Fr Paul Gooley reads today’s Gospel from Mark (8: 14-21) in which Jesus warns the disciples saying ‘Keep your eyes open! Be on your guard for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod’. Fr Paul says the failure of the disciples to understand Jesus is one of the features of Mark’s Gospel. The turning-point of the Gospel is the scene at Caesarea Philippi, to which we shall come in a couple of days, but before it the disciples are sternly rebuked three times by Jesus for their failure to understand. Each time this happens is on the Lake of Galilee, which suggests that it is a pattern emphasised by Mark. Mark has a purpose in so strongly stressing the disciples’ lack of understanding. He is stressing that suffering and endurance are essential elements in following Christ, and that this difficult lesson is central to the Christian message and must be accepted. It may be that Mark underlines this so strongly because those who heard his Gospel were undergoing persecution in the form of rejection and contempt and even the shedding of blood. This is also the reason Jesus insists that they should not spread the message until ‘after the Son of Man has risen from the dead’. We cannot understand the Christian message without suffering, and we cannot understand suffering without the Resurrection. Today, Fr Paul says, we might reflect and pray that we will understand the message of today’s Gospel.