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Daily reading: 4 August

A special heart for those in need.

Something to read

Then they understood that he had not told them to beware of the yeast of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

- Matthew 16:12 from full reading Matthew 16: 5-12.

Something to think about

Yeast in Jewish tradition is an ambiguous concept – good for raising bread, but bad in other ways.

Before the Passover, the feast of unleavened bread, Jewish families even today must scrub their kitchens spotless to ensure no speck of yeast remains.

Yeast promotes growth over which we have no control, and it is in this sense that Jesus speaks of the ‘yeast’ (read:  increasingly mistaken teaching) of the Jewish authorities of his day.

The misunderstanding described in today’s passage occurs just after Jesus has refused to offer the Pharisees and Sadducees a ’sign’ on demand, within the wider narrative of the feeding of the crowds around Lake Galilee. ‘You of little faith!’ is the key to this passage.

Like the Jewish teachers, clinging to their dogma and demanding a sign, the disciples are also still lacking in faith in Jesus, even after he has twice fed large crowds with a meagre amount of bread!

Are we, too, ‘people of little faith’? How can we best balance faith in God with responsible behaviour?

Something to do

If we are to ’beware of the yeast‘ of perversions or exaggerations of traditional church teaching, we need all our common sense.

And we need to get “back to basics” by concentrating on Jesus’ core command: ‘Love one another, as I have loved you. By this will all know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.’

How about creating a poster, a greeting card, or better still a banner for your church with these words? As you work, reflect on what is meant by ‘one another’; hopefully not just your own group but all humanity, with a special heart for those in need.

Something to pray

Loving Father God,

pour out your Spirit on us that we may love one another with your unending love,

always helping those in need,

and trusting that you are at work in us in ways we don’t yet understand; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Today’s contributor is Canon Ginnie Kennerley, editor of SEARCH – A Church of Ireland Journal, and former rector of Narraghmore and Castledermot in Glendalough diocese.

Published on 04 August 2022