Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on February 22, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 5:20-26

Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

woman-caught-in-adultery1“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

about-the-bible2Reflection on the gospel reading: Jesus reminds us that we need to reflect continuously on the question of forgiveness as we walk the spiritual path. In today’s gospel, Jesus insists that we forgive, and later in Matthew, he implies we must forgive an unlimited number of times. In the Beatitudes, Jesus says the Father’s gift to us when we are merciful is mercy, and in the Lord’s prayer, the petition to forgive is linked with a petition for the ability to forgive.

We live in a world where unhinged young people are capable of murdering first graders, where war and the rumor of war is relentless, where the threat of terror always lies around the corner in many places on the earth. Sometimes, our relationships with associates, friends, and even family break down in ways which seem irreconcilable. Yet we cannot withhold forgiveness to anyone, no matter how great their crimes or devastating their slights–at least we cannot withhold forgiveness if we believe what Jesus taught. As his disciples, we are to always work to reconcile with one another, abandon obstacles to unity, and open our hearts to one another.

Saint of the day: Blessed Émilie d’Oultremont van der Linden d’Hooghvorst was born in 1818 in Wegimont, Lieges to a deeply religious noble family. From childhood the sacramental life, especially the Eucharist, was important to her, and she had a special devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to Mary. In 1837 Emilieshe married Victor van der Linden, Baron d’Hooghvorst, and they had four children. She looked to the Jesuit Fathers for spiritual guidance, especially during the long illness of her husband, who died in 1847. With great fortitude she lived through this trial and consecrated herself to God with the vow of chastity.

She chose the religious life despite her family’s opposition. In 1885 she was joined by some young women, but it was not until 1887, that the Congregation of Mary Reparatrix was officially founded, in Strasbourg. A year later they made their first vows. Mother Mary of Jesus rejoiced when her own two daughters entered the congregation (although she was later to be criticized for having influenced them). After their deaths, she devoted herself tirelessly to her mission. As her community’s model and inspiration, she proposed Mary as mother associated with the person and saving work of her Son. She sought to teach others about the name of Jesus, his mercy and love, and this inspiration moved her to courageous decisions.

In 1859 she responded to a call from the Jesuit Fathers in Madras, India. Other foundations followed in India and in the islands of Mauritius and La Reunion. In Europe she opened houses in France, Belgium, England, Italy, Ireland, and Spain. In Mother Mary’s last years, she experienced deaths in the family, worries about her sons, difficulties and separations within the institute, and spiritual trials where she felt God had abandoned her. Her health deteriorated, and she died on February 22, 1878 at the home of her son, Adrien, in Florence. She was beatified in 1997.

Spiritual reading: People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway. (Mother Teresa)

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