A Lectio Divina Approach to the Sunday and Weekday Liturgy

 

BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD (Series 10, n.11)

WEEK 5 IN ORDINARY TIME: February 5-11, 2012 **

 

(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. Please go to Series 10 for the back issues of the Weekday Lectio.)

 

Series 10 presents A LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE SUNDAY - WEEKDAY LITURGY: February 5-11, 2012. The following reflections are based on the weekday liturgy’s Gospel reading.)

 

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February 5, 2012 (Sunday): 5th SUNDAY

IN ORDINARY TIME

 “JESUS SAVIOR: Our Ultimate Healing”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jb 7:1-4,6-7 // I Cor 9:16-19,22-23 // Mk 1:29-39

 

 

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

 

The Gospel reading (Mk 1:29-39) depicts the compassionate stance of Jesus on behalf of the sick and the suffering. He cured many who were sick with various diseases. The healings Jesus carried out in his public ministry symbolized the tremendous benevolence of God and the ultimate healing that Jesus would accomplish by his passion and sacrificial death on the cross. By his ministry to the sick, Jesus was proclaiming the Good News of salvation. The good Lord was bringing about the coming of the kingdom of God – the ultimate victory of God’s saving love over death and evil. Today we are invited to savor the Good News of our healing and salvation, accomplished through Christ’s paschal sacrifice and glorification.

 

The mystery of suffering and healing continues to touch us daily to our very core. This is illustrated in the following testimony, “My Journey of Healing”, written by Elizabeth Tarlit Meneses. She is the daughter of our dear friends, Sam and Elsa Tarlit, from Gilroy. Sam and Elsa are professed members of the Holy Family Institute, founded by Blessed James Alberione. When we attended the Tarlit family reunion last year, she looked so young, beautiful and healthy. The testimony of Elizabeth, who is cancer-free and keeping well, is a source of strength for us all.

 

As a child, I was taught to pray before I go to bed. I would pray that my family and I would be blessed with good health and long life. My mother would tell me that the more I prayed, GOD would listen. He would remember me among many.

 

After my diagnosis in 2005, I asked, “Why has GOD abandoned me?” Has he not been listening to my prayers? “Why”, I would ask myself over and over, the tears streaming down my face. I felt alone and scared, not just for myself but also for my children. How can he not consider my children?

 

The symptoms began after having my second child. My stomach would hurt. I thought it might be ulcers. At that time, I was dealing with many stresses in my life. My doctor thought that it could be Acid Reflux due to the stress. Because I was young, she ruled out the possibility of it being anything else. She prescribed antacids and the pain would subside. As time passed, the pain would return with intensity. It would wake me from sleep and I would spend nights pacing until the pain subsided. My doctor still said it was due to Acid Reflux. In the latter months of 2005, the pain became unbearable. It became more consistent and frequent. I experienced not just ordinary pain, but such an unbearable pain that I would perspire and shake, sometimes feeling light-headed. I tried seeing another doctor and he confirmed the diagnosis of my original doctor, Acid Reflux Disease. So, I continued taking the medication. It would relieve the pain, but it would always come back. It came to the point where the medication ceased to work. I sought for a third opinion. Finally, I found a doctor, who was aggressive enough to run the appropriate test to see what was causing my pain.

 

He requested that an ultrasound should be done on my abdomen. The results changed my life. It was a “doozie”. I thought I heard wrong. They had found a tumor in my pancreas. He scheduled me for more tests. I had a laparoscopy done that confirmed there was a tumor in my pancreas that measured about 10 cm and that there were lesions on my liver and colon as well. My surgeon also confirmed that I was bleeding inside due to the tumor burrowing itself into my stomach. I needed surgery. They removed three quarters of my stomach but could not remove the tumor. They said that not only was the tumor malignant but, unfortunately, the tumor was also too close to the aorta and covered with blood arteries. It would be too risky to remove. I was appointed an oncologist.

 

I had my first consultation with my oncologist. It wasn’t what I expected. He said that I had a rare form of cancer. The good news was that it was slow-growing. The doctor informed me that there was a possibility that they could shrink the tumor with chemotherapy. I thought to myself, okay, if I need chemotherapy, I’ll do it. Bad news is that he had never treated this type of cancer before, therefore, was unsure. So, he referred me to a specialist at UCSF.

 

The doctors at UCSF told me that there was no type of chemotherapy that can battle my type of cancer. I would have to try to see if I was eligible for clinical studies. Their prognosis was slim. No guarantees. They stated statistics, saying that the life span of a patient with this type of cancer can be years, months or days. They said that at this time, the best thing to do was to wait and observe the tumor. It hit me. The hopelessness and the anger possessed me like nothing else has ever done. Not only did I not have the option of removing the tumor, but I did not have the option of treatment as well. Have you ever felt like running, running so fast and so far that you think you can avoid dealing with the realities of life? I felt so lost.

 

Have I done something wrong that I deserve this? Is GOD punishing me? I remember dropping to my knees and begging for forgiveness. “Anything but this … please!” I would cry and ask, what will happen to my children? They are still so young. “Please, don’t let them grow up without their mother”, I would beg.

 

At that time, my parents were helping me get through this. I didn’t realize until then how blessed I am to have wonderful and supportive parents. My mother would try to keep me active so that I would not dwell on the negative possibilities. She would take me to church and ask me to pray … pray as I have never prayed before. She said to pray with my heart and my tears, and ask God for help. So, every night I would pray with her. She would tell me to pray, ask and let go. I would pray for strength and courage, for guidance and for faith, faith that He would take care of me and I will be okay. “Whatever is in your plans for me Lord, I will accept, but please give me the strength and the courage. I place my fears in your hands. Guide me so that I would know what to do. Please, help me.”

 

I believe that this is where GOD held his hands out to me and led me through my journey of healing. Shortly,thereafter I found myself in the lobby of Valley Cancer Institute in Los Angeles, California. They are my vessel of hope. When no one else said they could help me, they dedicated themselves to my care and healing. It was long and tedious. It involved day to day treatments of hyperthermia, radiation and 9 months of chemotherapy. I had to be separated from my home and my family. It was very hard to endure but, at least, my parents were there to bring me comfort. Slowly, the pain began to subside and I was gaining my strength back after two months of treatment. This was good.

 

This experience has been like a roller coaster ride. I had good days and bad. I was given good news and bad news. There were days when the fear and the doubt that the treatment would not work consumed me. Praying for strength, the fear that took hold was replaced with anger and the courage to be strong. “I was not going to let this rule me.” That was my mantra. It’s funny how anger gives you the strength to fight, and I had to fight for the sake of my children. But I could not have done it without receiving courage from GOD’s graces.

 

After two years of undergoing treatment, I can finally say that I am as healthy as I can be. There is a continuous battle within me, between allowing the fear of dying to consume me or to live my life to the fullest, accepting the fact that my life is in GOD’s hands. My only refuge is prayer. The power of prayer has enlightened me.

 

I remember my mom saying to me one day that the things you experience in life are a trial, a trial of your faith in him. Be strong and believe. In the beginning, I thought that he had left me to suffer alone, but I now realize that he has always been with me. He took me through a “detour” in life to realize the path that would lead me closer to him.

 

Each day is a blessing. Each waking moment is a gift. Every cross you carry makes you stronger. Every prayer is answered; you just have to listen. These are the lessons that I have learned in my journey to healing. Knowing that the prognosis for pancreatic cancer is very slim, for me to be able to write about the experiences in my journey is a miracle … a gift from GOD.

 

With the selfless acts of love and support from my friends, family, the community and their endless prayers, I could not have endured the difficulties of this experience. Without GOD’s graces of strength and courage, I would have succumbed to hopelessness and fear. I am truly grateful and humbled by everyone’s unending prayers and well wishes, their gesture of encouragement and their concern for my well-being.

 

 

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

 

Do we believe that Jesus will assist us in our pain and grant us the gift of ultimate healing? Do we believe that our pain and suffering, when united with Christ’s sufferings, are redemptive?

 

 

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

 

Almighty God, the Helper of all who put their trust in you, look mercifully upon the sick and all those in need of healing. Be gracious to them according to their need. Preserve their life, relieve them of pain, and restore them to health and strength, in accordance with your saving will. Grant them courage and patience, a hopeful spirit, and a deep trust in your fatherly care. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

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.

 

“He cured many who were sick with various diseases.” (cf. Mk 1:34)

 

 

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

 

Pray that the sick and suffering may find healing. By your ministry of charity to the sick and suffering, enable the Good News of healing and salvation to be received by them.

 

***

 

February 6, 2012 (Monday): SAINT PAUL MIKI AND COMPANIONS, martyrs

 “JESUS SAVIOR: His Tremendous Healing Power”

 

BIBLE READINGS

I Kgs 8:1-7,9-13 //  Mk 6:53-56

 

 

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

(By Fr. Steve Coffey, OSB, San Luis Obispo, CA-USA)

 

Today’s Gospel story follows upon the weekday lectionary’s omission of St. Mark’s narratives of Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand and walking on the water.  The story of the feeding is most probably omitted because on Saturday we will hear the similar story of the feeding of the four thousand.  However, there is a big difference in these two feeding stories.  The feeding of the five thousand takes place on the Western shore of the Sea of Galilee, that is, in Jewish territory, while the second feeding takes place on the opposite side in Gentile territory.  This section of Mark’s Gospel beginning with the Jewish feeding and culminating in the Gentile feeding forms a typical Markan “sandwich,” and is often referred to as the “Bread Section.”  So this week we feed on the bread of God’s Word while contemplating the words and actions of Jesus, the Bread of Life.

 

Today’s story of the healings at Gennesaret, on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, is intimately connected to the story of the feeding of the five thousand.  The bounty first exhibited in the feeding is now exhibited in the lavish gift of healing that takes place not only at Gennesaret, but in whatever “villages or towns or countryside he entered.”  Gennesaret, and its environs, is totally unlike Nazareth, where lack of faith caused major interference in the healing process.  Nazareth’s stance is even unlike the faith of the hemorrhaging woman who reaches for the tassel of Jesus’ cloak.  Here in Gennesaret “as many as touched it were healed.”

 

We pray in today’s responsorial psalm: “Lord, go up to the place of your rest” in response to the story in the First Book of Kings where the ark of the covenant is brought into the holy of holies in the Jerusalem Temple.  In the story of the healings at Gennesaret, the Lord of the new covenant enters into the place of his activity, the activity of unbounded mercy which affords rest to the multitude.     

 

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

Do we have faith in the healing power of Jesus? Do we reach out to him to touch him and be healed?

 

 

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

 

Lord Jesus, we thank you for your unbounded mercy and the healing power you bring to us. We lay before you the sickness of our heart, the misery of our people and the fragmentation of today’s society. We beg you to allow us to touch you – even just the tassel of your cloak - knowing that we will be healed. You bring us wholeness, joy and comfort. Let us enter into the place of rest and quiet where your loving comfort reigns forever and ever. Amen.

 

 

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 many as touched it were healed.” (cf. Mk 6:53-56)

 

 

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

 

Pray that the sick may find strength and healing in the Lord. Like the caring people of Gennesaret, and by your ministry on their behalf, bring the sick closer to Jesus, the ultimate healing.

 

 

***

 

 

February 7, 2012 (Tuesday): WEEKDAY (5)

“JESUS SAVIOR: Teacher of Communion and True Tradition”

 

BIBLE READINGS

I Kgs 8:22-23,27-30 // Mk 7:1-13

 

 

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

(By Fr. Steve Coffey, OSB, San Luis Obispo, CA-USA)

 

The connection between today’s Gospel story and yesterday’s may not be immediately apparent until we view it in the context of Mark’s whole “Bread” section on which we are feasting this week.  The geographic movement from one shore to another represents more than a sail across the lake.  It represents Gentile inclusion in the Eucharistic feast.  Today’s Gospel addresses what, in Jewish tradition, represents an obstacle to this communion at the table. 

 

Thus today we see Jesus embarking on a mission that has this unity in Eucharistic communion in mind.  The Pharisees and scribes in this story represent those who would be opposed to eating with Gentiles based on what Jesus clearly categorizes as “human tradition.”  The scribes and the Pharisees here “nullify the word of God in favor of tradition.”  They do this specifically here in their neglect of parents by declaring something has been set aside for God.  What has ultimately been set aside, however, is the very word of God which calls Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians into communion at the table of the Lord.  So the prophet Isaiah’s maxim is invoked against them: “In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.”   

 

Today’s reading from the First Book of Kings presents a stark contrast between the worship of King Solomon and the worship of the Gospel’s Pharisees.  Solomon’s prayer is ardent and sincere:  “Lord, there is no God like you.  You keep your covenant of mercy with your servants who are faithful to you with their whole heart.”  This wholehearted fidelity is eloquently expressed in the response of today’s psalm:  “How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God,” and this dwelling place is none other than the Christian community gathered in all its rich diversity.

 

 

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

 

Are we guilty of disregarding God’s commandment but clinging to human tradition?

 

 

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

 

O Jesus, you are the Divine Master, the way, the truth and the life. Forgive us for the times we have disregarded God’s commands in order to cling to mere human traditions. You are the teacher of communion and true tradition. You revealed to us the Father’s saving plan that includes all peoples and cultures, all nations and creation. Help us to overcome our prejudices and misconceptions that we may share fully in the infinite expanse of your Father’s all-inclusive love. We love you, adore you and serve you, now and forever. Amen.

 

 

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 disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” (cf. Mk 7:8)

 

 

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

 

Pray that we may overcome our unhealthy parochialism and vicious legalism. By your acts of justice and charity, promote unity in diversity and the Church’s true tradition of universal love.

 

 

***

 

 

February 8, 2012 (Wednesday): SAINT JEROME EMILIANI; SAINT JOSEPHINE BAKHITA, virgin, optional memorial

“JESUS SAVIOR: Teacher of Integrity and Interior Purity”

 

BIBLE READINGS

I Kgs 10:1-10 // Mk 7:14-23

 

 

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

(By Fr. Steve Coffey, OSB, San Luis Obispo, CA-USA)

 

Today’s Gospel passage concludes yesterday’s discussion between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees concerning “the tradition of the elders” and concludes with his characteristically Markan private conversation with his disciples.  Whereas Jesus half expects the scribes and Pharisees not to “get it,” he hopes his disciples will.  But such is not the case as he exasperatingly remarks:  “Are even you likewise without understanding?”  And the attentive reader at once realizes that s/he is being personally addressed.  We are all responsible for promoting communion and “not getting it” is no excuse, especially for a disciple of any century.

 

And what is it that scribe, Pharisee, and even disciple fails to comprehend?  It’s not about the ritual purity of eating and digestion.  As a matter of fact, it’s not about ritual purity at all.  The major obstacle to communion is nothing external, but it’s a matter of the heart.  “From their hearts come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.  All these evils come from within and they defile.”  These are obstacles to Eucharistic communion that cut both ways.  It’s not simply Jewish purity vs. Gentile impurity; it’s about the interior impurity of both that makes such communion impossible.

 

In today’s first reading a Gentile woman, the Queen of Sheba, saw all the wisdom of Solomon.  But as Jesus says in another Gospel passage:  “You have a greater than Solomon here.”  All the wisdom of Solomon is nothing in comparison with the wisdom of Jesus, who as the incarnate Wisdom of God declares:  “What comes out of a person, that is what defiles.”  With good reason do we sing in today’s responsorial psalm:  “The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.”  “Just” disciples of Jesus are called to move beyond the foolhardiness of scribe and Pharisee, and to share in the wisdom of Jesus himself, so that we can become “murmurers of wisdom” in contrast to the foolish murmuring that can never be in the service of communion.

 

 

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

Do we endeavor to achieve integrity and purity of heart? Do we yearn for true holiness that leads to communion with our brothers and sisters?

 

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

Lord Jesus, teach us integrity of heart and interior purity. Cleanse us from evil thoughts and wicked desires. The awful things that ferment within us make us “unclean” and incite us to do evil. Loving Lord, teach us true wisdom that we may reject the wickedness that draws us away from you and to disobey our gracious God. We trust in your forgiveness and bounteous mercy. You are our kind Savior, now and forever. Amen.

 

 

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.

 

“What comes out of the man, that is what defiles him.” (cf. Mk 7:20)

 

 

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

 

Make the examination of the heart a regular practice to enable you to detest what is contrary to the will of God and pursue his saving will.

 

 

***

 

 February 9, 2012 (Thursday): WEEKDAY (5)

“JESUS SAVIOR: The Bread of Life for All”

 

BIBLE READINGS

I Kgs 11:4-13 // Mk 7:24-30

 

 

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

(By Fr. Steve Coffey, OSB, San Luis Obispo, CA-USA)

 

Yesterday, a Gentile woman, the Queen of Sheba, recognized the wisdom of Solomon (cf. I Kgs 10:1-10).  In today’s Gospel story, Jesus, Wisdom incarnate, recognizes the wisdom of a Gentile woman.  This latter woman is not the Queen of Tyre, but a simple mother with a very sick daughter who recognizes something different about this Jewish man who has crossed boundaries and set foot in her Syrophoenician city on the Mediterranean coast.  So different that she falls at his feet in an act of worship.  She clearly understands worship in a way the scribes and Pharisees of yesterday could not. 

 

His more-than-meets-the-eye rebuff to her request is not couched in delicate language.  He refers to the Jewish community as children who have first access to the food.  And that food is not to be thrown to Gentile pups.  But what a comeback!  She addresses him with the full-force of the Jewish divine title LORD.  And then she drops the bomb:  “Even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”  How wise a saying!  How unlike the scribes and Pharisees, who set up roadblocks to sharing the bread of life at one table. She found her daughter “lying in bed and the demon gone.”  Really both demons were gone:  the demon of sickness and the demon of division and separation.  The same bread feeds both children and pups.  And it is Jesus himself.

 

The Syrophoenician woman’s prayer was: “Remember me, O Lord, as you favor your people,” echoing today’s responsorial psalm.  We pray this psalm today while reflecting also on the choice of Solomon to “mingle with the nations and learn their works, and serve their idols.”  Solomon’s crossing of boundaries moved him from wisdom to foolishness.  Jesus’ crossing of boundaries led him to a mission of inclusion that brought those who were excluded to the table.  The desire of the woman resulted not only in the answer to her own prayer but contributed to the clearer revelation of the mystery of union in Christ.  

 

 

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

 

Do we make an effort to share the healing power of Jesus, the bread of life for all?

 

 

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

 

Jesus Lord, you are the bread of life to be shared with all peoples of the earth. You are the divine power that drives away the demon of sickness and the demon of division and separation. Help us to overcome the ugly forces of alienation. Let us be united with you as you cross boundaries of division in your mission to include all peoples at the table of life. Your power is awesome and we love and adore you, now and forever. Amen.

 

 

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.

 

“The dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.” (Mk 7:28)

 

 

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

 

Pray for the unity of Christians and all the peoples of the earth. Let your acts of justice and peace surmount artificial barriers and be totally inclusive.

 

***

 

 February 10, 2012 (Friday): SAINT SCHOLASTICA, virgin

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Heals the Deaf-Mute”

 

BIBLE READINGS

I Kgs 11:29-32 // Mk 7:31-37

 

 

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

(By Fr. Steve Coffey, OSB, San Luis Obispo, CA-USA)

 

In this week’s Gospel stories, Jesus, the boundary crosser, is on the road.  Yesterday he was in Gentile Tyre on the Mediterranean.  Today he is on the Eastern Gentile shore of the Sea of Galilee in the Decapolis, the heart of Gentile territory.  He encounters a Gentile deaf-mute who begs him “to lay his hand on him,” the same hand that was laid on so many of the sick in Jewish Gennesaret.  Pope Benedict XVI, in a homily on Christian Unity, took advantage of the fuller sense of this passage.  He said:  “Is not being deaf and mute, that is, being unable either to listen or speak, a sign of a lack of communion and a symptom of division?”

 

Just as Jesus removed obstacles to unity on the Jewish side of the lake, today’s Gospel has him removing more obstacles on the Gentile side.  He “put his finger into the man’s ears, and, spitting, touched his tongue.”  As God created the first human so tactilely in the second chapter of Genesis, so Jesus is recreating this Gentile, endowing him once again with the organs of speech and hearing, the organs of communion that overcome division and disunity.  The action culminates in typical Markan fashion:  “He has done all things well.  He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”  And not just in Gentile Galilee.

 

The theme of listening is echoed in the response to today’s psalm: “I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.”  This responsorial psalm responds to the tragic story of the First Book of Kings where “Israel went into rebellion against David’s house.”  The implication is clear:  failure to listen results in division and disunity, a recapitulation of the first eleven chapters of Genesis.  The woman whose feast we celebrate today, St. Scholastica of Nursia, exemplifies the human person with ears fully open to hear the divine word and tongue loosed to sing the divine praises.  Open the ears of our hearts to listen to the Word of God.  O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will proclaim your praise.  

 

 

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

 

Are we spiritually deaf by refusing to listen to the Word of God? Are we spiritually mute by refraining from proclaiming the Word of God?

 

 

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

 

Open the ears of our hearts to listen to the Word of God.  O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will proclaim your praise.  

 

 

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.

 

“He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” (cf. Mk 7:31-37)

 

 

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

 

Pray that people may understand the importance and necessity of Lectio Divina. Introduce your friends and loved ones to this beautiful life-giving practice of the Church.

 

 

***

 

February 11, 2012 (Saturday): OUR LADY OF LOURDES, optional memorial

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Fed Them and They Were Satisfied”

 

BIBLE READINGS

I Kgs 12:26-32; 13:33-34 // Mk 8:1-10

 

 

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

(By Fr. Steve Coffey, OSB, San Luis Obispo, CA-USA)

 

There in the very same Gentile district where Jesus healed the deaf-mute, in today’s Gospel we have a quasi-replay of the feeding story on the Jewish side of the Sea of Galilee.  There is a striking similarity of details:  “a great crowd without anything to eat”; the compassionate heart of Jesus “moved with pity”; the lack of compassion and even understanding on the part of the disciples who witnessed and participated in the previous feeding.  Of capital importance is the repetition of the fourfold Eucharistic action:  “Taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute.”

 

However, there are subtle differences in the two stories.  In the first they picked up “twelve wicker baskets full of fragments,” while in the second “they picked up the fragments left over – seven baskets.”  Why twelve baskets in the first story?  It is precisely to evoke the Jewish image of the twelve tribes of Israel.  And similarly the seven baskets on the Gentile side evoke the universal number of the Gentile nations.  And notice Gentiles did not insist on wicker baskets as did the Jewish community.  However, despite these differences in both stories, “they ate and were satisfied.”

 

Once again we pray in today’s responsorial psalm, “Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.”  How favored we are in being recipients of the Eucharistic gift, the real gift that keeps on giving.  In a sense, all of this week’s reflections were Eucharistic.  Eucharist is the gathering of the Body of Christ in rich diversity.  At Eucharist with ears wide open, we listen and feast at the table of the Word.  In the Liturgy of the Eucharist we take, bless, break and distribute bread that has been transformed by the Spirit into the Body of Christ.  And like the crowd in today’s Gospel, we are dismissed to go and announce the reconciling Gospel of the Lord.

 

 

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

Are we truly grateful for the gift of the Eucharist.  Do we share it with a hungry world that yearns for the bread of the Word … the life-giving bread? 

 

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

Lord Jesus, you are the “Eucharist” – the bread of the Word … the life-giving bread … the real gift that keeps on giving. We thank you for the multiplication of the loaves and for being bread broken and shared for the life of the world. You are the Eucharistic gift that builds the Church, so radiant in beauty and rich in diversity. Help us to celebrate your paschal sacrifice by the power of the Holy Spirit. At the Eucharistic feasting, we partake of the bread of compassion and the wine of messianic joy, which make us fully satisfied and deeply grateful. Lead us into the eternal banquet of your kingdom where you live and reign, forever and ever. Amen.

 

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.

 

“They ate and were satisfied.” (cf. Mk 8:8)

 

 

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

 

Pray for the peoples of the world that their various hungers may be satisfied. By your acts of compassion to the hungry poor, let the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves come alive again.

***

 

 

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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