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 I was little and loved to read fairytales, this was not the kind of story that I would have wanted to hear before bed. The story of a king who was ridiculed and mocked as he died a shameful death? The story of a king who had the power to stop what was happening to him and prove just how mighty he was, and yet he allowed it to continue happening anyway?
Even now that I’m older, there’s a part of me that hesitates at the thought that this is the kingdom I belong to - a kingdom where the king’s own subjects put him to death because they don’t like what he has to say. This is the kingdom that the criminal hanging next to Jesus wanted to be a part of? This is the kingdom that He asks me to be a part of?
But when I really think about it, I come to realize just how beautiful this Kingdom is that the Lord invites all of us to. An unrecognized but rightful king who dies for the sake of his subjects at their very hands may not be as obviously idyllic or romantic as the fairytales we grew up hearing, but when I look into the deeper meaning, I realize just how beautiful it actually is. Our King is a King who looked on those who were killing Him with love, knowing that it was for their sake that He gave His life. Our King is a King who promised Paradise to a dying criminal during his last moments. Our King is a King who gave His last breath to save His people from a death sentence they had brought upon themselves. Our King is a King who, three days later, rose from the dead and shattered death to give us life.
When I think about all that our King has done for us, I am ashamed to think of how often I have been the crowds, the soldiers, and the other criminal who mocked him or ignored him, unaware despite all the signs He worked that this was their God who had come to save them. How often I have ignored the signs in my own life that He was at work. How often I have spat in His face by skipping prayer, ignoring the people He has placed around me to love, or choosing sin. I don’t want to be the one mocking Him as He dies for me. I want to be the criminal who calls out to the mercy of God, trusting that He will hear and respond. I want to be the criminal who chooses Jesus even when thing are hard or look hopeless. Who is it that you want to be?
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.
Who do you most relate to in today's Gospel? Are you more like the dying criminal who repents, or are you more like the crowd and the soldiers who mock Christ?
What do you need to do to become more like the repentant criminal, who still believes and trusts in God's mercy, even when things seem dark and hopeless?
As we end the Jubilee Year of Mercy today, how can you continue to show mercy to others, especially those who might mock or persecute you?
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.
"Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
"Be the king of my heart, Lord."
"Christ, have mercy."
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?
Be like the repentant criminal today. Trust in God's mercy even if things seem dark and hopeless, and show mercy to everyone you encounter.
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 Catie Destatte, a St. Paul's Outreach Missionary at University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, MN.
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