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 message of the Lord Jesus is the good news of the highest degree because it leads us to the truth of ourselves, rather than living in the lies that we or the world around us have created for ourselves. Every word of Jesus liberates us from our false self-identity and leads us to a life-transforming, joy-filled, and purposeful life of freedom. But, for our lives to be transformed by the Word of God sometimes takes the painful process of change we call “conversion of the heart”, a process that is not always sweet and easy.
The Lord Jesus’ speech to the scribes and Pharisees in today’s Gospel repeatedly saying “woe to you”, which, in our own days would probably be “shame on you”, was Jesus’ way of letting them know how much damage they have done to the community. He repeatedly called them hypocrites and blind guides because of their self-righteousness and abuse of their authority, lording over the people the fact that they know more than them. They have used their gifts to lead people astray, while they enjoy the people’s homage and the benefit of their own position. They do not lead people to the truth. They work for their own purpose, their own ambition, their own pocket, and their own reputation rather than leading people to the true worship of God, which alone brings true joy.
There are times in our own lives, when we do the same thing as the scribes and Pharisees did. In our desire to be recognized as someone who knows better, as someone who is living a good Christian life, or just to show someone that “I love the Lord more than they do”, we like telling others how they ought to act or pray or force them to love the Lord the way we do. By doing this, we become presumptuous that we are on the right path and the rest of humanity just doesn't get it. We are blind to our own imperfections, trying to lead others in our own self-blindness, and we end up going nowhere. You might have been working for someone’s conversion lately without any success. Stop. Examine yourself first, then ask the Lord for your own total conversion to Him.
Authentic following of Jesus is first and foremost loving the Lord and dedicating hours of our day opening our hearts to Him to receive His love and mercy. Then He fills us, and in that overflowing of grace we become witness to others both in our prosperity and in our adversity. A joyful and authentic witness to the mercy of God doesn’t enslave; it doesn’t force others, and it doesn’t condemn others. It is not presumptuous, nor is it self-serving. Rather, this witness is a self-donation which leads others to freedom.
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 conversion of heart has the Lord been calling to you lately? If you're not sure, what do you think He might be asking of you?
How have you, at times, been like the Pharisees and used your gifts and talents for your own gain and not for the Lord's glory?
What would a joyful and authentic witness to the Lord's love and mercy look like in your day to day life? How have you fallen short of that witness?
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.
"Change my heart."
"I love you, Lord."
"Your love is freedom."
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?
Tonight before bed turn your phone off or on do not disturb at least 20 minutes before you want to go to bed. Give yourself time in silence as you end your day to focus on the conversion of heart the Lord desires from you to then send you forth.
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.