A Lectio Divina Approach to the Sunday and Weekday Liturgy

 

BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD (Series 10, n.1)

FIRST WEEK OF ADVENT: November 27 - December 3, 2011 *

 

 

(N.B. The pastoral tool BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD: A LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE SUNDAY LITURGY includes a prayerful study of the Sunday liturgy of Year B from three perspectives. For reflections on the Sunday liturgy based on the Gospel reading, please scroll up to the “ARCHIVES” above and open Series 1. For reflections based on the Old Testament reading, open Series 4. For reflections based on the Second Reading, open Series 7.

 

Series 10 presents A LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE WEEKDAY LITURGY: November 28, 2011 to December 3, 2011. The following reflections are based on the weekday liturgy’s Gospel reading.)

 

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November 28, 2011: ADVENT WEEKDAY (I) - Monday

“Advent: A Time To Seek Healing”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Is 2:1-5 // Ps 122:1-9 // Mt 8:5-11

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

    (By Bishop Joseph Mukala, India)

 

We are beginning a new spiritual journey with Jesus in this new liturgical year. We have also begun using the new revised translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal. It is indeed a new beginning for us. At this point, we cannot forget what the Responsorial Psalm invites us today, namely, to go up rejoicing to the house of the Lord. Our holy mother the Church teaches us that we are on a pilgrimage and during this pilgrimage many of us, along with the centurion of our Gospel, today request the Lord to heal us of our infirmities. But our faith is yet to be tested and verified. In the case of the centurion, the Lord gave him a super pass certificate when he said, “Truly I tell you in no one in Israel have I found such faith.” Yes, we would like to hear these words from the Lord in our regard. But we are still far from the disposition of the centurion as he approached the Lord for the cure of his servant.

 

What prevents us from having such faith as the centurion’s? Could it be that our faith is shallow due to our heavy dependence on our abilities or to the modern and present day challenges that draw us away from what is spiritual and transcendent? The centurion had to face certain challenges when he decided to go and meet the Lord and requested him to heal his servant. His own friends must have ridiculed him for seeking the assistance of a so-called Jewish preacher. His very own authority over his subjects could prevent him from having recourse to a so-called preacher with magic powers. In any case we can count on his deep faith in the authority of Christ, to whom he went and pleaded for the cure of his servant. With his love for his servant, along with the gift of faith that he received from God, he took the bold step in approaching Jesus with his request.

 

Look at the way Jesus responds to the request of the centurion when he said, “I will come and cure him.” We are in need of healing, both spiritual and mental. The Lord is ever ready to come under our roof and heal us. He gently tells us that he is ready to come and heal us if only we open ourselves to him and his healing power. The centurion knew that Jesus has power and authority to heal from a distance as he himself has power and authority to command and get things done. Hence, he humbled himself before Jesus and requested him to exercise his power and authority to heal his servant, without coming to his house. This is evident when he said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed.”

 

At the beginning of this holy season of Advent, seek for healing that is more than physical. We all need healing of memories, such as the unjust dealing of a boss, the unkind word of a friend or a partner, etc.  Let us include all these intentions in our prayer during this period of waiting for the Lord who is born to us every day in the Eucharist and at Christmas. As the centurion acknowledged the power and authority of Jesus in healing his servant, let us also be conscious of our need for the presence of the Lord in our lives – that he may heal us of our spiritual, psychological and mental agonies and wounds. In the same measure, let us also be conscious of people who need our presence for their healing, especially those who are close to us, like the servant who was very close to his master, the centurion.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Like the centurion, do we have the faith, trust and love to seek healing from our Lord Jesus? Do we welcome his transforming Advent into our life?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Lord Jesus, we thank you for the season of Advent, a season of new beginning and a time to seek healing. Please come into our life with your healing power. Make us whole in mind, body and soul. Maranatha! Come, O Christ the Lord!

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“I will come and cure him.” (cf. Mt 8:7)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Pray not only for healing, but also to be a healer. Do something kind and comforting for a sick relative or friend.

 

 

Prepared by Sr. Mary Margaret Tapang, PDDM

 

PIAE DISCIPULAE DIVINI MAGISTRI

SISTER DISCIPLES OF THE DIVINE MASTER

60 Sunset Ave., Staten Island, NY 10314

Tel. (718) 494-8597 // (718) 761-2323

Website: WWW.PDDM.US

 

 

***

 

 

November 29, 2011: ADVENT WEEKDAY (I) – Tuesday

“Advent: A Time To Be Childlike”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Is 11:1-10 // Ps 7:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17 // Lk 10:21-24

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

    (By Bishop Joseph Mukala, India)

 

Jesus has, on many occasions, extolled the attitude of children, praising them for their innocence, dependence, simplicity and joy. Everyone has a word or a touch for a child. We see God in a child being carried by a mother or walking along with the father.

 

We want to know more about God, but we know that the knowledge of God does not come from reading big books or attending lectures by scholars, but rather on one’s knees in prayer. The Holy Spirit inspires the simple to know God and come closer to him, in humility and openness to surrender to him. The prophets of old and great men of the history of Israel longed for the day when they would see and experience the messianic times. But that grace was not given to them, though in their own way they were happy and they fulfilled the mission entrusted to them by God. They found happiness and joy in being men of God, speaking His words and carrying out His plans. Yes, they were like children in the hands of God ready to accept whatever was demanded of them. 

 

Simplicity and humility are key words when it comes to being chosen by God for his mission. Every Christian has a mission to fulfill for we are all missionaries. A simple old lady from a village in a far flung area fulfills a mission. Her childlike simplicity and humility are qualities that make her a member of the Body of Christ. She is there to build up the Body of Christ through her joy and happiness. It is not always the learned and the wise that really bring joy and happiness to the body of Christ, but also the simple and ordinary people. Let us be simple and humble to receive the child Jesus into our lives.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Are we like children in the hands of God? Are we able to trust God and rely on him with childlike simplicity?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Lord Jesus, together with you, we rejoice in the Spirit. We love God the Father with childlike trust. With your grace, help us to surrender to his saving will. Maranatha! Come, O Christ the Lord!

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“You have revealed them to the childlike.” (cf. Lk 10:21)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Pray for a more childlike trust as God’s presence mysteriously unfolds in our life. Do something kind and comforting for a needy “little one” in your midst.

 

 

Prepared by Sr. Mary Margaret Tapang, PDDM

 

PIAE DISCIPULAE DIVINI MAGISTRI

SISTER DISCIPLES OF THE DIVINE MASTER

60 Sunset Ave., Staten Island, NY 10314

Tel. (718) 494-8597 // (718) 761-2323

Website: WWW.PDDM.US

 

 

***

 

November 30, 2011: SAINT ANDREW – Wednesday

“Advent: A Time To Follow Jesus”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Rom 10:9-18 // Ps 19:2-5 // Mt 4:18-22

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

    (By Bishop Joseph Mukala, India)

 

In this first week of Advent, we hear the Lord’s invitation and challenge: “Come follow me”. Today we see the example of St. Andrew. Together with his brother Peter, he left everything to follow Jesus. I am flabbergasted by the words of the evangelist who says that the fishermen left everything.  I have often wondered whether this is possible. But this is exactly what the Lord is asking each of us, especially at the start of this season of expectation and preparation for his coming at Christmas.

 

When I was the Rector of the Minor Seminary in my diocese, I had the privilege of going to my native state to recruit boys for the diocese. I had gone to the homes of many of the boys to meet them personally, as well as to get in touch with their parents and parish priests. Then I got a letter from one boy whose house I could not visit. With the information I gathered about him and the recommendation of his parish priest, I recruited him. I sent a letter asking him to go to a railway station at 3:00 pm of a particular day for a long journey that would start at 5:00 pm. The letter, however, was delivered to his home only at noon, on the very day of the scheduled departure. His brother rushed to the educational institution where the boy was studying. When the boy’s brother reached the institution, he conveyed to him the message that he had to leave immediately. And so Johnson left with his brother for the railway station. They reached it by 4:30 pm, just before the train was to leave for a 400-km journey from South India to North East India. He did not have time to bid his parents goodbye nor take anything from home. He left with just a shoulder bag containing some notebooks. Of course, we provided him with all he needed for the long voyage. Just like Saint Andrew, he accepted the call and left immediately without any delay. I had the joy of ordaining him a priest. Today Fr. Johnson is doing well in his ministry and apostolate.

 

During Advent and other seasons as well, the Lord is calling us to receive him and to respond as his witnesses in a world where secularism is firmly entrenched. Peoples and nations are trying to manage without God. They upset the world order he has set. What is now our response to Him who calls us? Will it be like that of the apostles Andrew and Peter, who left everything and followed the Master’s call?  Let us not look back but rather fix our attention on Him who calls us, putting our complete trust in Him. Andrew and Peter did it. Can we not do the same? We need a heart willing to commit itself to God in building up His Kingdom here on earth. This is an urgent need.

 

In St. John’s gospel, we read that Andrew told his brother Simon: “We have found the Messiah, the Christ.” And he brought him to Jesus. Have we likewise found the Messiah and endeavor to bring many more to Him, who is the source of life and light? The shepherds came to see the newborn king. The Magi came from afar to pay homage to the King of kings. In our case, we do not need to undertake a long journey to meet the Lord or hear his call. He is the Emmanuel, God-with-us. We only need to say “Yes” to Him. He will never abandon us nor desert us. He will be with us until the end of time and we will be with him for eternity. 

 

Let us receive the Lord at Christmas and respond to Him as St. Andrew and his brother St. Peter did, leaving everything behind. Let is entrust ourselves totally to his care and submit to his reign. May His Kingdom come!

 

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Are we like children in the hands of God? Are we able to trust God and rely on him with childlike simplicity?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Lord Jesus, you call us to leave everything behind and work for the advent of your kingdom. Like Saint Andrew, the apostle, help us not to tarry but to respond fully and promptly to your call. Fill us with the joy of your reign and increase the catch of the “fishers of men”. Maranatha! Come, O Christ the Lord!

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“At once they left their nets and followed him.” (cf. Mt 4:20)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Pray for the strength to respond promptly and fully to the divine call. Make an act of detachment and carry out a work of charity on behalf of priestly and religious vocations.

 

 

Prepared by Sr. Mary Margaret Tapang, PDDM

 

PIAE DISCIPULAE DIVINI MAGISTRI

SISTER DISCIPLES OF THE DIVINE MASTER

60 Sunset Ave., Staten Island, NY 10314

Tel. (718) 494-8597 // (718) 761-2323

Website: WWW.PDDM.US

 

 

***

 

 December 1, 2011: ADVENT WEEKDAY I – Thursday

“Advent: A Time To Build Upon Christ-Rock”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Is 26:1-6 // Ps 118:1,8-9,19-21,25-27a // Mt 7:21,24-27

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

    (By Bishop Joseph Mukala, India)

 

The Lord announced that the Kingdom of God is at hand (cf. Lk 17:21, Mk 1:15). Everyone is urgently searching for an entry into this kingdom where the Lord promises righteousness, peace and prosperity. The conditions that the Lord puts forward are not difficult for one who is seriously seeking the kingdom. That person is ready to dig deep and lay a firm foundation on Christ-rock so that it could stand even in difficult and trying times. While this digging is going on, we need to root out all that is not compatible with the kingdom so that the foundation may be strong. Then it could take in the shocks and violence, persecutions and rebuff, ridicules and scorn of an unbelieving world. The Church is attacked on every front. We are considered old-fashioned when we do not conform ourselves with the world on issues of life, death penalty, values, health care, etc.

 

Advent is a time to search the innermost recesses of our lives and to build a strong foundation. With a firmly grounded Christian life, nothing can detract us in our discipleship. St. Paul asserts that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, (cf. Rom 8:35). Who are the mother, brothers and sisters of Jesus? They are those who hear the word and put it into practice. Those who are transformed by it can be sure that no persecutions or attacks could overcome them.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Do we truly seek the will of the Father and his kingdom by building our life upon Christ, the foundation Rock?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Lord Jesus, you the rock-foundation of our life. Instill our day-to-day options with your wisdom. Make us firm in our choices for you. Help us as we work for the advent of your kingdom. Maranatha! Come, O Christ the Lord!

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (cf. Mt 7:24)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Pray for Christian disciples that they may build their life upon him. Let your actions on behalf of others manifest Christ’s compassion.

 

 

Prepared by Sr. Mary Margaret Tapang, PDDM

 

PIAE DISCIPULAE DIVINI MAGISTRI

SISTER DISCIPLES OF THE DIVINE MASTER

60 Sunset Ave., Staten Island, NY 10314

Tel. (718) 494-8597 // (718) 761-2323

Website: WWW.PDDM.US

 

 

***

 

 

 December 2, 2011: ADVENT WEEKDAY I – Friday

“Advent: A Time To See Light”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Is 29:17-24 // Ps 27:1,4,13-14 // Mt 9:27-31

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

    (By Bishop Joseph Mukala, India)

 

All those who sought Jesus for a cure or miracle needed to have faith in him and his power to heal. When that was not evident, he evoked that faith from them. In today’s Gospel passage, he asked whether they believed that he could do what they were imploring from him. They humbly answered “yes”. The two intercessors did not complain to Jesus that they were blind nor did they lament their situation. No! Rather, they just accepted in all humility their limitations and expressed their faith in Jesus who could cure and make them whole. Without trust and confidence in him, nothing much could be done for them. With their faith-filled “Yes”, Jesus granted them their request. The two blind men knew what the Messiah would do in his time. So they called upon him using the messianic title, “Son of David” that he might bring sight to their blindness. They were right in calling Jesus “Son of David”. Their simple faith and humility were eventually rewarded.

 

It is strange that Jesus asked them not to share the news with others. Is this possible? Jesus is not interested in being a sensation; he does not want people to have wrong idea about his mission. But the healed blind men ignored his appeal and went about telling everyone what happened. They had regained not only physical sight, but also “in-sight”. Finally they could see who Jesus really is - the word of God and healer. They could not keep it for themselves. Indeed, the “good” news had to be shared.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Do we experience blindness in our life? What do we do in order to see?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Lord Jesus, you are our light and salvation. Heal the blindness of our heart. In your light we see light. Help us to work for the advent of your joy-giving light to others that they too may have a seeing heart. Maranatha! Come, O Christ the Lord!

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“And their eyes were opened.” (cf. Mt 9:30)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Pray for those who are blinded in heart that they may see light. Today introduce somebody to the radiant light of Christ in the Word and the Eucharist.

 

 

Prepared by Sr. Mary Margaret Tapang, PDDM

 

PIAE DISCIPULAE DIVINI MAGISTRI

SISTER DISCIPLES OF THE DIVINE MASTER

60 Sunset Ave., Staten Island, NY 10314

Tel. (718) 494-8597 // (718) 761-2323

Website: WWW.PDDM.US

 

 

***

December 3, 2011: ST. FRANCIS XAVIER – Saturday

“Advent: A Time For Mission”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Is 30:19-21,23-26 // Ps 147:1-6 // Mt 9:35-10:1,5a,6-8

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

    (By Bishop Joseph Mukala, India)

 

Jesus was moved with pity for the people who longed for liberation and salvation. They were like sheep without a shepherd. So God himself, in Jesus, came down to cure humankind and shepherd the sheep. The prophecy “I myself will care for my sheep and watch over them” (Ezekiel 34:11) became a reality in the person of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who searched for the lost sheep and healed the wounded. From the very beginning, when man sinned and broke away from God, the divine plan was to redeem the whole world by intervening with love, healing, forgiveness and mercy. Jesus offers us a glorious kingdom under his reign, where peace and justice never end.

 

Jesus toured through towns and villages, teaching in synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing all kinds of disease and illness. He wanted this mission to continue so he sent out his disciples for the same mission. He empowered his disciples: they were to live, preach and act like him. They were sent to the lost ones of Israel to whom the gift of salvation must be offered first. The disciples were to continue the same works of compassion and reconciliation, curing and making people whole.

 

Saint Francis Xavier, whose memorial we celebrate today, is a sterling example of a faithful disciple who promoted the advent of God’s kingdom. We pray to the Lord that he may choose more generous men and women who, like Saint Francis Xavier, will dedicate themselves completely to the mission of Christ and the Church.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Are our hearts like that of Jesus, filled with compassion for others? What do we do to live fully our vocations as Christian disciples-apostles?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Lord Jesus, we thank you for the gift of the Gospel and for the beautiful mission to share your Word with the world. May we learn from Saint Francis Xavier how to share the Gospel and work for the advent of your kingdom on earth. Maranatha! Come, O Christ the Lord!

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“As you go, make this proclamation: The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (cf. Mt 10:7)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Pray for all missionaries in the world. By your kind word and charitable deed to the people around you, especially the poor, the sick and the needy, let them experience the saving power of the Gospel.

 

 

Prepared by Sr. Mary Margaret Tapang  PDDM

 

 

PIAE DISCIPULAE DIVINI MAGISTRI

SISTER DISCIPLES OF THE DIVINE MASTER

60 Sunset Ave., Staten Island, NY 10314

Tel. (718) 494-8597 // (718) 761-2323

Website: WWW.PDDM.US

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