Carry the gospel with you

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

c6f35e43ac7b97671069f5fec8359677_w600Gospel reading of the day:

John 8:21-30

Jesus said to the Pharisees: “I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come.” So the Jews said, “He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?” He said to them, “You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning. I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true, and what I heard from him I tell the world.” They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.

So Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me. The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him.” Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.

Reflection on the gospel: Often in the gospels when Jesus reflects on his identity, he mentions his suffering. The question of his identity in a discussion with his disciples that prompts Peter to confess that Jesus is the messiah, for example, ends with Jesus’ prediction of his passion. In this gospel passage, Jesus says, “When you lift up the Son of Man,” we will know who he is. The lifting up of the Son of Man, of course, is a reference to the cross. Jesus tells us we cannot know him without understanding his complete annihilation on the cross and embracing his utter defeat.

Saint of the day: Carlos Armando Bustos Crostelli, O.F.M. Cap. was an Argentinian Capuchin, who was born in Córdoba, Argentina, in about 1943. He entered the Capuchin friars as a young teenager and did his studies at their local houses of formation. He was ordained a priest in 1970. After that, along with another friar named Pedro, he went to live in an impoverished section of Buenos Aires.

Immersing himself in the life of the severely poor drew Bustos to seek a deeper identification with the people among whom he lived. While maintaining a joyful demeanor, playing on his guitar, and cheering his colleagues with his jokes, the work he was doing to help the poor was bringing him into conflict with the Argentinian government. Carlos Armando BustosThis drew him into a close collaboration with a small community of Little Brothers of the Gospel, a semi-contemplative religious order dedicated to sharing the lives of the poorest of the earth. His collaboration with Little Brother Patrick Rice, a native of Ireland, led him to start considering a transfer from the Capuchins to that congregation. To support himself, as well as sharing in the daily life of a working person, he started to drive a taxi. He was also in close touch with the Movement of Priests for the Third World. These were dangerous connections to have in Argentina under the Peronist government. The summer of 1974 saw the widespread killing of members of the Catholic clergy and religious orders throughout Argentina, as the government attempted to consolidate its power and crack down on dissent. On July 4, a small community of members of the Pallotine Congregation were murdered in their church, followed a month later by the mysterious death of the Bishop of La Rioja, Enrique Angelelli. This wave of death of the clergy and lay leaders in the Church led Bustos to begin criticizing the government publicly for its campaign against the Church.

Bustos was part of a team of members of the clergy who went to La Rioja to investigate the bishop’s death. In September 1976, he was among the members who released a document accusing the government of Angelelli’s death as part of a campaign against the Catholic Church for its commitment to working with the poor. The document gained international attention. Early the following year, he met with his bishop, Cardinal Raúl Francisco Primatesta, who was also the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Argentina, and was known to be have close ties to the leaders of the military junta then ruling the country. He was seeking the cardinal’s help in stopping the attacks on priests and other members of the Church who engaged in work for the poor. The cardinal was noncommittal.

On April 8, 1977, Bustos was returning home after participating in services at the Church of the Rosary of Nueva Pompeya for Holy Thursday, the start of the Easter Triduum. He was stopped on the street by the police and arrested. It was later learned that he was then taken to a secret detention center, known as the “Athletic Club” (Spanish: Club Atlético), where he was tortured and interrogated. Nothing more was ever learned of his fate. Repeated requests by family members and the Capuchin friars brought no response from the military or government officials.

Spiritual reading: Love is the only satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. (Erich Fromm)


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