Now the disciples had forgotten to bring any bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out—beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.” They said to one another, “It is because we have no bread.” And becoming aware of it, Jesus said to them, “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear?
And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?” And they said to him, “Seven.” Then he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”
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.
One of our first and most basic instincts is to imitate. Babies, for example, learn to clap their hands by imitation. My nephew learned to “mow the grass” with a toy lawnmower in imitation of his father. The reflex to imitate follows us our entire lives. It can affect what we do, how we dress, and even what we think.
This is exactly what Jesus is talking about in today’s Gospel. The things, people, and ideas that we surround ourselves with tend to affect us. Unless we are careful, we may find ourselves adopting some unhealthy examples.
There are many Herods and Pharisees for us to imitate. Only imitating Jesus, who is pure love, leads to life. His example feeds the hungry and results in seven and twelve baskets of abundance; numbers representing goodness and perfection.
God, help me to guard against bad examples. Let me be surrounded only by Christ. What am I surrounding myself with every day? And is it affecting the way that I think, what I believe, and what I do? Do my words and actions serve as an example of Christ for others?
Prayer for Generosity
Lord, teach me to be generous,
to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to look for any reward,
save that of knowing that I do your holy will.
—St. Ignatius of Loyola