s teaching here. Christ, Himself, taught against this numerous times, as we have already seen. Why does this message still fall on deaf ears? This message must have been important for both Jesus and St. Paul to have repeated it so many times.
Beware of the world. Realize that you cannot trust everything you hear on TV or read in the newspapers. Understand that some of our politicians do not have our best interests in mind. Of course, this does not mean that all media outlets and politicians are evil, but we must use caution.
Luckily, we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us. Let the Spirit guide you. Be consciously aware of the world around us and the spiritual impact of the messages given to us. Our job, as faithful, intelligent Catholics, is to live in the world, not of it.