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).
“I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes I saw the sign”. Why not begin with a class Ace for Base lyric of the 80s, am i right?
Today’s Gospel is rather short and ambiguous. It took me awhile to really reflect upon what stood out to me, but one line I read over and over again was: “He sighed from the depth of his spirit an said, “Why does this generation seek a sign?””
The key words that stuck out from this line were: “sighed from the depth of his spirit”. This really paints the image of Jesus being extremely distressed and almost on the verge of giving up. Of course, Jesus never does give up, but He was very troubled. The Scripture just before this one is the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, when Jesus performs one of his most notable miracles by feeding the five thousand from 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Jesus had just done this, and immediately the pharisees were after him seeking a sign that he truly is Lord.
This had to have been quite frustrating. Imagine trying over and over to explain a truth to people using miracles, parables, real life examples, preaching, and so on, and still having people have no idea what you are really saying. People make up truths about Jesus today as much as they did back then, but if we read the Scriptures diligently we will gain a deep understanding of who Jesus is and what He is saying about our lives.
Yes, signs are helpful and they are gifts, but they are not necessary in discernment. If you are in a point in your life where you are needing to make a big decision, do not rely on a sign but rather find your identity in Christ, read the Word of God, and the right door will open. We must put our trust in God and stop looking for rainbows to appear. Sometimes, yes, God performs incredible miracles that strengthen our faith and that of others, but other times it is up to us to draw upon our faith in the Lord and our docility to the Holy Spirit to know how to act.
Stop looking for signs, but rather draw near to Jesus.
If the pharisees would just spend time with Jesus, listening to Him and seeing how He acted rather than constantly needing proof and posing questions, they would have come a lot closer to understanding the mystery of Christ and gotten closer to becoming imitators of Christ, which is what we are all called to be. I was talking to my spiritual director recently about what I should do career wise, and this is what he told me: “It doesn’t matter if you go back to school, work for a non-profit, do missionary work, become a greeter at Walmart, babysit, or become a lawyer; your job doesn't matter - what matters is that whether you are at home or at work you are imitating Christ and loving all those whom you encounter."
We must break this stigma of getting so concerned with where and what we're doing, and rather focus our attention on drawing near to Christ.
So for today, instead of concerning yourself with questions and answers, take time to open up your Bible and learn to be an imitator of Christ through reading about the life of Christ himself. It is good to read reflections like these, listen to talks, read books about the Bible, etc., but nothing beats you personally opening up the scriptures and soaking up what Jesus’ life was all about. Draw near to Him and let Him show you who you truly are.
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 is the Lord calling you to trust in Him rather than the signs He gives you? How can you work on trusting even when the signs aren't there?
What does it look like in your life to draw near to Christ? How can you give the time needed to really let this happen in your life?
What does God want to say to you right where you are right now? Don't worry about what He has next - ask Him what He wants to say to you right now and let Him speak.
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.
"Draw me near to You."
"I trust Your will right now."
"Show me who You are."
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?
Find a way today to simply be where your feet are, draw near to the Lord, and let Him love you. Take joy in not worrying about what is next or looking for a sign, but instead in simply letting God love you right now.
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 Jen Mason, the LifeTeen Mission Trip Coordinator for group missions to Haiti.