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)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, church events, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 14, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

John 5:31-47

Jesus said to the Jews: “If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true. But there is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true. You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. I do not accept human testimony, but I say this so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light. But I have testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf. But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form, and you do not have his word remaining in you, because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life.

“I do not accept human praise; moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father: the one who will accuse you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope. For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

Reflection on the gospel reading: In today’s gospel, Jesus tells us that God witnesses to Jesus’ ministry through the testimony of John the Baptist, Jesus’ works, the Father’s own testimony, and the words of Scripture. The Baptist’s testimony and the record of Jesus’ life call us to believe in the Christ that the Father reveals to us in the Scriptures. It is easy to project our hopes and ideas onto Jesus like some giant Rorschach test, but the gospel calls us openness to Jesus just as Jesus is: to the Jesus whose radical presence was nothing about amiable indifference, the Christ not of our invention, but the Lord as he truly reveals himself to us.

Saint of the day: Vasco de Quiroga was born in either 1477 or 1488 in Castile, Spain. He was a Spanish bishop, social reformer, and humanist educator who founded the Colegio de San Nicolás Obisbo in colonial Mexico. Quiroga was educated for the priesthood and probably trained as a lawyer at the University of Valladolid. He won early recognition for his erudition at a post in the chancery of Badajoz, where he found great favour with the bishop. He was selected as the royal judge of the second audiencia (court) of New Spain and arrived in Mexico City in 1531.

Vasco de QuirogaAfter founding two hospitals, he was appointed bishop of Michoacán, where he labored diligently on behalf of the welfare of the Indians, seeking their temporal as well as spiritual welfare. To the latter end, he founded the Colegio de San Nicolás to train priests fluent in native Indian languages, and he translated religious works into those languages. Quiroga wrote Información en derecho (1535; “Information on the Law”), a utopian vision for Indian settlements in the dioceses of Michoacán. He was often asked to judge legal suits that involved the enslavement of Indians, and regularly decided in favor of the Native people. He was among the bishops who attended the great and enduring reforming Council of Trent He died on March 14, 1565, Pátzcuaro, Mexico. The diocese of Morelia in 1997 opened a diocesan inquiry into the question of his heroic virtues.

Spiritual reading: Love seeks no cause beyond itself and no fruit; it is its own fruit, its own enjoyment. I love because I love; I love in order that I may love.” (Bernard of Clairvaux)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 13, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

John 5:17-30

Jesus answered the Jews: “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.

Jesus answered and said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for what he does, the Son will do also. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes. Nor does the Father judge anyone, but he has given all judgment to the Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life. Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so also he gave to the Son the possession of life in himself. And he gave him power to exercise judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out, those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation.

“I cannot do anything on my own; I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: In the passage from John’s gospel passage which follows immediately upon yesterday’s in which Jesus healed the sick man at the pool of Bethesda on the sabbath, Jesus characterizes the spiritual life, vision and action, lived out in the context of our relationship with the Father. It is connection to the Father that fuels and justifies his actions. The word Jesus receives from the Father is the vision and action which he lives, speaks, and thinks, and when Jesus sees and acts, he is living out the word he has received. In the spirituality which Jesus proclaims the important thing is that he does not present his own ideas but rather thinks and lives what he sees the Father doing, acting in obedience to his mandate.

Saint of the day: The next time you recite the Nicene Creed at Mass, think of today’s saint. For it was Leander of Seville who, as bishop, introduced the practice in the sixth century. He saw it as a way to help reinforce the faith of his people and as an antidote against the heresy of Arianism, which denied the divinity of Christ. By the end of his life, Leander had helped Christianity flourish in Spain at a time of political and religious upheaval.

Leander’s own family was heavily influenced by Arianism, but he himself grew up to be a fervent Christian, and his brother, Isidore of Seville, is also a saint of the Church. Indeed, each of Leander’s siblings is called a saint. Born in about 550, he entered a monastery as a young man and spent three years in prayer and study. At the end of that tranquil period he was made a bishop. For the rest of his life he worked strenuously to fight against heresy. The death of the anti-Christian king in 586 helped Leander’s cause. He and the new king worked hand in hand to restore orthodoxy and a renewed sense of morality. Leander succeeded in persuading many Arian bishops to change their loyalties. St. Isidore wrote of his brother: “This man of suave eloquence and eminent talent shone as brightly by his virtues as by his doctrine. By his faith and zeal the Gothic people have been converted from Arianism to the Catholic faith” (De script. eccles., xxviii).

Spiritual reading: If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one. (Mother Teresa)

Homily March 17. 2013 Fifth Sunday of Lent C

Posted in christian, Christianity, ethics, inspirational, religion, scripture by Fr Joe R on March 12, 2013

Today’s gospel informs us or reminds us of a few things. The first thing is Jesus’ attachment to the Mount of Olives. For Him it was a favorite spot to rest, to retire to prayer and renew His own spirit. It is where He will be found by His accusers at the time of the coming crucifixion. From there He went to the temple and people came to Him and he began to teach them.

Now we know that the scribes and pharisees were actively seeking to discredit Jesus, and they were looking into every means possible. The best way they figured would be to catch Jesus in some way going against the Jewish law. His preaching of love and forgiveness didn’t sit well with them as the law was so crystal clear and unyielding. They set out to trap him using not only the law of Moses but also the Romans’ law of their time. Deuteronomy prescribed stoning for adultery, so they brought a woman caught committing adultery to Him. In their dishonest questioning way, they sought out Jesus’ judgment of the woman. It was for them, so they thought, the perfect setup. Present the outrageous and receive a snap judgement. Stone her and ensure the wrath of the crowd and the Romans.

Jesus would have none of that. He first set them back by simply kneeling down and writing on the ground. This is much like what we would do in doodling while thinking today. It was unnerving to the woman’s accusers. Sure they quoted the law, but they used it to their own intentions. They left something out. If they caught the woman, where was the man. The law prescribed that both be stoned to death. They were using the law for their ow purpose. Their intentions were not good or honest but self-serving and even sinful in their selective use of the law.

Uneasiness gradually spread as Jesus remained silent and one by one the whole crowd left uncomfortable and indecisive and afraid of what to do. They could not condemn the woman and thus they fled neither condemning or forgiving. Jesus Himself refused to condemn her and told her to sin no more. I think there is much to learn from this. The most important thing is about judging. It is so easy to judge, but do we do it fairly. Can our heart and intentions ever be totally free of our own self motives that we can be a just judge? If truth be told, it would be better to learn to forgive and just forget about trying to judge.

From the scribes and pharisees today, we can learn also. It is a simple lesson but one learned with difficulty. The lesson is that the law and what power might come from it is meant to serve all and not the selfish intentions of those who implement it. Misuse of power is probably one of the greatest sins we have seen throughout history.

So we see, today’s gospel tells us much. It is about prayer, judgement and forgiveness, it gives us pause to look into ourselves and our intentions.

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 12, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

John 5:1-16

There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, “It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” He answered them, “The man who made me well told me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.’” They asked him, “Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?” The man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there. After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him, “Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went and told the Jews that Jesus was the one who had made him well. Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus because he did this on a sabbath.

Reflection on the gospel reading: Jesus poses to a man who had been very ill for 38 years the same question that he poses to us, “Do you want to be well?” The man protests he does want to be well but his impediments prevent him. Jesus reaches beyond the man’s weakness into the depths of his being and bids him to be well.

There are things that are inside of us that resist change and have resisted change for a long time. The Lord recognizes these spiritual disabilities better than we do, but even if we can’t name them, we can acknowledge they exist and desire that the Lord remove everything which is unhealed inside of us. The man whom Jesus healed is a lot like the woman in Jesus’ parable about the importunate judge who pestered the judge day and night seeking justice. The man who waited by the pool day-in and day-out despite his inability to get into the water still persevered in waiting for the Lord. And God seeing his patience, rewarded his perseverance.

Saint of the day: Pierre de Porcaro was born in France in a Breton family on August 10, 1904. He was ordained a priest for the diocese of Versailles in June 1929. After his ordination, he became a teacher in the minor seminary, where he remained for six years. He was noted his amiable temperament, jovial laughter, spirited conversations, loyal friendship, powerful sermons, and spiritual nature. He traveled throughout the diocese of Versailles to help young people to respond to Christ’s call to the priesthood.

porcaro_portraitIn 1935 he was appointed curate at Saint-Germain-en-Laye. He founded dynamic theater groups, choirs, and a soccer team to awaken the faith of young people. He was in charge of Catholic Action and the direction of the Trait d’Union, a federation of Catholic boys in parishes. On April 15, 1943, while he still the curate at Saint Germain en Laye, Bishop Roland-Gosselin asked him to become a clandestine chaplain for French workers in Germany who were working in a program where Germany released war prisoners in exchange for laborers. Fully aware of the threats of the Nazis against priests, Fr. Pierre agreed to minister to the French workers. He understood the danger and the risks to his life as the Nazis sought to remove Christianity from their vision of a “new Europe.” He said, “I want to help Christ carry his cross. My departure has no other meaning.” He worked 10 hours a day in carton factory. Despite his fatigue from his labor and a hunt for the clandestine priest which the Gestapo eventually initiated, he said Mass daily in the sacristy of the Dresden cathedral. He ran study circles on Sundays for French laborers and seminarians and heard confessions in the city’s main square to avoid suspicion and detection.

Fr. Pierre suffered a double fracture in November 1943 when a roll of paper fell on his left foot. He returned to Saint Germain en Laye on December 19, 1943, but about a month later, he returned to Germany to work in the factory and serve the French laborers in Dresden. Denounced to the Germans, Peter Porcaro was arrested on the morning of September 11, 1944. After a prolonged detention with many deprivations and multiple humiliations (for example, his breviary was thrown in a toilet), the Germans finally sent him to the concentration camp at Dachau where he arrived in mid-January, 1945. He was housed in the priest block with seminarians and other priests where he inspired his companions with his faith and ministries. On February 20, he began to feel the first symptoms of typhus and died at the age of 41 on March 12, 1945. His cause for beatification is under consideration. The seminary in Versailles is named for him, Pierre de Porcaro House.

Spiritual reading: A safe Jesus that demands nothing of us is a false god of comfort we invent to keep God from stirring us up to change! (Marcel LeJeune)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 11, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

John 4:43-54

At that time Jesus left [Samaria] for Galilee. For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his native place. When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves had gone to the feast.

Then he returned to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, who was near death. Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” The royal official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.” The man believed what Jesus said to him and left. While the man was on his way back, his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live. He asked them when he began to recover. They told him, “The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon.” The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live,” and he and his whole household came to believe. Now this was the second sign Jesus did when he came to Galilee from Judea.

Reflection on the gospel reading: We Christians have a rich spiritual tradition which has afforded many ways to pray and come to know and be in God’s presence. Meditation, contemplation, Eucharist, the other sacraments, and spiritual reading are among the forms of prayer that create space to recognize God where we are. But the scriptures suggest over and over that God desires we petition for our needs. When Jesus teaches his disciples a prayer, for instance, he offers them a list of petitions: for God’s will be done, daily sustenance, forgiveness of sins, and the ability to forgive wrongs done us. Asking is a recognition of our reliance; in other words, asking is a way of plugging ourselves into the life of God through the action of God’s power in our lives.

The father in today’s gospel has a very natural concern. His son is ill, and he wants him to get well. Though the gospel passage doesn’t say it, we can be fairly certain that a well-positioned father who goes out of his way to find Jesus and personally plead with him, has a petition which comes from the depths of his heart: he means what he asks Jesus. The gospel tells he believes the word he hears, and God rewards his faith by healing his son. No matter what we do in the spiritual life, we all rely on God’s goodness from second to second, and letting petitions for our needs disappear from our spiritual practice is something we ought to not do, if for no other reason, because Jesus taught us to ask.

Saint of the day: Brother Pawel Krawcewicz, S.A.C. was a member of the Polish Province of the Pallottines. (Pawel is Polish for Paul.) Brother Pawel was born on August 20, 1907 of a Polish family living in Bohum, Germany. He entered the Pallottines in Poland and made his first consecration on March 31, 1929. As a p.-krawczewiczPallottine he worked in the Province printing press and bookshop in Warsaw. He was noted for his zeal in living the religious life and in the life of the community. In 1942, during the Second World War, he volunteered to accompany a group of Polish deportees who were being transported to Germany to work there. He wanted to accompany them their time of suffering by giving them moral and religious support as well as material help. The Nazis discovered what he had done and he was arrested by the Gestapo on April 29, 1944. He was savagely beaten and then taken, first to a detention prison in Brauweiler, then to the concentration camp at Buchenwald and finally to the camp at Ohrduf in Turingia.

In the course of the interrogations in prison he was beaten so violently that the guards had to take him three times to the camp infirmary so that they could resume their unbelievable treatment of him after a few days in the infirmary. From there he was taken to Buchenwald and then Ohrduf. Fr. Józef Nowak, S.J., who was a companion of Brother Pawel in Buchenwald and also his confessor, emphasized that he was always calm, serene and absorbed in prayer. He never repented of his courageous decision to serve the suffering despite that fact that from the very start, he was aware of the continuous danger of being arrested and even being condemned to death. At Ohrduf, Brother Pawel was weakened by hunger, the hard labor, and the ill treatment he received. He developed tuberculosis and died on March 11, 1945, having spent just two weeks in the infirmary of the concentration camp. He was 37 and had been a Pallottine for 16 years. The cause of beatification was officially opened together with that of other martyrs on September 17, 2003 in Warsaw.

Spiritual reading: At the same time as I saw this sight of the head bleeding, our good Lord showed a spiritual sight of his familiar love. I saw that he is to us everything which is good and comforting for our help. He is our clothing, who wraps and enfolds us for love, embraces us and shelters us, surrounds us for his love, which is so tender that he may never desert us. And so in this sight I saw that he is everything which is good, as I understand. (Revelations of Divine Love by Dame Juliana of Norwich)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 10, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them Jesus addressed this parable. “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”‘ So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.'”

Reflection on the gospel reading: We read today what is arguably the most beloved of all Jesus’ parables. It is traditionally called, the parable of the prodigal son. Prodigal means wasteful; thus, the traditional title implies that the younger son, who takes his share of his inheritance from his father’s estate to go off and spend it extravagantly, is wasteful. Jesus of course never used the words prodigal son to describe this parable; it is a superimposition on the narrative from later generations. But the title places the central focus on just one perspective in the story, a narrative that includes two other primary characters. This is not just a story about the son who swallowed up his father’s wealth with fast living. It is also a story about resentment, for there is a second son, the elder one, who is none too reticent to express his bitterness over either his lot in life or his brother’s return to the bosom of family life. And ultimately it is a story about a father’s indirect chastisement and gentle correction: some have suggested that it is the father in the story who ought to be called prodigal, for with both of his sons, ungrateful in their unique ways, he wastefully lavishes his love. Both of the sons are wrong, but the father provides for them and beckons both to reconciliation, love, and celebration. In Jesus’ view, expressed in this parable, neither son is right but everyone is loved and called to acknowledge this and become something new.

Spiritual reading: Nothing is anything more to me; everything is nothing to me, but Jesus: neither things nor persons, neither ideas nor emotions, neither honor nor sufferings. Jesus is for me honor, delight, heart and soul. (St. Bernadette of Lourdes)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 9, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 18:9-14

Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. “Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity, greedy, dishonest, adulterous, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would Jews reject Jesusnot even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: The parable of the pharisee and the tax collector at one level is a story about spiritual insiders and spiritual outsiders. Religious institutions can make us feel comfortable: as we adhere to the norms and requirements of our group, our compliance with the rules and recommendations of the group makes us grow confident that our pious actions–our fasting and tithing, for instance–justify us. All the things we do to remind us of God’s imminence are good, and I don’t ever discourage or disparage them. But Jesus in the gospel makes clear over and over again that our faith must be a love affair with God. A heartfelt cry for pity gets God’s attention in a way that empty religious practice does not. It is because Jesus read hearts so well that he could say that the outsiders of his day–like the tax collectors–were often more open to God’s presence than even the pious folk. As the prophet Amos heard from God, “Away with your noisy songs…if you would offer me holocausts, let justice surge like water, and goodness like an unfailing stream.” True religion is a thing of the heart. Jesus is telling us that we don’t always judge rightly who are the real insiders and who are the real outsiders.

ViscardiSaint of the day: Assunta Viscardi was born in Bologna, Italy on August 11, 1890. She was the daughter of John Viscardi and Frances Armiconi and the older sister of two siblings, Emilia and Francis. A layperson, she was a teacher and the founder of the Work of Saint Dominic for the Children of Divine. She graduated from a girls’ school in 1909 and began her teaching career working in schools in several municipalities, eventually returning to teach in Bologna, the city where she was born. In 1928, she founded the Work of Saint Dominic for the Children of Divine to conduct charitable work; the organization gained church recognition in 1948 and became a legal entity in 1955. She was able to gain the support of well position people to support her work on behalf of the poor. She died on March 9, 1947. A diocesan inquiry into her heroic virtues opened on March 9, 2009 in the diocese of Bolgna.

111109_wealth_gap_ap_328Spiritual reading: Our pastor said recently that sixty million of our one hundred and thirty million here in the United States professed no religion, and I thought with grief that it was the fault of those professing Christians who repelled the others. They turned first from Christ crucified because He was a poor worker, buffeted and spat upon and beaten. And now–strange thought–the devil has so maneuvered that the people turn from Him because those who profess Him are clothed in soft raiment and sit at well-spread tables and deny the poor. (Dorothy Day)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 8, 2013

jesus-conversationGospel reading of the day:

Mark 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, He is One and there is no other than he. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Reflection on the gospel reading: The purpose of life is to give ourselves without reservation to the God who is, as John tells us in his first letter, Love itself. This gospel passage reminds us that the gift we are to make God, who is Love, is love–to give back to God what is God. John also tells us that it is impossible to love the God whom we cannot see if we do not love our brothers and sisters whom we can see. This gospel passage reminds us that our obligation to our neighbor is love–for this reason, we are to give God to our neighbors.

Saint of the day: Born in 1495 and having given up active Christian belief while a soldier, John was 40 before the depth of his sinfulness began to dawn on him. He decided to give the rest of his life to God’s service, and headed at once for Africa, where he hoped to free captive Christians and, possibly, be martyred.

He was soon advised that his desire for martyrdom was not spiritually well based, and returned to Spain and the relatively prosaic activity of a religious goods store. Yet he was still not settled. Moved initially by a sermon of Blessed John of Avila, he one day engaged in a public beating of himself, begging mercy and wildly repenting for his past life.

Committed to a mental hospital for these actions, John was visited by Blessed John, who advised him to be more actively involved in tending to the needs of others rather than in enduring personal hardships. John gained peace of heart, and shortly after left the hospital to begin work among the poor.

He established a house where he wisely tended to the needs of the sick poor, at first doing his own begging. But excited by the saint’s great work and inspired by his devotion, many people began to back him up with money and provisions. Among them were the archbishop and marquis of Tarifa.

Behind John’s outward acts of total concern and love for Christ’s sick poor was a deep interior prayer life which was reflected in his spirit of humility. These qualities attracted helpers who, 20 years after John’s death, formed the Brothers Hospitallers, now a worldwide religious order.

John became ill after 10 years of service but tried to disguise his ill health. He began to put the hospital’s administrative work into order and appointed a leader for his helpers. He died in 1550 under the care of a spiritual friend and admirer, Lady Ana Ossorio.

Spiritual reading: God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others, and by himself. He enters the community of Christians with his demands, sets up his own law, and judges the brethren and God Himself accordingly. He stands adamant, a living reproach to all others in the circle of brethren. He acts as if he is the creator of the Christian community, as if his dream binds men together. When things do not go his way, he calls the effort a failure. When his ideal picture is destroyed, he sees the community going to smash. So he becomes, first an accuser of his brethren, then an accuser of God, and finally the despairing accuser of himself. (Deitrich Bonhoeffer)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 7, 2013

uewb_06_img0374Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 11:14-23

Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute, and when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed. Some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven. But he knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house. And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons. If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. But when one IMG_20823-150x150stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: It is easy to miss the signs of God’s activity. We live life seeing only dimly. The world which surrounds us and the actions which people do are a kind of veil, and we often miss the light which illuminates from behind and through the veil. We so fix our attention on the gauzy material that we pay no heed to what is happening behind it. God’s love is the light which illuminates the world we see, but it is easy to see only the world. And even when we perceive hints of God’s action, we are inclined to dismiss them as coincidence or deception: this is in fact the normal condition of our existence.

The spiritual life, however, is to train our eyes to look at everything, whether it be the joy in a baby’s face or the tawdriness of poverty and exploitation, and trust that God is at work. The philosopher and theologian Diogenes Allen once wrote, “God’s power is at one end of the line, our trust at the other end: between them is love.” The power of God’s love for us pierces the veil of the world. Our love of God lets us trust the power which we see is from God.

Saint of the day: General George-Philas Vanier was 71 years old when he became nineteenth Governor General. the second Canadian to hold the office. He was born in Montreal on April 23, 1888. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1911. But from 1915 until his death, war and public service occupied the greater part of his life. He was commanding officer of the Royal 22nd Regiment from 1925 to 1928. He earned decorations and distinction georgesvanierduring the First World War. Thereafter he represented his country on numerous diplomatic missions and at important conferences dealing with post-war problems and adjustments.

General Vanier served as Secretary of the Canadian High Commission in London and was Canadian Minister to France when that country fell in 1940. During and following World War II, at London, Paris, and Montreal Georges Vanier’s spiritual life deepened significantly. He meditated each day, endeavored to live Therese of Lisieux’s “little 1980.021.004way”, and attended Mass and received communion daily. His writings on the Blessed Virgin Mary betray a mystical dimension in his relationship with her. He and his wife dedicated themselves in the war to assisting refugees, particularly Jews, who were fleeing the Nazis.

He returned there as Canadian Ambassador from 1944 until his retirement in 1953 at the age of 65. Despite this retirement, he was frequently engaged in government missions, including delegations to the United Nations and in private business activities. Honours and decorations were showered on him as they had been throughout most of his active life, both at home and abroad.

A tall, impressive man with great dignity and composure, he moved about with some difficulty due to the loss of a leg in the First World War, but the impairment never hindered the enthusiasm and dedication with which he carried out the duties entrusted to him. On his appointment in 1959, he set out at once to emulate his predecessors in getting to know Canada and its people. In his first year of office, he traveled some 15,000 miles. He worked hard to Vanier-Archerencourage a greater awareness among Canadians of the spiritual values and the value and importance of happy, united family units.

A soldier to the end, he valiantly fought ill health in an effort to discharge the numerous Centennial responsibilities of his office, but succumbed on March 5th, 1967; the second Governor General to die in office. He is the father of Jean Vanier, the founder of l’Arche, an International Federation dedicated to the creation and growth of homes, programs, and support networks with people who have learning disabilities. The Diocese of Ottawa is investigating Georges and his wife Pauline in an effort to move their causes for sainthood forward.

Walk-with-Angels-PRINT-SM-Amy-WhiteSpiritual reading:

Yet take thy way; for sure thy way is best:
Stretch or contract me, thy poore debtor:
This is but tuning of my breast,
To make the musick better.

Whether I flie with angels, fall with dust,
Thy hands made both, and I am there:
Thy power and love, my love and trust
Make one place ev’ry where.

(George Herbert)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 6, 2013

CompositeJesusGospel reading of the day:

Matthew 5:17-19

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: We have no law but Jesus. The person of Jesus is the focal point of the whole of Christian life. When we ask what the Master would do in a given situation and then do it, we fulfill every wish of the prophets and abide by the prescripts of the smallest part of a letter of the law. The French mystic Charles de Foucauld, who lived and died in Algeria in the early 20th century, once wrote, “I should carry on in myself the life of Jesus: think his thoughts, repeat his words, his actions. May it be he that lives in me. I must be the image of Our Lord in his hidden life: I must proclaim, by my life, the Gospel from the rooftops.” Living the life of Jesus in our lives–thinking his thoughts, repeating his words, performing his actions, proclaiming the gospel by our lives–fulfills everything which the prophets foretold and the law demands.

Saint of the day: María del Pilar Cimadevilla y López-Dóriga, known by the nickname Pilina, was born in Madrid on February 17, 1952. She was the daughter of Colonel Cimadevilla Amaro and Maria del Rosario Lopez-Doriga.

mariaDelPilarFrom an early age she was known for her docility, intelligence, and piety. Her first communion was a major milestone in her life, and she prayed with an attentiveness uncommon for her age. She often visited churches to pray and never let a day go by without saying her rosary.

At the age of nine, she contracted Hodgkin’s disease, an irreversible and painful disease that she accepted with serenity. At the hospital where she was cared for by the Daughters of Charity, she was asked about joining the Union of the Missionary Infirm. Pilina welcomed the idea and began offering her sufferings for the missions and the conversion and salvation of souls. Pilina’s soul matured through her illness and those who knew her were amazed at her heroism in suffering and joy in sacrifice. A few days after turning 10, on March 6, 1962, Pilina died in the arms of her mother. She was declared venerable in 2004.

Spiritual reading: Do not seek the perfection of the law in human virtues, for it is not found perfect in them. Its perfection is hidden in the Cross of Christ. (St. Mark the Ascetic)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 5, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 18:21-35

Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his peter_walking_on_waterproperty, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’ Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt. Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Forgiveness is not merely an event. It isn’t just the case where someone who has injured us presents herself and asks us to forgive her this one time, and when we do this one act, the matter is resolved, and we start all over again. That is certainly part of forgiveness, but it isn’t the whole story. For the Christian, forgiveness is an attitude and a way of life. It is the cultivation of an awareness that everyone is muddling through this morass of daily living the best way they can: as Plato says, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” When Jesus says we are to forgive seven times seventy-seven times, he isn’t only talking about forgiving different things on different days; he’s talking about being patient with people as they struggle, however falteringly, to get through their days. He is saying, Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. He is saying, Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. He is saying that if we ourselves commit ourselves to mercy, we will create a world of mercy.

spiskeSaint of the day: Robert Spiske was born in Poland in January 1821. He studied philosophy and theology at the University of Wroclaw and was ordained a priest in 1847. He was an outstanding preacher and a much sought-after confessor. Major focuses of his pastoral work were work with youth and the reconciliation of Christians who had been alienated from the Church. He founded in Breslau the Congregation of the Hedwig Sisters to provide a caring home for orphaned children. He died on March 5, 1888 and was buried in the cathedral in Wroclaw. In 1984 his remains were transferred to the Church of the Mother House of the Order of Hedwig Sisters. He was declared venerable in 2009.

Spiritual reading: Forgiveness creates an obligation for which there are no exceptions allowed. Love is a fire which goes out if it does not kindle others. Thou hast burned with joy; kindle those who come near you with the same, lest thou becomest like a stone, hard and cold. You have received much; you must also give. (Giovanni Papini)

Homily March 10. 2013 Fourth Sunday of Lent C

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Fr Joe R on March 5, 2013

The story of the Prodigal Son is probably one of the most recognized parable in all of the gospels. It is striking, touching, heartfelt. It contains love, forgiveness, jealousy and family relations. In some way it surrounds each one of us and submerges us into the story. Each of us has come from a family and one way or another has experienced something of this story as a child or in later years as a parent. Only as we grow older do we realize love of each individual is unique to that individual without a measure of more or less attaching to it. No parent wishes more or less for one of his children, but rather the best for which each one is suited. In seeking this, most parents selflessly give and share many times far beyond what would be normal expectations.

Each Son in today’s parable could really be called prodigal, as each misunderstood what the love of their Father meant and the sonship that he so lovingly bestowed on them. His love was not held back from either of them, yet each misunderstood in his own way. The elder in his presumptuousness that his faithfulness somehow have excluded the other from sharing in any further family largess. He lost the fact that love is inclusive, embracing all even and most importantly those who have wandered or squandered their love. The younger Son’s reception is an example that God’s forgiveness is given not by so much what we do, although repentance is important, but forgiveness is given out of God’s love for us. Certainly God sees into our hearts, but still He is the loving Father always ready to embrace one of his beloved children, each as He knows and how He made them. How we respond and return that love determines where we stand with Him.

Like our story today, the Father makes Himself present to both Sons, different yet the same loving Father to both. He didn’t measure out his love, but cast in light of the presence of His Sons to Him. One was lost and now returned. So the call today is for love, forgiving and wholeness, that is an all-embracing unselfish love.