Mark 8: 11-13
The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” Then he left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
A Spirit that Sighs
(a couples’ perspective)
I can only imagine how tired Jesus must have been when he was confronted by these Pharisees. It says that “he sighed from the depth of his spirit.” It must have been incredibly difficult for him to confront still more questions and arguments when he was working hard in his ministry. But it helps for me to read that Jesus had these types of reactions because it humanizes him for me. For I have been there – sighing from the depth of my spirit – especially when I have had to confront individuals in my life who struggle with so many issues. I feel spent when I try to put all of my resources at their disposal and it amounts to nothing. And Jesus’ response here, while seemingly abrupt, helps me remember that change won’t happen if people don’t have open hearts, no matter what I do or say. This can be a freeing experience and one that Jesus might be calling me to reflect upon more and more.
Signs are all around us. Sometimes a sign is so close to us, as close as our nose, that we can’t see it. We wonder if we are lovable, even though our spouse affirms this daily. We wonder if we are good parents, even though our kids jump with joy into our arms when we return home from a trip. We wonder if we can finish a task, even though our accomplishments are apparent–even hanging on the wall in the form of plaques and awards. Why this constant doubting?
After witnessing Jesus’ great works of healing and compassion, some people still doubted. It is not bad to doubt. But as Jesus illustrates in this gospel, the doubt begins within us, not with him. He is steadfast, he walks with us, he even carries us when needed. We need only open our eyes and hearts to witness the love around us and realize that all of this love is a manifestation of his love for us. If we can do this, doubt and fear will be cast away and we will see ourselves as we truly are–magnificent!
Do I ever doubt that I am lovable? To God? To Jesus? To my spouse/family? Why?
—(Carrie and David Nantais live in the city of Detroit with their two sons, Liam (almost 4 years) and Theo (5 ½ months). They are both at the University of Detroit Mercy—David as Director of University Ministry and Carrie as a PhD student in Clinical Psychology. They have been married for 5 ½ years. http://www.udmercy.edu/ministry/index.htm)
Lord, I need greater balance in my life. Help me to follow through on Mother Teresa’s wisdom: “To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.” Free me from reservations to take time for myself. Let me see this time as a gift from you, my loving Father.
—Jesuit Prayer Team