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The Alphabet of Lent – Letter Y

Y for Yeast

Some people dream of doing great things in life.
Many want to achieve some worthwhile goal.
Others try to distinguish themselves with important achievements.

There is nothing wrong with this – on the contrary, it is important to have some ideal in life.
But this should not make us forget the importance of… small things.
Do you remember the slogan of some years ago: “Small is beautiful”?
It is even the title of a well-known book in some circles. *

What is interesting to remember is that Jesus thought along those lines!
Two sentences of what he said have been made into a parable –
only two sentences to describe God’s kingdom!

“Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to?
It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour
until it worked all through the dough” (Luke 13:20-21).

Women know it, and chefs do also: it takes a tiny bit of yeast to have a large amount of dough rise.
Jesus compares the kingdom of God to this process!

The kingdom of God – an amazing reality that includes so much… coming from very little, if we think of it…
God’s life-giving presence, God’s saving action… reaching people through:

– a little good-will to recognize someone’s need…
– a small amount of generosity…
– a bit of true compassion…
– a little thoughtfulness for people around…
– a small gesture of forgiveness to someone…
– a bit of readiness to give help…
– a tiny bit of self-forgetfulness…
– a small amount of empathy…

Every ounce of each one’s contribution – the personal ‘yeast’ of you and me –
this builds and spreads God’s kingdom since God himself makes use it!


* Note: SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL, A study of Economics as if People Mattered, E.F. Schumacher


Source: Image: (Felicity Tai)

24th Sunday of Year A – 2023


WORDS: we utter them, we hear them, we write them – we use them in all kinds of situations.
They are the tools of communication, they are very much part of our lives.

It is obvious that the meaning of words is essential for good understanding among us.
If the words used are not understood properly, then uncertainty, indecision, confusion, can take place.

This reflection came to me as I read the texts of this Sunday.
The 1st reading (Sirach 27:30 – 28:9), the Psalm used as a response (Psalm 103:1-4,9-12) and the gospel (Matthew 18:21-35), are about the same theme.
They key idea is very clearly about forgiving our neighbour.

Different words are used to speak about the inner sentiment that can inspire us to forgive:
pity – mercy – sympathy – empathy – clemency – tender-heartedness –
all of them are meant to describe the attitude we should have which will lead us to grant pardon to someone.

But there is another word – used in the Psalm – which, to me, expresses best the feeling we should have:
it is that of COMPASSION.
Looking at the two roots of this word: com-passion, we perceive its meaning as suffering with.
It is the attitude of someone who feels for, or feels with, someone else.

This sentiment enables us to become more attuned to God – the forgiving God, he:
“who forgives all your sins…
who crowns you with love and compassion…”

He is the one who asks of us to be like him in this way.
In fact, he makes it the very condition for him to forgive us…

In an echo of today’s gospel text, Jesus said in his Father’s name:
“If you do not forgive others,
your Father will not forgive your failings either”  (Matthew 6:15).
May the Spirit of forgiveness lead us on this way,
as Jesus taught us to pray:

“Forgive us our debts,
as we forgive those in debt to us” (Matthew 6:12).


Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French, at:


Source: Images: (Engin Akyurt)     Scripture Images





International Day of Peace – 21 September 2022

2022 Theme: End racism. Build peace.

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.

But achieving true peace entails much more than laying down arms.  It requires the building of societies where all members feel that they can flourish. It involves creating a world in which people are treated equally, regardless of their race.

As Secretary-General António Guterres has said:

“Racism continues to poison institutions, social structures, and everyday life in every society. It continues to be a driver of persistent inequality. And it continues to deny people their fundamental human rights. It destabilizes societies, undermines democracies, erodes the legitimacy of governments, and… the linkages between racism and gender inequality are unmistakable.”

As conflicts continue to erupt across the globe, causing people to flee, we have seen race-based discrimination at borders. As COVID-19 keeps attacking our communities, we have seen how certain racial groups have been hit much harder than others. As economies suffer, we have seen hate speech and violence directed at racial minorities.

We all have a role to play in fostering peace. And tackling racism is a crucial way to contribute.

We can work to dismantle the structures that entrench racism in our midst. We can support movements for equality and human rights everywhere. We can speak out against hate speech – both offline and online. We can promote anti-racism through education and reparatory justice.

The 2022 theme for the International Day of Peace is “End racism. Build peace.” We invite you to join the efforts of the United Nations as we work towards a world free of racism and racial discrimination. A world where compassion and empathy overcome suspicion and hatred. A world that we can truly be proud of.


Source: Text: UN   Image: