Carry the gospel with you
Gospel reading of the day:
After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon. Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her. He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them.
At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them. And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ.
At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place. The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Reflection on the gospel reading: When Jesus left the synagogue in Capernaum, he went to the house of Simon, whom Jesus called Peter. Peter’s mother-in-law was ill, and Jesus’ disciples asked the Master to heal her. He did so, and Peter’s mother-in-law immediately arose in good health to serve the community assembled there. There are two important lessons here. First, Peter’s mother-in-law served the household in which the Lord was present not because she was a woman but because she was a human being in a group of people who followed the Lord. Second, we tend to think of the restoration of health as a blessing for the individual, but it is in reality a blessing for the whole community, because when an individual is made whole again by God, God gives that individual the capacity to serve the community. We are made for the Lord, and this includes our health, so as long as we live and breathe, we are the Lord’s for his work.
Saint of the day: Raymond Nonnatus, born in 1204, was a saint from Catalonia in Spain. His surname (Latin: Nonnatus, “not born”) refers to his birth by Caesarean section: Raymond’s mother died during childbirth. He is the patron saint of childbirth, midwives, children, pregnant women and priests who want to protect the secrecy of confession. He became a member of the Mercedarian Order, founded to ransom Christian captives of the Moors of North Africa. He was ordained priest in 1222 and later became master-general of the order. He traveled to North Africa and is said to have surrendered himself as a hostage when his money ran out. He suffered in captivity. A legend states that the Moors bored a hole through his lips with a hot iron, and padlocked his mouth to prevent him from preaching. He was ransomed by his order and in 1239 returned to Spain. He died at Cardona, sixty miles from Barcelona, either on August 26 or on August 31, 1240. Many miracles were attributed to him before and after his death.
Spiritual reading: Gradually too, I learned to purify my prayer and remove from it all the elements of self-seeking. I learned to pray for my interrogators, not so they would see things my way or come to the truth so that my ordeal would end, but because they, too, were children of God and human beings in need of his blessing and his daily grace. I learned to stop asking for more bread for myself, and instead to offer up all my sufferings, the pains of hunger that I felt, for the many others in the world and in Russia at that time who were enduring similar agony and even greater suffering. I tried very hard not to worry about what tomorrow would bring, what I should eat or what I should wear, but rather to seek the kingdom of God and his justice, his will for me and for all mankind. (Walter Ciszek, S.J. who spent 15 years in a Soviet prison for doing missionary work.)