2020-07-1916th Sunday in Ordinary TimeDeacon Thomas Sutak

In today`s Gospel we encounter one of the shortest parables in all of Scripture - the Parable of the Yeast - sometimes referred to as the Parable of the Leaven - which finds Jesus using an image of a woman adding yeast to a measure of flour to describe the effect of the Kingdom of Heaven in the world. It`s a very simple story but it`s really a snapshot of life.

For even the most inexperienced bakers among us knows flour simply does not rise to the occasion without yeast slowly - secretly and silently doing its job. It`s a powerful agent of change in most recipes and only a scant amount is needed. Yet given time and the right conditions - its effect is nothing short of remarkable. And just like yeast makes dough rise from within - so too does the Kingdom of Heaven quietly exert its influence in the world around us. God first changes the heart of a person and given time and the right conditions - that change will manifest itself in far reaching ways. And just like yeast - the Kingdom of Heaven works invisibly - yet its effects are evident to all.

Interestingly enough this parable is actually somewhat contemporary and directed at each and every one of us - for even though we may be just one person and seemingly significant - like the woman doing the mixing - it`s important to remember that we have all been called to be the yeast - the leaven - giving rise to the Gospel message always and everywhere - and as St. Francis once said - at times - to even use words.

Now to be certain - the pandemic has changed much in our lives and routines - and today we would have been graced with some of [those] words from a Salesian missionary. Unfortunately current public health circumstances do not allow for that - so for better or worse - I`ll do my best as a stand in to tell the story of a young priest named John Bosco and eighteen young men who were once poor street children he cared for - who began a new society. He called them the Salesians after St. Francis de Sales - Bishop of Geneva - whom he had always admired for his kindness.

Today the priests - brothers and sisters as well as laypeople who have followed in Fr. Bosco`s footsteps have committed their lives to be friends - counselors and educators dedicated to caring for poor children in more than 130 countries - specializing in helping them become self-sufficient through learning a trade that will one day help them gain meaningful employment.

Salesians find their work in big cities with thousands of homeless and runaway children - as well as in remote corners of the globe that have been forgotten and neglected by society.

Today the Salesian Mission has grown to be the second largest order in the Roman Catholic Church - operating primary and secondary schools - colleges and institutions of higher learning - clinics - hospitals - dispensaries - orphanages and shelters for youth needing a place to stay. Providing also - vocational and pre-professional training programs - to more than 3 million individuals each year regardless of race or religion.

Salesians are often among the first on the scene with relief supplies - temporary housing and medical care when disasters strike.

Quite simply - they work where they are needed the most.

In just the same way as Jesus` ministry started out with a meager twelve men in an obscure corner of Galilee - His message of mercy and compassion needs us to join with the Salesians to be its leaven - helping to spread it throughout the world.

And so today on behalf of the Salesian Mission - I ask that you pray for their continued success and to perhaps consider sharing a portion of your treasure with those priests - brothers - sisters - and lay people - who are committed to being a prominent source of service and spiritual yeast among us. Now is the right time - with the right conditions for all of us to be a leaven - to give rise to good in the Church - and in the world.

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