Carry the gospel with you

Posted in Called, christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion by Mike on June 9, 2014

f68c91ca3a703c101cc9546d0bc229d8_w600Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. he began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: This passage starts the three chapters of Matthew’s gospel called the Sermon on the Mount. It begins with a sentence that gets glossed over even though it is crammed with meaning: When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. When Jesus sees the crowds, he does something specifically in response: he goes up the mountain and takes a seat. These are not empty gestures. God began God’s career as the God of Israel as a mountain God. When Jesus goes up the mountain, it resonates with a sense of the closeness of God in what Jesus is doing. Moreover, in the ancient world, a teacher who taught with authority, taught sitting down. So Jesus’ response to seeing the crowd–all of us really by extension–is to assume the role of a teacher. But it is not the crowds who come to listen to his teaching: rather, the ones who come to him are a smaller group, his disciples. The opening of the Sermon on the Mount then seems to say that though many are called, only a few actually listen.

Saint of the day: Jose Anchieta, S.J., the apostle of Brazil, was born on March 19, 1534 at San Cristobal de la Laguna, Canary Islands, Spain. The son of a wealthy and prominent family, and possibly related to Saint Ignatius of Loyola, he was educated in Portugal. He became a Jesuit in 1551 at age 17.

A missionary to Brazil, he arrived in July 1553. He is called the National Apostle of Brazil. He was a cofounder of the cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. In his youth, he dislocated his spine. When he joined the Jesuits, he was sent to Brazil for its mild climate in the hope that his back would improve. It never did, and he was in constant pain for the 44 years he worked in the Americas.

He and the Jesuit Emanuel Nóbrega arrived at Piratininga on the feast of Saint Paul. For this reason, he named the mission Sao Paulo. In 1553, he first met the Tupi Indians who lived on the outskirts of the settlement. Adept at languages, Jose soon learned to speak the language of the Tupis. For two decades, Jose worked on a grammar and dictionary used by Portuguese settlers and missionaries.

Jose was later held hostage for five months by the Tamoyo tribe. During this time, he occupied himself by composing a Latin poem in honor of the Blessed Virgin. Since he had no writing supplies, he wrote in wet sand and memorized the verses. When he again reached Sao Vicente, he committed all 4,172 lines to paper.

Jose converted the Maramomis tribe, and composed plays for his students to perform, writing them in Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, and Tupi. Because his dramas were the first written in Brazil, Jose is known as the Father of Brazilian national literature.

He became a Jesuit provincial in 1577. In letters to his fellow missionaries, he warned that burning desire was not enough: “You must come with a bag-full of virtues.” He died June 9, 1597 at Reritigba, Brazil. He was canonized on April 3, 2014.

Spiritual reading: God does not seek God’s own benefit. In everything God acts only out of love. Thus, people who are united with God live the same way – they are innocent and free. They live for love without asking why, and solely for the glory of God, never seeking personal advantage: God alone is at work in them. (Meister Eckhart)

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