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i knead you
"To what shall I compare the reign of God? It is like yeast which a woman took to knead into three measures of flour until the whole mass of dough began to rise." —Luke 13:20-21
Many years ago, I worked in a bakery. I often watched the baker knead a block of yeast into a tabletop full of dough. Here are some reflections on Jesus' parable of the yeast:
- The baker crushed a block of solid yeast into fine crumbs and scattered the yeast crumbs evenly throughout the dough. Likewise, Jesus' plan is to scatter His people evenly throughout the earth, not missing one nation or city.
- The yeast is crushed when it is kneaded. It loses its identity because it is intermingled so closely with the dough. When the dough rises, you can no longer distinguish the yeast. Like Jesus, we are sometimes crushed for the good of others (see Is 53:5). We lay down our lives for those we serve (1 Jn 3:16). We lose our lives (Lk 9:24).
- Yeast doesn't get discouraged at how small it is and how large the dough is. All it has to do is be itself, and the dough always rises to a size many times larger than it was at first. Likewise, we Christians have only to be ourselves. A few committed Christians can bear a huge harvest (Mt 13:23).
- The baker put the yeast where he wanted it. I never saw the yeast complain that it wanted to be put in a different spot. Similarly, we disciples of Jesus "should lead the life the Lord has assigned" us (1 Cor 7:17), bearing fruit right where God has put us.
Jesus kneads us because He needs us to help Him build His kingdom.
Prayer: Father, may I "be fertile and multiply" for You (Gn 1:28).
Promise: "Christ loved the Church. He gave Himself up for her." —Eph 5:25
Praise: Just by being herself, Michelle brought her Catholic faith and views into her college classroom discussions.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, March 30, 2004
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 1, 2004