Carry the gospel with you

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

35ce153fc580ae8d5a4da17fda98f485_w600_h600_scaledGospel reading of the day:

John 16:20-23

Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: The psychiatrist and noted self-help author, M. Scott Peck, once wrote, “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.” In today’s gospel, Jesus says something of the same thing. He promises us that we will have to struggle: that we will weep, mourn, grieve, and feel anguish. But Jesus also says this is not the whole story. For though it may be one of the greatest truths that life is difficult, another of the greatest truths, and perhaps the greatest of truths, is that God will wipe away every tear and when we feel joy for the sight of the Beloved, no one will ever again take away our happiness.

Saint of the day: On May 10, 1986, another fighter of the people fell. Josimo Morais Tavares, known as Father Josimo, was murdered by regional landowners in Imperatriz, Maranhão. Born to a humble family in Marabá, Pará, Josimo was the son of a washerwoman, who gave birth to him at the bank of the river Araguaias in 1953. As a child, he moved with his family to the city Xambioá in Tocantins. At 11 years of age, he went to Tocantinôpolis where he studied at a school of theology. From there, he went to Brasília, later Aparecida do Norte (São Paulo), and Crédito: Douglas Mansur Pe. Ricardo e pe. Josimo Tavaresthen to Petrópolis (Rio de Janeiro) in order to study at a Franciscan school of theology. Being poor, black and the son of peasant farmers, Josimo was a target of discrimination. Upon finishing his studies in Petrópolis, he decided to return to Xambioá in order to dedicate his life to the cause of rural workers.

He became a priest in 1979, moving then to Wanderlândia (Tocantins), where he began his work with the poor, working in a secondary school and taking responsibility for the city’s Pastoral Youth. It was there that he realized how urgent the problem of unequal land distribution was among the region’s population. He also served in the Bico do Papagaio region, where he coordinated the Pastoral Youth of the diocese. The region was well-known for being witness to a number intense land disputes, and had years earlier been the site of the Araguaia guerrilla movement as well as the site of its subsequent defeat.

Throughout his life, he condemned illegal land grabs (grileiros de terra) and oppressive landowners. Father Josimo defended the rights of the people and strove to make them aware of their own strength. Because of his ideas and actions, he fomented the hatred of regional landowners, and began receiving threats to his life. In April 1986, an attempt was made on his life but the bullets missed their target. Aware of the risks of defending his ideals, he wrote a testament in which he reaffirmed his commitment to the Brazilian people. A month after the first attempt on his life, he was killed by two shots in the back while climbing the stairs of the CPT office building in Imperatriz.

Spiritual reading: I have to take a stand. I am committed to fighting for the cause of defenseless rural workers; a people oppressed by the grip of the powerful landlord. If I silence myself, who will defend them? Who will fight for them? I have nothing to lose. I have no wife, children, riches…. I regret only one thing: that my mother has only me and no one else. She is poor. A widow. But of you I ask only this: that you stay and care for her. Fear doesn’t stop me. It is time to take the stand. To die for a righteous cause. I want you to understand one thing: all that is happening is the logical consequence of my work in the fight and defense of the poor, in commitment to the Gospel, which has led me to take this fight to its very last consequences. My life is worthless in light of the deaths of so many rural workers; murdered, raped, evicted from their lands, forced to leave their women behind and their children abandoned, unloved, homeless and hungry. (Father Josimo Morais Tavares)


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