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Mark 8:11-13 - Just One More Sign?

Hey friends,

I’ve decided that I want to take up the writing exercise of writing a short Gospel reflection daily. Fair warning, they’re made quickly and will be rough and imperfect. I’ll upload them here occasionally if I think they’re any good, but if anyone is interested, I’m more than happy to post them with greater frequency. Another acceptable answer is, “Joe, I don’t need that many notifications in my inbox. Please don’t,” which I very much understand. Either way, let me know. So, without further ado:

Daily Gospel Reflection – 2/18/19

Mark 8:11-13

“The Pharisees came up and started a discussion with him; they demanded of him a sign from heaven, to put him to the test. And with a profound sigh he said, 'Why does this generation demand a sign? In truth I tell you, no sign shall be given to this generation.’ And, leaving them again, he re-embarked and went away to the other side.”

Hearing this Gospel this morning resonated deeply with me. I see myself in the pharisees here, often saying “Okay God, I get that you’ve given me all these signs in the past to say I’m on the right track, but maybe just one tiny little sign more?” In the context of discernment, I find this to be very applicable. One practice that has worked for me to best minimize the desire to keep asking for confirmation is to remember that discernment is necessarily active. Forever-discerning is not a luxury we as laypeople have at this time in our Church, She asks action of us. What I try my best to do is, after reflecting on my options, pick one that makes the most sense or is the most definite and commit to that. I focus all my energy on following that path until it runs its course. If that path runs its course, it will be because God has a new path for me to follow.

Not sure if the guy you have feelings for is someone worth your time? Not sure if priesthood is the vocation for you? Not sure where to go after college? That last one sure hit home for me…Pray, reflect, and just make a choice. Decide to ask the guy out, decide to email a seminary for a tour, decide to apply for that job that just feels right in your heart. Whatever it is, just pick one and trust that if you actively make that choice, God will re-direct you if you’ve made the wrong one.

I love the phrase “be wrong quickly.” I think it’s a fantastic piece of advice to live by. As someone who too often thinks into every detail of a situation and is frozen by all the variables, that phrase is something I try to implement more often in my everyday activities. While not expressly spiritual, the phrase can, and for me, does, imply a radical trust in God. The way I see it, being wrong quickly implies that one committed every bit of him or herself to a decision and leaned on God to sort out the details. While that approach may bother our friends who are J’s, I extend a special invitation to you to give it a try.

Too many of us (myself included) spend our lives more in our heads than in the world in front of us. The reality of human existence is that we will spend time in spiritual desolation. Some of the greatest figures in the history of Catholicism, the example of Mother Theresa comes to mind, have spent extensive time in spiritual desolation. In these moments we must lean on God and trust that when we don’t see Him directly in front of us, it’s because He’s farther ahead clearing the path.

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” (John 20:29). It’s not wrong to want a sign from God, but my challenge to you today, my friends, is to move forward, not seeing, but still believing.

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