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).
Today's First Reading is a watershed moment in the early Church in many ways. The Church in the first years after Jesus' death and resurrection is growing rapidly as the disciples take the Gospel with them to the world. In this story we have Peter, the one on whom Christ had built His Church, being led by God into Caesarea and meeting there a Gentile man. While in Caesarea, Peter preaches, and the Gentiles begin to experience the Holy Spirit in profound and radical ways, and so Peter has them all baptized.
This story is important for a bunch of reasons. First of all, the order of things is pretty curious. We understand that the Holy Spirit comes to people through Baptism, wherein we are baptized into Christ and receive an indwelling of the Spirit. In this story, though, the Holy Spirit proceeds baptism, coming to these people who have not received the Sacrament (remember this point).
This story is also and mainly interesting because of the fact that these people were not Jewish people. Up until this point, the Church had specifically understood that baptism and life in Christ were for Jewish people, God's chosen people, who were living according to Jewish law and now could live in Christ (while still under Jewish law). These people are going to pose a question, as they are not living the law as the Jews believe it needs to be lived, and so the Apostles will have to wrestle with how to minister to these people.
God knows all things, including the hearts and minds of each of us. God knew that, because Peter and the apostles understood the Gospel as meant for the Jews, and these people were Gentiles, having these people baptized would not have been what the Apostles would have done. Instead of waiting for them to figure this out, though, God has another plan: He sends His Spirit in powerful and radical ways that they could not imagine. Peter, led by the Spirit, then responds to what God is doing, as the Church always does: She interprets and points out for the people that which God has done and is doing in the world.
Brothers and sisters, we worship a God on this Sixth Sunday of Easter who is not done acting in powerful and radical ways. God does not act in ways that show favoritism or partiality, but rather He offers and abundant outpouring of the Spirit to all who believe. May you and I today encounter the grace of the risen Christ and let His love deeply penetrate our hearts and our lives as we continue to live in this Easter joy.
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 limited the work God wants to do in and through you?
How do you need the Holy Spirit today? Are you boldly asking God for the great gift and the grace of the Spirit in those areas of your life?
In the last two weeks of Easter, how can you concretely choose to live in Easter joy in new and real ways?
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.
"Come, Holy Spirit."
"I need You, Lord."
"Guide my life."
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?
Find a concrete way to love someone you don't normally interact with. Reach out to someone who is an outcast, be kind to a sibling you don't get along with, or find someone else in your life who you know and can share God's love with, knowing that He doesn't show partiality in who He loves.
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, Director of Youth Ministry at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Huntley, IL.