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).
Some of my favorite memes are the #thingsjesusneversaid ones, like:
"It doesn't really matter what you do, so long as deep down inside you're a good person. #thingsjesusneversaid"
"Your sins are forgiven. Feel free to continue leading a sinful life. #thingsjesusneversaid"
Our culture wants to tell us that we just need to be a generally good person, and that's enough. People will even go so far as to say that Jesus loved everyone, judged no one, and accepted people exactly as they are without any expectations.
Except that's not entirely true.
When a woman was caught in adultery and brought before Jesus, He forgave her. But before He sent her on her way, He told her, "Go and sin no more" (John 8:11). When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, in addition to His kind words to her, He also blatantly pointed out her own sexual promiscuity (John 4:4-42). After healing a man who had been ill for 38 years, Jesus told him, "Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you" (John 5:14). Jesus also held the Scribes and Pharisees accountable for their sinful lives by telling them, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth" (Matthew 23:27). And in today's Gospel Jesus tells us, "Whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven."
God does not like sin. #thingsjesusactuallysaid
But the culture tries to convince us that sin is no big deal, just like the devil convinced Eve that eating the forbidden fruit was no big deal. The culture even tries to convince us that Jesus is okay with sin because no one is perfect and we're decently good people. Today Jesus makes it crystal clear that He's NOT okay with sin, and keeping His commandments and staying free from sin is crucial to a life of grace as a disciple of Christ. Jesus DOES love us, and He loves us too much to leave us in sin.
Let's ask ourselves if we really acknowledge the sin in our lives as the evil that it is. The reality of sin is that it damages our relationship with God and ultimately leads to death. Sin IS a big deal. We often downplay the sins our life. In our pride, we fail to admit to ourselves that we have a problem. And if we fail to identify sin as a problem, then we don't ask the Lord for forgiveness.
So let's acknowledge our sins, seek the Lord's mercy, and go and sin no more!
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 are some of the excuses that you use to downplay sin in your life?
How can we balance the severity and reality of our sins with the endless Mercy of God?
If God loves us despite our sin, why does avoiding sin matter so much?
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.
"Go and sin no more."
"Lord, have mercy on me."
"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?
Go to confession. However, this time take the Act of Contrition seriously, especially the part that says "I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin."
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 Dan Wolff, High School Youth Minister at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL.