CACINA

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in Christianity by Mike on May 2, 2009

Gospel reading of the day:

John 6:60-69

Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”

As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer walked with him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Peter asks the Lord, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” It is this experience that we who are Christian know in the depths of our hearts, that Christ is our perfect model, and there is no other, none beside him. May the mystery of him always deepen our hearts as we probe the unbounded depths of him.

Saint of the day: Athanasius, the great champion of the Faith, was born of Christian parents at Alexandria in about the year 296. Educated under the eye of Alexander, later Bishop of his native city, he made great progress in learning and virtue. In 313, Alexander succeeded Achillas in the Patriarchal See, and two years later, Athanasius went to the desert to spend some time in retreat with St. Anthony.

In 319, he became a deacon, and even in this capacity he was called upon to take an active part against the rising heresy of Arius, an ambitious priest of the Alexandrian Church who denied the divinity of Christ. This was to be the life struggle of Athanasius.

In 325, he assisted his Bishop at the Council of Nicaea, where his influence began to be felt. Five months later, Alexander died. On his death bed, he recommended Athanasius as his successor. In consequence of this, Athanasius was unanimously elected Patriarch in 326.

His refusal to tolerate the Arian heresy was the cause of many trials and persecutions for Athanasius. He spent seventeen of the forty-six years of his episcopate in exile. After a life of virtue and suffering, this intrepid champion of the Catholic Faith, the greatest man of his time, died in peace on May 2, 373. Athanasius is a Doctor of the Church.

Spiritual reading: We pay more attention to dying than to death. We’re more concerned to get over the act of dying than to overcome death. Socrates mastered the art of dying; Christ overcame death as the last enemy. There is a real difference between the two things; the one is within the scope of human possibilities, the other means resurrection.

It’s not from ars moriendi, the art of dying, but from the resurrection of Christ, that a new and purifying wind can blow through our present world. Here is the answer to Archimedes’ challenge: ‘Give me somewhere to stand, and I will move the earth.’ If only a few people really believed that and acted on it in their daily lives, a great deal would be changed. To live in the light of resurrection – that is what Easter means.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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