Jesus has been criticizing the Pharisees and others for living a disintegrated—divided—faith. They focus so much on the exterior appearance of holiness that they neglect the interior reality of which it ought to be an expression. He tells His disciples today to “beware the leaven—that is, the hypocrisy—of the Pharisees.” He tells us the same.
He goes on further, saying, “There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.” Jesus tells His followers to live in the light, to preach what they have learned loudly, to live outwardly the Truth they have embraced inwardly and to do so with boldness, knowing that they are precious to God. This, too, is how we must live as disciples of the Lord: we cannot hide anything from God beneath a veneer of exterior actions.
Our world, particularly in the West, often demands that we keep our religion separate from our “secular” lives. But Jesus makes no separation; indeed, there was no separation in His time. Even coins had religious significance. Often we keep religion relegated to Sundays, dinner tables, and perhaps bedsides, but Jesus reminds us that we worship not some god of a particular day, of dinner tables or beds, but rather the God of all, who sees and knows all of what we do and why we do it. The pressure of the world to keep our faith to ourselves is immense, but if we are to live an integrated faith, we must find ways of being the light of the world, of being leaven among the flour.
St. John Vianney gives this advice: “Do not try to please everybody. Try to please God, the Angels, and the Saints – they are your public.” So you cannot stand on your desk at work and proclaim the Gospel, but can you work in such a way that it is obvious the Gospel is central to your life? Or relate to your coworkers in such a way? The Gospel—the Good News—is not a secret to be kept to ourselves, but a joyful song to be sung in word and danced in deed. If we live in such a way as to please the world, what benefit is it to us? We will one day pass from this world. If we live in such a way that we seek to mind our own holiness before God and shun the world around us, how can we be leaven, how can we be light; how do we at all honor the Son of God who became a man and dwelt among us sinners? Our lives are to be torches for the Light of God’s love, consumed by the Flame of the Spirit, setting the world on fire around us. Do not be afraid to burn brightly!