Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 30, 2012

Gospel reading of the day:

John 10:31-42

The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, You are gods”‘? If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came, and Scripture cannot be set aside, can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Then they tried again to arrest him; but he escaped from their power.

He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained. Many came to him and said, “John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true.” And many there began to believe in him.

Reflection on the gospel reading: In today’s reading, we have a contrast between those who refuse to recognize the power of God that works in Jesus and those who understand that something unprecedented indeed is at work in the man. The ones who are privileged in their social context refuse to look beyond their narrow categories to see the signs that God gives, but the ones who enjoy less privilege, the ones who live beyond the Jordan, do not have rigid categories that attempt to put God in a box. This latter group consults its experiences and says, “Something is true here that was not true elsewhere.” It is these ones who have the freedom to believe in Jesus.

Saint of the day: Maria Restituta was born on May 1, 1894 in Husovice, Austria-Hungary (present-day Czech Republic). She grew up to become a nun and a nurse. Her birth name was Helen Kafka. She was a shoemaker’s daughter.

When she was two years old, she came with her family to Vienna, then the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s capital, and home to a Czech migrant community, among whom she grew up. She first worked as an assistant caregiver at the Lainz public hospital. At 19, she joined the “Hartmann Sisters.” It was at this time that she adopted the name Maria Restituta, naming herself after Restituta, a 4th-century Christian martyr. After the First World War, she began working as a nurse at the Mödling hospital, eventually becoming the leading surgical nurse.

Even the Mödling hospital was not spared the effects of Anschluss in 1938. Sister Restituta, however, insisted on refusing to take down crucifixes which she had hung up in a new wing that had been built onto the hospital. This little act of defiance along with two of her writings that were critical of the regime led to her doom. She was denounced by a doctor who fanatically supported the Nazis and was arrested on Ash Wednesday in 1942 by the Gestapo right after coming out of the operating theater. On October 29, 1942 she was sentenced to death by the guillotine by the Volksgerichtshof for “favoring the enemy and conspiracy to commit high treason.” She was beheaded on March 30, 1943 at 48-years-old.

Spiritual reading: Only in love can I find You, my God. In love the gates of my soul spring open, allowing me to breath a new air of freedom and forget my own petty self. In love my whole being streams forth out of the rigid confines of narrowness and anxious self-assertion, which make me a prisoner of my own poverty and emptiness. In love all the powers of my soul flow out toward You, wanting never more to return, but to lose themselves completely in You, since by Your love You are the inmost center of my heart, closer to me than I am to myself. (Karl Rahner)

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