Saturday, November 21, 2009

Only God can change hearts

“For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.” (Mark 6.52)

New Testament Challenge, Day 7 – Mark 5-8

In today’s reading Saint Mark continues to reveal the power of God present in many healing and miracles like the feeding of the five thousand (not including women and children making actual number more like fifteen thousand most likely). Over and over again the people were confused and did not fully understand who Jesus Christ was even though they should have known because the miracles He performed were themselves fulfillment of prophecy. This is most obvious to me when Saint Mark writes, “And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’” (Mark 7.37)

I am always amazed at how people can see the work of God and still be in doubt that God has accomplished something especially when natural logic cannot possibly explain what took place. What else can explain tumors disappearing from an MRI with no treatments or drug therapy? I have personally witnessed, on more than one occasion, the hand of God working for good.

Even the Apostles were slow to fully understand even after Christ had performed so many miracles and sent them out two by two, “and gave them power over unclean spirits.” (Mark 6.7) Christ said, “How is it you do not understand?” (Mark 8.21) But there is always hope...

Finally the Apostles understood when confronted by Christ. “But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered and said to Him, ‘You are the Christ.’” (Mark 8.29) Here Saint Mark ends today’s readings with the Apostles finally understanding who Christ is and Christ guiding them to the next level in understanding His true save humanity.

Christ comes to us first in our physical needs and our limited understanding. He never forces us to accept Him, but when we do He invites us into a deeper understanding of who He is. Jesus Christ is the incarnate Word of God. He took on flesh so that we, being human, could be united to Him as God. The key to understanding God is to open our hearts to Him and invite Him into our lives.

If only we could be more like Christ in our actions with others. In general we try to force others to agree with us. When are we going to learn? .....Only God can change hearts.

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