Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on January 2, 2014

4073a9a23f8ce44692e90145ced16121_w600Gospel reading of the day:

John 1:19-28

This is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, “Who are you?” He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Christ.” So they asked him, “What are you then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?” He said: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” Some Pharisees were also sent. They asked him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Reflection on the gospel reading: The scriptures suggest in several places that even after the death and resurrection of Jesus, John the Baptist continued to be revered by a core group of his most faithful disciples. The followers of the Jesus movement seem to have taken deliberate steps to connect and subordinate John’s ministry to Jesus’ as a response to the Baptist’s followers: John enjoyed a nonpareil greatness, to be sure, it seems the early Church wished to assure them, but even John acknowledged that he was not fit to untie the sandals of the one coming after him. It appears that both in life and death, John stirred imaginations and caused questions about who he was and what he was doing. He lived his life so radically dedicated to his perception of his vocation from God that it represented a sort of in-your-face challenge to the status quo of his contemporaries’ daily existence, ruffled feathers, and caused anxiety and confusion. John lived his life as a prophetic call to the people around him. His life challenged them to reconsider who they were and what their relationships was to themselves, one another, their neighborhoods, and the world. And his life challenges us to do the same.

Saint of the day: The Servant of God Marcello Inguscio was born in June 1934. Marcello’s wife, the Servant of God Anna Maria Ritter was born in August 1938. He was Catholic; she was Protestant. Both these Italians were musicians and interested in helping the sick. They met studying music and were reacquainted in a slum in Catania. They prayed together and dedicated themselves to volunteer work among the sick and elderly.

inguscio09When they decided to marry, Marcello and Anna made an agreement. Marcello studied Protestant theology and Anna, Catholicism. Anna fell in love with the Eucharist. They married in 1968. Forty of their wedding guests were handicapped. And the newlyweds spent their wedding reception feeding the handicapped.

When they set up their house, they made their living room as a chapel, which became one of the first base communities promoted by Missione Chiesa-Mondo (the Mission Church-World). The couple had two daughters, Marietta and Lucia. The girls thought it was normal to always have drug addicts and sick people as guests in their home. They regularly set up cots in the living room and the kitchen to accommodate people in need of a place to sleep, and Anna Maria regularly prepared extra food at meals with the anticipation that someone would arrive needing to be fed. Volunteerism wasn’t a hobby in the Inguscio household; it was a lifestyle. “For my parents service to others was fused with daily activities,” recalls their daughter Lucy.

January 2 was coincidentally the date of each of their deaths, except that 10 years to the day separated the two events. Anna died of cancer on January 2, 1986. Marcello died of a heart attack on January 2, 1996. The Missione Chiesa-Mondo continues their work. The cause for their beatifications opened in 2001.

Spiritual reading: The more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most. (Thomas Merton)


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