Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 8, 2014

christ-pantocratorGospel reading of the day:

Luke 5:27-32

Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him. Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: It has been said that the meaning of life is in the giving and receiving of love. Jesus gives love without condition: even tax collectors, reviled and rejected within their own culture, benefit from profligacy of his love–even so far as to receive a call to follow him: to walk with him, share his table, sleep together in the same field. Levi’s capacity to receive love is witnessed by his invitation to Jesus to share a great banquet with all of Levi’s friends. This exchange between Jesus and Levi is a gift giving where the gifts are Jesus for Levi, and Levi for Jesus. The gifts Jesus gives to Levi, joy and acceptance, transform Levi by awakening in him the capacity to give joy and acceptance to Jesus in return. It is this kind of transformation–the resurrection of Levi–which lies at the heart of the Easter mystery which Lent calls us to enter.

Saint of the day: The Servant of God Luigia (Ginetta) Calliari was born in a small town near Trent, Italy in October 1918 into a humble family of deeply Christian experience. Her family all called her postwar daughter because of her strong, rebellious, and restless character. She later said of her youth, “I was looking for happiness in literature, art, philosophy, science, one field or the other.” Instead, she found emptiness, loneliness, and suffering. Nevertheless, she felt deeply attracted to the beauty of God. She encountered Chiara Lubich, the founder of the Focalare Movement, in 1944. luigia-calliariGinetta Calliari felt an immediate and radical cohesion to Chiara’s ideal: an unconditional ‘yes’ to God who, in 1959, brought her and a small group of Focolarini to Brazil, where a small community of young people were attracted by the ideal of unity. Arriving on Brazilian soil, the blatant gap between rich and poor left a deep mark on her. In the years that followed, Ginetta worked hard to relieve the misery of the poor in Brazil.

The years that followed saw the multiplication of Focolarini in Brazil, where there are now over 300,000 members of the movement; much of this is thanks to Ginetta’s faith in carrying out the will of God. Based on her experiences in the 1970s and 1980s, she wrote a book called, The Gospel: Strength of the Poor. “Right from the beginning we felt that God alone, by changing people’s hearts, had the power resolve the social problems,” Ginetta said. “I didn’t bring the iron cross that I’d received as a child with me, but the living crucifix that I found in the heart of the people I met.” Ginetta worked to inculcate the inspirations of Chiara Lubich on Brazilian soil: economy of communion and political movement for unity. When Ginetta spoke about the industrial center of the Focolare town founded in Brazil, she said, “I see just how much those who visit are impressed; they say, ‘This is what the world should be like. Here we find happiness.” Ginetta died on March 8, 2001. The bishop of the Brazilian diocese where she died, opened her cause for beatification on March 8, 2007, noting, “Ginetta led people not only to encounter Jesus, but also the commitment to live the Christian vocation in society, a path of holiness which raised transformations, opening new perspectives.” The diocese concluded its investigation and forwarded her cause to Rome on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2013.

Spiritual reading: Service doesn’t start when you have something to give; it blossoms naturally when you have nothing left to take. (Nipun Mehta)


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