Carry the gospel with you
Gospel reading of the day:
Jesus said to his Apostles: “No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household!
“Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”
Reflection on the gospel reading: Blessed Charles de Foucauld was born in 1858 and died in 1916. He started his life as a sort of playboy but died an ascetic in the tradition of the Desert Fathers and Mothers. Charles lived as a hermit in the Algerian desert living in contemplation and service and affording hospitality to passersby. Charles once wrote of the essence of Christian life:
Our entire existence, our whole being must shout the Gospel from the rooftops. Our entire person must breathe Jesus, all our actions. Our whole life must cry out that we belong to Jesus, reflect a Gospel way of living. Our whole being must be a living proclamation, a reflection of Jesus.
This encouragement which Charles offers us mirrors the gospel passage which the Church recommends to us today for our reflection. Jesus, through our meditation, prayer, and participation in the worship of the Church, speaks to us in whispers in the obscurity of own interior lives. But as he says elsewhere in Matthew’s gospel, we are not to hide our light under a bushel basket. Our interior dispositions are not enough. Our insides and outsides need to connect. If we look at the life of Brother Charles, we gain an insight into the meaning of the gospel passage. Jesus is not necessarily asking us to engage in a very public ministry which exposes us to many people; he may ask that of some of us, but he certainly doesn’t ask that of most of us. But what Jesus does ask us, as he asked Charles, is to bear witness to our faith through our presence, our manner, our way of being with others.
Saint of the day: The church remembers today a family of Japanese martyrs who lives in the 17th century. John Naisen was was a wealthy layman married to Monica Naisen and the father of Louis Naisen. He worked with Blessed John Baptist Zola, a Jesuit missionary to Japan who died as a witness to the faith. John Naisen withstood personal persecution for his faith, but when the authorities threatened to force his wife into prostitution, he briefly renounced Christianity to save her. He later repented his backsliding and made a public pronouncement of his return to the Church. John Naisen’s wife Monica was arrested with John for sheltering Fr. Zola. John and Monica, along with their seven-year-old son Louis, were all martyred for the faith in 1626 by beheading. Blessed John Naisen, Blessed Monica Naisen, and Blessed Louis Naisen were beatified in 1867.
Spiritual reading: The spiritual life is the power of our ordinary daily active life. (Walter Ciszek, S.J.)