Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 5: 6-8
If there was ever an excuse for baking bread, today’s Second Reading is it!
It can be a salutary exercise to take the ingredients of flour, yeast, salt and water - and just contemplate them for a while. They don’t really look as if they are capable of becoming anything much - and left to themselves, they won’t!
It takes a lot of hard work and energy to transform the raw ingredients into something that will keep body and soul together. Individually, they may contain the necessary nutrients for life - but few of us would enjoy sitting down to a bowl of flour with yeast, salt and sugar sprinkled on top!
And so, the baker takes them - and mixes them - and spends time kneading the dough until the yeast is mixed through and the dough has become elastic.
Then the miracle... that which was “dead”, comes to life. The yeast which seemed do unprepossessing, begins to work: the dough begins to rise. More kneading - more rising - and then the baking... accompanied by one of the most appetising aromas in the world.
Not for nothing did Jesus use the sign of bread. Those of us with ready access to supermarkets forget just what work has gone into the bread we buy. Perhaps we could bake bread as a spiritual exercise - reflecting as we do on the mixing - the kneading - the rising - and what insights they offer into the Paschal Mystery.
If we resist the temptation to eat the bread soon after it emerges from the oven, we may then feel ready to break it and share it with others - and who taught is to do that?
Jesus offered his body - to be kneaded and seemingly destroyed - and yet, in being broken, he made it available to feed the world.
Out there are the flour - the water - the salt - the sugar - but we, according to Jesus, are the yeast. We are to create a whole new batch of bread - of sincerity and truth - and by our invisible action, leaven the whole world in honour of the one who is our Leaven - the one who transforms our ordinary into food for the world.
What does it mean for me?