Commentary on the Gospel of

Fr. Roland Chidi, cmf

Monday, week 6, ordinary time
Mark 8:11-13 Cultivating healthy physical, psychological or spiritual boundary
Pharisees seek for a sign - to test him
Sighed from the depth of his spirit
He left them … went off to the other shore.

The Pharisees seek for a sign! Wikipedia dictionary expresses that ‘a natural sign bears a causal relation to its object – for instance, thunder is a sign of storm, or medical symptoms a sign of disease.’ Up until this chapter [8] of St. Mark’s Gospel account, Jesus had accomplished numerous signs and wonders, for instance: the demoniac was healed, thousands were fed, etc.! Objectively speaking, the Pharisees would have been looking for an evidence to ascertain the divine origin, the divine connection of Jesus’ miracles. But unfortunately, their intention is different – ‘to test Him!’ 

Obviously, our Lord does not like their behaviour for He ‘sighed from the depth of his spirit’. Clearly their strategy is inimical. As a Christian how does one handle situations clearly designed to frustrate the person; a plan to set one up for a possible trap? Our Lord does not pay them back in their own coin; no, instead he chooses to ignore them: He left them - went off to the other shore.  

One of the most stress-filled experiences is coming face to face with an anti-religious or anti-Christian person or group of persons who deliberately set out to inflict pains on the Christian, simply because of the latter’s faith-expression. The place may not really matter much - could be in a law court, in a workplace, in a club, in a shopping centre, in a sports arena, etc. 

When the Christian discerns such an inimical attitude, our Lord’s modelling herein is: ‘protect oneself’ – literally, moves away from the scene! He grants Himself a chance for healthy boundary. Each of us needs healthy physical, psychological or spiritual boundary, especially in the face of stress and tension. Such boundary enables one to reorganize and reposition oneself. Like Jesus, occasionally, one leaves ‘for the other shore.’ O Lord, help us as we cultivate healthy boundaries that bring us closer to you, amen.


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