Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on June 13, 2014

head-of-saviour-1906.jpg!BlogGospel reading of the day:

Matthew 5:27-32

Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

“It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce. But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Jesus in today’s gospel makes a point about sin in general which may get masked because we are fixated on the particular issue he addresses. Jesus in this passage does not make so large a point about sex as he makes about our interior lives. We know his concern is not as much about sex as it is about what drives us: we know this because of the gentleness he applied to every sexual weakness he encountered, and we know this also because of the complete ferocity he displayed when people were hypocritical.

It is easy for us to level attacks on behaviors we think do not stand up in the light of the gospel, but sin isn’t just the external and the physical, that is, it isn’t just what others see. Jesus says that sin is insidious, because it is not only about what we do but also very much about our motivations and the things that people cannot see. Even if we live lives that are impeccable on the outside, there is always work to do inside, because the roots of our shortcomings, weaknesses, and sins may not always be obvious to us.

Saint of the day: Marianna Biernacka, was born Marianna Czokało in 1888. She was a Polish Roman Catholic citizen and a victim of the Second World War.

Before the Nazi occupation of Poland, Adolf Hitler is said to have authorized his commanders to kill “without pity or mercy, all men, women, and children of Polish decent or language. Only in this way can we obtain the living space we need.” During their occupation of Poland, the Gestapo would round up and kill Polish civilians in retaliation for any Germans killed by the resistance.

Marianna_BiernackaIn July 1943, the Nazis conducted a mass arrest in the city of Lipsk as an act of reprisal for the Germans who were killed during the resistance. The names of Stanislaw Biernacka, together with his pregnant wife Anna, were in the list of those who were going to be killed. The Biernacka family were never politically active and poorly educated. Hence you can imagine their deep surprise when German soldiers knocked at their door to arrest Stanislaw and Anna Biernacka.

Early in the morning, the armed soldiers came to arrest Stanislaw and Anna. Stanislaw’s fifty-five-year-old mother, Marianna, fell on her knees and asked the Nazis to take her instead of Anna. Marianna was a simple woman, for whom God and his laws are the most important value, even more important than freedom. She said as the soldiers were taking the couple, “She is already in the last weeks of her pregnancy. I will go for her.” At first, Anna objected. But Marianna told her, “You are young, you must live.” The Nazis released Anna and took Marianna together with her son to the prison in Grodno.

According to witnesses, Marianna spent her time in prayer. While in prison, she requested for a rosary and a pillow. A parcel was sent to her, but it was not known if the parcel reached her. On July 13, 1943, she was shot to death together with her son and 48 other people in Naumowicze, near Grodno. Marianna Biernacka’s selfless sacrifice saved the life of her daughter-in-law and her grandchild. On June 13, 1999, Marianna was recognized as a martyr and beatified, alongside 107 other Polish martyrs of the war who collectively are known as the 108 Polish martyrs of World War II.

Spiritual reading: The creator of the heavens obeys a carpenter; the God of eternal glory listens to a poor virgin. Has anyone ever witnessed anything comparable to this? Let the philosopher no longer disdain from listening to the common laborer; the wise, to the simple; the educated, to the illiterate; a child of a prince, to a peasant. (Anthony of Padua)


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