Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on April 7, 2014

6b9ad0bc60f94d9e35c7fd235740f0e0_w600Gospel reading of the day:

John 8:1-11

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: The moment of engagement with Jesus transforms us. The scribes, the Pharisees, and the woman caught in adultery all come to Jesus preoccupied by their personal agendas. The scribes and Pharisees come to manipulate both circumstances and the woman to lay a trap for Jesus. The woman presumably comes in terror for her safety with no reason to believe she will live through the day. No one in the gospel passage approaches Jesus with an anticipation of his effect on them, and yet they all leave changed by their brief encounter. At his word, the scribes and Pharisees grow strangely humble, conscious of their personal fragility, and honest about their individual brokenness. The woman caught in adultery leaves not just glad to be alive but with more than that: she is forgiven and encouraged to become something new. The moment of encounter with Jesus is about surprise, self-knowledge, and unanticipated possibilities.

Saint of the day: The Servant of God Flavio Corrà was born into an affectionate and large family in Salizzole in Italy on April 7, 1917. He received his early education in elementary school and through private lessons. He joined Catholic Action as an adolescent. When he enrolled in Angelo Messedaglia Liceo Scientifico in 1934, he organized Catholic Action in the school. brothers CorraHis commitment to Catholic Action grew as time went by as he took part in spiritual and organizational activities at the diocesan and national levels. He and his younger brother, the Servant of God Gedeone Corrà, respectively served as president and vice president of Catholic Action in their parish, conducting meetings of 90 young people. In these meetings, they would read the gospel, conduct discussions, and organize the catechetical program and group events. The two brothers went to church each morning and were daily communicants before they had to rush to catch the train to Verona to attend school.

Flavio Corrà was hired after high school as a teacher of mathematics. In 1939 he enrolled at the University of Padua in the School of Mathematics and Physics. Flavio felt drawn to religious life, but he also was attracted to a particular young woman. His spiritual director recommended that marriage suited him better than religious life, but Flavio was torn. He spent time in intense prayer, reading scripture, and journaling for a year before he asked the young woman’s father if he could date her. On December 3, 1941, Flavio was called up for military service. He wrote 153 letters and cards to his girlfriend discussing his vision of the married life as a program for becoming holy. He proposed plans to live with her as husband and wife lay missionaries in distant lands or among immigrants. These cards and letters attest to Flavio’s sense that marriage was a mission given by God. He proposed to her that marriage would be the means they both became saints. While serving in the army, he spoke frequently of the gospel and was seen with his rosary. Once time while on leave from the military, he taught children catechism.

92100CAfter Benito Mussolini was deposed, Flavio abandoned military service and resisted German orders that he reenlist. Eventually, he joined the National Liberation Committee of his town and supported relief efforts after bombings there on January 28, 1944 that left 32 dead and many others homeless. Flavio and his brother Gedeone remained in hiding with relatives until their arrest by the fascists on the night of November 22, 1944. After cruel interrogations, they were handed over to the German SS on December 1, loaded onto a truck five days later, and transferred to camps. The last letter Flavio’s family received from him was on January 19, 1945. On January 18, he and Gedeone had been among 420 prisoners crammed together in six rail cars that traveled for 96 hours to the extermination camp of Flossenburg in Upper Bavaria. More than 50 of those passengers died en route to the camp. With little food, hard work in the stone quarry, and unhygienic conditions without medical care, the two brothers never abandoned their faith, praying always, and comforting as far as they could other destitute prisoners. The brothers died in cruel circumstances: Gedeone Corrà, on March 7, 1945 and Flavio Corrà, a month later on April 7. The cause for the two brothers’ canonizations opened in 2000.

Spiritual reading: It is said of a certain Talmudic master that the paths of Heaven were as bright to him as the streets of his native town. Hasidism inverts the other: It is a greater thing if the streets of a man’s native town are as bright to him as the paths of Heaven. For it is here, where we stand, that we should try to make shine the light of the hidden divine life. (Martin Buber)


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