Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on August 20, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 19:23-30

Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For 41faaa7e4777c9ed982a835637ea1aa8_w600men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Then Peter said to him in reply, “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: There is a theory that is popular and pervasive in our culture that not only is wealth good but that people who do not enjoy prosperity are bad. Many people who get red in the face professing their belief in Jesus hold this notion and act it out in the public square. Jesus was ambiguous about many things, but about wealth, poverty, and the duty of people who have to the people who do not have, Jesus could not have been clearer. To have anything in excess while there are those who lack basic necessities is a sin. When we receive our baptism, we take on a commitment to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, care for the sick, and visit the prisoner. This extends from the coins we fail to give the homeless guy on the street, to cutting food stamp benefits, to not providing healthcare to the marginalized. Anyone who fails to care for the poor, or still worse, declares war on them, sets himself or herself against God.

Georg HäfnerSaint of the day: Georg Häfner came from humble origins – his father Valentin Haefner was a municipal worker. He was born in October 1900 in Würzburg, Germany and baptized in the cathedral parish. In 1918 he passed the exam for military school. However, his parents also allowed him to study theology and two years after beginning to do so, he joined the Third Order of Discalced Carmelites. On April 13, 1924, Georg Häfner was ordained a priest and celebrated his first mass at the Kloster Himmelspforten in Würzburg. This was followed by several terms as a chaplain, before he was appointed pastor of Oberschwarzach in Franconia in 1934.

Häfner refused to give the Nazi salute, which made him unpopular to the Nazi regime as chaplain of the Altglashuetten district of Wildflecken. From 1938 onwards he was banned from giving Georg Häfnerreligious education at the local school in Oberschwarzach, meaning he had to hold first communion and confirmation classes in secret. Due to critical remarks against the Nazi regime in his teaching and preaching–he is said to have referred to them, among other things, as “brown dung beetles”–he was frequently arrested and questioned by the Gestapo.

In August 1941 a seriously-ill member of the Nazi party asked Häfner to come to give him the last rites. Häfner came as requested, but left the party-member to sign a deathbed confession that the man had violated a certain discipline of the Church. After reading a statement in church the following Sunday that the man was to be buried in church, Häfner was denounced by a second party member and arrested by the Gestapo. He was initially held in the Gestapo prison in Würzburg. Although Vicar-General Franz Miltenberger interceded for him, Häfner was moved to the so-called ‘priest block’ at Dachau on December 12, 1941 without a court-order. His prisoner number was 28876. He died there on August 20, 1942 from the effects of abuse and malnutrition. He was buried in the priests’ section of Würzburg’s Hauptfriedhof cemetery on September 18, 1942. He was beatified in 2011.

Spiritual reading: The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry. The garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of one who is naked. The shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of one who is barefoot. The money you keep locked away is the money of the poor. The acts of charity you do not perform are so many injustices you commit. (Basil the Great)


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