What does this mean?

From Matthew 13

Another parable he spoke to them: The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened.



I’m no apologist or expert, but I have looked into the parables to some extent. I forget who wrote it, but I do remember a few things that were interesting. First of all, the commentator pointed out that many of the parables are subversive and humorous. The humor may be lost on us, but to first century Jews it would have been obvious. The commentator pointed out that this parable would have been perceived as subversive for two reasons. One, women were seen as ritually unclean. By using a woman in his tale, he was challenging the rules that were set forth by the pharisees and sadducces. Secondly, leaven was also seen as an unclean item. They made leaven or yeast by putting a small piece of bread under a bowl and leaving it to rot for some period of time. The left over was the yeast. So, unleavened bread was seen as more pure. Christ chose to use the less clean version to describe how his sacrifice would work to reconcile us to God. As Paul says, one was sacrificed so that many could be ransomed. Anyway that’s my 2 cents.


The footnote in my JB says:The kingdom, like the mustard seed and the leaven, is unpretentious in its beginnings but destined for enormous growth.


The problem with the use of “leaven” (or “yeast”) in the parable is that in most of the rest of the Bible “leaven” is a bad thing, symbolizing sinfulness!

The answer may be found in the Bible’s constant use of sin symbols to symbolize Christ. (The most well known example is the bronze serpent on a pole, in the Book of Numbers.)

Paul puzzled over the use of sin symbols for Christ in the Jewish books of the Old Testament, and came up with 2 Corinthians 5:21: Paul refers to Christ as the sinless one who was “made to be sin,” in the sense that He paid the price merited by our sinfulness – torture and death on the cross – to purchase the grace of salvation, thus ending-up being treated as though He were sin, itself.

So, the effect of the one “made to be sin” spreads throughout all of Christianity.

This is a true puzzlement. How can a sin symbol be used for Divinity? :confused:

Perhaps that Paradox that He who was sinless was ‘made sin’ for us?

Ask God, Granny, because the Holy Spirit does it repeatedly in Scripture, again and again and again and again.

Christ, Himself, compared Himself on the cross to the bronze serpent on the pole.

When Moses’ staff turned into a snake which ate pharoah’s snakes, that was Christ made-to-be-sin destroying sin.

I have given the explanation, Granny, but you are so determined to force God to fit your simplified, easy-to-digest vision of the salvation process that I don’t think that you pay attention to the Scriptural support out of our Magisterium’s Bible which I post. You use your imagination to try to make Scripture say anything except something which doesn’t fit your analysis. You have done this repeatedly, Granny.

Apparently, some of my posts are being misread. So I will repeat my simple message.

For those who are interested in Catholic teaching, this is a link to the Catechism of the Catholic Church www.scborromeo.org/ccc.htm

Hi Peter

Scriptural support out of our Magisterium’s Bible which I post.

Magisterium’s Bible which is-----?


Currently authorized versions of the Roman Catholic Bible.

Thanks. I thought I was missing out on something, and that would never do:)


I’m not sure about the “made sin” stuff. I’m not disagreeing, I’m saying that I have not encountered that interpretation so I don’t know what you mean. Perhaps you could send me a private message and explain. I don’t want to hijack this thread. :wink: Dawson’s post seems harsh. You and Granny must have a history. :rolleyes:

I think that the symbolism that Christ used in the parables was meant to indict the Jewish leaders of the time. Today’s readings point this out. Christ was telling them that they had overthrown the purpose of the word and the Law in favor of traditions. He knew that his message would challenge the system for worship that they had built up. Moreover, he knew that they had misunderstood the word. They expected him to be an earthly leader come to overthrow the tyranny of the Roman’s. Christ came to overthrow the tyranny of Sin and Death. This is at the cruxt of our disagreement with our Jewish brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, in order for christ to establish his everlasting Kingdom, he would have to also overthrow the Jewish world order of that time. Whether they knew it or not, Christ, IMHO, through the parables was signaling to the leaders that their power structure was at an end. I also think that he knew that it would directly lead to his crucifixtion. Christ preached the Word with authority and without fear.

in homilies I have heard most often the leaven refers to the Church, the kingdom of Christ on Earth, which will start out very small, but under his orders spread the Gospel to the whole world and carrying out the work of encultration of the Gospel, making it part of all cultures. This work is ordained to the successors of the apostles but all Christians, all members of the body of Christ, even women and non-ordained ministers, have their share in this work through their baptism.

The first thing that got my attention is that after you inferred that my disagreement with Granny is personal, you inferred that Christ made his disagreement with the leaders of Judaism personal, but out of necessity.

And yet, in the case of Christ, I think that you are right, generally, but not specifically, in this matter respecting the briefly-stated leaven simile.

Christ did “curse the fig tree,” which foreshadowed Judaism’s loss of the presiding role in the salvation process.

Re the interp of the leaven simile, itself, I don’t wish to limit my presentation to a private communication, because that *would be *to hi-jack the thread, right?

GTG. I’ll be back momentarily.

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