Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on June 27, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 7:21-29

Jesus said to his disciples: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.” When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

Reflection on the gospel reading: A controversy between faith and works has raged in western Christianity for five centuries. One group of Christians claims that it is faith in Jesus that saves us. Another group of Christians claims that it is doing good things that saves us. But reading today’s gospel might be a cautionary note to both camps. Jesus says in today’s gospel that saying, “Lord, Lord,” is not enough; prophesying is not enough; commanding the demons is not enough; doing great works for the Lord is not enough. If neither believing nor doing is enough to save us, what is? Jesus says that it is doing the will of the Father, but he doesn’t elaborate what the will of the Father is, except that we act on these words he has spoken.

A few pages back, earlier in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says his Father causes the sun to shine on the good and bad alike: so too with the rain, that God causes it to fall without discrimination on the just and unjust. Then he tells us to do likewise, to love with abandon and without prejudice. It is love that will save us in the end.

Saint of the day: Alfredo Versoza y Florentin was born on December 9, 1877 at Vigan Ilocos Sur. He was the second among the seven children of Don Alejandro Versoza and Doña Micaela Florentin of the gremio de mestizos of Vigan. After he completed his theological studies at the University of Santo Tomas where he obtained his Degree in Theology, he was ordained a priest on December 24, 1904. During his first years as a priest, he served in a number of parish assignments and was diligent in bringing the gospel and the sacraments even to remote communities.

2676404889_36d714697c_bOn September 6, 1916, Fr. Afredo Versoza was selected the second Bishop of Lipa when he was then 39 years old, and became a bishop on January 20, 1917. He was the fourth Filipino to become a bishop and the first from Northern Luzon. Bishop Versoza opened many catechetical centers and gave importance to them. He founded a religious institute, the Missionary Catechists of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in 1923. He built churches, convents, seminaries, schools, and a monastery. He used his personal money for his priests and the poor.

Various projects of Bishop Versoza were destroyed during the Second World War. Many people were killed including priests and nuns. The most terrible atrocity was the massacre and holocaust of thousands of individuals in the seminary of Lipa. After the war, the bishop was able to source for fund from the Philippine War Damage Commission. With insufficient fund, the bishop was forced to use his personal inheritance for the rebuilding of the damaged edifices. It was at this time that the Bishop built the Carmelite Monastery in the very spot of the massacre occurred.

In 1948, there was a Carmelite Postulant praying at the garden of the monastery. Suddenly, A beautiful lady robed in dazzling clothes appeared. The lady appeared often to the postulant. Later she introduced herself as “Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace.” Shower of roses from the sky were also reported and numerous people witnessed the said phenomenon. One day Bishop Versoza went to observe this alleged phenomenon. At first, the bishop was skeptical. He went to the monastery to tell the nuns including Bishop Alfredo Obviar, who was serving as a monastery chaplain, that they should display prudence. When Bishop Versoza entered the Monastery, roses fell upon him. The bishop was astounded. After some months, the bishop received a letter from Rome asking him to retire as Ordinary of Lipa. Bishop Versoza returned home to Vigan and lived in utter poverty.

On the night of June 27, 1954, Sunday, the bishop died at the age of 76. The bishop’s remains were buried in a mausoleum at the Cathedral of Vigan. The investigation into his his virtues as a first step in the process of canonization began in January 2013.

Spiritual reading: To holy people the very name of Jesus is a name to feed upon, a name to transport. His name can raise the dead and transfigure and beautify the living. (John Henry Newman)


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