CACINA

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on August 27, 2012

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 23:13-22

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’ Blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’ You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it; one who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it; one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: It is easy, I think, to read the passage that the Church offers us today and see a condemnation of the Scribes and Pharisees, but it is not these groups whom the Lord condemns but an attitude and a way of thinking. Our Lord’s detestation of falseness and his abhorrence of hypocrisy are apparent in this text. Jesus condemns a way of thinking that corrupts the true spirit of religion, a way of thinking that makes religion a ridiculously hard riddle which is impossible to live and inhumane to enforce. For Jesus, true religion is a matter of the heart flowing out through our lives and actions into the world; it is a continuous outpouring where our insides and outsides match each other. It is a matter of love at the root of our being for the needy and an absolute availability in the world for the emptiness of others.

Saint of the day: In 331 or 332 Monica was born at Tagaste, in what is modern day Algeria, into a dedicated Christian family of good social standing. As a young woman, she married Patritius, a non-Christian, who was a modest landowner and a city counselor in Tagaste. Monica sought to live her ideal of a Christian wife and mother with courage of soul, warmth of faith, strength of hope, keenness of intellect, st-monicaconstancy of prayer and meditation on the Holy Scripture, together with a sensible approach to the ups and downs of family life. She succeeded in bringing about the conversion to Christ of both her husband and Augustine, “the son of so many tears,” at whose baptism she was present with a heart brimful of joy. On her way back to Africa with Augustine and his friends, she died at Ostia on the Tiber outside Rome some time in the month of October 385. She was 55-years-old. It was about two weeks before her death that mother and son experienced the rapture of the “ecstasy of Ostia,” in which “for one brief moment, with a sweep of their hearts, they reached up to Wisdom, the Maker of all things, and left with him the first fruits of their spirits.” In the 12th century, her liturgical celebration was fixed for May 4, kept by the Augustinians until 1998. The Universal Church, however, keeps her feast on August 27, the day before her son’s feast day. St. Monica’s remains are venerated in the church of St. Augustine, Rome.

Spiritual reading: Then I head the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” “Here I am,” I said, “Send me!” (Isaiah the Prophet)

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