Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on January 14, 2012

Gospel reading of the day:

Mark 2:13-17

Jesus went out along the sea. All the crowd came to him and he taught them. As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed Jesus. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus heard this and said to them, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Tax collectors in the time and place that Jesus lived were Jews who worked indirectly for the Romans. The Romans did not directly collect taxes from people who lived in the occupied lands of their empire. Local leaders paid lump sums to the Romans and had the right to tax the people in their communities to redeem their payments. The system permitted profits, a circumstance that corrupted many individuals who took part in it. Perceived as people who violated the Law of Moses, tax collectors were social outcasts. The passage that we read today describes Jesus’ call of a tax collector, Levi, to follow him. The text demonstrates that Jesus did not allow the biases of people who surrounded him to influence his decisions about who would accompany him. Levi leaves everything in an instant to follow the Lord, and in a meal that celebrates his welcome among the Lord’s disciples, the Pharisees and scribes accuse Jesus of keeping poor company. The Lord, however, says that he has come, like a physician, to heal the sick. His rebuke is an implicit accusation against the Pharisees and the scribes of a legalism that works against mercy. Here, then, as over and over again throughout the scriptures, the Lord shows us a path around rigid adherence to law by walking the way of lavish love for one another. There is a bumper sticker that I’ve seen recently on a number of cars; it reads, “God bless everyone–no exceptions.” That bumper sticker nicely sums up this passage of the gospel.

Saint of the day: Blessed Alfonsa Clerici was born on February 14, 1860 in Milan, Italy. She was the oldest of ten children. Her parents were Angelo and Maria Romano Clerici. They were a poor family. Two of her brothers became monks and one sister joined the Sisters of the Precious Blood.

She received her master’s degree from the College of the Sisters of the Precious Blood in Monza, Italy. She taught college and during her time as a teacher, Alfonsa felt called to religious life, but she worked in order to support her family, so she continued to teach. She finally answered the Lord’s call on August 15, 1883 and joined the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood. While a religious, she continued to teach and was the director of the college in 1898.

She died on January 14, 1930 at 1:30pm in Vercelli, Italy of a cerebral hemorrhage suffered from the night before while in prayer. She was beatified on July 1, 2010.

Spiritual reading: You must be the change you wish to see in the world. (Mahatma Gandhi)

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