Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on July 23, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 12:46-50

While Jesus was speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to 91247e5b702c2e68b985d8221450e593_w600speak with you.” But he said in reply to the one who told him, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: The gospel passage contrasts two kinds of relationship with Jesus. The first relationship, familial kinship, the natural bonds of affection which connect siblings to one another and their parents powerfully pulls on our psyches. It bears all the weight of shared genes and history, and Jesus in this passage is not belittling the importance of such relationships. In fact, in the implicit acknowledgement of the importance of such relationships, he is pointing to the proportionate weight of a relationship he perceives as even more essential. Jesus is saying that no matter how important family is, the deepest relationship is the one which results from our connection to God. When another believer is mother to us, such a person nurtures us in a life of faith, hope, and love. When another believer is sister to us, such a person sticks with us through the good times and rough patches. When another believer is brother to us, such a person has our back and guards us when we are most vulnerable. Blood may be thicker than water, but baptismal water is thicker than blood.

Saint of the day: From age seven on, Bridget had visions of Christ crucified. Her visions formed the basis for her activity—always with the emphasis on charity rather than spiritual favors.

She lived her married life in the court of the Swedish king Magnus II. Mother of eight children (the second eldest was St. Catherine of Sweden), she lived the strict life of a penitent after her husband’s death.

Bridget constantly strove to exert her good influence over Magnus; while never fully reforming, he did give her land and buildings to found a monastery for men and women. This group eventually expanded into an Order known as the Bridgetines (still in existence).

In 1350, a year of jubilee, Bridget braved a plague-stricken Europe to make a pilgrimage to Rome. Although she never returned to Sweden, her years in Rome were far from happy, being hounded by debts and by opposition to her work against Church abuses.

A final pilgrimage to the Holy Land, marred by shipwreck and the death of her son, Charles, eventually led to her death in 1373. In 1999, she, Saints Catherine of Siena and Edith Stein were named co-patronesses of Europe.

Spiritual reading: Grace, like water, flows to the lowest part. (Philip Yancey)


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