“When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ And they discussed it among themselves, saying, ‘We brought no bread.’ But Jesus, aware of this, said, ’O men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How is it that you fail to perceive that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Mt 16: 5-12)
This passage speaks to me about the connection between material/financial concerns and faith. At times of financial difficulty, when we get worried “about the fact that we have no bread,” as are the disciples in the incident described above, the Lord calls us to remember all the previous times, when He provided for us and we were A-OK. The assurance of faith, based on a grateful, healthy remembering of always having been provided for in the past, helps us to take action, according to our responsibilities or “vocation,” and to do what we can do for our “daily bread” today. And “what we can do” is not be crippled by fear-based, merely-human thinking (i.e., the wrong kind of “leaven”), and not just sit around and “discuss among ourselves (or in our own heads) the fact that we have no bread,” as the disciples do above. We can do the next right thing in a faith-based manner, with the kind of “leaven” God’s grace instils in our hearts, raising us up from fear-based inactivity to action. “Give us this day our daily bread,” O Lord, as You always have done, helping us to do the next right thing, in and with You. Amen!