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 Gospel cuts to the core, no doubt about it. Here, as we journey through this Lenten season, we hear Jesus admonish the Pharisees of His time. The Pharisees, though ritually observant and following the law to the letter, were lacking in some pretty severe ways. Jesus exposes them today by calling them out for the big spectacle they make of themselves. The Pharisees in today’s world would be the ones who constantly complain about their Lenten sacrifices and make a big deal out of it.
Is that you? Have you been incessantly complaining about how you can’t eat chocolate for the past two weeks? Or maybe you’re seeking praise for your fasting by sharing with everyone how your social media cleanse has been so good for you and your walk with the Lord. We find it so easy to complain and heap upon ourselves these great sacrifices and fasts just to get the attention of others.
Today, Jesus calls us to a different way. He tells us that if we want to do well in our relationship with him, we must be servants. Service is an integral part of the Christian life, and I don’t just mean helping at a soup kitchen twice a year with your youth ministry service projects. The kind of service Jesus is speaking of is an every day, every moment type of service.
To be a servant means to be humble- it’s right there in the Gospel today. For us to be holy, we have to seek less of ourselves and more of Christ in our neighbors. Instead of moping around about our sacrifices of TV, chocolate, or whatever else we gave up this Lent, being loud and letting people know how much we’re sacrificing, why don’t we stop being Pharisees? Why don’t we take the time to put others in front of ourselves with our time and resources? Instead of being sad that we gave up Netflix, why don’t we use that time to help friends with some of their needs? When we’re hungry and craving meat on Friday, instead of complaining to our parents and asking them for steak, why don’t we offer to help cook our meatless meal or do some extra chores?
Serving others requires discipline and love and it’s not an easy habit or life view to build, but the grace we need comes from Jesus- who served more than anyone. Let your prayer today be centered on seeking ways to serve those around you and less on the woes of your fasting this Lent!
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.
How faithful have you been to your Lenten sacrifice? Have you offered your sacrifice to God, or do you seek your reward through the praise or acknowledgement of others?
Have you grown in service this Lent? Do you spend more time helping others, or focusing on yourself? Do you take time each day asking God how you can serve Him through your Lenten sacrifice?
When was the last time you did an act of service? How can you serve others today? What do you need to do in order to make serving Christ in others a priority in your life?
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 serve You."
"Help me to love."
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?
Do something to serve someone in some way today. It can be a small act of kindness or something big. Either way, be attentive to other people's needs and love Jesus in them. Ask Christ for the graces you will need to be able to serve Him in others today.
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 Adam Smyth, a high school youth minister at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Ellicott City, MD.