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 middle school, I told my friends that I liked a boy from our class. Now, I barely knew him, but he was smart, played on the hockey team, and had wavy brown hair. What’s not to like? In classic middle school fashion, my friends approached him right away to see if he liked me back. No luck. My little middle school heart was crushed.
Have you ever felt the sting of rejection? Whether big or small, rejection hurts: finding out a crush doesn’t like you back; not getting into the college of your dreams; standing up for someone who was being picked on and being laughed at; or even being mocked for living out your faith.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus prepares us for the rejection we will experience when we speak in His Name, not by telling us to suck it up and get over it, but by inviting us to unite that rejection with Him. The Gospel gets pretty intense—Jesus straight up says “the world will hate you,” and “they will persecute you”—but Jesus is really using this intense language to teach us that no rejection, no persecution, no hatred that we may experience, no matter how intense, is beyond His love.
Think of it: Jesus speaks these words to the disciples mere hours before being betrayed and abandoned by nearly all of his closest friends, scorned, spit upon, beaten, mocked, and ultimately put to death. But as we know, that was not the end—the end was resurrection. All the suffering of Jesus was redemptive; He took upon Himself our sins so we could be transformed by the great power of divine love. That suffering became our source of hope.
These difficult words of Jesus in the Gospel today, that the world will hate us just as it hated him, are meant to remind us that though we will experience rejection in our life of discipleship, we are not alone in that experience. Jesus did not separate Himself from human suffering; He invites us even today to unite our rejection and pain with him on the Cross. In a miraculous way, our suffering also becomes redemptive—when we surrender our pain to Jesus, he redeems it, and uses it to bring new life. This is the great miracle of Easter, which the Church continues to celebrate for nearly two months after the holiday itself: God can bring new life from anything, even death itself.
What suffering are you experiencing today? Maybe it’s one of those big rejections from your past that you’ve never brought to Jesus, or maybe it’s heartbreak, loneliness, or betrayal that you’re experiencing right now. Whatever it is, Jesus invites each one of us to unite our crosses with him so that ultimately, we can experience the transforming power of love and the hope of the resurrection.
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.
What is a suffering in your life right now – or maybe a couple – that you can unite to Jesus' transforming love today?
When you have experienced suffering in the past, how well have you united it to Jesus? How can you more regularly invite him into your suffering to help you through it and to redeem you?
In the midst of whatever suffering you are experiencing, who are some people you can pray for today and ask Jesus to redeem your suffering for them?
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.
"I unite myself to your cross."
"I offer this suffering to you."
"Jesus, I trust in 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?
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 Becca O’Hara, who loves Jesus and lives with her husband Chris in Halifax, Canada, where they both work for the Church.
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.