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).
“And who is my neighbor?”
That’s an easy one. My neighbors are the families who live in the houses next to mine. Very nice people I’ve gotten to know over the years. We take care of each other’s dogs, and collect each other’s mail when the others go on vacation. We jokingly compete over the lengths of our lawns. We chat from deck to deck behind our homes in the summer, and grumble to each other over the 3 feet of snow covering our driveways in the winter. We’ve happily celebrated together at the graduation parties of each other’s children, and, sadly, we’ve mourned together at the funerals of some of our parents who’ve been called home by God. To put it in the simplest terms… we care about each other.
So, is it the proximity to others and the caring about each other that makes these people my neighbors?
No. Based on Jesus’s parable, we have to admit that that is not it. I guess the answer to the question is not as easy as I first thought above.
For example, my family is fortunate enough now to get along with the people who live closest to us, but in the past there have been others that weren’t so friendly to us, and others that I didn’t take the time to get to know. I had more important, selfish priorities in my life. I’ll even confess that I know there have been people that I’ve hurt, not violently of course, like the robbers in the parable, but through neglect or some type of contempt. There have been people that I’ve avoided, much like the priest and the Levite, perhaps because of shyness or irritation, or some other excuse. This is all to my own shame, because truly those people were no less “my neighbors” than the friends I have now.
We are called upon by Jesus to share the compassion of the Samaritan traveler, and to see each other through the eyes of Jesus, who loves us all. Why? Because it is the fact that God created every one of us out of His infinite love that makes us all “neighbors.” Therefore, we are called to sincerely care about the welfare of each other, because in so doing, we ourselves partake in His love, and by this, we partake in the spirit of God Himself.
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 do you treat the "neighbors" in your life? The people living in the houses next to yours, the other kids in your class, your friends and relatives?
How do you treat those "other neighbors?" The ones whom others treat poorly or avoid? The kids at your school who are isolated or bullied, that relative that causes the family stress, that kid in your club or team who gives other people a really hard time?
How is the Lord calling you to love your neighbor more like the Good Samaritan in today's gospel? You probably already know who many of these people are. You've probably already felt the Lord tugging at your heart to show them more love and respect.
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.
"And who is my neighbor?"
"Lord, help me treat my neighbor with mercy."
"Help me see others through your eyes, Jesus."
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?
Think of at least one specific person who you need to be more of a good neighbor to. What specific action can you take to love them? Maybe just say hi to them, maybe start a conversation, maybe perform a random act of kindness for them? Make it specific, and make it a goal to reach out to them 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 Jim Lundgren, a parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL.