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).
How many selfies have you taken lately or posted on your Snapchat / Instagram / Facebook? Do you do that to make you feel popular or look cool? Does it add something to your self-image? Where have you devoted much of your time lately? Does that help you grow in love for God and others or is it to gain approval? Does it make you feel good when people talks about you, how good you are, how great looking you are, how awesome you are? What’s the effect of that in you?
Can you imagine Jesus talking about how great you are?
Jesus did just that in the Gospel today. He commended John the Baptist for all he has done. John has given everything to prepare for the coming of the Messiah; he devoted his life’s work in order to prepare the world to meet its Savior. John ate bugs, lived in the desert, and preached repentance; yet John did not do that for a show. He really gave his whole life for his life’s vocation. He did not do all of this for popularity, either. In fact, he was persecuted, then imprisoned, and then finally beheaded. He lived and died for Jesus; he deserved to be praise by Jesus himself.
Yet, with all that the Baptist has done and sacrificed, Jesus tells us that the least in the kingdom is greater than John the Baptist. What is this kingdom? It is the kingdom of righteousness that was provided by Jesus through His life, death, and resurrection. You and I, citizens of this kingdom through our baptism (which is our adoption), have been granted that greatness because we share the life of Jesus. This makes us heirs and heiresses of the kingdom. That means, you and I are beloved by God just like what The Father had spoken when Jesus was baptized by John: you are a beloved son, a beloved daughter.
As one of these who are least but great in the kingdom, you and I have nothing further more to do to prove how great we are. The Father loves us and all we have to do is to respond with gratitude to that love. All we have to do really is live our life’s vocation as John the Baptist did: with passion. We do not have to prove the whole world how great we are, because just by the merit of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we are already great. Stop over-stressing yourself to prove your greatness to others; instead, spend time in peace and quiet to ponder this awesome gift for you as His child.
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.
Can you imagine Jesus talking about how great you are? Why is that hard or easy for you? What do you think God wants to praise or focus on in your life?
What does it mean to you to be adopted into the Kingdom of God as His beloved son or daughter? What does that change about your life?
In this new Kingdom each of us is "least but great." How can you live this reality better? What does God want to say to your heart today about your place in the Kingdom?
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 are a beloved child."
"Great are you, Lord."
"I am alive in Your Kingdom."
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 Lord bear fruit in you today?
Find a time to be quiet and let God speak to your heart. Make yourself stop from your busyness to let God reveal to you how much you are worth in His eyes, not the eyes of those around you. If you would like, it could be helpful to journal about what He says to you.
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 Fr. Ervin Caliente, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.