Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on January 31, 2014

Pointillist JesusGospel reading of the day:

Mark 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the Kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”

He said, “To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

Reflection on the gospel reading: Pointillism is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of pure color are applied in patterns to form an image. The artist doesn’t use bush stroke to create an image; rather, she or he uses the tip of the brush to create a dot, and all the dots taken together form an image. I sometimes think of God as a pointillist painter. Each one of us sows. Sometimes we sow good. Sometimes we so bad. We may never understand how what we do contributes to creating the Kingdom of God, but the faith of the Church is that Jesus has already saved the world, and right now, in this already but not yet, we’re just working out the details–the individual dots that ultimately will create the whole picture. We–and the things we do–are the dots in the God’s painting: there’s no way for us to know how we–and what we do–fit into salvation history, but the painting is coming together even so all the same.

Saint of the day: Blessed Maria Cristina of Savoy was born Maria Cristina Carlotta Giuseppa Gaetana Efisia on November 14, 1812. She was the first Queen consort of Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies. She died as a result of childbirth. Maria Cristina was the youngest daughter of King Victor Emmanuel I of Sardinia and Archduchess Maria Teresa of Austria-Este. Her maternal grandparents were Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este and Maria Beatrice Ricciarda d’Este. 502px-Maria_Cristina_di_SavoiaFerdinand was the fourteenth child and third son born to Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor and Maria Theresa of Austria. Maria Beatrice was the eldest daughter of Ercole III d’Este and Maria Teresa Cybo-Malaspina, Duchess of Massa and Princess of Carrara. On November 21, 1832, Maria Cristina married Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies. The bride was 20-years-old and the groom 22. Maria Cristina was described as beautiful but also timid and shy: modest and reserved, she was never comfortable at the royal court. Her relationship to Ferdinand was not happy, and he had little patience for her nervous modesty. She died at the age of 23 on January 31, 1836, after having given birth five days before to her only child, a son who grew up to be the last king of the Two Sicilies. In 1872 she was declared to be a Servant of God and a Venerable in 1837. Her Beatification took place just last week on January 25, 2014 at the Basilica of Santa Chiara, where she is buried.

Spiritual reading: There is a deep and humbling lesson in the way of birds. Their wings grow and stretch and span patches of air. First tentatively and then with confidence, they lift, they pump, they glide, they land. It seems, for birds, it is the act of flying that is the goal. (Mark Nepo)

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