Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on December 10, 2013

178f577bc6010ff47c5e84168a6c0a5f_w600Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 18:12-14

Jesus said to his disciples: “What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”

Reflection on the gospel of the day: Our waiting for Jesus in Advent is a renewal of hope as the gospel reminds us that it is not the will of our heavenly Father that even one of us be lost, Jesus tells us. The evidence of God’s relationship to us and God’s desire for our salvation is all around us. It is so woven into the fabric of our lives that God is working to make us whole and happy. We only have to stop, look, and think, and we shall find God there, telling us things that we perhaps take for granted but things which are life affirming and life saving when we consider them in the awareness that not one of us is anything other than the keenest point of God’s awareness and work. We watch and wait not for judgment and doom but for compassion and grace.

Saint of the day: The rise of the factory system in 19th-century Germany brought many single men into cities where they faced new challenges to their faith. Father Adolph Kolping began a ministry to them, hoping that they would not be lost to the Catholic faith, as was happening to workers elsewhere in industrialized Europe.

Adolph_KolpingBorn in the village of Kerpen in 1813, Adolph became a shoemaker at an early age because of his family’s economic situation. Ordained in 1845, he ministered to young workers in Cologne, establishing a choir, which by 1849 had grown into the Young Workmen’s Society. A branch of this began in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1856. Nine years later there were over 400 Gesellenvereine (workman’s societies) around the world. Today this group has over 400,000 members in 54 countries across the globe.

More commonly called the Kolping Society, it emphasizes the sanctification of family life and the dignity of labor. Father Kolping worked to improve conditions for workers and greatly assisted those in need. He and St. John Bosco in Turin had similar interests in working with young men in big cities. He told his followers, “The needs of the times will teach you what to do.” Father Kolping once said, “The first thing that a person finds in life and the last to which he holds out his hand, and the most precious that he possesses, even if he does not realize it, is family life.”

Kopling died in December 1865. He and Blessed John Duns Scotus are buried in Cologne’s Minoritenkirche, originally served by the Conventual Franciscans. The Kolping Society’s international headquarters are across from this church. Kolping members journeyed to Rome from Europe, America, Africa, Asia and Oceania for Father Kolping’s beatification in 1991.

waitingSpiritual reading: The times are difficult. They call for courage and faith. Faith is in the end a lonely virtue. Lonely especially where a deeply authentic community of love is not an accomplished fact, but a job to be begun over and over; I am not referring to Gethsemani, where there is a respectable amount of love, but to all Christian communities in general. Love is not something we get from Mother Church as a child gets milk from the breast; it also has to be given. We don’t get any love if we don’t give any . . . Christmas then is not just a sweet regression to breast feeding and infancy. It is a serious and sometimes difficult feast. Difficult especially if for psychological reasons we fail to grasp the indestructible kernel of Hope that is in it. If we are just looking for a little consolation we may be disappointed. Let us pray for one another, love one another in truth, in the sobriety of earnest Christian hope, for hope, says Paul, does not deceive. (Thomas Merton)


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