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).
Jesus sounds like He's having a rough day in this passage. The first time I heard it I thought, "wow, Jesus was pretty rude there." However, although this may sound crazy, Jesus is inviting this woman to make a loving act of faith in humility and trust. He also teaches us a great lesson here too.
It's not a coincidence that St. Mark includes where this woman is from when he writes this account. The woman is from Greece and scholars believe that she was not a Jew, but a Pagan. The Greeks did not worship God, they practiced idolatry and rejected the idea of God. So why would this woman be coming to Jesus and why is it important that we know about this event? Well, the Messiah that the prophets foretold was said to be a New David, who would restore his kingdom that was for all nations, as Isaiah 55:5 says, "nations that knew you not shall run to you." Jesus comes first to the Jews, but His mission was to establish the Kingdom of God and defeat sin and death for all people of all nations. Here is an example of this through the mother who is concerned for her daughter. She is from a nation who does not know God but she is now boldy approaching Jesus, imploring His help.
So why is Jesus seemingly so mean to her? This woman has acknowledged Jesus' power to heal the sick and desires His help out of love for her daughter. But Jesus wants her to go deeper. He wants her to move beyond whatever stereotypes she has and be truly humble, to fully trust in Him. He calls her to make an act of complete faith with complete humility. The Jews were God's chosen people, but Jesus shows us that He is here to help all those who come to Him in trust and humility.
It may seem a little harsh to us, but we can learn from this too. There can be a temptation to only hang out with people who are similar to ourselves. It's easy to make judgments about people and to look down on them. It can be really hard for me to go out and love everyone equally. But Jesus does. He calls us all on through whatever way we need (even if it is referring to us as a dog) to get us to trust and love Him, to really make a genuine act of faith. God will do whatever it takes to win your heart and give you whatever healing you need. So follow His example and love others in a way that is unconditional and always focused on serving the other person.
Jesus does not condemn us based on where we are from or what our pasts are, but He does call us to a relationship that recognizes who He is: our loving Savior who seeks your heart to bring it to eternal life. Recognize who God is and lovingly invite those around you to do the same, no matter who they are.
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.
How has God invited you into a deeper relationship through challenging situations?
How can you respond to God with the same humility and trust as the woman from today's Gospel?
Who is someone that you would not normally talk to that could use Christ's love today? In what ways do you need God's help to reach out to them?
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.
"I trust you."
"I humble myself before you."
"Have mercy on me."
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, be really humble and love unconditionally. This will be difficult, but good thing God gives us the graces we need to do this. Be humble before God and acknowledge your need of His love and mercy. Be humble with the people you encounter throughout the day and love them like Christ does. Do not condemn them with your thoughts or words, but love them, even if all that means is that you hold a door open for someone or don't fight with your little sibling. Whatever you do, be like Christ.
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 Mary Griffin, a graduate student of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
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