Monday, February 14, 2011

Guard Against False Leaven

February 15, 2010
Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

By Beth DeCristofaro

When the LORD saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth, and how no desire that his heart conceived was ever anything but evil, he regretted that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was grieved. So the LORD said: “I will wipe out from the earth the men whom I have created, and not only the men, but also the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air, for I am sorry that I made them.” But Noah found favor with the LORD. (Genesis 6:5-8)

Jesus enjoined (the disciples), “Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?” They answered him, “Twelve.” He said to them, “Do you still not understand?” (Mark 8:15, 17-18, 21)

Rise and shine and give God your glory, glory (3x)
Children of the Lord …
If you get to heaven before I doosies doosies
Drill a hole and pull me throughsies throughsies Children of the Lord
Rise and shine and give God your glory, glory (3x)
Children of the Lord. (from “Arkie Arkie,” traditional)

For all of human history, it seems, God has watched humanity turn away to something less. In Genesis, God looked down upon the beauty of creation and sees men going astray. Mark records Jesus saying: “Be on guard.” And for all of sacred history, God has found favor with the one or two, who remain faithful and so, in God’s infinite mercy, continues to nourish us.

God wants to continue to nourish us. God can feed us with fragments left over. When I am fragmented, broken and left over, God still gathers me tenderly up. God used Noah, the disciples, uses my friends and family, my Cursillo group to show how much I am treasured.

I am not sure that I understand. But I believe and I hope and I try to stay on guard against the false leaven of bogus promises, easy escape, and counterfeit evil. It’s harder – because it is insidious for me – to stay on guard against more mundane iniquities such as worrying incessantly over that which I have no control and ferocious self-reproach as I continue to be less than perfect in oh so many ways. The former takes me out of the present to my family and friends, the latter puts me on a pedestal where God should be. Even as I try to stay on guard, I certainly trust that when it is my turn, one of God’s beloved witnesses who have gone before me is going to drill a hole and pull me through.

There is so much evil in the world it can take your breath away. What are you ignoring instead of taking loving, nourishing action? Are you watching out or are you a complacent and comfortable Christian?