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).
Over the course of this Lent, I have been struck by the person of Jesus in a new way. Every time we get to a point where we think we understand who Jesus is and how he will act in a certain situation, he surprises us – or at least that's the case for me.
In today's Gospel passage that we're invited to meditate on, we see a community around him that is completely unable to understand him. Some people like what he's saying, other people hate it. For most of the people, it seems, he is interesting; they might not be ready to drop everything and follow him, but they'll hear him out. Nicodemus is in the middle of the whole thing, clearly having a specific interest in the teachings of Jesus, having come to him a few chapters before, and now is risking a lot by being willing to speak up in defense of giving Jesus a chance to explain himself.
Why is he so confusing for them?
I think it's the same reason he's confusing for us a lot of the time – he doesn't fit into any constructs we put him in. For the pharisees and the chief priests, they had read from Scripture (what we now know as the Old Testament), and from that had painted a very clear picture of who the Messiah would be. Jesus did not fit their perspective! This wasn't a great and powerful king who would restore an earthly kingdom, and therefore he couldn't be the Messiah.
For you and I, it might be that Jesus doesn't give us what we ask him for. It might be that, just when we're mad at God, he comes through in a way we never could have predicted. It might be that our image of God was a santa clause who just gives us gifts from up in the sky somewhere, and then he proves to us that he's way closer to us than that.
Whichever thing it is, whether a false picture we've painted or an evidence-based image of Jesus, we can never fully comprehend the depth and breadth of our God. Jesus was bewildering to the people of his time because they couldn't put him in any sort of box – and that's because God is way bigger than what we can do with him.
Brothers and sisters, as we are now only about 2 weeks away from the great celebration of the Triduum – however different it may look this year – now is a great time to leave behind whatever limiting image we have of Jesus. He is more powerful, more merciful, more gracious, more forgiving, and more mysterious than we could ever explain. And yet, even in his great power and his great mystery, he invites us into a relationship with him in prayer. Let's not let quarantines or cancelled Masses or fasting and penance that didn't go as we planned or disappointment or fear or temptation or ANYTHING get between us and the God who loves us more than we could ever imagine. He's completely beyond our ability to grasp, and yet each day when we enter into quiet and prayer he reveals himself to us if we're willing to let him. He wants to show himself to be more than we've ever imagined, and to do more in our lives than we could've predicted; unlike the chief priests in this passage from John's Gospel, let's open our hearts to whatever he wants to do.
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.
In what ways have you allowed your vision to limit who God wants to be in your life?
How is your Lent going? What are some ways you can renew your commitment to enter into relationship with him in this important and powerful season?
As you enter into silence today, what is God saying to your heart? Is it a call to boldness? An invitation to peace? A reminder of his 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.
"You are more."
"You are good."
"You are powerful."
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?
In this difficult time, we will use our Action step each day to join with people around the world in praying for an end to the pandemic of the Coronavirus, for the healing of all those affected, and for the comfort of all those who have lost a loved one. The prayer below is from Archbishop José H. Gomez, President of the USCCB in his reflection and prayer during coronavirus:
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 Jason Theobald, Executive Director of Carpe Verbum.
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.
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