Carry the gospel with you
Gospel reading of the day:
Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” He said to them in reply, “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet.
Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here. At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.”
Reflection on the gospel reading: The scribes and pharisees come to Jesus to ask him for a sign. Of course, Jesus has been giving signs since the start of his ministry, and the people who followed him understood something new and amazing was here. When they asked him to heal them, they approached him with faith, not asking for a proof but an intervention. These scribes and pharisees approach him in doubt, demanding evidence and not pleading for transformation. Jesus, in reply, says that they will receive no sign but the sign of Jonah, Jonah who spent three days in the belly of a whale. Jesus uses Jonah’s experience as an allegory of his own burial in the tomb and his resurrection on the third day. In other words, the sign that these pharisees and scribes will receive is Jesus’ resurrection. And this is the sign that comes down to us and founds our faith, for blessed are we who have not seen but still believe.
Saint of the day: Camillus de Lellis was born at Bucchianico (now in Abruzzo, then part of the Kingdom of Naples). His mother died while he was still a child and his father was an officer in both the Neapolitan and French royal armies. As a consequence Camillus grew up neglected. Camillus joined the Venetian army while still only a youth. After his regiment was disbanded in 1574 Camillus worked in a hospital for incurables; however, his aggressive nature and excessive gambling led to his dismissal. He later rejoined the Venetian army and fought in a war against the Turks. After the war he returned to the hospital in Rome from which he had been dismissed; he became a nurse and later director of the hospital.
Camillus established the Order of Clerks Regular Ministers to the Sick, better known as Camillians. His experience in wars led him to establish a group of health care workers who would assist soldiers on the battlefield. The red cross on their cassock remains a symbol of the order today. Members also devoted themselves to the plague-stricken. Camillus was so distressed at how hopeless plague cases were treated during his time that he formed the “Brothers of the Happy Death,” for plague victims. It was for the efforts of the Brothers and his alleged supernatural healings that the people of Rome credited Camillus with ridding the city of a certain plague and, for a time, Camillus became known as the “Patron Saint of Rome”.
In 1594 Camillus also led his friars to Milan where they attended to the sick of the Ca’ Granda, the main hospital of the city. A memorial tablet in the main courtyard of the Ca’ Granda commemorates his presence there.
Throughout his life Camillus’ ailments caused him suffering, but he allowed no one to wait on him and would crawl to visit the sick when unable to stand and walk. It is said that Camillus possessed the gifts of healing and prophecy. He died in Rome in 1614 and was canonized in 1746.
Popularly, Camillus is the patron saint of nurses, and against gambling. His mortal remains are located in the altar in the Church of Mary Magdalene, Rome, Italy, along with several of his relics. Also on display is the cross which allegedly spoke to Camillus, and asked him, “Why are you afraid? Do you not realize that this is not your work but mine?” which has become the motto associated with St. Camillus, as well as healthcare workers who were inspired by him.
Spiritual reading: Think well. Speak well. Do well. These three things, through the mercy of God, will make a person go to Heaven. (Camillus de Lellis)