Step #1: Lectio / Read
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Jesus knew He was going to “be handed over to men, killed, and rise on the third day”. He is, of course, fully God, so it makes sense. He was also fully human. It is thought by theologians that Jesus limited his omnipotence at times to more fully enter into His human experience. The exact level of detail Jesus had in foreseeing his passion, death, and resurrection, we will never know. But we do see in the rest of this Gospel how Jesus acts on this knowledge in order to prepare the Church for his earthly departure.
After the prediction, the Gospel continues with a scene where Peter is asked if Jesus pays the temple tax, and he responds affirmatively. This response is expected as Jesus is a law-abiding Jew. Jesus appears to have overheard the conversation (or made use of his omnipotence), and turns it into a teaching point for Peter. Jesus uses a metaphor comparing foreigners and subjects (which also translates as “sons”) to show Peter that a tax will not be necessary for the future Church. In our new role as adopted sons and daughters of God, Christians are allowed to freely give to the church; there is no fee at the door or yearly tax.
This conversation is just one example of likely hundreds of discussions had by Peter and Jesus where Jesus snuck in a lesson that Peter would draw on one day as the first leader of the Church. Jesus was intentional about equipping Peter, and all of the apostles, before his physical time on Earth came to a close. Planning for death is a very human activity and Jesus shares that experience with us.
Knowing that one’s death is approaching in the near future is a difficult burden to bear for anyone. Jesus is no different. As we see in the Agony in the Garden nine chapters later, Jesus experiences great apprehension towards what he must undergo, to the point of sweating blood. To start your prayer, talk to Jesus about this experience. Reflect on how he was able to prepare the future Church, particularly before the Resurrection took place.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
Jesus prepared Peter for his mission to lead the Church. How has Jesus prepared you for your mission?
Jesus prepared the apostles for His death, how did He do so? What lessons can you learn from Jesus's actions?
When you are afraid of the future, how can you turn more to Jesus?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
"On this rock, I will build my Church."
"Jesus I trust in you."
"Lord I need 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?
Spend some time in prayer today with Jesus when He is in the garden, Matthew 26:36-46. Reflect with Jesus in the final hours of His mission.
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Today's Prayer was prepared by Liam Brady, an accountant in Chicago.
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