Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
It is better for one man to die than a whole people! These words of the high priests plan the seed and begin the high priest's plot to kill Jesus. Right before this Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead and so many people had begun to believe in Him. The Pharisees instead of believing in Him decided he must die or Jesus would be the end of the Jewish people. What is so amazing about this is the contradiction that is happening here, one would think that a man who can heal the sick and raise the dead would be a huge asset to the Jewish people. It seems strange that the Pharisees would want Jesus dead because He is so good and does such good in the world. No, they decide it is better for Him to die then the whole people, because the Romans would consider Jesus a threat! He had a big following that really could have done so much damage.
The way Jesus spoke though was not one of rebellions and war towards those who oppress but turning the other cheek and loving our enemies. Jesus was radical in changing the culture of "I know best what should be done". Jesus lived peace, love and generosity in a way that inspired most but convicted others that didn't want to be convicted. Have you ever had a moment in your life where something incredibly unjust happened to you. That is what is taking place here, it doesn't make sense in the eyes of the world, something so horrifically bad happening to someone who personified goodness and love incarnate. I have had a moment like that.
My first job out of college I was working for an employer that didn't really trust too well. He did lots of things that were persecuting to my coworkers and myself, even going so far to try to put in cameras in our work space so he could see what we were doing all day. One by one, my coworkers all decided to leave because of the vast amount of injustices that were taking place in the work place. Finally, I also left because it had become too difficult to work there. This is a very shy comparison to being betrayed to death but it shows a bit of an injustice that was taking place to good people.
Jesus may be asking you to live through an injustice at some point and although you didn't commit the crime you may do the time. Even though you are innocent, if you allow yourself to suffer in silence like Jesus did there will be great graces in it. Jesus was labeled and that label ended up leading to his death on the cross. He didn't deserve the label or the death but he submitted to it so that we might have life! Who in your life could use some grace and help? When those moments of struggle or labeling come from other people who may not understand you too well, allow God to work through you to bring about grace and help to others in need. Even if it means taking the rap for something you are innocent of! You are in good company, you are becoming more like Jesus!
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
Why do you think that the Romans would see Jesus as a threat? What can we learn from Jesus in looking at how He embraced His suffering?
Have you or someone you loved ever been the subject to an injustice? What happened? Where was God with you during that time?
How can you deepen your faith in times of hardship or persecution?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"God be with me."
"Jesus, I trust in you."
"I have life in you."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Today, when you feel irritated with someone, offended or even persecuted unite your suffering with Jesus.
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Today's reflection was prepared by Sr. Faustina Ferko, a Sister of the Order of the Holy Family of Nazareth and Youth Minister at St. James in Arlington Heights, IL.
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