Carry the gospel with you

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

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 5:33-37

Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow. But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 956de78985a67b58222b248a9504f820_w600Do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black. Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the Evil One.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: We live in a world full of half-truths and outright lies. People’s efforts to interpret an event to suit a certain narrative are so transparent that almost anyone living in our day recognizes not only the word spin but also the process as it occurs. The wink-wink, nod-nod quality of the technique is so transparent that reporters explain to viewers they are in the “spin room” to cover the half-truths the room’s name implies. Vitamin companies promise their products cure cancer. Tobacco companies claim some of their products are healthier than others. Weight loss programs promise people can shed pounds without diet or exercise. A friend of mine used to sometimes answer my questions, “Yes–in the sense of no,” a small joke he knew would make me laugh.

But none of this is how it is to be with us who are baptized. Jesus calls us to an integrity of life where people can count on our word–if we say we will do something, people know we will do it–if we say something, people know we believe it. Saying yes when we mean yes and no when we mean no, does not mean saying everything we have in our heads, but it does mean that when a Christian does or says something, you can take it to the bank.

Saint of the day: Clement Vismara was born in Italy, in 1897, the fifth child of a saddler and a seamstress. He lost his mother first, who died in childbirth of her next child in 1902, and then his father in 1905. He was entrusted to the care of relatives and in 1913, entered the Seminary of St. Peter Martyr. On September 21, 1916, during World War I, he was called up and image005sent to the front as a private of 80th Infantry Regiment Brigade Rome. He was honorably discharged on November 6, 1919 with three medals for bravery and the rank of sergeant major.

He resumed his studies after the war and was ordained a priest in May 1923. He then went to Burma (which is now Myanmar) to work in the missions. He founded the Mong Lin mission on October 27, 1924. Because of poor nutrition and tropical diseases, the other foreign missionaries died one by one, leaving Fr. Vismara alone by 1931 to continue his work. During the 1930s, he expanded his work, founding other missions at Keng Lap and Mong Yong e Mong Pyak. He concentrated his labors among mainly orphans and widows, women who were abandoned by everyone and considered bearers of bad luck.

In June 1941, while the Japaneses are planning to occupy Burma, Clement was interned by the British army in Kalaw with 12 other Italian missionaries because they belonged to an enemy nation. In Father_Vismara_and_his_raft.png.scaled600January 1942, the Japanese army invaded Burma, and in late April they freed the Italian missionaries held in Kalaw. The Mong Lin mission (where Clement arrived at the end of August) was intact but occupied by the Japanese army. Vismara reopened the orphanage. In 1945, the war ended and in 1948 Burma gained independence. In the first 31 years of his mission father, Fr. Vismara turned Mong Lin into a town with about 4,000 baptized.

The local bishop transferred him to a new mission at Mong Ping in 1955, and he began again from scratch. In 1957, he returned to Italy for the only holiday he had in his life. While he stayed in Italy, he worked hard to obtain supplies for his mission, attended mdpconferences, and made a pilgrimage to Lourdes before returning to Burma. During the 1960s, he built at Mong Ping an orphanage, a school, a church, and houses for missionaries and sisters. By 1965, his school had 400 students, about two-thirds of whom were not Christians.

A military coup in 1962 installed a government that expelled all missionaries who had arrived in the country after 1948. Despite the difficulties with the new regime, which prevented the arrival VATICANO_-_MYANMAR_-_CLEMENTE_VISMARA_(320_x_284)of new missionaries, and despite various ailments (prostate, misadventure to a foot, dentures), he continued his work with vigor. In 1980 he blessed the new district Tongtà he founded among the ethnic Iko. In subsequent years, he had to be carried on a stretcher but continued to visit the villages. The last missionary district (parish) opened by father Clement, in 1986, is in Pannulong, with three nuns resident and 42 Christian villages in the Akha tribe. On June 15, 1988 at 8:15 p.m., Clement Vismara died, serene and happy in Mong Ping, aged 91. Father Vismara was beatified on June 26, 2011.

Saint of the day: You get old when you are no longer useful to anyone. (Blessed Clement Vismara)


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