Carry the gospel with you

Posted in Uncategorized by Mike on April 18, 2009

Gospel reading of the day:

Mark 16:9-15

When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.

After this he appeared in another form to two of them walking along on their way to the country. They returned and told the others; but they did not believe them either.

But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised. He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Many commentators believe the gospel we read today likely came from the hand of someone other than the person who wrote the gospel of Mark. This passage synopsizes resurrection accounts found in the gospels of Luke and John. The dominant theme in the narrative is doubt, but the Lord ultimately overcomes this doubt through his appearances. One of the dilemmas of the human condition is to believe in a moment of joy that we always will feel joy and believe in a moment of despair that we always will feel despair. For this reason, we should develop minds that remember that all things are passing, and when doubt overcomes us, we can trust that Jesus, who loves us, will not leave us alone, but that, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly, he will give us again a calm assurance in his continuing presence.

Saint of the day: Pedro de San Jose Betancur was born on May 16, 1619 in the Canary Islands as a poor shepherd. He devoted his time with the flocks to prayer. At age 31, he journeyed to Guatemala City in hopes of a job away from the sheep. Befriended by the Jesuits and Franciscans of the area, he enrolled in the Jesuit College of San Borgia in hopes of becoming a priest. However, with little background education he was unable to master the material and withdrew. He then took private vows, and became a Franciscan tertiary, taking the name Peter of Saint Joseph.

Three years later he opened Our Lady of Bethlehem, a hospital for the convalescent poor. Soon after there was a shelter for the homeless, schools for the poor, and an oratory. Not to neglect the rich of Guatemala City, Pedro walked through their part of town, ringing a bell, begging support for the poor, and inviting the wealthy to repent. Other men were drawn to Pedro’s work, and they formed the foundation of the Bethlehemite Congregation or Hospitalers Bethlehemite.

Pedro built chapels and shrines in the poor sections of the city, and promoted the ministry of intercessory prayer among those who had nothing except their time. He is sometimes credited with originating the Christmas Eve posadas procession in which people representing Mary and Joseph seek a night’s lodging from their neighbors. The custom soon spread to Mexico and other Central American countries. Legend says that petitioners need only tap gently on Peter’s stone tomb in order to have their prayers fulfilled. Stone tablets scratched with thank-you notes are often left on the tomb afterwards. He died April 25, 1667 at Guatemala City, Guatemala.

Spiritual reading: From all such thoughtless people and their gossip, deliver me, Lord, for I do not want to fall into their hands nor do as they do.

Let my lips speak only what is true and honest and keep my tongue from all sly speech. What I am unwilling to tolerate in others I must, by all means, avoid doing myself. (The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis)