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).
When tragedies strike it is very easy to lose faith and lack hope. We recall the tragedy in Las Vegas during a concert, the U-Haul truck incident in New York City, the Baptist Church shooting in Texas, and we could certainly list more. These and other tragedies raise the questions... Why the grave disrespect for human life? Where do we find hope? And when will justice be served?
In our first reading today, we hear the story of seven brothers and their mother standing up for their beliefs and welcoming death rather than violating the law of God. Two faith-filled phrases jump out in this passage that give some light to these recent events. First off, “The mother [...] bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord." There is never a reason for a Christian not to have hope! Within our daily lives comes the news of tragedy, mistreatment, and violence, but we must always cling to the reality that Jesus is our hope; He has destroyed sin and death on the Cross and promised to prepare a place for those who love Him. Jesus said, “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” We must be people of hope and bear with the pains and sadness of tragedy, because Jesus gives light in times of darkness!
Secondly, the youth makes a powerful statement to his executioners at the end of the reading: “But you, who have contrived every kind of affliction for the Hebrews, will not escape the hands of God.” Here is the all-important reminder that true justice will be served by God for those who do terrible things to people in this life. Often times, we want to be the ones who punish and fulfill justice, but authentic justice will ultimately only come from God. This world is not free from sin, and therefore, it lacks in perfection. If we seek complete justice now, there is really no need for Jesus. Seek and pray for the grace to see that Jesus is the only one who will truly set things right. So why do we wait? Because TRUST in any relationship makes the bond stronger...therefore, HOPE in Jesus...He’s preparing us for a place of perfection, light, and 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.
Where do you find hope in the midst of tragedy?
How can you share hope and bring light into the world?
Where do you see God fulfilling justice in the world even now?
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.
"You bring light to the darkness."
"Hope in the Lord."
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?
Pray for an increase of hope in our world, especially in the midst of tragedy and tribulation.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Fr. John McNamara, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.
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