Gn 3:9-24; Ps 90:2-6,12,13; Mk 8:1-10
From day to day the LORD God calls out to us: “Where are you?” Our Creator wants to take a walk with us and enjoy our fellowship. Yet, still we hide ourselves because we feel guilty. The Lord Jesus, the eternally faithful son of the Father has come to walk with us and to be our way to walk. In every Eucharist the Lord Jesus wants us to remember that in every age the LORD God has been our refuge. From His eternal perspective, God loves us. Before the mountains were begotten or the earth was brought forth, from everlasting to everlasting the LORD is God and there is no other. Indeed, the LORD cannot love us more; He will not love us less; He loves us without hesitation; He loves us without regret, and the LORD loves us from age to age. The love of God is all we need to remember so that we can grow in wisdom. By his mercy and grace, we begin to remember to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart. Before we desire, with our whole heart, to love the LORD God; before we return to walk with Him in the breeze time of the day; the LORD has pity on us, his servants. It is because of this severe mercy, this sheer grace, this wondrous love that we dare to return to the LORD and pray with an honest and humble heart, “teach us to number our days aright.”
The complexity of evil didn’t take long to develop on the face of the earth. This early human/divine dialogue reveals the truth of our every conversation with the LORD God Almighty. First of all, it is the LORD who seeks us out, and still we hide from his loving gaze. It is our disobedience that makes us uncomfortable with the LORD. We don’t want to face the One who first loved us because we have used our freedom to take flight from relationship, with God, one another, and all creation. Our First Parents found it much easier to make excuses than to make confession. From the first days of this creation, we have found someone to blame for our disobedience. Adam tries to escape responsibility by his testimony, “It was the woman, whom you put here with me.” So, was it really God’s fault? If the LORD had not put the woman with him, would Adam not have failed? The woman, the First Eve, is no less creative in her excuse making, “The serpent tricked me!” The LORD God puts a stop to the excuses; He would not let the deception unfold any longer. He used the serpent as a glimpse of future, when the Offspring of the New Eve would strike at the head of the serpent. The very symbol of the deception and defeat becomes the symbol of the promise and redemption. After this first sin and first cover-up, the LORD promises to intensify the pangs of childbearing, to transform work into toil, and finally to send our mortal bodies back to the dust of the earth from which they came. Adam and Eve and all their descendents were exiled from the garden until they meet the Risen One in the garden. Until, like the public sinner Mary, we hear the Lord Jesus call our name, we will not recognize Him as our teacher, and we will not gain wisdom of heart.
Saint Mark wants us to remember. Notice his introduction to this section, “there again was a great crowd without anything to eat.” This is déjà vu, all over again. Indeed, the whole situation seems all too familiar to the reader or listener. Again the Lord is moved with pity for the crowd—they are still lost, hungry, and without anything to eat. When the Lord Jesus asks the disciples their advice, he receives the same response as before. How can we possibility serve such a large crowd? It’s as if they weren’t even there at the feeding of the five thousand only a few chapters back. Again the menu is even the same, but this time they have seven loaves to work with. Again, the Lord Jesus summons us to remember his wonders and the marvelous things he has done for us again and again when we are in danger of collapsing. The Lord Jesus feeds us with his own body, blood, soul and divinity so that we might never choose to turn away from the dignity of our baptism. Indeed, we remember that without the Eucharist we would never survive. Indeed, we remember that with the Eucharist we not only survive this dangerous journey of faith, we also come to taste and see how good the Lord is. Even here and now we are already transformed by his compassion and become more and more fully human which is nothing less than sharing in the Divinity of the Son of Man, the Son of Mary.