Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on July 6, 2013

a8748e974b868b9e6e4f658a4f069dc1_w600Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 9:14-17

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth, for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse. People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: John’s disciples seem genuinely puzzled that Jesus does not teach his disciples to fast as John taught his disciples. They ask Jesus why, but not to set him up as the Pharisees and scribes often used their questions to do, but because they want to understand. Jesus reminds the Baptist’s disciples that he, as the Baptist says in John 3:29, is the bridegroom whose voice John rejoiced to hear. Jesus is implicitly reminding John’s disciples that fasting is something we do when we are sad or regretful, but when the central figure of human history is among us, there is reason for joy. John’s disciples ask Jesus about fasting, but Jesus’ reply is about joy. In other words, Jesus is teaching about the authenticity of our religious practice: what we do for God must not be an empty form but a real expression of an interior disposition. Fast when you mourn, and feast when you rejoice.

Saint of the day: The Servant of God Luisa Guidotti Mistrali was born in Parma, Italy on May 17, 1932. Her father was an engineer. When her mother died in 1947, a maternal aunt came to live with her family to help raise her and her siblings. Formed in the spirituality of Catholic Action, she entered medical school and received her degree in 1962 with a specialization in radiology.

Luisa Guidotti MistraliShe then joined the Association of Women Doctor Missionaries because of her dream to become a missionary in Africa, just like her brothers. Her dream was fulfilled when she was sent to work in Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe). In her first three years, she worked in different hospitals while studying the culture and language of the native people. In 1969, she was sent to the All Souls Hospital in Mutoko, a poor hospital with only six huts and two washrooms. With help from her friends, she turned the straw huts to brick buildings and founded a school for African nurses and an orphanage. Her special concern were the abandoned lepers in the neighboring villages, whom she visited twice a week. The lepers saw in the Italian doctor a sweet and loving sister. But her love was often criticized. The hospital committee further alleged that Dr. Guidotti was over-spending on non-leprosy drugs and “unnecessary” travel expenses.

In 1976, during the civil war, Dr. Guidotti was arrested for helping a wounded guerilla boy without handing him over to the police. The crime was punishable by death. Dictator Ian Smith even called her a “white terrorist.” But Dr. Guidotti was apolitical and took no sides in the conflict. Her hospital was always open to everyone. She was released four days later but not allowed to go near the mission hospital or serve as a doctor. But because of international protest, Dr. Guidotti was fully acquitted of the charges against her.

LUISADr. Guidotti’s life was spared from the dangers of the civil war, but out of love for her people, she returned to the hospital, where she was the only doctor. Dr. Guidotti was left alone with the African nurses, since Sr. Caterina Savini, the head nurse, went back to Italy for a serious operation. She felt the weight of solitude but abandoned herself to God’s will. On July 6, 1979, Dr. Guidotti was driving her marked ambulance alone. She was coming back to the hospital after bringing a woman to the hospital in Nyadiri because of complications with child birth. On the way home, she was stopped by government police on the road just a few miles from her mission. Shot from both sides of the road, she died. Her funeral was attended by a huge crowd of black and white mourners. The diocese of Harare opened an inquiry into her virtues in 1996.

Spiritual reading: It’s worth any sacrifice however great or costly, to see eyes that were listless, light up again; to see someone smile who seemed to have forgotten how to smile; to see trust reborn in someone who no longer believed in anything or Anyone. (Dom Helder Camara)


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