GOSPEL LIVING

Thursday July 12,2018

Previous Reflection Next Reflection

Hosea 11:1-4, 8-9

Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16

Matthew 10:7-15

7 And preach as you go, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay. 9 Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the laborer deserves his food. 11 And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it, and stay with him until you depart. 12 As you enter the house, salute it. 13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomor'rah than for that town.

Meditation: Jesus gave his disciples a two-fold commission: to speak in his name and to act with his power. The core of the gospel message is quite simple: the kingdom (or reign) of God is imminent! What is the kingdom of God? It is that society of men and women who submit to God and who honor him as their King and Lord. In the Lord’s prayer we pray for God to reign in our lives and in our world: May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus also commissioned his disciples to carry on the works which he did -- bringing the healing power of God to the weary and oppressed.
Jesus said to his disciples: Freely you have received, freely give. What they had received from Jesus they must pass on to others without expecting remuneration. They must show by their attitude that their first interest is God, not material gain. They must serve without guile, full of charity and peace, and simplicity. They must give their full attention to the proclamation of God’s kingdom and not be diverted by other lesser things. They must travel light -- only take what was essential and leave behind whatever would distract them -- in order to concentrate on the task of speaking the word of the God. They must do their work, not for what they can get out of it, but for what they can give freely to others, without expecting special privileges or reward. “Poverty of spirit” frees us from greed and preoccupation with possessions and makes ample room for God’s provision. The Lord wants his disciples to be dependent on him and not on themselves.

Secondly, Jesus said: the worker deserves his sustenance. Here we see a double-truth: the worker of God must not be overly-concerned with material things, but the people of God must never fail in their duty to give the worker of God what he needs to sustain himself. Do you pray for the work of the gospel and support it with your material resources? Jesus ends his instructions with a warning: If people reject God’s invitation and refuse his word, then they bring condemnation on themselves. When God gives us his word there comes with it the great responsibility to respond. Indifference will not do. We are either for or against God in how we respond to his word. God gives us his word that we may have life in him. He wills to work through and in each of us for his glory. God shares he word with us and he commissions us to speak it boldly and simply to others. Do you witness the truth and joy of the gospel by word and example to those around you?

 

Saint of the day "Bl John Wall and John Jones"

John Wall, in religion Father Joachim of St. Anna, was the fourth son of Anthony Wall of Chingle (Singleton) Hall, Lancashire. He was born in 1620, and when very young, was sent to the English College at Douai. From there he proceeded to Rome, where he was raised to the priesthood in 1648. Several years later he returned to Douai and was clothed in the habit of St. Francis in the convent of St. Bonaventure. He made his solemn profession on January 1, 1652. So great was the estimation in which he was held by his brethren, that within a few months he was elected vicar of the convent, and soon after, master of novices.

In 1656 he joined the English mission, and for 12 years he labored on Worcestershire under the names of Francis Johnson or Webb, winning souls even more by his example than by his words. At Harvington to this day the memory of Blessed Father Johnson is cherished, and stories of his heroic zeal are recounted by the descendants of those who were privileged to know and love the glorious martyr.

Some of the charges raised against Father Wall when he was captured, were that he had said Mass, heard confessions, and received converts into the Church. He was accidentally found, in December 1678, at the house of a friend, Mr. Finch of Rushock, and carried off by the sheriff's officer. He was committed to Worchester jail, and lay captive for five months, enduring patiently all the loneliness, suffering, and horrors of prison life, which at that time were scarcely less dreadful than death itself.

On April 25, 1679, Father John was brought to court. His condemnation was a foregone conclusion. He was sent back to prison till the king's further pleasure concerning him should be known; and for another four months he languished in captivity. It was during this period that he was offered his life if he would deny his faith, "But I told them," said the martyr, "that I would not buy my life at so dear a rate as to wrong my conscience."

One of Father Wall's brethren in religion, Father William Levison, has the privilege of seeing the martyr for the space of four or five hours on the day before his execution. Father William tells us: "I heard his confession and communicated him, to his great joy and satisfaction. While in prison he carried himself like a true servant of his crucified Master, thirsting after nothing more than the shedding of his blood for the love of his God, which he performed with a courage and cheerfulness becoming a valiant soldier of Christ, to the great edification of all the Catholics, and admiration of all the Protestants."

Father Wall's martyrdom took place on Red Hill, overlooking the city of Worcester, on August 22, 1679. His head was kept in the convent at Douai until the French Revolution broke out and the community fled to England. What became of it, then, is not known. The Catholics of Worcester found consolation in remarking, as a proof of his sanctity, that his grave always appeared green, while the rest of the churchyard was bare. A large crucifix was raised in the little Catholic churchyard at Harvington to the memory of this saintly son of St. Francis, Father Joachim of St. Anna.

Father Joachim of St. Anna was beatified under the name of Blessed John Wall, December 15, 1929, together with a fellow Franciscan, Father Godfrey Maurice Jones, and 134 companions.