Clear out the Old Yeast

Reflection for Easter Sunday by FAN Communications Coordinator, Janine Walsh

This reflection was originally posted in our March 29th newsletter


We’ve lived among a pandemic for more than one year. I remember my deep sadness last Easter at not being able to enjoy the annual rituals at my parish during Holy Week. I was depressed that I was not able to join with my fellow parishioners in my faith community to sing “Hosanna” on Easter Sunday. Watching it on tv was just not the same, I lamented. How could I ever be satisfied?

Now, one year later, new habits have formed. Grabbing a mask as I walk out the door and washing my hands when I come in the house is second nature. I’ve watched mass on tv so much, I have developed a deep connection with the Spiritual Communion prayer. These habits that seemed so foreign to me last Easter are now my “new normal.” In meditating on Sunday’s second reading from the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, I wondered, was God clearing out my “old yeast”?

My oldest daughter was one of so many who began baking during the shutdown last year. She honed her skills and learned how to make delicious loaves of bread. My favorite is her herb and olive oil focaccia. I watched her in awe as I was never a great baker. Chemistry was not one of my favorite subjects. I couldn’t understand why the ¼ tsp of salt had to be in there! How can such a small amount of salt matter that much? I remember, when I was young, being frustrated that a cookie didn’t come out the way it was supposed to. My mother looked at the recipe card and asked if I added the right amount of salt. At my angst, she laughed understandingly and said “Chemistry matters in baking.” It was these memories that stirred in me as I read St. Paul’s words.

“Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become fresh.” They say “old habits die hard” but it’s amazing what you can do when motivated. Think back to this time last year. How long did it take you to acquire new habits like grabbing a mask or sanitizing your hands more often? One year of living with a pandemic, we find ourselves developing new habits, perhaps even better ones than the old. With fresh yeast, we can join together to celebrate “sincerity and truth.” Who wouldn’t want a slice of that?

This Easter season, let us discover the empty tomb and ponder the mystery of the Resurrection. Let us “clear out the old yeast” in our hearts to be strengthened in our faith so as to develop new habits. Habits like Jesus had: feeding the hungry, caring for the sick and dying, clothing the naked, visiting the imprisoned, welcoming the stranger, and loving the ‘unlovable.’

How, you may ask? With a little fresh yeast and some chemistry. Welcome those who may think differently than you…they are the yeast. Add in the chemistry of other cultures and soon you have beautiful, bountiful ideas to develop and nurture new habits of justice for all.

Janine Walsh
FAN Communications Coordinator

Published in: on March 30, 2021 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

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