It is Easter Sunday! ALLELUIA, ALLELUIA, ALLELUIA!!!
For 40 days, we have been meditating and reflecting on the cross, and all that Jesus did, by suffering on it for us. Now is the time for celebration and joy. For the next 50 days, it is EASTER. During this Easter season, show that new life Jesus has bought for us.
Today’s reflection is about Yeast.
Quote or Joke of the Day:
A friend was in front of me coming out of church one day, and the priest was standing at the door as he always is to shake hands. He grabbed my friend by the hand and pulled him aside. Father said him, “You need to join the Army of the Lord!” My friend said, “I’m already in the Army of the Lord, Father.” The Priest questioned, “How come I don’t see you except at Christmas and Easter?” He whispered back, “I’m in the secret service.”
Do you not know that a little yeast leavens all the dough? Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough, inasmuch as you are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (NAB 1Cor 5:6-8)
I LOVE to eat food of any type. That’s probably why I am so “gravity challenged!” Per the charts, I should be 9 foot, 10.5 inches; but alas, I am not. I HATE gravity: it’s such a curse. Here’s the problem: my absolute favorite food is any baked item. Carolyn B., that’s a hint if you get my meaning, and I’m ever in your area! (Only joking).
Yeast is a great organism. It is a living molecule that eats starches (like in dough and especially beer), and creates air bubbles through metabolism. If I was gross, I would compare its function to a man that had recently eaten White Castle Hamburgers with cabbage and a great glass of beer (Woo!). Here is the politically correct description of what yeast does: (a very tiny amount) induces “fermentation” (Not as much fun described this way; is it?).
Paul, the author of this letter, is using yeast, and its reason for its usage, as a natural symbol for sources of corruption that becomes all too pervasive in society then, and now. The “old yeast” is the remnants of our sinful past, which needs to be purged. If not, one risks infecting all others. This is a very conceptual way of talking about sin, which to me can be hard to understand.
Every sin has a social dilemma. Sin is not a private matter at all. When you sin, you are separating yourself from God. In separating yourself, you are causing damage to the Church and its members, as each one of us makes up the body of the Church. Sin hurts everyone; not just yourself.
In the Jewish calendar, Passover is followed immediately by the “Festival of Unleavened Bread.” In preparing for this feast, all traces of any old bread are removed from the home. During this time, only unleavened bread is eaten. The sequence of these two feasts provides an image for our Christian existence. Christ’s death, during the Passover celebration, is followed by the new life of “Christ’s” community. It is marked by a newness, purity, and integrity towards our faith. We celebrate a visible perpetual feast of unleavened bread in the unleavened host of Jesus’ body and blood, consumed at Mass.
I would like to end with a little trivia on this beautiful Easter. Paul was probably writing at Passover time, so this part of the letter may be from an Easter homily; possibly one of the earliest in Christian literature. I enjoy reading all of Paul’s letters. He, for me, was definitely the “Gentiles Apostle!”
“Lord, allow me to learn and love as Paul did. Please knock me of that horse. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Catholic Saint of the Day: St. Isidore of Seville, Doctor of the Church
Isidore was literally born into a family of saints in sixth century Spain. Two of his brothers, Leander and Fulgentius, and one of his sisters, Florentina, are revered as saints in Spain. It was also a family of leaders and strong minds with Leander and Fulgentius serving as bishops and Florentina as abbess.
This didn’t make life easier for Isidore. To the contrary, Leander may have been holy in many ways, but his treatment of his little brother shocked many even at the time. Leander, who was much older than Isidore, took over Isidore’s education and his pedagogical theory involved force and punishment. We know from Isidore’s later accomplishments that he was intelligent and hard-working so it is hard to understand why Leander thought abuse would work instead of patience.
One day, the young boy couldn’t take any more. Frustrated by his inability to learn as fast as his brother wanted and hurt by his brother’s treatment, Isidore ran away. But though he could escape his brother’s hand and words, he couldn’t escape his own feeling of failure and rejection. When he finally let the outside world catch his attention, he noticed water dripping on the rock near where he sat. The drops of water that fell repeatedly carried no force and seemed to have no effect on the solid stone. And yet he saw that over time, the water drops had worn holes in the rock.
Isidore realized that if he kept working at his studies, his seemingly small efforts would eventually pay off in great learning. He also may have hoped that his efforts would also wear down the rock of his brother’s heart.
When he returned home, however, his brother in exasperation confined him to a cell (probably in a monastery) to complete his studies, not believing that he wouldn’t run away again.
Either there must have been a loving side to this relationship or Isidore was remarkably forgiving even for a saint, because later he would work side by side with his brother and after Leander’s death, Isidore would complete many of the projects he began including a missal and breviary.
In a time where it’s fashionable to blame the past for our present and future problems, Isidore was able to separate the abusive way he was taught from the joy of learning. He didn’t run from learning after he left his brother but embraced education and made it his life’s work. Isidore rose above his past to become known as the greatest teacher in Spain.
His love of learning made him promote the establishment of a seminary in every diocese of Spain. He didn’t limit his own studies and didn’t want others to as well. In a unique move, he made sure that all branches of knowledge including the arts and medicine were taught in the seminaries.
His encyclopedia of knowledge, the Etymologies, was a popular textbook for nine centuries. He also wrote books on grammar, astronomy, geography, history, and biography as well as theology. When the Arabs brought study of Aristotle back to Europe, this was nothing new to Spain because Isidore’s open mind had already reintroduced the philosopher to students there.
As bishop of Seville for 37 years, succeeding Leander, he set a model for representative government in Europe. Under his direction, and perhaps remembering the tyrannies of his brother, he rejected autocratic decision- making and organized synods to discuss government of the Spanish Church.
Still trying to wear away rock with water, he helped convert the barbarian Visigoths from Arianism to Christianity.
He lived until almost 80. As he was dying his house was filled with crowds of poor he was giving aid and alms to. One of his last acts was to give all his possessions to the poor.
When he died in 636, this Doctor of the Church had done more than his brother had ever hoped; the light of his learning caught fire in Spanish minds and held back the Dark Ages of barbarism from Spain. But even greater than his outstanding mind must have been the genius of his heart that allowed him to see beyond rejection and discouragement to joy and possibility. His feast day is April 4th.
(From http://www.catholic.org/saints/ website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #4:
The rule and life of the Secular Franciscans is this: to observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of St. Francis of Assisi who made Christ the inspiration and the center of his life with God and people.
Christ, the gift of the Father’s love, is the way to him, the truth into which the Holy Spirit leads us, and the life which he has come to give abundantly.
Secular Franciscans should devote themselves especially to careful reading of the gospel, going from gospel to life and life to gospel.