Monday 15 December 2014

Tuesday of Week 6 Year 1

Yeast is a useful substance which enables bread to expand and rise, making the bread more pleasing to look at and eat once baked. A little yeast can cause a small lump of dough to become a much larger loaf. Just a little of it affects everything. In today's Gospel, Jesus warned us of a "yeast" that was both religious and political which we should be on our guard against. This "yeast" could be translated as "attitude"; and the "attitude" or "yeast" of the Pharisees and the "attitude" or "yeast"of Herod could corrupt one’s whole "attitude" as a Christian.

The problem with the Pharisees is not that they were bad people, but they tended to think only those like them had any value in the sight of God. The yeast of the Pharisees is narrow-minded religious exclusivism. It is an attitude that says only those who believe and behave like us are saved, everyone else is damned or are of no consequence. The yeast of the Pharisees makes people more concerned about who is 'in' and who is 'out' instead of doing the will of God. It makes people continually compare themselves over others and makes them think that they are ok and everyone else is not.

The "yeast" of Herod, on the other hand, is the exact opposite of the Pharisees. Herod was a friend with the Romans since it was the Romans who kept him in power. For him, the important thing was to keep the status quo as it was, since it favoured him. Herod was prepared to make any number of accommodations, and was prepared to water down the Jewish faith to suit his purposes. Herod was only interested in preserving His political power, and was not the least bit interested in doing the will of God.

What about us? Have we been corrupted or infected with the "yeast" of the Pharisees and the "yeast" of Herod? Have we been behaving as religious extremists, thinking that our beliefs and way of doing things is the only way and everyone else who does not follow our way to the minute detail are condemned to hell? Or have we become so worldly in our behaviour and conduct, only interested in protecting our power, position and prestige, and watering down our faith or even totally ignoring the ways of God? When we allow ourselves to be infected with such "yeast", either by falling into the "yeast" of the Pharisees, or by falling into the "yeast" of Herod, we would have lost the true meaning of being a Christian, since our focus is no longer in doing the will of God and doing all for the greater glory of God, but our focus has become one of personal gratification and personal glorification.

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