By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
During his homily on Friday at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected both on the First Reading and on the Gospel of the Day. He contrasted the “leaven” of the Pharisees to the leaven of the Holy Spirit which leads to embracing the “inheritance” which the Lord left to everyone.
Leaven of hypocrisy
Pope Francis described the leaven of the Pharisees as the leaven of hypocrisy which allows self-centeredness to grow. This leaven applies to people who think only of appearances, he said. Should they meet someone in difficulty along their path, they turn their gaze away. “Jesus says that this leaven is dangerous” because it has no future, the Pope said.
Leaven of the Holy Spirit
The other type of leaven, which has the opposite effect, is that of the Holy Spirit. Turning to the First Reading from the Letter to the Ephesians, Pope Francis explained that the leaven of the Spirit is given to those who have been “sealed by the Spirit”. The Spirit, he said, is the pledge of the inheritance while Christians await “complete redemption”. Jesus himself wants Christians to “journey continually with the Holy Spirit’s leaven” toward the horizon, Pope Francis said. Because Christians possess the pledge of the inheritance, they then reach out toward those in difficulty, the suffering, the fallen, in the hope of “finding the inheritance”.
Life in the Spirit
With the leaven of the Holy Spirit, Christians are able to face the difficulties encountered on the journey, “even all their sins, but always with hope”, Pope Francis said. “Hypocrites have forgotten what it means to be joyful”. And he concluded, “there is joy in the hearts of those who possess the leaven of the Holy Spirit, even when they face problems and difficulties”.