CACINA

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on January 12, 2012

Gospel reading of the day:

Mark 1:40-45

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

Reflection on the gospel: In the culture that Jesus occupied, leprosy was a fearful thing for both an individual and the individual’s community. The law of Moses demanded that the individual move out of normal society and proscribed contacts by unaffected persons with the affected person.

Yet in today’s gospel, Jesus touches the leper, an action that in the law of his people, made him unclean. Jesus touches the leper not merely as an action of healing but as an action of compassion: Mark tells us Jesus was “moved with pity.”

Who are the lepers in our own age? Who are we prescribed from touching? I think if we probe our memories and emotions, we will find various classes of people we consider untouchable. Perhaps they are homeless people whose clothes smell of urine. Perhaps they are people with HIV. Perhaps they are persons who occupy a particular rung in the ladder of social classes. Perhaps they are gay men or lesbians. Perhaps they are members of other groups of minority persons, defined racially or ethnically.

Whoever they are, whatever repels us about them, if we are to imitate Christ, we are to seek them out and touch them. Touch them, yes, metaphorically, but even touch them, yes, if it is appropriate, physically. It is in human touch that we manifest many forms of compassion, and if the metaphorical dimensions of touch are included, it is in human touch that we manifest every form of compassion.

Our journey to be like Jesus is to move beyond the confines of our proscriptions about who is touchable and who is untouchable to embrace every person with compassion and acceptance. Our journey to be like Jesus is to touch the leper God places today in our path.

Saint of the day: Born in April 1620 at Troyes, France, Marguerite Bourgeoys was the sixth of twelve children of devout parents. When Marguerite was 19, her mother died, and the young lady cared for her younger brothers and sisters; her father died when she was twenty-seven. The family raised, Marguerite prayed to know what to do with her life. The governor of Montreal, Canada, was in France looking for teachers for the New World. He invited Marguerite to come to Montreal to teach school and religion classes. She said yes and spent the rest of her life in North America.

Marguerite gave away her share of her parents’ inheritance to other members of the family, and in 1653 sailed for Canada. She began construction of a chapel to honor Our Lady of Good Help and opened her first school in 1658. She returned to France in 1659 to recruit more teachers and brought back four. A year later in 1670, she went to France again, and brought back six more. These brave women became the first sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame.

Marguerite and her sisters helped people in the colony survive when food was scarce, opened a vocational school, taught young people how to run a home and farm. Marguerite’s congregation grew to 18 sisters, seven of them Canadian. They opened missions, and two sisters taught at the Native American mission. Marguerite received the first two Native American women into the congregation.

In 1693, Mother Marguerite handed over her congregation to her successor, Marie Barbier, the first Canadian to join the order. Marguerite’s religious rule was approved in 1698, and Marguerite spent her last few years praying and writing an autobiography. On the last day of 1699, a young sister lay dying. Mother Marguerite asked the Lord to take her life in exchange. By the morning of January 1, 1700, the sister was completely well, Mother Marguerite had a raging fever, suffered 12 days, and died on January 12, 1700.

Spiritual reading: The times are difficult. They call for courage and faith. Faith is in the end a lonely virtue. (Thomas Merton)

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: