They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.

I wasn’t sure what St. Mark meant when he wrote “On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.”…so I went to the footnotes hoping to find an explanation. This is what was in the footnotes…

* [6:52] They had not understood…the loaves: the revelatory character of this sign and that of the walking on the sea completely escaped the disciples. Their hearts were hardened: in Mk 3:56 hardness of heart was attributed to those who did not accept Jesus and plotted his death. Here the same disposition prevents the disciples from comprehending Jesus’ self-revelation through signs; cf. Mk 8:17.

Hardness of heart simply means one doesn’t believe. His own apostle’s, at the time of these miracles – the multiplication of the loaves and fishes (yesterday’s reading) and the walking on the water (today’s Gospel) were too much for Jesus’ closest followers to understand. Later on in St. Mark’s Gospel, he chastises them again about their hardness of heart…

17 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?e 18 Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember,f 19 when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?” They answered him, “Twelve.” 20 “When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?” They answered [him], “Seven.” 21 He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

So, here we are in 2021 and the question or questions still remain for us? Do we understand or comprehend? Are our hearts hardened? Do we have ears and not hear; eyes and not see? I will be the first to admit I don’t understand everything completely. But I do have eyes that see and I do have ears that hear. I am still learning just how awesome our God is; I am still a “child” in the eyes of God. The Apostle’s didn’t understand everything but were willing to give their lives to Christ. Once they let the power of the Holy Spirit wash over them, their eyes were opened and they saw; their ears were cleared and they heard. And they dedicated their lives to evangelizing in the name of Christ. They suffered for this message. Because of their willingness to submit to the Holy Will of God they have been rewarded with eternal life. I too am ready and willing to submit to the Holy Will of God – I ask that you join me on this journey.

Do something great for our Lord today – clear your eyes and ears; soften your hard hearts. Live your life with a purpose – God’s purpose.

I firmly resolve with they help of Thy grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.

One thought on “They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.

  1. Thanks, Jerry. A great reminder that we need to open our hearts and minds to the gifts of the Holy Spirit if we humbly and sincerely desire them.

    Ed D.


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