Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on July 4, 2013

ac33beefe2015cf0e5d061e029898932_w600Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 9:1-8

After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town. And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”

At that, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why do you harbor evil thoughts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”

He rose and went home. When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to men.

Reflection on the gospel reading: Jesus’ concern is for the whole person–for the health of the broken body of the paralytic as well as the integrity of the person’s spirit. The law of God’s reign is love, and when Jesus heals diseases of the body and the soul–when we imitate his example and heal physical and spiritual wounds of the world–our love evidences that the reign of God is in our midst.

Saint of the day: Pier Giorgio Frassati was born April 6, 1901 in Turin into a wealthy family, who owned a newspaper called La Stampa. Though an average student, Frassati was known among his peers for his devotion and piety. He was dedicated to works of social action, charity, prayer and community. A daily communicant who recited the rosary each day, he still was known among his friends for his practical jokes and love of cigars.

He was involved with Catholic youth and student groups, the Apostleship of Prayer, Catholic Action, and was a third order Dominican. He would often say, “Charity is not enough; we need social reform.” He helped establish a newspaper entitled Momento, whose principles were based on Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical: Rerum Novarum. He joined the St Vincent de Paul Society in 1918 and spent much of his time helping the poor.

Despite his family’s enormous wealth and power, Frassati’s father was austere and never gave his children too much spending money. Frassati, however, donated most or all of his money to people he saw as more “needy” than he was, and as a result he became accustomed to giving his train-fare to the poor and running back home or riding in third class. Pier Giorgio by day, and even many night each week would sneak out of his house after his family had gone to bed, to take supplies, such as food, medicine, and even flowers to the poorest of the poor. He accomplished his work in such stealth that no one who was close to him knew of the extent of this work, which he did most days of the week, until after his death.

Despite the many organizations to which Frassati belonged, he was not a passive “joiner”; records show that he was active and involved in each, fulfilling all the duties of membership. He was strongly anti-fascist and did nothing to hide his political views.

Participating in a Church-organized demonstration in Rome, he withstood police violence and rallied the other young people by grabbing the banner which the police had knocked out of someone else’s hands. He held it even higher while using the pole to ward off their blows. When the demonstrators were arrested by the police, he refused special treatment that he might have received because of his father’s political position, preferring to stay with his friends. One night a group of fascists broke into his family’s home to attack him and his father, but Frassati beat them off single-handedly chasing them down the street.

Just 24 years old, Frassati died on July 4, 1925 of polio which people generally believed he contracted from his work with the marginalized. His family expected Turin’s elite and political figures to come to offer their condolences and attend the funeral; they naturally expected to find many of his friends there as well. They were surprised, however, to find as the cortege passed through the city that the streets were lined with thousands of mourners, who included the innumerable destitute persons whom Pier Giorgio had helped. Poor people from the city petitioned the Archbishop of Turin to begin the cause for canonization. The process was opened in 1932 and he was beatified on May 20, 1990.

Spiritual reading: To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth, that is not living, but existing. (Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati)


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