CACINA

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on August 21, 2010

439px-Meister_Francke_004Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 23:1-12

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’ As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: None among us is perfect, and all of us fail in some way or other. Jesus in today’s gospel reflects on some of the brokenness he observed in the human condition. For instance, there are among us people who are powerful and lay down rules that they enforce on people who are less powerful; even so, these same powerful people do not follow the rules they want others to follow: that is, they are hypocrites. There are people who make great shows about why they are special, but their outward signs of respectability do not match their interior realities: that is, they are inauthentic. There are people who want to occupy privileged places of honor and be held in special esteem: that is, they are haughty. Our Lord disliked all of it: phoniness, guile, conceit. Instead, he called us to humility: a willingness to be counted as of little consequence, a deep honesty about all that is good and bad about ourselves, and a sense of right proportion about our place among the hosts of people who surround us and of whom God is especially fond.

Saint_Abraham_of_SmolenskSaint of the day: Born in the 12th century, Abraham of Smolensk was a biblical scholar and monk who endured many trials in his lifetime. A member of a wealthy family in Smolensk, Russia, Abraham was orphaned while young and gave away his inheritance to become a monk. He entered the Bogoroditskaya Monastery and developed a genuine apostolate for the sick and poor of the region. A biblical scholar who lived austerely and preached on the Last Judgement, Abraham made many enemies in his religious community, and he eventually withdrew from his monastery and joined the monks of the Holy Cross. He was not well received there either, and charges of heresy, immorality, and pride were leveled against him. After separate trials cleared him of these charges, Abraham was ordered back to Bogoroditskaya Monastery and was denied his priestly functions by Ignatius, bishop of Smolensk. However, when the city faced a terrible drought, the citizens of Smolensk demanded that Abraham be restored. This clamor for reinstatement led to a second investigation, one that cleared his name. Bishop Ignatius apologized to the saint for his treatment. Abraham became the abbot of the Mother of God Monastery where he received people and was revered for his courage and humility. He remained in the Mother of God Monastery until his death of natural causes in about 1222.

fireSpiritual reading: Stay gentle, that I may take my delight in you, Lord. Satisfy me, who am yours. Do not burn me up, O Savior, for you are fire by nature, but, by your will, you are the body which you became. Accept me, my Savior. You I touch, saying, “You are our Lord and our God.” (On the Life of Christ by Saint Romanos the Melodist)

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