CACINA

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on June 22, 2012

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 6:19-23

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

“The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Jesus today invites us to take a long loving look at the real. He calls us to reflect on how we see life and whether our perspectives match the deep down things which are the really true. Jesus in this passage is telling us that our core perspectives about reality will guide the ways we live our lives.

The world believes money can solve any problem, even though the evidence is plain that it cannot–it believed it in Jesus’ time, and it believes it now, despite evidence then and now it simply isn’t true. In the first part of the passage, Jesus asks us to let something other than worldly security shape our inner landscape.

In the second part of the passage, Jesus is saying that what we value will determine how we see things. Our principles, values, and beliefs are the lens through which we see the world. We then find the evidence and examples to prove our point of view. People who cannot see beyond money, status, power, or fame truly exist in darkness, because this vision creates the way they relate to other human beings and material things. It is about looking good at all costs and creating an illusion that they have power over people and events.

The poet Mary Oliver asks a question which is relevant to today’s gospel passage. That question is, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Are we going to spend it trying to look like we have it together, creating the illusion that we’re in control? Or are we going to be like Jesus, who lived on the margins, lived for others, tore down idols, and risked being misunderstood, rejected, and broken to reveal the truth about who he really is–and who you and I really are.

Saint of the day: Today’s saints are among the first martyrs of the English Reformation in the 16th century. They were different in background and temperament but united in choosing God’s values over worldly temptations.

John Fisher came from humble circumstances, but was naturally gifted. He rose steadily to become chancellor of the University of Cambridge, a post he held until his death. He was also named Bishop of Rochester by King Henry VIII, a post he accepted with reluctance because he was uncomfortable with power.

When the new theories of Luther swept Europe and England, Fisher preached vigorously against them in the churches and the university. He wrote four volumes of refutations against the German monk, and even influenced the king, who wrote a small treatise in defense of the faith. However Fisher’s friendship with King Henry foundered on the issue of the king’s marriage. The king wanted it dissolved. Bishop John upheld the sanctity of marriage and the supremacy of the Pope and contested the king’s views in Parliament and in the university. The king had him imprisoned and later put to death.

Thomas More was a lawyer by training and a scholar by temperament. His rise to public life was rapid: first as under-sheriff of London, then as a member of the king’s privy council, and finally at the age of 50, as Lord Chancellor of England.

Thomas was an accomplished writer. His book Utopia, on an imaginary country where everything works well, made him the friend of many learned people, among whom was the scholar Erasmus who called him, “a man for all seasons.” The king, Henry VIII, was a personal friend.

Nevertheless this personal friendship dissolved into hostility when the king could not get what he wished: an annulment from the Pope from his marriage, in order to marry the younger woman his heart desired. Henry declared himself head of the Church in England and demanded that all loyal subjects take an oath of allegiance to him. Thomas refused, was imprisoned, and later executed.

Both John Fisher and Thomas More were among the highest placed in the land. Yet on a matter of principle, they chose their conscience over the demands of their sovereign. Their example encourages us to choose God’s ways even at the cost of life itself.

Spiritual reading: David wasn’t thinking of being king when he was tending sheep; he was just doing what God sat before him. (John Fisher)

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