When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered?
How is it that you fail to perceive that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:5-12)
O Lord, though we wish to be Your disciples, and wish we could be just like Your Apostles, help us so that we will not imitate their wooden literalism! How often they misunderstood You! Open our hearts and minds to Your Gospel teachings. We have the advantage that the Apostles did not have – we clearly know who You are, and we already know the lessons they had to learn. You have revealed to us Your teachings through them. We see their mistakes and what they learned from those errors and lessons. Their lack of perception becomes for us a lesson in enlightenment, and yet, how we are just like them in not understanding Your love.
Holy Apostles, pray to God for us! You gathered us into the Church through your preaching. We have you as examples of discipleship to emulate. We have learned both from your correct teachings and your mistakes. Ask God to take away from us the blindness of failing to see the deeper lessons He intended for you and us. Pray that the Holy Spirit will heal our hard hearts, our stiff necks, our darkened minds, our failure to bend the knee, our closed hands, our eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear, and our mouths that fail to give thanks or speak the truth.
Lord, forgive us when we don’t want to understand but instead want rules and regulations because we don’t want to love others as you love us. We fear judgment and so want to bury the talents you give to us because we too often think you are a harsh judge rather than a loving God. Do not abandon us to our blindness and desire for an easy way. Let Your light shine even into the darkness of our hearts and minds. Stay with us until we understand You!