Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 23, 2013

pantokrator1Gospel reading of the day:

John 11:45-56

Many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, “What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs. If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish.” He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on they planned to kill him.

So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews, but he left for the region near the desert, to a town called Ephraim, and there he remained with his disciples. Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before Passover to purify themselves. They looked for Jesus and said to one another as they were in the temple area, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?”

tabernacleReflection on the gospel reading: Today’s gospel reading follows immediately upon the raising of Lazarus in Bethany, a short walk from Jerusalem, and it prepares us to enter into the mysteries of Holy Week. News of what Jesus has done is traveling fast, and many believe in him as the result of the signs he works.

Today’s gospel is full of ironic statements where the actors say something at a basic level that is filled with a deeper meaning. Rather than dare to dream that something wonderful is happening here, the Sanhedrin meets to raise the complaint, “What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs. If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation.” The irony, of course, is that everything that frightened them actually did occur within just a few decades. Caiaphas, the high priest, plots Jesus’ death saying that it is better that one man should die than let the nation perish, but the evangelist is aware that Caiaphas’ banal statement has a much deeper meaning, that Jesus dies for his people and in a still deeper way, Jesus dies for all people everywhere in all time.

Jesus senses the depth of the threat that faces him, so he goes away to a remote place to remain secure until the hour is ready. The picture of the arid land fixed in today’s gospel reflection is in the area where our Lord went to await his hour. The scene now is set to enter into Holy Week.

Saint of the day: Pauline Vanier was born Pauline Archer in Montreal on March 28, 1898 and married Georges Vanier on September 29, 1921. Georges would become one of Canada’s first professional diplomats, Canada’s first ambassador to France, and Canada’s first Canadian-born French-speaking Governor General of Canada from 1959 until his death in March 1967.

The Vaniers lived in France prior to World War II. During the war, Pauline and her children fled Paris as the Nazis overran French defenses. After a harrowing retreat to Bordeaux and a water crossing to Britain, she eventually endured the 30-day blitzkrieg bombing of London. When U.S. troops liberated Paris, she and her husband, who was now ambassador to France, returned to the city. During Word War II, Pauline and her husband began attending Mass and Pauline Vanier, C.C., 1988receiving Communion daily and mediating every day. Pauline went to a Carmelite monastery each week to pray and recharge her spiritual life.

With her extensive diplomatic experience, Pauline filled the role of vice-regal consort with as much distinction as her husband filled his. Georges and Pauline Vanier created the Vanier Institute of the Family in 1965. She worked on behalf of the sick, poor, and imprisoned for the rest of her life. Pauline was the first non-political woman to be appointed to the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada. She was sworn in on April 11, 1967 as a sign of honor from Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson. In July that same year she was made one of the first Companions of the Order of Canada for her humanitarian work. She was appointed the Chancellor of the University of Ottawa in 1966.

The couple had five children; her son Jean Vanier founded L’Arche, a worldwide movement to provide dignified lives to people with cognitive handicaps. She resigned as university chancellor in 1972 to join Jean in his work with L’Arche. She separated herself from all worldly attachments and became the live-in grandmother-figure for a L’Arche community near Paris. She died on March 23, 1991. The Diocese of Ottawa is investigating Pauline and her husband Georges in an effort to move their causes for sainthood forward.

Spiritual reading: I ought to die of shame to think I have not already died of gratitude to my good God. (Julie Billiart)

Carry the gospel with you

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

religious-clipart-easter-free-i7Gospel 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: We have an expression in English that the proof is in the pudding. We can tell whether something is the real deal by examining it. This theme of trusting what we perceive arises several times in the gospels. In the Sermon on the Mount, for instance, Jesus tells us that we will know a tree by the fruit it bears. Later in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus asks people to believe his good works are from the Father and not Satan because a house divided against itself cannot stand–Satan cannot destroy by healing. The gospel passage we read today continues this message. If people do not want to believe what Jesus says, look at what he does. It is the goodness of his actions which demonstrate from whom he comes. Some people in this passage fail to recognize who Jesus is, because he does not fit their categories, but other ones, people from “across the Jordan,” do not have boxes to contain God, and it is they, the ones who are open to God’s surprising manifestations, who are free to recognize Jesus for who he is. We are called to an openness to the God of surprises who will prove God’s presence in ways we cannot anticipate.

Saint of the day: Blessed Clemens August Graf von Galen, was born on March 16, 1878 in Dinklage, Oldenburg, Germany. A Roman Catholic bishop of Münster, Germany noted for his public opposition to Nazism, Galen was ordained in 1904 in Münster, where, as a priest at St. Lambert’s, he published his Die Pest des Laizismus und ihre Erscheinungsformen (1932; “The Plague of Laicism and Its Manifestations”), deploring what he deemed the godlessness of post-World War I Germany. He was made bishop of Münster in 1933. At first, Galen hoped that the Nazis would restore Germany to the position of respect that it lost in World War I. But, disenchanted with the anti-Catholic propaganda and racism of Adolf Hitler’s regime, Galen soon became a powerful critic of the Nazis.

vitaHis opposition to the Nazis, particularly their racism and totalitarianism, began on Easter 1934 and continued unabated. He frequently complained directly to Hitler when he felt the German dictator had violated the concordat he had signed in 1933 with the Vatican. When in November 1936 the Oldenburg Nazis removed all crucifixes from the schools, Galen’s protest sparked a public demonstration, and the order was canceled. In July and August 1941, Galen preached against the general lawlessness of the Gestapo, the confiscation of religious property, and the T4 Program instituted by Hitler in 1939: a program involving the systematic murder of more than 70,000 sick, elderly, mentally retarded, physically infirm, emotionally distraught, and disabled Germans, who were an embarrassment to the myth of Aryan supremacy. In part because of Galen’s public protest, this program was formally halted, though it continued clandestinely.

Documents discovered later showed that the Nazis were close to a decision to hang Galen but decided to wait until they achieved a victory in World War II. Galen was named a cardinal on Feb. 18, 1946. He died March 22, 1946 in Münster, West Germany. On October 9, 2005, he was beatified by the church, in large part because of his role in opposing the T4 Program.

Spiritual reading: We plant seeds that will flower as results in our lives, so best to remove the weeds of anger, avarice, envy and doubt, that peace and abundance may manifest for all. (Dorothy Day)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 21, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

John 8:51-59

Jesus said to the Jews: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” So the Jews said to him, “Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, “If I jesus_images2-694x497glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing; but it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ You do not know him, but I know him. And if I should say that I do not know him, I would be like you a liar. But I do know him and I keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.

Reflection on the gospel reading: It is easy for us to become lost in the immensity of Jesus’ great “I AM”: the proclamation of his divinity. It is dizzying to reflect that the immensity of God has become the smallness of human in Jesus. The thrill of Jesus as God can so overpower us that we do not remember the ordinariness of Jesus’ humanity. Over and over again throughout the gospels, Jesus reminds us that he is like us: that he is one of us. Like the people who speak to Jesus in today’s gospel, we have a hard time keeping humanity and divinity together in Jesus, which Fr. Richard Rohr says is the reason “why we were unable to put it together in ourselves.” Jesus is not an either-or proposition–either he’s human or he’s divine: Jesus is the proof of the Christian claim that God and humanity can occupy one and the same ground all at once, and Jesus is God’s invitation to reconcile in ourselves what is human and what is divine.

Saint of the day: Rodolfo Aguilar Alvarez was born in Mexico City on Sunday Novmber 28, 1948. Rodolfo entered the Seminary of Chihuahua on September 28, 1961. He was ordained on September 16, 1974 at the Cathedral of Chihuahua. Two weeks after his ordination, Fr. Aguilar’s bishop sent him to a suburb of Chihauhau called Nombre de Dios to serve in a parish there. In el chapoNombre de Dios, Fr. Aguilar distinguished himself through his service of the marginalized. Affectionately called, “el Chapo” (“shorty”), he walked through the neighborhood of his parish to develop a pastoral plan. He organized the Committee for Human Rights of the People of Chihuahua and encouraged his people to march on the government to secure land owned by a wealthy landowner to build a community to support their basic human dignity. His bishop initially supported him in his efforts, but complaints were increasingly lodged against the priest by local landowners that he associated with radical leftists in his neighborhood. Eventually, the bishop removed Fr. Aguilar from the parish. On March 21, 1977, El Chapo was found dead, shot to death by a bullet, in a neighborhood in downtown Chihuahua. He was 29-years-old with less than three years in priestly ministry. To this day, news articles appear in the Chihauhau press recalling the anniversary of his death.

Spiritual reading: So love God. Love a neighbor. Be a neighbor, and let us not complicate things by arguing about specifics. You know what it means to do love because some time or another you have been on the receiving end of it, but remember that knowing the right answer does not change a thing. If you want the world to look different the next time you go outside, do some love. Do a little or do a lot, but do some, and do not forget some for yourself. (Barbara Brown Taylor)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 20, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

John 8:31-42

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. A slave does not remain in a household forever, but a son always remains. So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free. I know that you are descendants of Abraham. But you are trying to kill me, because my word has no room among you. I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence; then do what you have heard from the Father.”

crucifixion  by Renator GuttusoThey answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works of Abraham. But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God; Abraham did not do this. You are doing the works of your father!” So they said to him, “We were not born of fornication. We have one Father, God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and am here; I did not come on my own, but he sent me.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Life in Jesus is not a one-time, one-day event. We don’t just get Jesus–we don’t just arrive and never need to do any more work. Jesus dares us to undertake a journey, and the invitation is the deepest meaning of our renewal each year throughout the liturgical calendar, summed up perhaps in the intense focus this renewal receives in Lent. Jesus says, “If God were your father, you would love me, for I came from God.” To see Jesus more clearly, follow him more nearly, and love him more dearly is the path into the presence of the Lord of spirits and flesh, and since that Lord has fashioned us like garments to fit the pattern of his own form, it is in Jesus and only with Jesus that can realize who we are, whether or not the name Jesus is explicit in our minds.

Maria-Josefa-Sancho-de-GuerraSaint of the day: Maria Josefa Sancho de Guerra (Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus) was born on September 7, 1842 in the city of Vitoria (which is in the Basque Country of Spain). She was a Spanish nun, founder of the Institute of the Servants of Jesus charity, and declared a saint in 2000. Her father died when she was seven. At fifteen, she was sent to Madrid to live with some relatives to complete here education. At 18 she responded to a religious vocation she had always felt and became a nun at the Institute of the Servants of Mary, taking the religious name of Maria Josefa of the Heart of Mary.

With consultation with spiritual companions, she decided to leave the Institute of the Servants of Mary to found a new religion congregation. Along with other colleagues who had left the Institute of the Servants of Mary, she founded in Balbao in 1871 the Institute of the Servants of Jesus; she served as the superior of the new Institute for 41 years. This new institution was founded to aid the sick in hospitals and in their homes, the elderly, children, and the homeless. The institution has grown since its first open house in Bilbao in 1871, so that when Maria Josefa died of natural causes on March 20, 1912, there were 43 houses and a thousand Sisters of the institution which she had founded. Today the Institute is in 16 countries and has nearly 100 homes.

Spiritual reading: It’s important not to love ourselves so much that we’re not willing to take the risks that history demands of us. (Oscar Romero, from the homily he preached just moments before his murder while saying Mass on March 24, 1980)

Homily March 24. 2013 Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion C

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion by Fr Joe R on March 19, 2013

As today is Palm Sunday and we begin to spend time thinking of the passion of Christ, I can’t help but think of the words from Genesis where God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone.” We know from our faith that Jesus became a man, not a likeness or figure, but like us in every way but committing sin. He had feelings, emotions, friendships and probably some foibles that for one reason or other got people on his case so to speak as he grew up. I think who he was and why he was born and what he had to do was a growing developing process within him as he grew to his manhood. The story of him and the elders in the temple certainly showed he was becoming aware of who he was. But today in the narrative of Luke we see him in his completeness as a man, in his knowledge, his relationship to God, his awareness of what was to come and the very human abhorrence he had at the very thought of it.

What I would like to do is look at the very end of Christ’s passion and those few moments prior to his death. “My God, my God why have you abandoned me?” Recalling Genesis, the moment of passing from life to death is probably one of the most singular acts of aloneness we will ever experience, most likely the fault of sin. As prepared as we may be and even surrounded by our most loved ones, there is a passage we must make like through a void, a darkness to a new life. It is real and empty, and when people are in it they feel alone and are reaching out , backward or forward. But mostly it is aloneness, isolation or you might call it abandonment. People have experienced such things and described it in what we call near death experience. Whether it be aloneness, abandonment or passage, it is part of being human. Christ being human was not even spared of this. Christ was one of us and what he did was out of love and obedience to his Father. He was real, human, caring. What was harder even for him was that he knew what was to come. Let us today recall his death and rededicate ourselves.

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Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 19, 2013


Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24a

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.

Reflection on the gospel: The synoptic gospels make clear that the early church people knew that Mary was the name of Jesus’ mother and Joseph was the name of Mary’s husband. They also make clear that Joseph practiced carpentry, though the carpentry he practiced was a little more specialized than our word for it suggests. He worked on door jams; we don’t have a word for this kind of specialized woodcraft, but we do know that it was a labor that received a subsistence wage. A subsistence wage means that the Holy Family made do the best they could and trusted God’s providence to provide for their need. Jesus grew up in an environment that did the best it could and trusted God to take care of the rest.

Many of the stories that come to us about Joseph result from the apocryphal gospels written in the first several centuries after the Lord’s birth. These writings are fanciful works and not trustworthy as historical sources, so it it hard to know whether they contain any traditions that had survived for centuries, or whether they were the products of the Graham Greenes of the day. One second century story is the gospel of James which suggests that Joseph was an older widower who brought to his relationship with Mary children from his first marriage.

The picture that emerges from the gospels was that Joseph was an honorable man, that he was not Jesus’ natural father but that he did everything he could to protect and nurture the child his wife bore, and that he placed his trust that God was at work in the child’s, his wife’s, and his own lives. What he understood of the boy’s mission is impossible to know, but we can be sure that what the man Jesus became was in good measure a reflection of the basic decency he experienced in Joseph, a man whom he called, “Father.”

Saint of the day: St. Joseph was a descendant of the house of David. A carpenter, he was the husband of Mary and the foster and adoptive father of Jesus Christ. A visionary who was visited by angels, he was noted for his willingness to immediately get up and do what God told him.

He is the patron against doubt; against hesitation; of the Americas; Austria; Belgium; Bohemia; bursars; cabinetmakers; Canada; Carinthia; carpenters; China; Church; confectioners; craftsmen; the Croatian people; dying people; emigrants; engineers; expectant mothers; families; fathers; Florence, Italy; happy death; holy death; house hunters; immigrants; interior souls; Korea; laborers; married people; Mexico; New France; New World; Oblates of Saint Joseph; people in doubt; people who fight Communism; Peru; pioneers; pregnant women; protection of the Church; social justice; Styria, Austria; travelers; Turin, Italy; Tyrol, Austria; unborn children; Universal Church; Viet Nam; wheelwrights; workers; and working people.

Spiritual reading: How does Joseph exercise his role as protector? Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand. . . . Here I would add one more thing: caring, protecting, demands goodness, it calls for a certain tenderness. In the Gospels, Saint Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness! (Pope Francis)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion by Mike on March 18, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

John 8:12-20

Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” So the Pharisees said to him, “You testify on your own behalf, so your testimony cannot be verified.” Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I do testify on my own behalf, my testimony can be verified, because I know where I came from and where I am going. But you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge by appearances, but I do not judge anyone. And even if I should judge, my judgment is valid, because I am not alone, but it is I and the Father who sent me. Even in your law it is written that the testimony of two men can be verified. I testify on my behalf and so does the Father who sent me.” So they said to him, “Where is your father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” He spoke these words while teaching in the treasury in the temple area. But no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

Reflection on the gospel reading: Seven times in the gospel of John, Jesus says, “I am.” In doing so, John’s gospel alludes to Jesus’ identification with the God of Moses, whom the Israelites understood when Moses asked God’s name to say, “I am who am.” The rest of the passage makes clear that the evangelist identified Jesus with the Father, and for us, it is through Jesus that we come to the Father.

Saint of the day: Today is the memorial of St. Cyril of Jerusalem. Cyril lived in the fourth century. The crises that the Church faces today may seem minor when compared with the threat posed by the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ and almost overcame Christianity in the fourth century. Cyril of Jerusalem was to be caught up in the controversy, accused later of Arianism by St. Jerome, and ultimately vindicated both by the men of his own time and by being declared a Doctor of the Church in 1822. Raised in Jerusalem, well-educated, especially in the Scriptures, he was ordained a priest by the bishop of Jerusalem and given the task of catechizing during Lent those preparing for Baptism and during the Easter season the newly baptized. His Catecheses remain valuable as examples of the ritual and theology of the Church in the mid-fourth century.

There are conflicting reports about the circumstances of his becoming bishop of Jerusalem. It is certain that he was validly consecrated by bishops of the province. Since one of them was an Arian, Acacius, it may have been expected that his “cooperation” would follow. Conflict soon rose between Cyril and Acacius, bishop of the rival nearby see of Caesarea. Cyril was summoned to a council, accused of insubordination and of selling Church property to relieve the poor. Probably, however, a theological difference was also involved. He was condemned, driven from Jerusalem, and later vindicated, not without some association and help of Semi-Arians. Half his episcopate was spent in exile (his first experience was repeated twice). He finally returned to find Jerusalem torn with heresy, schism and strife, and wracked with crime. Even St. Gregory of Nyssa, sent to help, left in despair.

They both went to the Council of Constantinople, where the amended form of the Nicene Creed was promulgated. Cyril accepted the word consubstantial (that is, of Christ and the Father). Some said it was an act of repentance, but the bishops of the Council praised him as a champion of orthodoxy against the Arians. Though not friendly with the greatest defender of orthodoxy against the Arians, Cyril may be counted among those whom Athanasius called “brothers, who mean what we mean, and differ only about the word [consubstantial].”

Spiritual reading: When we have to reply to anyone who has insulted us, we should be careful to do it always with gentleness. A soft answer extinguishes the fire of wrath. (Alphonsus Liguori)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 17, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

John 8:1-11

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: In this gospel passage, Jesus recognizes the exploitation of the woman who stands before him. Vulnerable in a society of people who counted women of little value, men used her for their pleasure, and the scribes and Pharisees who bring the woman to Jesus are not so much caught up in the righteousness of their indignation of her betrayal of her husband as they are determined to set a trap for Jesus. The scribes and Pharisees, like the man she was with, tried to exploit her for their own aims. Jesus doesn’t buy the story they present to him because he understands the human heart and what motivates it. He knows the woman was false to her husband and does not excuse it, but her wrong is laid out in the open for everyone to see. Jesus is more occupied in this story with the sins that are concealed in the hearts of the scribes and the Pharisees. He does not focus his attention on the adultery of the woman but on the hypocrisy of the men who have brought the woman to him. Only after he has called out their duplicity, shamed them to do what is right, and saved the woman from death, does Jesus tenderly say that he does not condemn her but only asks her to change her heart.

It is interesting that the scribes and Pharisees set a trap for Jesus that assumed Jesus would be compassionate even if it meant a violation of a strict interpretation of the Mosaic law. It means Jesus’ compassion to the broken was well known to them. This passage is at many levels evidence that Jesus understands the weakness of the human heart, but as the gospel of John testifies elsewhere, Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world but to save it. His mission was not one of rejection of the broken but one of embrace, healing, and restoration: and the trap the scribes and Pharisees laid for Jesus assumed Jesus would not condemn the woman. He did not disappoint their expectation, but neither did they get what they wanted from him.

christ sinai face--drrSpiritual reading of the day:

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.
(St. Patrick)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, religion, scripture by Mike on March 16, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

John 7:40-53

Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said, “This is truly the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he? Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” So a division occurred in the crowd because of him. Some of them even wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not bring him?” The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.”

So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.” Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them, “Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?” They answered and said to him, “You are not from Galilee also, are you? Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” Then each went to his own house.

Reflection on the gospel reading: In today’s gospel, the controversy about Jesus’ identity that has dominated the readings the last several days continues. What Jesus does and what Jesus says make many believe that he is the messiah, but some raise the objection that Jesus is a Galilean, either ignorant or inattentive to the facts that, as Matthew and Luke make clear, Jesus was from David’s line, born in Bethlehem of Judea. Each of us labors under a burden of bias. Our biases are not entirely bad; they help us to navigate common experiences without a lot of reflection. But sometimes, we are so stuck in our stories that we are unable to accept new data that challenges the way we have conceptualized something. We, too, like the Pharisees can be so convinced that we know who Jesus is that we are unable to move beyond our stories to embrace new evidence. For this reason, we need to pray to be open to the movements of the Spirit, the evidence of the scriptures, and experiences we encounter as members of our parish communities, for the evidence of Jesus as Jesus is in all these things.

Saint of the day: The Servant of God Daniel Halas was born in Slovenia in June 1908. He father was Martin Halas, and his mother, Catherine. After attending elementary and high school in his hometown, he went to study for the priesthood in Maribor in 1929 and was ordained a priest in 1933. A very popular priest, he became a chaplain and later the pastor of a newly 280_40c59487a33ee9d0a7542c2c56dbd16d51d90d77founded parish. In October 1941, after the Hungarians occupied his town, Fr. Halas was arrested on charges he had collaborated with Slovenian Communists. He was imprisoned for eight months in a notorious prison in Budapest. On July 19, 1942, he was released and returned to his hometown. Fr. Halas frequently warned people about the dangers of Communism from the pulpit and cautioned young people not to join a Communist organization for youth. In early 1945, a Communist activist called for Fr. Halas’s murder. Fr. Halas’s brother invited him to come and stay with him where he would be save, but Fr. Halas declined, saying he trusted God. On March 16, 1945, while riding his bike back from a convent where he had been hearing confessions from the sisters, uniformed Communists stopped him, beat him, and shot him, throwing his body in a river. His body was retrieved from the water three days later, and he was buried on March 21. A diocesan inquiry into his virtue opened in Murska Sobota in 2002,

Spiritual reading: I am created to do something or to be something for which no one else is created. I have a place in God’s counsels, in God’s world, which no one else has; whether I be rich or poor, despised or esteemed by human beings, God knows me and calls me by name. (John Henry Newman)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 15, 2013

cat2000jesusGospel reading of the day:

John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

Jesus moved about within Galilee; he did not wish to travel in Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him. But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.

But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.

Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said, “Is he not the one they are trying to kill? And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him. Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ? But we know where he is from. When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.” So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said, “You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come.

Reflection on the gospel reading: Who is Jesus? All of us who spend our time reflecting on this question recognize that the person of Jesus creates confusion for many people. In today’s gospel, for instance, the people know that their religious leaders seek to arrest and kill Jesus, yet they see that Jesus freely goes where he will and says what he wants, and they are confused by their own sense of Jesus, their knowledge of their leaders’ opinions, and the actions of their leaders which appear to contradict their opinions.

We Christians believe that Jesus is the Word of God; Jesus would not be Jesus were he not to speak. In the gospel, Jesus says, “I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” In speaking this way, Jesus makes people who listen to him angry, but the gospel tells us they could not arrest him. God had a plan, and Jesus’ time was not yet. Lent is a perennial invitation to renew our attention to the question of whom we serve. Jesus invites the Church through Lent to enter ever more deeply into a knowledge and love of the very image of the Father in whose name we have been baptized.

Saint of the day: Born in 1645, missionary and mapmaker Eusebio Kino was born in Italy, studied in Germany, and joined the Jesuit order in 1665. He had wanted to go as a missionary to Asia, but instead, the Jesuits sent to New Spain (which is now Mexico), where he established almost two dozen missions and vistas. During his long tenure in the Americas, he baptized padreabout 40,000 natives into Christianity, taught European farming techniques to the Pima Indians, and became an outspoken critic of the Spaniards’ practice of using Sonoran Indians as slave labor in silver mines. He became conversant in several of the natives’ languages, including the Apaches, Pimas, Quiquimas, and Yumas, and encouraged the natives to leave their settlements and come to larger towns and cities, where missions were established. When native people relocated, they were generally given plots of land to farm and encouraged to contribute to the missions’ work. Making his headquarters at the mission Nuestra Senora de los Dolores, he established communities and rancherias which extended from southern California, through southern Arizona, over to southern New Mexico. Kino focused his concerns on the Indians’ spiritual and socioeconomic life. He is credited with having baptized 4,500 Pimas. Many present-day roads, towns, villages, and cities owe their foundations to him.

KinoA tireless explorer, Kino drew the first maps of Sinaloa and Sonora, led the Atondo expedition to Baja California of 1683, and made numerous expeditions across northern Mexico, California, and Arizona. He was the first mapmaker to correctly deduce that Baja California is a peninsula, not an island. Kino published many books, a few of which are still famous, including one on astronomy and two volumes on his ministry to the Pimas Kino was popular among the natives. Kino died on March 15, 1711. The diocese of Hermosillo in 2010 opened an inquiry into his virtues.

Spiritual reading: God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. StudyGardenCourtvi_BJI am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments. Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about. (John Henry Newman)