A leaven is a substance used in dough and batter that causes it to rise, making the end product, be it bread, cake or some other baked item, soft and delicious to eat. While leaven is usually used for a good purpose, there is a different kind of leaven which we need to be cautious about. What leaven is that? The leaven of hypocrisy of the Pharisees, which Jesus warns us in today's Gospel not to imitate because they give us false impressions and bad examples. For example, the Pharisees like to give alms in public. They do this only to please the crowd, not God. Now, if one follows their example, one also becomes like them because their corrupting influence, their 'leavening effect', corrupts and influences us to give alms for our personal glory, gratification and to boost our pride and ego, instead of giving alms for the glory of God.
Behind much hypocrisy and lying is fear. Often we are afraid of how others will react if they discover the truth about us. That is why we must not be afraid to allow "Everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear." When our inner life and hidden actions are exposed to the light of God, the light of truth, we can be set free. We can do this especially when we go for the sacrament of reconciliation, where all that we are ashamed of, all that is hidden, could be revealed and forgiven. When we do so, we have no reason to fear, because God is there to help us and guide us. Are we willing to come out of our shadows, our hypocritical ways, and let the light of God shine through us and heal us?