Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on September 2, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 4:16-30

Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Is this not the son of Joseph?” He said to them, “Surely you ac158cff14a713ab48db9f787b09b1bf_w600will quote me this proverb, ‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’” And he said, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

Reflection on the gospel reading: Jesus is someone in whom the Spirit of God moves. A prayerful man, he is concerned for the poor and vulnerable. He is tender and compassionate. Creating joy in his wake, he both heals and liberates. The life of Jesus models and patterns the life of the Christian. If the life of Jesus is about bringing glad tidings to the poor, our lives are to do the same. If the life of Jesus means liberty for captives, we are to unlock all the prisons–spiritual, psychological, and physical–that entrap people. If Jesus brings healing and liberation to establish God’s reign, then this call is ours as well.

Saint of the day: The Servant of God Józef Cyrek was born in a village 21 miles south of Krakow, Poland on September 13, 1904 in the family of Józef Cyrek, a farmer, and his wife Barbara who died when Cyrek was 18-months’ old. Józef from a young age had to help out with the family’s work on the farm. He entered the Society of Jesus on December 6, 1924. He studied philosophy in Krakow and theology at Louvain in Belgium. Józef CyrekHe was ordained to the priesthood on August 24, 1934. After his return to Poland in 1935 Father Cyrek worked for the religious publisher, the Publications of the Apostleship of Prayer in Krakow, the oldest Catholic publishing house in Poland. In 1938 he became the editor of the periodical “The Host,” an organ of the Eucharistic Crusade, becoming the chief secretary of the movement. In May of the same year, he participated in the 34th Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, Hungary. As a writer Father Cyrek authored two biographies, one of Piotr Skarga (1536–1612), a Counter-Reformation figure, published in 1936; and another of Stanislaus Kostka, a Pole who died as a Jesuit novice and subsequently was canonized: Cyrek’s biography of Kostka was published in 1937. A simple catechism that Józef Cyrek wrote for children in 1938 has been widely praised. He was also a prolific contributor to different magazines.

On November 6, 1939, just sixty-six days after the Nazi invasion of Poland, the Gestapo carried out an operation in which virtually all of the professors of the Jagiellonian University of Cracow were arrested and imprisoned in the Montelupich prison in Krakow as part of the larger plan of Nazi Germany to eliminate all Polish intelligentsia. Four days later, on November 10, Father Cyrek was arrested by the Gestapo together with 24 other Jesuits of the Jesuit College of Krakow. Although the Jesuits were never informed of the reasons for their arrest, it was clear that they auschwits-birkenauopposed the vision of the Nazis and for that reason were treated as the enemies of the Third Reich. After a detention of 43 days at Montelupich, the arrested Jesuits were transferred to the notorious Gestapo prison at Wiśnicz, which was in reality a Nazi extermination camp in which prisoners were worked to death. On June 20, 1940, after six months at Wiśnicz, Father Cyrek, together with the other Jesuit prisoners, was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, then in the process of being formed.

At Auschwitz Father Cyrek was accorded a particularly brutal treatment in a penal company whose grueling tasks in­clud­ed pushing an enormous road roller with which they had to level the roll-call ground. In addition, he was singled out for special tortures associated with the taunts directed at his Christian faith. Józef Cyrek died in the camp’s infirmary as a result of exhaustion, starvation, and the beatings he had received on Sep­tem­ber 2. 1940, seventy-four days after arrival in Auschwitz and nine months and 23 days after the initial arrest. He was the first of the group of Jesuit prisoners arrested on November 10, 1939 to die in captivity. Father Cyrek was 35-years’ old — just eleven days short of his thirty-sixth birthday. Józef Cyrek is currently one of the 122 Polish martyrs of the Second World War who are included in a beatification process initiated in 1994.

Spiritual reading: The one who has found love eats and drinks Christ every day and hour… Blessed are those who consume the bread of love, which is Jesus! Whoever eats of love eats Christ, the God over all, as John bears witness, saying, “God is love.” (Isaac of Syria)


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