So Jesus gave them this warning. “Take care,” he said,“beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”
yeast is good in the short run
breads rise well
but don’t travel well
for journeying choose hardtack
yeast is for the settled
it is a sign of privilege
Wonder Bread® was a status symbol
if we can be sold yeast
what can’t tempt us
see how the priests parade
always at the front of the line
their cut of your tithe
comes off the top
be on guard
To be in the presence of “yeast”, the living cause of bread spoilage, is in the words of Marie Joseph Lagrange, to be in the presence of “a principle of moral corruption that contaminates all it touches”. (Bratcher253)
However you want to define the particular expressions of spoilage exemplified by the Pharisees or Herod or Scribes or Crowd or any other player in Mark’s script, it is exactly that which is present in the Twelve, then, and you and me, now.
If Lagrange were writing today he may talk about “moral injury” that happens to one when what they know to be true is overcome by some other power that causes them to deny that depth understanding in their decision-making. This is the underlying cause of hypocrisy. This is deeper than any mask we wear at the moment. It is what allows us to accept injury of another with “indifference”. This is what breaks our ability to trust, to suspend our disbelief.
Presumably the loaf that was a constituent part of Jesus’ boat was unleavened. It is this always presence that can be contrasted with any justification juggling we do to excuse our indifference. A popular excuse is that of calling on the oppressed to wait for a more opportune time, to tell one more personal story in the face of systemic oppression, while they are daily dying, physically dying. Remember your loaf; be glad; choose “non-indifference”.