CACINA

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 31, 2009

Gospel reading of the day:

John 8:21-30

Jesus said to the Pharisees: “I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come.” So the Jews said, “He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?” He said to them, “You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning. I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true, and what I heard from him I tell the world.” They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.

So Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me. The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him.” Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.

Reflection on the gospel: In today’s gospel, Jesus twice uses the words, I AM, to describe himself. The discussion of what God said to Moses when Moses asked God for God’s name is a little complicated, but what the Jews understood God to have said is, “I AM,” and in today’s gospel, Jesus uses those very same words about himself. In other words, Jesus in the gospel passage is making a very strong claim about his own identity. Jesus tells his listeners that when they lift the Son of Man up, they will know this is the truth about Jesus, that, as Jesus says later in John’s gospel, “The Father and I are One.” Being “lifted up” in today’s passage, of course, refers to Jesus’ being lifted up on the cross. Jesus is telling us that it is in his suffering that we will come to recognize his glory. Today’s gospel goes once again to the paradox of Christianity, that there is in suffering, the revelation of God’s glory. And what is true about Jesus, that God reveals Godself in suffering, is true also about us, who have been baptized into him. Our suffering is not empty: God sees it and fills it with God’s own infinite meaning.

Saint of the day: Saint Benjamin was a deacon martyred in about 424 in Persia. He was executed during a period of persecution of Christians that lasted forty years and through the reign of two Persian kings: Isdegerd I, who died in 421, and his son and successor, Varanes V. King Varanes carried on the persecution with such great fury, that Christians were submitted to the most cruel tortures.

Benjamin was imprisoned a year for his Christian Faith and later released with the condition that he abandon preaching or speaking of his religion. His release was obtained by the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius II through an ambassador. However, St. Benjamin declared that it was his duty to preach Christ and that he could not be silent. As a consequence, St. Benjamin was tortured mercilessly until his death in the year 424.

Spiritual reading: Do not seek the perfection of the law in human virtues, for it is not found perfect in them. Its perfection is hidden in the Cross of Christ. (St. Mark the Ascetic)

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