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).
What are we to make of this reading, one of the more strange and confusing passages in Scripture? Keep in mind, this is the Mary who Jesus loves dearly.
How do we know that Jesus loved Mary so much? When Jesus was being crucified, it would have been excruciatingly painful for Him to talk. Crucifixion slowly asphyxiates you as you hang. To speak, Jesus would have required full lungs, which meant He would have had to raise Himself up by putting weight on His pierced feet. So, anything He does or says on the Cross should be given particular weight for its importance. Jesus, while dying, gives Mary to John the beloved apostle as his adoptive mother (and the mother of the world by extension). If He took such an effort while on the Cross to make provision for His mom after His death, displaying His complete love and respect for her (and us, as well, because now we have Mary as our Mother), then what are we to make of this passage?
Mary's story in the Gospels is a fascinating one. She is the greatest disciple of Jesus in addition to being His mother. Her role in His mission is of crucial importance, but most of it involves deep and profound interior suffering. There was the confusion of the unlooked for pregnancy and possible shame. Giving birth in a cave. The flight to Egypt. Jesus being lost in the Temple. Following Her Son on the way of the Cross.
It is as if, for Jesus to complete His earthly mission, He requires Our Lady to be committed with Her entire heart to give and give and give until it hurts. God wants to bring fruit from Her giving Her heart away, which reveals something about our own lives. If we are to bear fruit in this life, and bring other people to Jesus, we have to be willing to love without counting the cost. We have to overlook the possible obstacles, hurts, wounds, and scourges.
So, if Jesus loves His mother, and isn't just rejecting her off-handedly, we have to ask the question: what is being asked of Her here, in today's Gospel? What does She have to do here in order for the mission of Her Son to be complete? What is God asking of Her, our Mother?
In another part of the Gospel, Jesus says, "He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me." The call to love and follow Jesus is placed in such high priority that it even comes before family ties. If a family member would stop you from following Jesus, then you have to follow Jesus over that family member. That's pretty intense! Jesus is placing the communion and friendship found with Him as a more permanent and important relationship even than those we share with our family members.
Now, it has to be said there has never been someone who did the will of God more perfectly than the Blessed Mother. This is why She is crowned as Queen of Heaven and Earth. Jesus' love for Her is not just because of biological connection only, but the specialness and closeness of their relationship is also because Mary is the perfect disciple, doing the will of God - and the will of Her Son - perfectly. May we each place the will of God, and our relationship with Him, in its place of primary importance in our lives this day and always.
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 does Jesus' question about who his mother and brothers are mean for you? How is He calling you into a deeper relationship with Him?
Do you give your relationship with Jesus total priority in your life? What comes before it? Why?
What is your relationship with the Blessed Mother like? Do you ask for her intercession in your daily life? How can you rely more on her prayers, since Jesus gave her to you as a mother?
Step #4: Contemplation / 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.
"You are first."
"I choose You."
"I will follow 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 Lord bear fruit in you today?
Let Jesus take priority by changing your schedule. Look at your calendar for the rest of your day or one of the upcoming days this week and adjust it to make sure Jesus takes total priority. See how this small change affects your mindset and your focus on Him.
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 Tim Glemkowski, Youth & Young Adult Minister at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Batavia, IL.