Step #1: Lectio / Read
Read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
A man was dead and is now alive.
He died, he was placed in a coffin, and his mom was crying over it all as any mother would.
Jesus, this teacher, comes to town; He tells the woman to stop crying; He raises the man from the dead; then He leaves and continues on His way teaching and healing.
Sometimes, it's important for us to step back and realize the enormity of what is happening in the Gospel. Gospel means Good News, and it is not simply a collection of stories that happened in the past - it is the very person of Jesus, the One who brings healing and hope and redemption, the One who is active now in my life and in yours, and it is the story of the things He did and still does. This story is not just a nice story of Jesus doing something nice for a person back when He was around - it is a story of the greatest Man who ever walked the face of the earth doing something unthinkable and incredible.
Often in the Gospels we hear Jesus talk about the Kingdom of God. Today, we hear the people saying that God has "visited His people." We probably think of two different things when we hear that - Jesus is talking about heaven, the people are talking about this miracle and how cool it is that Jesus came to them and God did something great for His people. In reality, though, these are the same thing; the Kingdom of God is about God visiting His people here and now.
Listen to Pope Benedict XVI, now our Emeritus Pope, talking about this in his book Jesus of Nazareth:
"The new and totally specific thing about Jesus' message is that he is telling us: God is acting now — this is the hour when God is showing himself in history as its Lord, as the living God, in a way that goes beyond anything seen before...the Kingdom of God is ‘realized’ in his coming….Jesus, as the One who has come, is nonetheless the One who comes throughout the whole of history."
When Jesus works miracles, He is not preparing us for something to come later: He is showing us that God is active in the world right now. Jesus came not just to get us to heaven, but to reunite us to the Father in a deeper, more intimate way than we ever could have imagined. When we sin, when we fall away, when we struggle, Jesus is coming into our lives to show that He is Lord of history, that He is the Living God, and that He is here to help us realize the Kingdom of God.
To boil it all down: in the raising of this man from the dead, Jesus shows us that He is active in the world today, that He is victorious over death here and now, and that He has greater things in store for us than we ever could have imagined. Our job is to encounter Him, to listen to Him, and to let Him be the Lord of our life right here and now, just as He longs to be.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
Where is Christ currently active in your life? What are some ways you've noticed His movements, or you can now see that He moved but you did not notice?
What would change about your life if you lived as if Christ was with you at each moment?
How can you do a better job of creating the space to encounter Christ each day?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
The Kingdom is at hand.
You are Lord of my life.
I long to have You at the center of 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 Lord bear fruit in you today?
How will your life change knowing that the Kingdom of God is for Christ to be Lord of your life here and now? Find a concrete way or two that this can affect your day today and put them into action.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Jason Theobald, Director of Youth Ministry at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Huntley, IL.
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