JAMES 1: 12 – 18
Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
The Word of the Lord.
Psalm 94: 12 – 13a, 14 – 15, 18 – 19 (R.) 12a
R/. Blessed the man whom you discipline, O Lord.
Blessed the man whom you discipline, O Lord,
Whom you train by means of your law;
To whom you give peace in evil days. R/.
The Lord will not abandon his people,
Nor forsake those who are his heritage;
For judgement shall again be just,
And all true hearts shall uphold it. R/.
When I think, “I have lost my foothold,”
Your mercy, O Lord, holds me up.
When cares increase in my heart,
Your consolation calms my soul. R/.
If a man loves me, he will keep my word, says the Lord; and my father will love him, and we will come to him.
MARK 8: 14 – 21
At that time: The disciples had forgotten to bring bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And Jesus cautioned them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “We have no bread.” And being aware of it, Jesus said to them, “Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”
The Gospel of the Lord.
REFLECTION: What’s Your Leaven?
February 15, 2022
Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” (Mark 8:15)
What is this “leaven” Jesus is speaking of? After giving this warning to His disciples, Jesus then gives an explanation to them of what He means and what He doesn’t mean. But even the explanation seems to be over their heads. So He concludes by saying, “Do you still not understand?” To this day, Jesus is still asking this question to each one of us.
This was certainly Jesus trying to get them to think, to listen and to look deeper. He was warning them, “Watch out!” Watch out for this leaven. It’s a warning of love to help them see and understand a very real danger.
Everyone who bakes bread knows the effect of just a little leaven (such as yeast) in the dough. Add just a little bit and it affects the whole loaf. If a child is helping with the baking, this child may return several times, watching the dough rise little by little. It can become a fascinating thing to watch. And it all resulted from just this little yeast.
So what is this leaven of the Pharisees and Herod? It’s the evil words, evil intent and errors that they spread. For the Pharisees, it may be that it’s just a little misconception or misrepresentation of what Jesus said or did. They may twist His words or may simply give non-verbal opinions to others. This is contagious and has potential to affect everyone. Little by little their small seeds of doubt and dissent take a toll on others.
We may tend to be thinking about all of “those” people we know who do this. But we’d miss an important opportunity for growth if we failed to first look at ourselves. Do I do this sometimes? Do I say things that mislead in small or subtle ways? Or do I mislead others by my non-verbal negative attitudes? Am I a “negative person” sometimes?
No need to feel guilty or get down on ourselves if we feel convicted. Rather, we should look at this little lesson of Jesus to realize the great power of our words. The smallest of words can do great harm over time.
But that’s not all we should focus on. It’s just as important to realize that the small loving words we say also have potential to make a huge difference over time. Perhaps it’s just that small smile we give or a kind action that we think goes unnoticed. These little actions and words are the leaven of the Gospel. They do make a difference and they can become contagious, also.
Reflect, today, upon the small things in life. Know that these small sins and small acts of love make a huge difference in the end.
My attentive Lord, help me to be honest and see what sort of leaven I sow each and every day. Help me to be purged of the bad and filled with the good. May You inspire me to be that good leaven in all the many daily interactions I have. Jesus, I trust in You.https://masvingomirror.com