Carry the gospel with you

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

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 8:5-11

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And izcelenie-slugata-stotinkata-01I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: The centurion in today’s gospel has no reasonable claim on Jesus to heal his servant. He is asking for something that violates the laws of nature, and as if this were not already enough to be judged unreasonable, he makes this request as a leader of an occupying army to a carpenter’s son in a backwater of not just the Roman empire but also of Galilee. Advent, however, is the season of unreasonable hopes and expectations. Why should the infinite God of innumerable galaxies, uncountable stars, and unknowable planets choose to become part of creation on our backwater planet, circling an insignificant sun, at the edge of an average galaxy? Why dare we hope that God will do this? How unreasonable is the expectation that God would do such a thing? But the whole Christian story, from a poor son of a virgin and a carpenter, to his ministry in a backwater of the Jewish world, to his healing the servant of his people’s enemy, to the shame of the cross, to the resurrection on the third day is about God’s delight in doing what human beings think absurd. The narrative of the centurion, just like the Advent narrative of God entering human history, is about God’s delight in doing the totally unreasonable and the spectacularly generous.

Saint of the day: Elisa Angela Meneguzzi, who was to become Sister Liduina later in her life, was born on September 12, 1901 in Giarre, near Abano Terme, Padova district. Born into a family of farmers, she developed a life of prayer and study about God. MeneguzziWhen she was 14, she took jobs to serve wealthy families and work in hotels to support her family.

When she was close to her 25th birthday, she entered religious life in the mother house in Pandova of the Sisters of Saint Francis de Sales. She worked as a laundress, a sacristan, a nurse, and a good friend in a board school for girls. In 1937 she realized her ambition to serve in the missions when her superiors sent her to Dire-Dawa in Ethiopia as a missionary. Dire Dawa was cosmpolitan, with people of different origins, religions, and customs. Deeply prayerful, she serves as a nurse in the Parini Civil Hospital which, after the outbreak of the Second World War, became a military hospital. Liduina served injured soldiers, nursing their physical aches, and training herself to see in each suffering soldier the image of Christ.

12_2_ Blessed Liduina MemdguzziShe became well known, and people began to seek out her company and blessing. Local people called her “Sister Gudda” (which means, Great). When the bombings raged on the city and hospital, people commonly implored, “Help, Sister Liduina!” Unconcerned by the risks, she carried the wounded to the shelters and then turned around to run to help others. She bent over the dying to suggest an act of contrition and baptized dying children. She served all, regardless of nationality, race, ethnicity, and religion, living a life of true ecumenism that testified to her belief in the universality of God’s love and embrace.

An incurable disease undermined her health, but she accepted her illness peacefully. She suffered and she lost strength but courageously performed her acts of love among the injured till her last days. At the end she underwent a difficult surgical operation that seemed to go well but resulted in complication that led to death on December 2, 1941. She died at age 40. A doctor who was there said “I’ve never seen someone dying with such joy and bliss.” She was beatified in 2002.

Spiritual reading: All of us are born for a reason, but all of us don’t discover why. Success in life has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others. (Danny Thomas)


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