Guard against the leaven (corruption)

Guard against the leaven (corruption)

Mark 8:14-21. Guard against the leaven of Herod and the Pharisees

Another trend continues in the gospel: Jesus inviting the Apostles to deeply reflect and understand beyond what they see, beyond the traditions, the fillers of bread, and seek the Bread Himself.

In our pursuit of material successes, it is easy to lose sight of what is truly essential; to lose nourishment of the spirit. We overly settle for fillers – temporary instant gratifications, easy to follow steps, and mechanistic recipes. We overemphasize pleasure and avoid suffering at all cost, when suffering is but a part of life.

Sometimes we mean well by introducing rules and guidelines, but as the Pharisees demonstrated, it is possible to lose sight of the spirit by overemphasizing rituals and traditions. Yet again, we are called to embrace the virtue of temperance and pursuit of wisdom.

I do not think leaven is necessarily bad; after all, it allows bread to rise. But yearning to “rise” too much can be perceived as being too greedy, and we lose sight of what is truly important. Sadly, even possessing the highest form of wisdom does not make a man immune to temptations, much like the fall of Solomon.

Perhaps the invitation is to find peace in temperance and the need for reflection. Maybe the reason why Jesus kept on talking in parables and other figures of speech is that there is no silver bullet for how to live one’s life. What matters is we recognize our natural predisposition for the good and authentic flourishing, as evidenced by our natural desire to know. Then, we are called to embark on our own personal journeys, and make do with the talents we’re given.

It’s not about the amount of talents, blessings, or even luck we have. It’s about how we remain virtuous and consistently guard against the leaven of greed as we pursue integral development.


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