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).
"Your lamb should be without blemish."
Nowadays, we try so hard to be without blemish ourselves. We try to fine tune everything, from our appearances, our speech, our skills, our words, everything and everything. Though it is not a bad thing to be refined and able in many things, there is still the one hindrance that holds us back, and that is sin. No matter how beautiful we may look on the outside to others, within our souls we very often stray from the life of grace and become estranged from God.
Our ancestors in faith, the Hebrews, knew this quite well. The story of the Passover is their story of liberation from the thralls of slavery in Egypt. In order for the chosen people of God to enter into their journey to the Promised Land, they had to offer something to God as a sign of their Covenant with Him. The Lord instructed them to offer a lamb without blemish and of only one year of age. Think of it this way. A lamb that was without blemish at such a young age would have been a great resource as it grew; it could provide much wool for clothing and later meat for food. So why did God have the Hebrews sacrifice such a promising animal at such a young age?
It is for the same reason that God Himself became Man. Assuming our own nature, Jesus Christ became truly man while remaining truly God. Fully Divine and Human, He revealed to us how it is to live the life of sacrifice to His Father. All of His deeds were done for the sake of converting the people back to God. His teaching, preaching, healing, and everything in between were to redirect us back towards our Creator, from Whom we had averted our gaze. Indeed, if Christ had lived to old age He could have taught or healed countless more. So why did God sacrifice Himself at such a promising age of thirty-three?
For both the Passover Lamb and for Christ Himself, the answer is simple: it was to follow the Providence of God.
For the Hebrews, the Passover Lamb was to be without blemish because the Hebrews needed to be reminded of their dependence on God. If they had offered less than their best, then they truly did not trust the Lord to free them from their bondage. So too with us. If Christ had not sacrificed Himself as the New Passover, the true Lamb of God, without blemish or stain, we could not have friendship with God. And how is it that we keep this friendship with Him? Just as the Hebrews were freed from slavery in Egypt, so too are we freed from slavery to sin on Calvary.
The way in which we participate in that freedom is in the same manner as the Hebrews did before us. It was not enough for the Hebrews to simply slay the Passover lamb and sprinkle the blood on the doorpost, they had to eat it as well. In the New Covenant, it is no different for us. It is not enough for us to simply acknowledge Jesus as the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world, but also to eat His Flesh and drink His Blood, else we shall have no life in us (cf. John 6:53). This is the Sacrifice which we remember every time we go to Holy Mass. This is the sacrifice instituted by Christ today on Holy Thursday. As the Passover lamb was spotless then, so now do we receive “a pure victim, a holy victim, an unspotted victim, the holy Bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation” in the Most Holy Eucharist, which is Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
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.
What blemishes are on your heart this day?
Why is it important to you and to God that your own heart be without blemish?
How have you seen God's providence at work in your own life?
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.
"Here's my heart, Lord."
"Pure, spotless, without blemish."
"Lord, we remember 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?
Go to the Mass of the Lord's Supper this evening at your parish, especially if you have never been before. Look for the connection between the Passover lamb and Jesus Christ as we remember the Last Supper, at which Christ instituted the Eucharist.
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 Sarah Lundgren, a student at the University of Dayton studying Religious Studies and Kevin Poynton, a graduate of the University of Dayton with a Degree in Religious Studies.