Carry the gospel with you

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

Gospel reading of the day:

John 16:23b-28

Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

“I have told you this in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures but I will tell you clearly about the Father. On that day you will ask in my name, and I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you. For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have come to believe that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world. Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus promises, “Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be open to you.” Here at the end of the Discourse at the Last Supper, Jesus makes the same promise, that if we ask, we will receive. And he ties it to a result, that having received, our joy will be complete. Many people have lost their faith through disappointment about what they perceive to be unfulfilled prayers, but God is not a vending machine, and our prayers are not quarters which we insert into a slot to get a gumball. Jesus invites us to enter through prayer into a relationship with the Father. What Jesus promises in this passage is that when we interact with God through constant and faithful prayer, our minds and hearts will conform to the Father’s. One of the saints once observed, “Pray, pray, pray, and surely you will be saved.” When Jesus invites us to enter a relationship with God through prayer, he is promising that all shall be well, and everything shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

Saint of the day: Blessed Zefyrinus Namuncurá Burgos was born on August 26, 1886 in the province of Rio Negro in northern Patagonia, Argentina. The newborn baby was named for the saint of the day, Zefyrinus. He was baptized two years later in December 1888 by a Salesian priest.

Zefyrinus was the sixth of twelve sons of the 75-year-old Indian chief Manuel Namuncurá (1811-1907) and the 29-year-old Rosaria Burgos, a white Chilean woman who was a prisoner of the tribe. Zefyrinus was thus a descendent of both the indigenous peoples of South America and immigrants from Europe. His father was the last great chief for his tribe, the Araucana.

It is said that Zefyrinus in childhood fell in the river Rio Negro, and almost drowned. He grew up in the Indian village Chimpay, where he learned to handle boleadoras (a traditional weapon that was used to throw around the legs of cattle to stop them from running away), spears, and arrows. His father was preparing him to become his successor as the defender of the earth and of the few Indians who remained in the tribe.

When Zefyrinus was eleven years old, he asked his father to go to Buenos Aires to study and thus be of benefit to their people. In 1897, Zefyrinus left and attended two Salesian schools. He quickly adapted to the new lifestyle in a Salesian school in Buenos Aires, and after one year he received his first Communion in September 1898. Zefyrinus learned to read and write and developed a religious zeal and a strong love for Jesus and the Virgin.

He experienced some academic difficulties but persisted in his studies. In November 1899 he was confirmed and shortly afterward won first prize in a catechist competition. His catechism led to experience a call to the priesthood. He desired to become a missionary among his people.

Zefyrinus’s health was never robust and he suffered a bout of tuberculosis in 1901. When he recovered, efforts commenced to provide for his training for the priesthood. But in 1902, his 92-year-old father summoned him home to become his secretary and successor as chief of the tribe. Zefyrinus did not desire to go; his health deteriorated again, and he went with a group of aspirants for the Salesians to the oldest settlement in Patagonia where he entered the Salesians and commenced his studies for the priesthood. Zefyrinus traveled with an Argentine bishop to Italy and studied there. The young man was greatly admired there for his personal virtues.

On March 28, 1905, he was admitted to hospital at Fatebenefratelli Isola Tiberina in Rome, which was run by the Hospitaler Brothers of St. John of God. His holiness was evident in his lengthy illness. The nuns said that he never complained, never demanded anything, and that if all patients had been like him, the hospital would have been a paradise. Instead of complaining, he comforted the other patients and instilled those values. Zefyrinus told a physician on May 4 that he felt he would die within eight days. At six o’clock on the morning of May 11, 1905 Zefyrinus died a holy death at the age of only eighteen years and nine months. His remains were transferred to Argentina in 1924. By 1944, so many people were seeking Zefyrinus’s intercession that his cause for beatification was introduced. He received the title of Venerable in 1972 with the recognition that he had lived a life of heroic virtue. His popularity was so great in Argentina that a local bishop in 1976 had to issue a message that reminded the people Zefyrinus was not a canonized saint of the Church. But as the result of an Argentine woman’s cure of uterine cancer, Zefyrinus was beatified in 2007.

Spiritual reading: People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering. (St. Augustine)


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