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 spent most of my high school career as the “weird Catholic kid”. It was in my high school that I stood out among the crowd as the one who loved Jesus and went to Church all the time, even prayed rosaries at times. There were a number of Christian kids, who I befriended, that helped me feel a little less alone, but being one of the few outwardly Catholic teens put a target on my chest. There were times where I was judged for not entering into the party scene, and even worse, times when I was beaten down when I made mistakes. After all, how could the “holy” kid be a sinner? It wasn’t the easiest thing to try to be holy in a hostile environment, but nonetheless I tried to remain strong.
Today’s Gospel speaks consolation to my heart when I think back on those experiences. Jesus tells us that persecution will come to anyone who follows Him. We will be dragged in front of authorities and hated by those who are near to us simply because we choose to follow Jesus.
But wait…isn’t the Gospel supposed to be the Good News? How can this be good?
We need to remember that the good comes from the Lord, as in everything. Jesus finishes this Gospel by assuring us that no matter what we bear, if we bear it WITH Him and in His name, we will be safe. The Good News is that Jesus has already suffered everything we will ever bear and, as a result, our suffering is lessened. It is because Jesus suffered for us and with us in mind that we are able to persevere in the persecution we face because we follow Him. Jesus knew that the world would not accept His followers, as it did not accept Him. But the good news is that even though we are persecuted because of the presence of the Lord in our lives, He is all the more present to us as a result because He is our strength.
Jesus was upfront with us about the suffering we are going to endure; it’s no secret that the Christian life will lead us to suffering. But it is precisely when we bear ridicule, slander, and persecution that we are joined in a more perfect way to Jesus. Remember that the Lord is with you and leading you to holiness in every encounter of persecution for your faith, and invite the Lord into that persecution. Jesus is your strength.
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 persecution do you experience because of your faith? How do you respond to the people who hurt you?
Do you find it difficult to remain faithful to God during those difficult times? Do you pray to God asking for strength and perseverance?
How can you grow closer to Christ in trust and love as you endure your persecution?
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.
"Come Holy Spirit."
"Lord, be with me."
"I trust in You."
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 pray for those who persecute you. As you pray for them, ask for Christ to help you persevere and endure all suffering with love in your heart.
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.