The Faithful Leaven Christ Wants To Help Us To Be, 28th Friday, October 16, 2015

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Sacred Heart Convent of the Sisters of Life, Manhattan
Friday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I
Memorial of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
October 16, 2015
Rom 4:1-8, Ps 32, Lk 12:1-7


To listen to an audio recording of today’s homily, please click below: 


The following points were attempted in the homily: 

  • Jesus criticizes the hypocrisy of the Pharisees calling it a type of leaven that can infect others around it. Hypocrisy comes from the Greek work for acting and there are two ways one can be a hypocrite. The first is by pretending to be someone one isn’t. The Pharisees were actors in this sense because they were concerned only with external deeds, not the heart. At the same time they were meticulously washing their hands, they were plotting to murder Jesus. Against this type of hypocrisy, Jesus tells us today that there is nothing hidden that will not come to light. The second form of hypocrisy is shrinking from living according to what we believe out of fear, when Christians, for example, fail to say or do what needs to be said or done lest they suffer for following their Christian faith. Against this type of hypocrisy, Jesus tells us that we shouldn’t fear those who can only kill the body, but rather fear God more who can destroy both body and soul. We should care for more, in other words, what God thinks and wants than what others think, including those who are threatening to kill our bodies. But Jesus doesn’t want us to fear God the way we fear a torturer. Jesus describes that the Father loves us so much more than the sparrows and cares for everything so carefully that he counts every strand of our hair. So Jesus is saying, essentially, don’t be afraid but live your faith in the Father’s love with confidence.
  • St. Paul used to be a Pharisee and knew well the type of leaven of which Jesus is warning us today. He was likewise in his Epistle to the Romans warning against that type of externalist leaven invading the Church, something that was happening among the Judaizing Christians in the capital who thought that in order to be a good Christian they first needed to be a good Jew. Rather than being saved by our own actions, essentially by our ourselves, St. Paul is stressing that we’re saved by God’s action, his grace, received and responded to by faith. To convince the Jews and Judaized Christians in Rome that this is true St. Paul mentions how Abraham was saved by faith, the faith to leave Ur, the faith to believe he would become a dad, the faith even to sacrifice Isaac knowing that God could raise him from the dead as the son of the promise. Abraham was not hypocrite but lived according to faith.
  • Today we celebrate a great daughter of Abraham and the Church, who lived by faith, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. She suffered tremendously as a young girl after the death of her father, when she and her mother were abused by in-laws. She suffered because of an ulcer on her leg for five years. She suffered from opposition to her vocation. She suffered from various Visitation nuns inside the convent. But she had great faith and Jesus chose her to be his instrument to reveal to us the love of his Sacred Heart, so that we might respond with faith and not hypocrisy to the gift of himself and his love in his continuing presence among us in the Holy Eucharist. He revealed to St. Margaret Mary that he had exhausted himself out of love for us, but from most he received only indifference, irreverence, coldness, sacrilege and scorn toward his presence in what he called the “sacrament of love,” the Eucharist. He said he was particularly pained that those consecrated to him treated him in this way. The response that was implied that he wanted of us instead of indifference to make him in the Eucharist the biggest difference in our lives, instead of irreverence piety, instead of coldness passionate love, instead of sacrilege holiness in receptivity made so by his mercy, and instead of scorn praise. This is what St. Margaret Mary gave him and this would be the response of faith. If we’re not treated Jesus in the Eucharist as God, then we’re acting, then we’re hypocrites, with regard to what we profess. In his apparitions to St. Margaret Mary, Jesus did something very beautiful in a mystical way. He took out her heart, bathed it in the fire of his own to purify it and ignite it, and then placed it back into her. This is what Jesus wishes to do in every one of us, taking away our stony hearts and replacing them with hearts of flesh, hearts after his own. He does that, first, when he sprinkles clean water upon us and gives us the heart transplant of baptism, prophesied by Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Then he renews it every Mass, as alluded to in the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano when the flesh of the 1200 year old miracle was shown to be human heart wall. Every Eucharist, every celebration of the sacrament of his love, we receive Jesus’ own heart as he seeks to transform us into the visible sign making efficacious his love in the world. May we approach him today with preference, piety, passion, praise and purity!


The readings for today’s Mass were:

Reading 1 ROM 4:1-8

Brothers and sisters:
What can we say that Abraham found,
our ancestor according to the flesh?
Indeed, if Abraham was justified on the basis of his works,
he has reason to boast;
but this was not so in the sight of God.
For what does the Scripture say?
Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
A worker’s wage is credited not as a gift, but as something due.
But when one does not work,
yet believes in the one who justifies the ungodly,
his faith is credited as righteousness.
So also David declares the blessedness of the person
to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven
and whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not record.

Responsorial Psalm PS 32:1B-2, 5, 11

R. (see 7) I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.
Blessed is he whose fault is taken away,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt,
in whose spirit there is no guile.
R. I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
my guilt I covered not.
I said, “I confess my faults to the LORD,”
and you took away the guilt of my sin.
R. I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.
Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you just;
exult, all you upright of heart.
R. I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.

Alleluia PS 33:22

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us;
who have put our hope in you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 12:1-7

At that time:
So many people were crowding together
that they were trampling one another underfoot.
Jesus began to speak, first to his disciples,
“Beware of the leaven–that is, the hypocrisy–of the Pharisees.“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness
will be heard in the light,
and what you have whispered behind closed doors
will be proclaimed on the housetops.
I tell you, my friends,
do not be afraid of those who kill the body
but after that can do no more.
I shall show you whom to fear.
Be afraid of the one who after killing
has the power to cast into Gehenna;
yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one.
Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?
Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.
Do not be afraid.
You are worth more than many sparrows.”