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).
Have you ever been caught in the middle of polarizing situation? Maybe a time when there was a certain issue in your friend group and you were forced to pick sides? When I was in high school, we had to write these papers from topics that were assigned to us, and then as a class debate the topics together. I was handed a topic that totally wasn’t going to be divisive: should they allow religion in public schools? I lovingly prepared my paper, and then come time for class, the class divides into two: do you think it should be or should not be? And then I was supposed to present my paper and let my classmates decide, probably 90% of whom had drifted to the “don’t allow it” side. I clammed up and ended up only reading a paragraph of it because I was so nervous and terrified of the judgment of my peers that was inevitably to follow my presentation. Needless to say, no A was given that day for me.
I think about that moment a lot in my life. It was an opportunity that I had to share whatever little part of my faith that I could, and instead of seizing the opportunity, I shied away. In today’s first reading, the Apostles are caught between two sides. On the one side, the Jews are upset and jealous that Paul and Barnabas are speaking the truth of the Resurrection and converting people to Christianity, and they are trying to physically run them out of town. On the other side, the Gentiles are overwhelmed at the truth that the two are preaching: “We have been saved! The Lord is with us and abides with us!” they are probably exclaiming to themselves. Paul and Barnabas stood where I stood, where we all stand every single day: do I stand up for truth or will I shy away from it?
Paul and Barnabas stood up for the truth, hearts were converted, and the word of the Lord spread. Every Saint within the history of the Church stood up for the truth, even when people might have hated or despised them for it. Why do they do this? Because there is nothing that compares with the joy of Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Jesus gives us the grace and the strength to do it. When we rely fully on Him, we will not fail, and the Truth, Jesus Himself, will be proclaimed to everyone we meet. To God be the Glory!
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.
When has been a time in your life that you have had the choice to stand up for Christ or be silent? What did you choose and why?
How can we find was to stand up and boldly preach the Gospel, but with love and tenderness?
Are there times when it is okay to not stand up for truth? Why or why not?
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.
"You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life."
"Let me be filled with the Holy Spirit."
"Come Holy Spirit, give me strength."
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?
Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid to stand up for truth in your life. Learn a way to share this truth with compassion. We are all called to evangelize, so today, let's be like Paul and not be afraid to share that good news with the people in our lives.
Smartphone Lock Screen
The following image is here for you to save and use as a background or lock screen on your smartphone or device to help you carry today's Lectio Divina with you the rest of the day.
Today's prayer was prepared by Matthew Maxwell, a graduate of Franciscan University and currently working as a Youth Minister in St. Louis.