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Liturgical day: Friday 28th in Ordinary Time

Gospel text (Lk 12,1-7): Such a numerous crowd had gathered that they crushed one another. Then Jesus spoke to his disciples in this way, «Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered that will not be uncovered, or hidden that will not be made known. Whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in daylight, and what you have whispered in hidden places, will be proclaimed from the housetops. I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who put to death the body and after that can do no more. But I will tell you whom to fear: Fear the One who after killing you is able to throw you into hell. This one you must fear. Don't you get five sparrows for two pennies? Yet not one of them has been forgotten by God. Even the hairs of your head have been numbered. So do not fear: are you not worth more than a flock of sparrows?».

«So do not fear: are you not worth more than a flock of sparrows?»

Fr. Salomon BADATANA
(Wau, South Sudan)

Today, we contemplate in the Gospel our Lord Jesus Christ who turns to the crowds after confronting the Jewish religious authorities who are the Pharisees and the scribes. The Gospel tells us that the crowd was so big that they crushed one another. It is clear here that they were hangry to hear the words of Jesus who spoke with an extraordinary authority to their religious leaders.

But St. Luke informs us that before anything else, Jesus begun speaking to his own disciples saying: «Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy» (Lk 12:1). Our Lord Jesus Christ wants to lead us to practice sincerity and transparency rather than hypocrisy as the Pharisees and the scribes do. For they show an external attitude which is not conform to their interior way of life: they pretend to be who they are not.

It is against this that our Lord Jesus Christ warns us in today’s Gospel when he says: «Nothing is covered that will not be uncovered, or hidden that will not be made known» (Lk 12:2). Yes, everything will be revealed. This is why we ought to try to accord our life with what we profess and proclaim. This is obviously not easy. But we don’t have to be afraid for our God is in control. As St. John Paul II said «God’s love doesn’t impose burdens upon us that we cannot carry… For whatever He asks of us, He provides the help that is needed.” Nothing happens that He is not aware of. Even our hairs have been numbered. Yes we have a price before God. Let’s not be afraid because His love for us is endless.

Lord, grant us the wisdom to well match our life to the exigencies of our faith, even amidst the tumults of this world. Amen.

«Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy»

Fr. Raimondo M. SORGIA Mannai OP
(San Domenico di Fiesole, Florencia, Italy)

Today, the Lord invites us to mull over a sort of bad yeast which bread cannot ferment with, but only causes it to apparently rise while, in fact, leaves it uncooked and unfit to be eaten: «Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees» (Lk 12:1). It is hypocrisy and it is only an appearance of goodness, a mask made with cloth of many striking colors, which hide vices and moral deformities, dastardly infections of the spirit and microbes that tarnish the mind and, consequently, our very existence.

This is why Jesus warns us that we must be cautious in front of these wrongdoers that, by preaching with their bad examples and with the glitter of their lying words, they try to scatter infection around them. I remember a journalist —a bright professor of philosophy— who wanted to oppose the Catholic Church position on the so called “matrimony” among homosexuals. And with a joyful gait and a rosary of sophisms as big as an elephant, he tried to thwart the sound reasons that the Magisterium had expounded in one of its recent documents. Here we have what we could classify as a Pharisee of our time that, after considering himself as baptized and a believer, he moves away with ease from the thinking of the Church and from the spirit of Christ and, on top of everything, he tries to pose as teacher, companion and guide of the faithful.

Let us now deal with another subject: the Master recommends us to distinguish between two kinds of fear: «do not fear those who put to death the body and after that can do no more» (Lk 12:4), that would be the harassers of the Christian ideals, who can kill scores of the faithful in times of “man hunt” or, occasionally, some singular testimonies of Jesus Christ.

But a completely differently motivated fear is the fear of losing, not only our body, but also our soul, and this remains in the hands of our Divine Judge; not that the soul dies (it would be a great luck for the sinner), but that it tastes a bitterness that could be named “mortal” because it is absolute and endless. «If you chose to live well while here, you will not be sent to the eternal sorrow. But, as here you cannot choose not to die, while you are alive try to choose not to die eternally» (St. Augustine).