Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on January 7, 2012

Gospel reading of the day:

John 2:1-11

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from — although the servers who had drawn the water knew —, the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.

Reflection on the gospel reading: In these days, the Church reminds us how God reveals Godself to us: we just celebrated the birth of the babe; tomorrow, the Church in America celebrates the coming of the wise men; and on Monday, we will consider the revelation of God’s presence in Jesus at his baptism. Today, we reflect on God’s glory revealed in the events at the wedding feast in Cana.

Over and again throughout the gospels, we receive intimations of how generous God is. In the parable of the Sower of the Seeds, the seed that falls on the good ground leads to an incredible harvest that yields far more than anything even modern agricultural methods could produce. In the miracle of the feeding of the multitudes, Jesus takes just a few loaves of bread and several fishes, and the disciples after the meal, when they collect the scraps, fill many baskets with the remains of the meal. Here, in the first sign given in John’s gospel, Jesus turns six vessels of water, each containing between 20 and 30 gallons, into wine, providing the wedding with a bounty hardly to be matched by the wealthy little lone a wedding in a small village. When God manifests God’s glory, God creates lavish displays of God’s generosity.

Saint of the day: Angela of Foligno was born around 1248 into a wealthy family in the city of Foligno, Italy (near Assisi). She married at an early age and had a family. Traditional accounts state that she lived “wildly, adulterously, and sacrilegiously” in her early years. However, Angela’s lifestyle abruptly changed around 1285. She prayed to Saint Francis of Assisi, who then appeared to her in a dream and offered to help. The deaths of her family happened suddenly c. 1288.

Some time after her conversion Angela had placed herself under the direction of a Franciscan friar named Arnoldo, who would serve as her confessor. It was to Arnoldo that Angela dictated the account of her conversion, known as the Memoriale, taking dictation in her Umbrian dialect. This work, written in Latin, was complete by 1298; it has come to us as the Book of Visions and Instructions. Further, it was under Arnoldo’s instruction that Angela joined the Third Order of St. Francis. For a time she had stigmata wounds on her body, and during this period she ate very little food.

In the course of time, the fame of her sanctity gathered around her a number of other tertiaries, both men and women, who strove under her direction to advance in holiness. Later she established at Foligno a community of Sisters who added to the Rule of the Third Order a commitment to a common life without, however, binding themselves to enclosure, so that they might devote their time to works of charity.

Angela died surrounded by her community of disciples. Her remains have never deteriorated; they lie in the church of St. Francis at Foligno. Many people attributed miracles to her, which were accomplished at her tomb. Angela’s authority as a spiritual teacher may be gathered from the fact that Bollandus, among other testimonials, quotes Maximilian Sandaeus, of the Society of Jesus, as calling her the Mistress of Theologians.

Spiritual reading: God is a fire that warms and kindles the heart and inward parts. Hence, if we feel in our hearts the cold which comes from the devil – for the devil is cold – let us call on the Lord. He will come to warm our hearts with perfect love, not only for Him but also for our neighbor, and the cold of him who hates the good will flee before the heat of His countenance. (St. Seraphim of Sarov)

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