Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on September 10, 2011

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 6:43-49

Jesus said to his disciples: “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thornbushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles. A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built. But the one who listens and does not act is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: We come to the end of Luke’s account of Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain. In today’s gospel passage, Jesus speaks to the dispositions that make a good disciple. Jesus calls for authenticity, that is, that our virtuous exteriors reflect good and gentle interiors. Jesus certainly asks of us faith (“Lord, Lord”), but if faith does not produce good deeds, it is just, as Paul tells us in First Corinthians, a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. Jesus desires that we be steadfast and singlehearted like a house built against the day of ruin. Authenticity, faith, good works, and perseverance then are the roots of discipleship, and to these ends, let us aspire.

Saint of the day: Nicholas of Tolentino’s middle-aged parents, Compagnonus de Guarutti and Amata de Guidiani, were childless until a prayerful visit to a shrine of the original Saint Nicholas at Bari, Italy. In gratitude, they named their son Nicholas. Nicholas was born 1245.

He became an Augustinian friar at age 18 and studied under Blessed Angelus de Scarpetti. He was a monk at Recanati and Macerata and saint-nicholas-of-tolentino-04was ordained at age 25. A canon of Saint Saviour’s, Nicholas had visions of angels reciting to the city of Tolentino; he took this as a sign to move to that city in 1274, where he lived the rest of his life.

He worked as a peacemaker in a city torn by civil war. He preached every day, worked wonders, and visited prisoners. He always told those he helped, “Say nothing of this.” He received visions, including images of Purgatory, which friends ascribed to his lengthy fasts. He had a great devotion to the recently dead, praying for the souls in Purgatory as he traveled around his parish, often late into the night.

Once, when severely ill, he had a vision of Mary, Augustine, and Monica. They told him to eat a certain type of roll that had been dipped in water. Cured, he began healing others by administering bread over which he recited Marian prayers. The rolls became known as Saint Nicholas Bread, and are still distributed at his shrine.

One account suggest Nicholas resurrected over one hundred dead children, including several who had drowned together. Legend says that the devil once beat Nicholas with a stick; the stick was displayed for years in the his church. A vegetarian, Nicholas was once served a roasted fowl; he made the sign of the cross over it, and it flew out a window. Nine passengers on ship going down at sea once asked Nicholas’ aid; he appeared in the sky, wearing the black Augustinian habit, radiating golden light, holding a lily in his left hand; with his right hand he quelled the storm. An apparition of the saint once saved the burning palace of the Doge of Venice by throwing a piece of blessed bread on the flames. He died September 10, 1305 at Tolentino, Italy following a long illness.

Spiritual reading: The Holy Spirit makes Christ present as the pivotal point of all our relationships. They become “celebrations” of the reality of Christ. Our friendships become a celebration of the evidence that the ultimate reality that constitutes our happiness exists, that it has become human flesh, that it is Jesus Christ, the event of Christ . . . . True friendship is expressed in the way friends help each other to celebrate the presence of Christ and accept the condition that makes it operate in us, the path of sacrificial love. There is no other way. We cannot do it alone. (Lorenzo Albacete)

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