Monday, April 27, 2009

Parable of the Leaven - Fr. Thomas Keating

He told them another parable: 'The kingdom of God is like yeast which a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.' (Matthew 13:33)

Jesus says the kingdom of God is like leaven. In the ancient Mediterranean world as we saw, leaven had very negative associations. It was the archetype of uncleanness and corruption. Leaven was made by putting a piece of bread in a dark, damp place until it molded and stank. Both leaven and the process of leavening were symbols of corruption.

In the Jewish tradition men were considered ritually pure and women were ritually unclean. As a consequence, rabbis were forbidden to speak to women in public. No rabbi giving a formal sermon would cite a woman as heroine of any story. Jesus frequently did so in his parables, however, ignoring the stereotypes of his day.

In this parable Jesus addresses the popular idea that the kingdom of God is holy, good, and triumphant. The kingdom turns out to be active in the marginalized and the poor, both of whom regarded in Jesus' day as objects of God's abandonment. The state of poverty was regarded as the result of sin and hence was a symbol of corruption. Natural calamities"

I have had this wonderful story sitting in my drafts for over three years. I keep meaning to post it and write a reflection on it. However, really what could I add to such a beautiful commission.

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