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 in high school, I was the king of youth group (self-appointed). I attended every retreat, every Sunday night, every Wednesday bible study, every Life Teen Mass, you name it. Somewhat unfairly, I considered myself a pretty good Catholic because of this: surely, I thought to myself, the sheer volume of religious things that I was doing meant that in God’s eyes I was pleasing Him and being holy. In the middle of my junior year, this girl randomly showed up to youth group and started hanging out with me and my friends. She had a beautiful story of conversion and transformation from a Steubenville Conference and was well on her way to growing in a deep and personal relationship with the Lord, but I remember my first thought was nothing like that at all but instead: “who is this outsider?” I knew her before she started coming to youth group and to me all she was was someone who partied in high school and made bad decisions. Sometimes I’d see pictures she’d put up on social media hanging out with those same old bad friends. She doesn’t deserve to be here I would think to myself: I’m the one who has put in the hard work. I’m the one who is actually living this thing out well! Who does this person think she is?
How I wish high school Matthew would have heeded more quickly the advice of Christ in today’s Gospel: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. Today’s Gospel concerns the call of Matthew. He was a tax collector and thus not looked upon favorably by the Jewish community. Tax collectors were essentially viewed as traitors: they were Israelite people who would collect money from their fellow Israelites for the Roman government, thus pillaging their own communities resources. So, when Jesus calls Matthew and asks him to follow Him, you could probably assume there is a sort of jealousy and envy coursing through the veins of some Pharisees: “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Why does the Messiah concern Himself so much with these lowlifes? We are the ones who have put in the work! We are the ones who are at the Temple day in and day out offering sacrifices to God! Where is our reward? Why do we not get to sit at the table with Jesus?
I desire mercy, not sacrifice. Jesus wants more from us than action for the sake of action. He wants more than human discipline. It’s not about earning an A+ with God or outdoing our competition by being holier or praying more or going to youth group more etc. Jesus wants you. He wants the actions of your life to reflect your deep and interior union with Him. He wants you to be as He is with us to others, ever-merciful, always gazing upon the other with compassion and actively willing for the holiness of others.
Today, if you find yourself comparing yourself spiritually to others, stop it. If you find yourself thinking that your “brand” of Catholicism or your own personal preferences for living out the faith are superior to others, stop it. Our faith today has too many modern-day Pharisees. Be a Matthew. Be a true disciple. Follow the heart of Christ, listen to His words in Holy Scripture and the Tradition that He has handed down to us. Trust in His Sacraments. And above all, be merciful as the Heavenly Father is merciful. Love Him as He deserves and others as He loves them. AMDG.
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.
When did you judge someone for living their faith differently from you? Take that moment to prayer now.
Why do you compare yourself spiritually to others? How can you stop doing that?
How can you show others Jesus's love and mercy?
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.
"Lord have mercy."
"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?
‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’* I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
How can you show mercy to others today?
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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 Matthew Maxwell, a graduate of Franciscan University currently working as a Youth Minister in St. Louis.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.