The Leaven of Pride

Fridays: The Gospels
Matthew 16

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Leaven is an image Jesus uses with both positive and negative meanings. Last Sunday we listened to leaven as an image of the Kingdom growing within a person. Here, the leaven is that of the Pharisees and Sadducees—pride and ambition. Repent if you find these vices in you.

Peter receives the gift of knowing who Jesus is. From yesterday’s reading, God is to receive the glory for the gift. Yet Peter seems to take the gift in a prideful manner, presuming to question Jesus in the first prediction that Jesus was going to suffer and die. Similar to the challenge to Peter about having his feet washed at the Last Supper, the name that Peter has just been given, “Rock,”is quickly changed to “Satan”in the hopes that Peter will be shaken into belief and obedience.

Are you impetuous as Peter, quick to take in the leaven of pride?

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Wary of the yeast of pride v. 6ff
The Son of the living God v. 16
Following You with the cross v. 24
Losing life to saving life v. 25

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for the version for children and families.

This is the ninth of thirteen weeks in Pentecost, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
We continue reading the Gospel of Matthew.

Today’s image courtesy of

5 thoughts on “The Leaven of Pride

  1. Motivations: The Heart of the Matter
    by Larry Barber

    The “hypocrisy” of the Pharisees was that they approached life much like an actor approached the script of a play. Motivated by the desire for approval, the Pharisees performed a specific set of predetermined and mutually agreed upon religious acts before an audience of their peers.
    Herein lies the fundamental problem with the hypocrisy of the Pharisees: their obsession with the appearance of their performance gave them the means to hide from the truth of their own brokenness. Their outward performance distracted them from coming to grips with the internal problem of their moral depravity. Consequently, the Pharisees’ religious zeal was a symptom of their hearts’ rebelliousness rather than a reflection of their desire to love God.

    For whole article, see


  2. More on losing life in order to find life: from Le Milieu Divin of Teilhard de Chardin, translated by Bernard Wall, 117-118

    To adore…that means to lose oneself in the unfathomable, to plunge into the inexhaustible, to find peace in the incorruptible, to be absorbed in defined immensity, to offer oneself to the fire and the transparency, to annihilate oneself in proportion as one becomes more deliberately conscious of one self, and to give of one’s deepest to that whose depth has no end.


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