CACINA

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on November 11, 2013

6348e40279a70781b8985e59f8cdd035_w600Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 17:1-6

He said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the person through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive him.” And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Today’s gospel reading gives us a collection of sayings by Jesus about sin and faith. Jesus shows himself to be a realist about the human condition, that sin inevitably will occur, but he also teaches us that despite the inevitability of wrong doing, we are not powerless. He observes that we have a responsibility to avoid harming others, particularly those who are the weakest and most dependent. Paul the apostle elsewhere in scripture instructs us that God allows us weakness that we can learn to trust God. Perhaps reflective of that perspective on sin and grace, Jesus calls us to be full of faith and trust that great things will come to pass.

Saint of the day: Martin of Tours may have lived in the fourth century, but his story is full of resonance for people who have lives in the 20th and 21st centuries. A conscientious objector who wanted to be a monk; a monk who was maneuvered into being a bishop; a bishop who fought paganism as well as pleaded for mercy to heretics—such was Martin of Tours, one of the most popular of saints and one of the first not to be a martyr.

martin-of-toursBorn of pagan parents in about 316 in what is now Hungary and raised in Italy, this son of a veteran was forced at the age of 15 to serve in the army. He became a Christian catechumen and was baptized at 18. It was said that he lived more like a monk than a soldier. At 23, he refused a war bonus and told his commander: “I have served you as a soldier; now let me serve Christ. Give the bounty to those who are going to fight. But I am a soldier of Christ and it is not lawful for me to fight.” After great difficulties, he was discharged and went to be a disciple of Hilary of Poitiers. He was ordained an exorcist and worked with great zeal against the Arians. He became a monk, living first at Milan and later on a small island. When Hilary was restored to his see after exile, Martin returned to France and established what may have been the first French monastery near Poitiers. He aa-StMartinlived there for 10 years, forming his disciples and preaching throughout the countryside. The people of Tours demanded that he become their bishop. He was drawn to that city by a ruse—the need of a sick person—and was brought to the church, where he reluctantly allowed himself to be consecrated bishop. Some of the consecrating bishops thought his rumpled appearance and unkempt hair indicated that he was not dignified enough for the office.

A Bishop named Ithacius promoted the principle of putting heretics to death; Martin rejected this as well as the intrusion of the emperor into such matters. He prevailed upon the emperor to spare the life of the heretic Priscillian. For his efforts, Martin was accused of the same heresy, and Priscillian was executed after all. Martin then pleaded for a cessation of the persecution of Priscillian’s followers in Spain. He still felt he could cooperate with Ithacius in other areas, but afterwards his conscience troubled him about this decision.

As death approached, his followers begged him not to leave them. He prayed, “Lord, if your people still need me, I do not refuse the work. Your will be done.” He died in 397.

Spiritual reading: Do not forget that the value and interest of life is not so much to do conspicuous things…as to do ordinary things with the perception of their enormous value. (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin , S.J.)

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