Fr. Sanctus Mario
Inspiration and Bible Reflections

The Yeast of the Pharisees and Herod. Mark 8:14-21.

Breakfast with the Word Tuesday 6th Week Ordinary Time of the Year B



In today’s gospel of Mark 8:14-21, the disciples of Jesus forgot to take food with them. Because of this, they are left with only one loaf of bread. Jesus then begins to warn them to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.


The apostles do not understand what Jesus means. They begin to ask themselves if the question is a result of the lack of bread. Jesus then begins to ask them a series of questions. He questions the reason they are yet to understand Him despite they are with Him all these while.


They have witnessed His miracles and how He fed the multitude only with 7 loaves of bread but they are yet to come to terms with who Jesus is and what He could do.



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When It looks as If God does not answer prayers: Mark 7:24-30



What Could Jesus mean by The Yeast of the Pharisees and Herod?


Yeast is a leavening agent that one adds to the bread. With the help of the yeast, the bread leavens. Leavening means that the bread rises. So when we add yeast to bread, it combines with it and causes it to rise according to the dough that we use.


Jesus tends to warn against the negative effect of the life of the Pharisees, whose legalistic teachings and refusal to believe in Him can affect the faith of those who observe them, hear them or come in contact with them. Hereby Jesus is warning the apostles to be wary so that the way of life and lack of faith of the Pharisees will not influence them.


This warning was as a result of what happened in the previous verses when the Pharisees came to Jesus to ask for a sign from heaven to prove to them that He is the Messiah. So while the apostles were busy worrying about the lack of food, Jesus began to warn them never to allow the unbelief and life of the Pharisees to influence them.


In the sense, that they should not have become worried since they are with Him. Yeast has the power of permeating the host substance, So, Jesus warns them against allowing what the Pharisees did to influence them.


In essence, the disciples must avoid looking only for external signs to validate their faith. His presence is enough. When He is with us, we do not need to worry about anything.


The Yeast of Herod.


Jesus also warns against the yeast of Herod. It is very difficult to understand the reason Jesus makes this statement but we can give one reason to this.


People fear Herod greatly as a mighty ruler as of that time. He then used that opportunity to accumulate and store treasures for himself. So, Jesus is warning the disciples not to be carried by the things of this world either by their possession or lack of them. 


Their concern over the lack of food should not make them lose the sight that the great provider is with them. Jesus rebukes His apostles for their lack of understanding despite the things they have seen Him do.



The Yeast of the Pharisees and Herod Among Us.


There are times we also have allowed what we encounter presently in life to affect our faith. There are moments when what we see in life makes us lose hope that God can always provide for us even when we think He cannot.


Many think that without signs, wonders and miracles that God is not involved in our lives. God must not come down from heaven to explain to us what He is doing for us.


Therefore, Jesus warns us not to be occupied or worry about the things of this world to the extent we lose our faith in Him.


We must not have to wait until we encounter an extraordinary miracle to know that God is answering our prayers. We do not have to wait until we see external signs to be sure of God’s divine presence in our lives.

Hence, we have to live in faith. We have to be certain of God’s divine presence in every moment of our lives even in lack.


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Can You Remember The Things He Has Done?


Jesus asks His disciples; Are you yet to understand? Which in essence means; are you yet to understand that my presence is enough? That I can do all things? That nothing is impossible for me? Why are you people worried? Have you not remembered all the things I have done, and that this one is nothing to be compared to anything I can do?


Can we also take time and remember the things God has done for us in the past? Are we also yet to understand that He can do more? What Jesus needs from us is to continually live in faith.


We must not allow worldly things, lack of provisions, signs and wonders to determine how we worship our God. We have to surrender ourselves to Him in faith.


May God bless you, dearest, help us and strengthen our faith in Him. May He bless your efforts. Amen.





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