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).
The Cross. The symbol of our faith. Have you ever stopped to think about how strange it is that this is the symbol that Christians look to for comfort and hope? The symbol that we stake all of our lives on is a symbol of brutality, death, and defeat. So why is it that the cross is central to our faith?
This Easter season, and every Easter season, we have an opportunity to look at the cross in a new light. Not only is the cross a symbol of the death of our Savior and of a seeming triumph for those who persecuted him, but it is also the symbol and source of our Easter joy! Today’s Gospel ends with Jesus referencing Moses and the serpent in the desert. The story goes like this: as the people of Israel wandered through the desert after their exodus from Egypt, they continually struggled to trust in the Lord and they lashed out against him. So, God sent serpents among the people to bite them and bring them to death unless they were obedient. God tells Moses to make a bronze serpent and to raise it up so that any who look upon the sign, if they were bitten by a snake, would not die but would be saved.
This serpent is the pre-figuring of the cross. Just as the Israelites who were bitten, and those who were in need of being saved had to look upon the sign lifted up by Moses, Jesus tells Nicodemus that those who look upon the Son of Man lifted up on the cross will also be saved. The serpent lifted up in the desert is a paradox- the very cause of death becomes the very means of salvation. So, too, the cross- a symbol of death, defeat, brutality- becomes the means of our salvation.
This Easter season we have a chance to look upon the cross and see this great paradox in a powerful way for our own lives. The very symbol of the cross, one of death and of defeat, has become the symbol of our salvation- Jesus Christ’s life sacrificed so that his love would be poured out on any who look upon him.
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 does the cross mean to you?
In what ways are you lashing out against God?
How can God turn your defeats into victories today?
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.
"Help me trust in you, Jesus."
"Thank you for the cross."
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?
Take time today to meditate upon the cross. Spend time looking at a cross that you have in your home or look up some sacred art online to consider the paradoxical defeat and victory that comes from Jesus on the cross.
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 Adam Smyth, a high school youth minister at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Ellicott City, MD.