“He who loses his life for my sake will find it” (Mt 10:39).
Here Jesus set Himself and the relationship with Him as the reference and the absolute criteria for the important choices of life. In order to truly “be” and to be able to bring forth fruits, it is necessary to be united to Him; in another occasion he said: “Apart from me you can do nothing” ((Jn 15:5). These are words to be taken literally, as when He says: “He who does not gather with me scatters” (Mt 12:30; Lk 11:23). To be with Him and to put Him always in the first place is as necessary as the air we breath; otherwise it would be only a colorless image, a metaphor our being children of God, instead of truly being children of God (Jn 3:1).
Just as for Jesus even His smallest gesture which expressed
As for Jesus even the smallest gesture which expressed His person was “divine”, so too for us to give even a glass of fresh water to the least of our brothers, has an eternal impact. The quality of water depends on the source, and in us the source is divine!
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An Experience of Life:
In Brancaccio, a zone of Palermo, Italy, forgotten by men, but not forgotten by the Mafia which considers it their “natural” territory, Father Joseph Puglisi (1938-1994) was killed on the day of his 56th birthday. Not a “priest-against”, but a “normal” priest, who had taken seriously the Gospel of the least, of the disinherited, and who died for this. As a young priest he had done his apprenticeship in a church on the periphery of Palermo at Godrano, a small zone in the mountains inhabited by peasants, by workers and by students to whom he brought his passion for the truth and freedom, seeds of hope which he spread without sparing himself, animating meetings, debates, moments of study and of prayer. And the Gospel, the joyful message above all for those who do not have reasonable human motives to be happy. And the Gospel in its “normality” that becomes radical and martyrdom, when the context in which it works and speaks is too far away from the designs of God.
At the senior high school Vittorio Emanuele of Palermo, in the Diocesan Vocational center, the youth are his privileged listeners: he educates them, he “leads” them into the message and into the plan of God, animates other vocations and deepens his own, which coincides always more with the awakening of consciences. The “church” of Father Pugliesi was among the people, among the youth, the senior citizens, the disinherited. The “strong arm” of the “troublesome” priest had as an enemy, silent and omnipresent, the Mafia power, which promises protection in exchange for silence. Father Puglisi persisted in rendering witness to the Gospel, not only with denouncements from the pulpit, but with action among “his” people, to which he taught the value of the human person, of their dignity, and of their freedom.