Living the Gospel – July 19, 2020

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Jesus taught them saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.” In the gospel for today, there are many lessons, but the parable of the leaven is the one which really helped me to understand the influence we can have on others. In the July issue of the “Magnificat,” I read: “The living Light of Heaven has come to human birth And makes of us his leaven to raise the fallen earth.” Never had I thought about Christians being leaven for others. But, when I looked up the word leaven it had two meanings. The first definition is one that I am familiar with….leaven is a substance, typically yeast, which is used in dough to make it rise. Since the Pandemic started, I have been baking bread about twice a week and I know first-hand the importance of yeast in making bread rise to a nice, soft loaf. When the yeast is old, the bread will not rise properly and becomes more like a brick, dense and heavy. The second definition of leaven is a pervasive influence that modifies something or transforms it. Then I read the words: “The yeast of justice, joy, mercy, and grace leavens the dough of human inertia, transforming us, in Christ, into living bread that will feed a hungry world with righteousness, freedom, and care. Let us abandon the old yeast of sin and selfishness so that God’s lively presence can work in us.” Human Inertia is the tendency of people to continue on a set course unless acted on by a greater force; and that greater force can be for good or evil.

If you watched the riots that broke out after the death of George Floyd, you could easily see the leaven of hate elevate peaceful protests into rioting, looting, and burning of businesses that had nothing to do with Floyd’s death. Even a retired black police officer was killed as he attempted to protect the business of a friend. The very nature of yeast is to grow and to change whatever it contacts, and as Christians we have the ability to be the yeast of light, hope and love which others are drawn to. We are leaven when we greet others with uplifting terms of endearment and encouraging words, and when we offer to pray with and help them, as did the volunteers who cleaned up the streets after the riots and joined together to rebuild stores and other structures burned and looted by evil. These people demonstrated the “Kingdom of God” living in their hearts as they became the leaven of goodness, mercy, hope and love. When we become the leaven of God’s kingdom His grace grows in our hearts and changes us from the inside out, and we in-turn build up that goodness in others. As we reflect on the teachings of Jesus, let us pray to be the leaven of peace, hope and love that changes our world for the better.

Sylvia Bates