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).
**Before we dive into the meditation today, please go back through and read the first reading and the Gospel for today as well. Even though the main focus will be on the second reading, I will be referencing all three.**
I remember doing homeless ministry in college and wondering how someone could be estranged from their family like that; then my sister ran away twice and was homeless for those short periods of time when none of us knew where she was. I remember hearing people talk about how criminals and drug addicts have made their decisions and we shouldn't have to pay for their mistakes; then my sister was arrested and spent 3+ years battling her addiction to heroin. It is easy to pass judgement on someone when there is some sort of disconnect, when we can convince ourselves that we are somehow different.
I am tired of people looking at someone and somehow thinking that any aspect of them - color, creed, lifestyle, skill, or even sin - makes them any different than themselves. We are one body in Christ. My sister, my best friend and one of the most loving people in the world, is one of the people many of us have ignored and judged on the side of the road, somehow convincing ourselves she is different. Someone we see and think that we could never be like someone like that, that were are more different than similar. I am literally crying as I type this because I know it is true. And obviously that is something we are dealing with in a huge way right now as we face the nauseating and heartbreaking reality of racism in our world today. But this is not how God designed us to be.
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity - a model of unity. Three distinct persons, yet one God. And while I don't have time to get into the depths of the Church teachings on the Trinity, I think it is the perfect example we need right now, unity. Unity comes at a cost though, and that cost is our selfishness and sinful pride. In the first reading Moses says "This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon our wickedness and sins, and receive us as your own." We need to acknowledge our stubbornness and our sinfulness, and humbly let God mold our hearts. And then we see one of the most famous verses in the Bible, John 3:16, "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." Everyone. Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to redeem it, so we have no right to condemn anyone either. No matter how different they may seem.
And finally that brings us to the Second Reading. This reading literally tells us how to live in peace; something I know we all are desiring so much right now. We must encourage, agree, and love one another in order to have the peace of Christ in our lives. But before that, the Scripture tells us we must mend our ways. You are a sinner, I am a sinner. It is simply the truth. We must look inward at our own sinfulness before we are able to do anything else in striving for peace. Then we must lift our brothers and sisters up, find common ground, and fight together against the evil in ourselves, our communities, our country, and our world.
So let us mend our hearts; turn away from sin and turn towards one another. Let us look at each other and realize that we are really not that different. Realize that we are not that different from even that 20 year old homeless girl, addicted to drugs. That is my sister, my best friend, and literally the person most like me I may ever know. That could be your sister, or brother, or child, or friend, or even you. And until we see each and every human being in that way - as our sibling or our child, as someone just like us - then we will not know the peace of Christ. We are designed for unity, and only then will we experience true peace.
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 some ways you find yourself viewing others as different? How does this prevent you from loving them fully?
How can you start to see others more like yourself?
How can you begin to take those steps towards unity, towards peace that we see in the reading from 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.
"Jesus, I trust in You."
"You're a Good Good Father."
"Come Holy Spirit."
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 we continue with the prayer we have been praying daily during this pandemic, let us pray for unity. Please click here to pray the Prayer to Overcome Racism. I encourage you to pray this prayer often, or one similar in your own words so that we can begin to strive towards the unity God created us for.
In this difficult time, we will use our Action step each day to join with people around the world in praying for an end to the pandemic of the Coronavirus, for the healing of all those affected, and for the comfort of all those who have lost a loved one. The prayer below is from Archbishop José H. Gomez, President of the USCCB in his reflection and prayer during coronavirus:
Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.
For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.
In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.
We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.
Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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 Sean Norris, a theology teacher at JSerra Catholic High School in Orange County, CA.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.