Carry the gospel with you

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

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 5:20-26

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

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, head-of-saviour-1906.jpg!BlogYou shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: The same God for whom all the galaxies in their totality are less than a pinprick of light also gazes on every blade of grass than bends before a breeze. For God, nothing is insignificant, and everything shimmers with meaning. Few are the men and women who do not agree that murder is an evil, but the God who sees every rupture that isolates one human heart from another notices even the small acts of unkindness that characterize our interactions with each other. For God, everything that exists is great and large, and nothing escapes God’s glance. Our striving for kindness and gentleness in even small matters reflects the infinity of significance implied in God’s notice of even the smallest things.

Saint of the day: Marianna Biernacka, was born Marianna Czokało in 1888. She was a Polish Roman Catholic citizen and a victim of the Second World War.

Before the Nazi occupation of Poland, Adolf Hitler is said to have authorized his commanders to kill “without pity or mercy, all men, women, and children of Polish decent or language. Only in this way can we obtain the living space we need.” During their occupation of Poland, the Gestapo would round up and kill Polish civilians in retaliation for any Germans killed by the resistance.

Marianna_BiernackaIn July 1943, the Nazis conducted a mass arrest in the city of Lipsk as an act of reprisal for the Germans who were killed during the resistance. The names of Stanislaw Biernacka, together with his pregnant wife Anna, were in the list of those who were going to be killed. The Biernacka family were never politically active and poorly educated. Hence you can imagine their deep surprise when German soldiers knocked at their door to arrest Stanislaw and Anna Biernacka.

Early in the morning, the armed soldiers came to arrest Stanislaw and Anna. Stanislaw’s fifty-five-year-old mother, Marianna, fell on her knees and asked the Nazis to take her instead of Anna. Marianna was a simple woman, for whom God and his laws are the most important value, even more important than freedom. She said as the soldiers were taking the couple, “She is already in the last weeks of her pregnancy. I will go for her.” At first, Anna objected. But Marianna told her, “You are young, you must live.” The Nazis released Anna and took Marianna together with her son to the prison in Grodno.

According to witnesses, Marianna spent her time in prayer. While in prison, she requested for a rosary and a pillow. A parcel was sent to her, but it was not known if the parcel reached her. On July 13, 1943, she was shot to death together with her son and 48 other people in Naumowicze, near Grodno. Marianna Biernacka’s selfless sacrifice saved the life of her daughter-in-law and her grandchild. On June 13, 1999, Marianna was recognized as a martyr and beatified, alongside 107 other Polish martyrs of the war who collectively are known as the 108 Polish martyrs of World War II.

Spiritual reading: Forgive us the falseness of what we have become, the ugliness and divisions of which we are a part. Restore us to the truthfulness of our birth in you, the heritage of all that has being. (John Philip Newell)


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