Daily Reflection

From a Creighton Student's Perspective

February 15, 2011

Stephen Hart

Senior, Communications Major,
Business Administration Minor

Gn 6:5-8, 7:1-5, 10
Ps 29:1a and 2, 3ac-4, 3b and 9c-10
Mk 8:14-21

“Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” -Mark 8:15

When I first read this line, I quickly realized two things: 1) I had never before come across this Gospel passage and 2) I had little idea what Jesus meant. I took out my trusty New American Bible and flipped to the passage in Mark 8, where the footnotes promptly informed me that in Jesus’ time leaven was considered corrupted or evil; it was a hidden agent which rendered a loaf unfit. Similarly, the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod, i.e. the hidden hypocrisy of their hearts, made them unable to accept the Gospel and to follow Jesus.

In the first reading today we hear about how God regrets the creation of man because of the evil of man’s heart and deeds. The bold exception to this wickedness is Noah. Because of his “truly just” heart, Noah becomes a public agent of renewal for God, who saves and restores humanity through him. In the same way, Jesus’ warning to his disciples gives us an invitation to be his instruments similar to the invitation that God gave Noah. Instead of letting our hidden leaven (any fault, really) ruin our lives, Jesus calls us to be his public agents like Noah was, pure of heart and action.

So, what is the leaven in our own lives? What is it that is holding us back from being God’s instruments? Is it Facebook, our jobs, TV shows, or an overly packed schedule? Is it selfishness, vanity, pride, or impatience?

It can be difficult at times to turn our gaze inward and make an honest assessment of our personal positives and negatives, but this is essential for us to avoid being leaven and to instead be good disciples of Jesus.

Even today in the 21st century, as it was thousands of years ago, being upright and turning away from what distracts us from God is not only difficult, it can bring us public ridicule; just ask Noah. To God, however, nothing is hidden, and when we choose to be his instrument and to follow his will, he’ll make sure that we survive any storm that comes our way, just as he did with Noah.

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