17th Week in Ordinary Time, Monday

In today’s Gospel one of the images Our Lord uses to describe the Kingdom of heaven is a women mixing yeast with flower to make sure the whole batch is  leavened. As bakers know, if there’s not yeast, the bread does not rise. In some recipes when the yeast is not mixed well with the flour the result is something tough and chewy. Wherever Christianity is found we know the Kingdom of God is very active, provided those believers are living their faith. Christianity has spread throughout history and had a great influence on Western and Eastern culture, independently of the spiritual benefits it has brought. It may not be always identified with society, but it elevates society and culture, much like that leaven helps the bread to rise, but also needs to spread out in order to be effective. God-willing it will help society and culture to “rise”all the way to the Resurrection.

The benefits of the Kingdom of God go beyond benefiting believers spiritually even today: good things happen as a result of good spiritual things happening, even among non-believers. When secularizing trends attempt to relegate Christianity to individuals almost in the privacy of their own home, that leaven is staying clumped together and not really helping society to its full potential. As Christians we are called to go everywhere and proclaim the Gospel; by doing so we are spreading the “leaven” throughout society that helps all of society to “rise,” spiritually and culturally.

Let’s ask Our Lord today to show us how to be better leaven in our social and cultural circles, and ask him to help us have to courage to take the Gospel out into the streets and into the world in which we live.

Readings: Exodus 32:15–24, 30–34; Psalm 106:19–23; Matthew 13:31–35. See also 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B.