18th Sunday – Year B
“What sign will you do, Oh Nazarene, so that we may see it and believe in you?”
The multitudes are satiated. The people with the shortest memory had had neither time nor the possibility of forgetting the miraculous multiplication of the bread that had recently happened. Yet, pride, ingratitude and incredibility veil the intelligence, block the memory and obliterate facts! How many facts, rights (of others, no doubt) we swipe away whenever we act negatively, unjustly in favor of our own interest. We are, even, able to deface facts, even the most evident whenever we defend the “indefensible” and condemn that which is beyond reproach when as we transform the victim into an executioner, the white into black and vice versa.
“What will you work? Our fathers ate manna in the desert!” Had these persons who initiated these dares simply forgotten the miracle that was recently accomplished or were they pretending? The end result is the same: no recognition, no gratitude, no logic and no justice!
The Lord, generally much more patient than us and under such circumstances did not remind of the last multiplication of fish and bread. Perhaps he abstained from doing so because of the “hardness of hearts” and the intelligence of his interlocutors. It is absolutely useless to remind someone of a recompense, of which he was the beneficiary, while he has every intention in the world to deny it, to ignore it, to belittle it or even to interpret it wrongly. There is no shorter memory than that of those who want to forget!
Here we are shocked one more time by “the mystery of iniquity” (cf. 2 Th. 2:6-7). Etymologically, iniquity is the lack of equity, the absence of justice. There are some inexplicable things in many evil actions, vices and sins. Why deny the recompense? By arrogance, because one does not want to owe anything to anyone, considering the others as being inferior to us! By laziness and by fear of commitment, yes, because recognition of recompense received commits and “obliges” us not only to be grateful but also to act similarly in return when occasion arises. In fact, to say “thank you” in Portuguese, the word used is the past participle “Obrigado”, “obliged”)
Let us recall the recompenses of the Lord as recommended by the Psalmist or rather let us call upon our souls and our memories to recall every day all the graces that we have received: “Bless Yahvé (the Lord), O my soul, and bless his holy name, all that is within me, bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his recompenses!” (Ps. 103 (102): 1-2)
Fr. P. Madros