Carry the gospel with you

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

9d73c30bbcb17325cdf7057f31ad92bb_w600Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 18:21–19:1

Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’ Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ But he refused. Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison until he paid back the debt. Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”

>When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.

Reflection on the gospel reading: The Kingdom of God, Jesus says in today’s gospel, is a place of hospitality. It is a large and open embrace of everyone who simply asks for forgiveness: God never tires of forgiving. Jesus makes it clear that forgiveness is absolutely unconditional except that God does desire one thing in return: that we forgive as we have been forgiven. John of the Cross once wrote a letter to a nun where he counseled that if she didn’t find love someplace, she should put love in that place, and then she would find love there. Jesus is saying something similar here. If there is no forgiveness in a place, put forgiveness in that place, and you will find forgiveness there. In Luke 6:37, Jesus is explicit, Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Jesus doesn’t say, just try. Jesus doesn’t say, Forgive, except when someone has hurt you in this way or that. Jesus simply says that if we want out of the burden of our bad past, we have to let go of the burden of the past, and the burden of the past includes not just what we did but what others have done, too. Stopping judging, stopping condemning, and forgiving are the conditions of not being judged, not being condemned, and being forgiven because a place free of judgment and condemnation and full of forgiveness, by definition, doesn’t include the presence of anyone who judges, condemns, and holds grudges.

Saint of the day: Born in 1900 in Santa Lucia del Piave near Venice, Claudio Granzotto was the youngest of nine children and was accustomed to hard work in the fields. At the age of nine he lost his father. Six years later he was drafted into the Italian army, where he served more than three years.

imagesHis artistic abilities, especially in sculpture, led to studies at Venice’s Academy of Fine Arts, which awarded him a diploma with the highest marks in 1929. Even then he was especially interested in religious art. When Claudio entered the Friars Minor four years later, his parish priest wrote, “The Order is receiving not only an artist but a saint.” Claudio developed into such an excellent sculptor that his work still turns people toward God. No stranger to adversity, he met every obstacle courageously, reflecting the generosity, faith and joy that he learned from Francis of Assisi. Prayer, charity to the poor and artistic work characterized his life, which was cut short by a brain tumor. He died on the feast of the Assumption in 1947 and was beatified in 1994.

Spiritual reading: It is a terrifying thing to have been born: I mean to find one’s self, without having willed it, swept irrevocably along on a torrent of fearful energy which seems as though it wished to destroy everything it carries with it. What I want, my God, is that by a reversal of forces which you alone can bring about, my terror in the face of the nameless changes destined to renew my being may be turned into an overflowing joy at being transformed into You. (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.)


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