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).
Who do you invite to your table? It's that time of year where giving and taking care of the poor becomes front and center. There's food drives, giving campaigns, 5K runs for charity, Red Kettle campaigns, and so many more opportunities. The opportunities to give are out there, but Jesus is asking us to reflect on why we give. What is your disposition when you give? Do you give without any hope of anything in return?
I've been rewatching Friends, as it's leaving Netflix soon, and today's gospel reminds me of an episode where Phoebe tries to prove that there is such a thing as an unselfish good deed. To prove her thought, she gives to the tv show Sesame Street, even though she doesn't like the show, because she knows it will bring joy to other kids. In doing so, she coincidentally helps her friend get on TV, and then her donation, which she wanted to be unselfish, actually makes her feel good. She thinks that she loses the argument about having an unselfish good deed because ultimately giving made her feel good. While giving does make you feel good about yourself, she is wrong because that's not what makes a good deed selfish. What makes a good deed selfish is when you expect something in return.
We are called to serve. We are called to give to give to the poor. It will make you happy because you know that you are doing the Lord's work, but leave it there. Don't ask for accolades or recognition. Don't post it on Instagram for affirmation. Instead serve and take it to prayer. Ask the Lord to work through your service and to use you as an instrument to bring his love to others. Invite someone to your table, enter into their world, and get to know them without expecting anything in return.
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 do you plan to give and serve during the upcoming holiday season?
What is my disposition when I give or serve? How do I incorporate prayer?
Who am I inviting to my table?
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.
"Serve to love."
"Make me an instrument."
"Invite the poor."
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?
Ask the Lord how He is calling you to serve this holiday season, and choose to do something you may not normally do or have hesitated about signing up.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Lisa Kendzior, Junior High Youth Minister at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL.
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