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).
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine yourself walking with Jesus and His disciples in the Golan Heights region where Caesarea Philippi is located. Just for some background, Golan Heights is a region in what we call “The Holy Land," bordering a few countries including Israel, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon, a region where political conflict exists to this day. Golan Heights is also included in the region historically called “Levant," which basically is a name given for where the sun rises. It’s a few miles drive from the Sea of Galilee where the disciple would do their fishing and where Jesus met them and called them to follow Him. Caesarea Philippi is also known to be the place of the Temple and Sanctuary of the Roman mythological god of the wild, Pan.
You have been walking with Jesus and a few hours ago you left the Sea of Galilee where He likes fishing with His disciples. Jesus takes you to Caesarea Philippi, a beautiful area; it is cool and mountainous, with springs of water flowing to refresh you. Then, in a very intimate place, right in front of what used to be a sanctuary to a false god and a place of conflict, Jesus calls you by name. You turn to Him, and you see that He is looking at your eyes; He asks you: “who do you say that I am?”
How would you respond?
This question seeks more than a mere “one word answer and off we go" kinda thing. This question seeks an answer that would pierce one’s core, because the One who asks the question is the very Person who gives meaning and purpose to all that you are. In the midst of the false gods that we give ourselves into, including and especially the ego, in the midst of the conflicts that we face everyday that tear us apart, Jesus wants you to answer this very same question.
Who do you say Jesus is?
Please give yourself a moment before answering this question; I would suggest that you call on the Holy Spirit’s help before answering this question. You do not want to answer like the other disciples did, because if you answer hastily, Jesus will just keep repeating the question.
Now, if you answer like Peter did: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God," what’s next for you? Get ready. Ask the Holy Spirit for more help. That means: pray more. Jesus would like you to live by that answer, and to make it the purpose of your life. God would like for you to make Jesus your Savior, because He is the Son of the living God. If you do that now, His sacrifice to the True God will be able bring peace to your own conflicts.
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 are the false gods and the conflicts in your life that make Jesus' question a difficult one for you to answer?
Who do you say that Jesus is?
How can you be more proactive in calling on the Holy Spirit in order to truly make Jesus the Living God in your daily 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.
"You are the Christ."
"You are the Son of the Living God."
"You are my Savior."
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?
Before you go to bed today, do some journaling. Even if it's not a thing you normally do, give it a shot. You can get a physical journal, a piece of paper, or start a note on your phone. In this journal, look back at your day; when were you given the chance to honor Jesus as the Living God in your life? When He asked that question of you, whether it was through an interaction with another person, a choice to sin or live virtuously, or any other way, how did you respond? Journal about those experiences.
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 Fr. Ervin Caliente, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.