CACINA

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on April 26, 2010

Gospel reading of the day:

John 10:1-10

Jesus said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” Although Jesus used this figure of speech, they did not realize what he was trying to tell them.

So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Jesus taught in metaphor and allegory. He used the images and experiences that were accessible to the people with whom he spoke to make points about God, about himself, and about the relationship of people to God and himself. There is much I could write about the points that Jesus makes in this passage about his connection to us, but I would like to make a slightly different point that is implicit in how Jesus taught. The evidence of God’s relationship to us is all around us. It is so woven into the fabric of all the aspects of our lives that all the common things that furnish the ordinariness of our existence tells us something about the deep down things that constitute the presence of God in our lives. We only have to stop, look, and think, and we shall find God there, telling us things that we perhaps take for granted but things which are attention-grabbing and awe-inspiring when we consider them in the brightest light of our consciousness.

Saint of the day: Central America claimed its first saint with the canonization of Pedro de Betancur by John Paul II in Guatemala City. Known as the “St. Francis of the Americas,” Pedro de Betancur is the first saint to have worked and died in Guatemala.

Born in 1626, Pedro very much wanted to become a priest, but God had other plans for the young man born into a poor family on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Pedro was a shepherd until age 24, when he began to make his way to Guatemala, hoping to connect with a relative engaged in government service there. By the time he reached Havana, he was out of money. After working there to earn more, he got to Guatemala City the following year. When he arrived he was so destitute that he joined the bread line which the Franciscans had established.

Soon, Pedro enrolled in the local Jesuit college in hopes of studying for the priesthood. No matter how hard he tried, however, he could not master the material; he withdrew from school. In 1655 he joined the Secular Franciscan Order. Three years later he opened a hospital for the convalescent poor; a shelter for the homeless and a school for the poor soon followed. Not wanting to neglect the rich of Guatemala City, Pedro began walking through their part of town ringing a bell and inviting them to repent. Pedro died in 1667.

Other men came to share in Pedro’s work. Out of this group came the Bethlehemite Congregation, which won papal approval after Pedro’s death. A Bethlehemite sisters’ community, similarly founded after Pedro’s death, was inspired by his life of prayer and compassion.

He is sometimes credited with originating the Christmas Eve posadas procession in which people representing Mary and Joseph seek a night’s lodging from their neighbors. The custom soon spread to Mexico and other Central American countries.

Spiritual reading: We can do no great things, only small things with great love. (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta)

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