CACINA

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on September 9, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 6:6-11

On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely to see if he would cure on the sabbath so that they might discover a reason to accuse him. But he realized their intentions and said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up and stand before us.” And he rose and 64e588a6a35eb0deed00f823e1fe1c69_w600stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” Looking around at them all, he then said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so and his hand was restored. But they became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.

Reflection on the gospel reading: Jesus models personal integrity when he stands up for what is right without regard to the opinion of other people or concern about the fallout from his choices. In this passage, the man with the withered hand apparently does not ask Jesus for anything: he simply sits there in need. Jesus recognizes a need without anyone pointing it out. Conscious that the scribes and the Pharisees will take offense at a healing on the sabbath, Jesus asks whether it is lawful to do good and save life on the day of rest? Unbidden and unchallenged but aware of needs and perspectives of both the disabled man, and the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus takes a stand for doing what is right. There are three consequences that followed from Jesus’ choice in this circumstance. The first is the scribes and Pharisee’s collusion to get revenge, the second is the disabled man’s hand being restored, and the third is that Jesus emerged from the interaction with his conscience intact for doing the right thing without consideration of the consequences.

Saint of the day: A man convinced of the inestimable worth of each human being, Frédéric served the poor of Paris well and drew others into serving the poor of the world. Through the St. Vincent de Paul Society, his work continues to the present day. Born in 1813, Frédéric was the fifth of Jean and Marie Ozanam’s 14 children, one of only three to reach adulthood. As a teenager he began having doubts about his religion. Reading and prayer did not seem to help, but long walking discussions with Father Noirot of the Lyons College clarified matters a great deal. Frédéric wanted to study literature, although his father, a doctor, wanted him to become a lawyer. Frédéric yielded to his father’s wishes and in 1831 arrived in Paris to study law at the University of the Sorbonne. When certain professors there mocked Catholic teachings in their lectures, Frédéric defended the Church.

ozanamA discussion club which Frédéric organized sparked the turning point in his life. In this club Catholics, atheists and agnostics debated the issues of the day. Once, after Frédéric spoke about Christianity’s role in civilization, a club member said: “Let us be frank, Mr. Ozanam; let us also be very particular. What do you do besides talk to prove the faith you claim is in you?” Frédéric was stung by the question. He soon decided that his words needed a grounding in action. He and a friend began visiting Paris tenements and offering assistance as best they could. Soon a group dedicated to helping individuals in need under the patronage of St. Vincent de Paul formed around Frédéric. Feeling that the Catholic faith needed an excellent speaker to explain its teachings, Frédéric convinced the Archbishop of Paris to appoint Father Lacordaire, the greatest preacher then in France, to preach a Lenten series in Notre Dame Cathedral. It was well attended and became an annual tradition in Paris.

After Frédéric earned his law degree at the Sorbonne, he taught law at the University of Lyons. He also earned a doctorate in literature. Soon after marrying Amelie Soulacroix on June 23, 1841, he returned to the Sorbonne to teach literature. A well-respected lecturer, Frédéric worked to bring out the best in each student. Meanwhile, the St. Vincent de Paul Society was growing throughout Europe. Paris alone counted 25 conferences. In 1846, Frédéric, Amelie, and their daughter Marie went to Italy; there he hoped to restore his poor health. They returned the next year. imagesThe revolution of 1848 left many Parisians in need of the services of the St. Vincent de Paul conferences. The unemployed numbered 275,000. The government asked Frédéric and his co-workers to supervise the government aid to the poor. Vincentians throughout Europe came to the aid of Paris. Frédéric then started a newspaper, The New Era, dedicated to securing justice for the poor and the working classes. Fellow Catholics were often unhappy with what Frédéric wrote. Referring to the poor man as “the nation’s priest,” Frédéric said that the hunger and sweat of the poor formed a sacrifice that could redeem the people’s humanity

In 1852 poor health again forced Frédéric to return to Italy with his wife and daughter. He died on the Feat of the Nativity of Mary, September 8, 1853. In his sermon at Frédéric’s funeral, Lacordaire described his friend as “one of those privileged creatures who came direct from the hand of God in whom God joins tenderness to genius in order to enkindle the world.” Frédéric was beatified in 1997.

Spiritual reading: The order of society is based on two virtues: justice and charity. However, justice presupposes a lot of love already, for one needs to love a man a great deal in order to respect his rights, which limit our rights, and his liberty, which hampers our liberty. Justice has its limits whereas charity knows none. (Frederic Ozanam)

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One Response

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  1. johnathanness said, on September 9, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    I’ve always liked that story. Jesus never backed down when He knew He was right…and He was always right. I also find it interesting that He rarely spoke a harsh word to anyone but the Pharisees or Sadducees, those who thought they were right and were leading others astray with their teachings. With those who were lost, He was nearly always gentle.


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