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).
In today's Gospel, Jesus is speaking to the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders, basically everyone who opposes Him, His ministry, and even His identity. But instead of chickening out and not "telling them how it is", He offers them a rather intense parable about their ignorance. He speaks of the wicked tenants. These people are essentially leasing a wine press from a wealthy man, but when the man sends servants and couriers to receive his share, the tenants show their true colors. Some they beat, others they murder. So, the owner sends his beloved son, thinking they will respect him. However, we all know what happens...the beloved son is also killed.
But what the heck does this have to do with priests, scribes and elders?
When we look at this parable in light of what has been revealed to us, we begin to see a different story. We see a generous father who gives of his own wealth and out of his goodness to these tenants. All he requires of them is what is due to him. And when the time comes, he begins to send couriers of his word to the tenants, telling them the time has come for them to give the master what is due to him. We can see these servants and couriers as a type, or something that points to or prefigures something else, of the prophets of the Old Testament! God sends servants to speak to his people, but his people reject them to the utmost degree, even killing them. So God sends his beloved Son. This, of course, we know to be Jesus! But the words that Jesus speaks in this parable are difficult words to hear because the son of the master is also killed - an obvious foreshadowing of Jesus’ Passion.
So what do we take away from this? We take away a warning, just as Jesus was intending for the scribes, priests, and elders to take away. If we, too, in one way or another, reject the Son, we will face the same death that the tenants eventually face. If we, in our arrogance and woundedness, decide that we do not want to accept the Son who comes on behalf of the Father, we face a very final punishment: an eternal separation from God.
So today, in light of some harrowing words from Jesus, take time to reflect on the moments that you have rejected Jesus - whether outright or in small ways. And, in an act of faith, invite in Jesus in a new way, accepting him as the tenants refused to, so that we might have friendship and love with the beloved Son.
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 do you think it is in the hearts of people, like those tenants in the Gospel, that makes us prone to turning our hearts away from the Lord and rejecting His messengers?
What are the ways, big or small, that you know you have been like those tenants and rejected the Lord?
What new ways, or new areas of your life, does the Lord want you to invite Him into? Are you ready to welcome Him, to invite Him, to let Him in?
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 choose You."
"I trust You."
"Come into my heart."
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?
Take time throughout your day to notice the messengers the Lord is sending you, those ways He is speaking into your life, and see how you are doing at responding to that, at hearing Him, and at choosing to let Him in and give Him what He is due.
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.