A Lectio Divina Approach to the Sunday and Weekday Liturgy

 

BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD (Series 10, n.12)

WEEK 6 IN ORDINARY TIME: February 12-18, 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 12-18, 2012. The following reflections are based on the weekday liturgy’s Gospel reading.)

 

***

 

February 12, 2012 (Sunday): 6th SUNDAY

IN ORDINARY TIME

 “JESUS SAVIOR: He Touched the Leper”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Lv 13:1-2,44-46 // I Cor 10:31-11:1 // Mk 1:40-45

 

 

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

 

This happened in my native Philippines when I was a newly professed Sister. From our formation house in Antipolo in Metro-Manila, I was transferred to Cebu. I was enjoying every moment of my apostolic experience in that beautiful island. One day I went downtown to run an errand for our Superior. While waiting for the sales clerk to finish my order at a hardware store, I sat peacefully on a bench. I nearly jumped out of my skin when a leper appeared from nowhere and waved his diseased hand imploringly at me. It was the first time I saw a leper. I opened my wallet and handed him some coins. I was very careful not to touch him. When he went away, I breathed a sigh of relief. Later on, I opened my wallet again to check whether I had enough coins for my return trip. And then it happened! A swarm of lepers appeared in an instant. They were shoving their hands before my face, begging for alms. I nearly fainted. The clerks came and sent them away. They explained that they were from a leper colony. Once a week the lepers were allowed to travel to the city to beg.

 

In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus’ compassionate act to a leper. He touched the leper in response to his heart-rending plea for healing. His touch freed the suffering man, not only from his physical sores, but also from social ostracism and religious alienation. Christ’s touch of the leper evokes his ultimate saving act on the cross when he took upon himself the suffering and alienation of all those stricken by evil and infirmity.

 

Pope Paul VI explains: “The loving gesture of Christ, who approaches lepers comforting and curing them, has its full and mysterious expression in the passion. Tortured and disfigured by the sweat of blood, the flagellation, the crowning of thorns, the crucifixion, the rejection by the people he had helped, he who identified himself with lepers, becomes the image and symbol of them, as the prophet Isaiah had foreseen, contemplating the mystery of the Servant of the Lord: He had no form or comeliness … He was despised and rejected by men … as one from whom men hide their faces … we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But it is just from the wounds in Jesus’ tortured body and from the power of his resurrection that life and hope gush for all men stricken by evil and infirmity.

 

 

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

 

How do we react to people physically and spiritually afflicted with leprosy? Do we recognize the leprous elements in our modern society who bear the detestable sores of isolation and rejection, e.g. the poor and destitute, the homeless, the unattractive, the AIDS victims, etc.? Do we come to their aid?

 

 

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

 

Lord Jesus, if you will, you can make me clean. Touch me; heal me. Cleanse me from the “leprosy of sin”. Free me from the sores of rejection and isolation. You are the wounded healer and the bearer of new life by your passion and death on the cross and by the power of your resurrection. You live 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.

 

“He touched him.” (cf. Mk 1:41)

 

 

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

 

Pray for the victims of Hansen’s disease all over the world and all caregivers who work to alleviate their pain and suffering. Through moral, spiritual and material support, contribute to their healing and restoration. Pray for the leprous elements in our modern society and find ways of letting them experience the healing touch of Jesus.

 

***

 

February 13, 2012 (Monday): WEEKDAY (6)

 “JESUS SAVIOR: He Refused to Give Them a Sign”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jas 1:1-11 // Mk 8:11-13

 

 

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

 

Today’s reading is about the Pharisees who were asking Jesus “a sign from heaven” to prove that he is the Messiah. Their demand for a spectacular public display was ill-motivated. They wanted to discredit Jesus who, for them, was a fraud. Their hearts were warped with unbelief and their demand for a “sign” manifested their willful blindness. Indeed, according to a 16th century proverb, “There are none so blind as those who won’t see.” The compassionate works of Jesus on behalf of the sick and suffering, of the hungry poor and dejected, did not touch their hearts. They did not perceive them as messianic signs. The miracles of healing and nourishment could not force them to love Jesus, who sighed from the depths of his heart. A heavenly sign for the unbelieving – no matter how spectacular - would be an exercise in futility. Of what use is it to have signs if the heart is blind? Hence, Jesus left them, got into the boat, and sailed off to the other shore.

 

The pathetic scenario of the unbelieving and unseeing Pharisees invites us to take the opposite stance. Jesus himself is the ultimate “sign” of the Father’s redeeming love for us. We need to open the eyes of our heart to see, love and serve Jesus. We need to be sensitive and receptive to the beautiful miracles that God continues to work in our daily life

 

The following story gives us a glimpse into what perceiving “a sign from heaven” entails (cf. Anthony De Mello, TAKING FLIGHT: A Book Of Story Meditations, New York: Image Books/Doubleday, 1990, p. 52-53).

 

A prisoner lived in solitary confinement for years.  He saw and spoke to no one and his meals were served through an opening in the wall. One day an ant came into his cell. The man contemplated it in fascination as it crawled around the room. He held it in the palm of his hand the better to observe it, gave it a grain or two, and kept it under his tin cup at night. One day it suddenly struck him that it had taken him ten long years of solitary confinement to open his eyes to the loveliness of an ant.

 

 

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

Am I slow to read the “sign” of God’s love because of blindness of heart? How do I try to open the eyes of my heart to the “sign”?

 

 

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

 

Lord Jesus, we are filled with wonderful signs of the Father’s love: the beautiful sunrise and the gorgeous sunset, the blooming of spring flowers, the diligence of a lovely ant, the compassionate hands of those who care for the poor and helpless … Above all, we are filled with praise and thanksgiving for you – the ultimate sign of God’s compassion. You are the radical sign of the divine redeeming love. Grant that we may truly rejoice in 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.

 

“Why does this generation seek a sign?” (cf. Mk 8:12)

 

 

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

 

Make an effort to read the various signs of God’s love that surround us everyday and be grateful for them. By your acts of kindness and compassion, strive to be a living sign of God’s caring love for the poor and needy in today’s society.

 

 

***

 

February 14, 2012 (Tuesday): SAINTS CYRIL, monk, and METHODIUS, bishop

“JESUS SAVIOR: Even His Disciples Did Not Understand”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jas 1:12-18 // Mk 8:14-21

 

 

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

 

After his encounter with the unbelieving Pharisees who were demanding from him a heavenly sign to prove his messianic credentials, the unscathed Jesus got into the boat and sailed with his disciples to the other side of the lake. In their hurry, the disciples had forgotten to bring bread except for one loaf. When Jesus started to talk to them about the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod, they immediately concluded that it was because they did not have enough bread. Having just witnessed two miracles of the loaves in which Jesus fed thousands in the hungry crowds, their discussion about not having enough bread was senseless and unwarranted. Their concern for material food revealed their obtuseness and lack of insight. They had not seen nor understood any more than the declared enemies of Jesus.

 

The barrage of eight questions that Jesus directed to his disciples was meant to rip through their blinded hearts. He was patiently teaching them to fight off the hidden corruption of self-righteousness, power and worldliness that was infecting the Pharisees and the Herodians. Jesus was warning them about the corrosive messianic expectations of the Pharisees and the inimical political motivations of the Herodians. Their corrupting influence was as forceful as the yeast that leavens the bread. The Divine Master was thus helping his disciples to overcome their hardness of heart and obduracy of mind. He was teaching them to recognize him as the one loaf that matters. Jesus Christ was evoking their faith for he was the true Messiah – the one sent by God to feed them with the Bread of Life.

 

The following story can give us an idea of our own obtuseness and lack of insight, just like the disciples who were in the boat with Jesus (cf. Anthony De Mello, TAKING FLIGHT: A Book Of Story Meditations, New York: Image Books/Doubleday, 1990, p. 180). We have unseeing eyes and unhearing ears. We are not able to recognize or understand the daily “miracle of life”.

 

The great Gensha once invited a court official to tea. After the customary greetings, the official said, “I do not wish to squander this opportunity of spending some time in the presence of so great a Master. Tell me. What does it mean when they say that in spite of our having it in our daily life we do not see it?”

 

Gensha offered the man a piece of cake. Then he served him his tea. After eating and drinking, the official, thinking that the Master had not heard his first sentence, repeated the question. “Yes, of course”, said the Master. “This is what it means: that we do not see it, even though we have it in our daily life.”

 

 

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

 

Are we so preoccupied with daily cares that we are unable to see and recognize the ongoing miracle of life that comes from God? Do we have faith in Jesus as the one loaf that matters – the Bread of eternal Life?

 

 

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

 

O Jesus Lord, forgive us! At times we are obtuse and insensitive. We allow ourselves to be overwhelmed with material cares and anxieties. Our eyes are not able to see, our ears are not able to hear, our hearts are not able to feel, and our minds are not able to understand the greatness of your love for us. But you are the Divine Master and the Bread of life. You are the one loaf that matters – the life-giving Bread that satisfies the hungers of our heart. Give us the light of your wisdom and the love of the Holy Spirit so that we may live only for you. Help us share the bread of the Word with a hungry world that longs for God. Save us from the leaven of corruption. Let us live our lives as “bread blessed, broken and shared” for others. You are the font of blessing and we adore and bless 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.

 

“Do you still not understand?” (cf. Mk 8:21)

 

 

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

 

Pray that Christian disciples may have better insight into the compassionate ways and plan of God. Make it a daily exercise to recognize and thank God for the beauty and bounty of the “miracle of life” that daily surrounds us.

 

 

***

 

February 15, 2012 (Wednesday): WEEKDAY (6)

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Healed the Blind Gradually”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jas 1:19-27 // Mk 8:22-26

 

 

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

 

The healing of the blind man in Bethsaida occurred by stages. Jesus took him by the hand and led him outside the village. Jesus used spittle and laid his hands on him.  He recovered his sight partially. He told Jesus that he could see people looking like trees and walking. At the second laying of hands, the blind man was able to see clearly. The healed man of Bethsaida is a symbol of all the disciples of Jesus, then and now, in need of his enlightening touch.

 

The gradual restoration of the man’s vision is similar to the gradual recognition of Jesus’ messiah-ship by his disciples. The healing “by stages” symbolizes the progressive healing of their spiritual blindness. The Twelve who followed Jesus had “seen” him without really seeing him. They needed to undergo a conversion process that would enable them to overcome their blindness of heart and “see everything clearly”. Like the blind man of Bethsaida, Jesus would lead them by the hand. They would have a glimpse of Christ’s paschal destiny and grow progressively in faith.

 

The following story of the gradual restoration of the sight of a young man, who became blind through an automobile accident, gives us an insight into the wonderful experience of the blind man of Bethsaida healed by Jesus (cf. Joyce Stranger, “A Walk in the Dark” in READER’S DIGEST CONDDENSED BOOKS, vol. 4, New York: 1988, p. 568-569).

 

It was strange to lie in a hospital bed again, aware of pain, his eyes bandaged. It brought back memories he would as soon have forgotten. They had operated on only one eye. There would be a second operation later. (…)

 

The days went by. Steve did not want the bandages removed. Better to hope than to know. He lay in a darkened room, shaking, when they finally unwrapped his eyes. “Open them”, the doctor said. He dared not. And then he forced himself to find out the truth. From the operated eye he glimpsed an edge of light at the window, a glint from a glass on the bedside table, the shape of a face above him. “I can see”, he whispered. The bandages were rewrapped. Steve lay, his heart pounding. Suppose it was only temporary? Suppose it lasted only a few hours?

 

But fate was kind, and each day revealed more of the world he had lost. He had to be careful. Bright lights hurt, and using his eyes even for ten minutes was a strain. But in those minutes he absorbed every impression he could get: the faces of the people about him, and such colors everywhere! The curtains in his room were yellow and blue. There were roses in a vase by his bed. They removed the bandages at night, and he lay like a child, staring at the shape of his hand, at the pattern on his pajamas. (…)

 

And then came the day when the curtains were pulled back, and he stood near the window looking out at a riot of colors dizzying his senses: bright flowers and trees, women in gay dresses, yellow against green against blue. He couldn’t bear it and had to draw the curtains again and reduce the light. Shaking, he sat in a chair, staring at the closed curtains, unable to believe his luck.

 

They brought him dark glasses, and with them he braved the world. He discovered that he had lost his sense of space; nothing seemed to be in the right place; distance had begun to play tricks on him. Steps were steeper and shallower than he thought; tables farther away. Perspective had vanished. He was terrified at the speed with which people walked toward him, sure they would bump into him.

 

At night, in his darkened room, he stood at the window and stared out at the trees bending in the wind, at the cloud banks lined with light. Light. Starlight. He was too fascinated to sleep, seeing the bright pinpoints of distant suns, the slender moon. The miracles continued. He walked in the garden, watching birds dart about the grass, seeing a cat slink out of the bushes, seeing it newly for the first time, an amazing creature. Sunlight bronzed its tortoiseshell fur. He wanted to sit and look forever.

 

He rediscovered shadows. He had been so used to them he rarely noticed them, but now he watched his own shadow at it stretched in front of him or suddenly dwarfed itself. But how could people live among such incredible sights and not notice them?

 

 

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

Do I experience spiritual blindness? Do I allow Jesus to lead me, touch me and enable me to see with the eyes of faith?

 

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

Lord Jesus, I am blind! Lead me by the hand into the place of quiet and intimacy. Lay your hands upon my blinded heart and let me see with the eyes of faith. Give me a glimpse of the road we need to travel and the paschal destiny we need to reach. How beautiful to see your face and to feel your enlightening touch! You are my God. You alone I will love and serve, 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.

 

“His sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.” (cf. Mk 8:25)

 

 

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

 

Through prayer and contemplation, and by the grace given you by Jesus Christ, try to perceive the miracles of life that enfold you. Make an effort to help the blind and the handicapped in your community.

 

 

***

 

 February 16, 2012 (Thursday): WEEKDAY (6)

“JESUS SAVIOR: The Suffering Messiah”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jas 2:1-9 // Mk 8:27-33

 

 

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

 

 

To Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered correctly, “You are the Messiah”. But Peter immediately revealed that his notion of the “Messiah” is as faulty and corrosive as those of the Pharisees. Influenced by popular expectation, he expected Jesus to be a religious-political savior replete with worldly power. The false notion of messiah-ship needed to be rectified. The Divine Master, who healed the blind man of Bethsaida “by stages”, manifested again his continuing effort to heal the spiritual blindness of the disciples, especially Peter. He tried to enlighten them on the true meaning of Messiah. He gave them insight that the “Messiah” is the Son of Man who must suffer greatly and be rejected and killed, and rise after three days. Indeed, authentic messiah-ship and discipleship involve powerlessness and suffering rather than worldly power and might.

 

One of the most beautiful stories I have ever read is “To Live Again” by Harold Koenig, M.D. (cf. “To Live Again” in GUIDEPOSTS, September 2006, p. 20-24). The psychiatrist, Dr. Koenig, who is the coordinator of the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Duke University in North Carolina, suffers from a crippling disease that racks him with vicious pain. Here is the inspiring personal account of how he dealt with his sickness and suffering.

 

I had been diagnosed with psoriatic inflammatory arthritis. My immune system was attacking my tendons and joints. Any part of my body I used repetitively – legs, knees, ankles, hands, shoulders, back – could become inflamed. The disease could be progressive. There was no cure. Part of me was relieved to have a diagnosis – no more mystery pain. But then I saw the fear in Charmin’s eyes. I knew she was already mourning our walks together, our hiking vacations. I looked at Jordan. What kind of father will I be? Will we play baseball together? Can we even roughhouse? That night, I lay in bed, unable to sleep. My back was throbbing. But it wasn’t just the pain keeping me awake. Why? I asked, cycling through thoughts of patients, research, all that I felt God had called me to do. Is all this work for nothing? Is it all going to get swallowed up in some disease? What am I supposed to do?

 

The bedroom was dark, the pain relentless. Finally, I got up and limped to the sofa in the living room. I lay on it and found the soft cushions eased the ache. Thank you, God, I prayed. And then it hit me. It was such a simple movement, from bed to sofa. God didn’t snap his fingers and make the pain go away. He didn’t promise to cure me. But he did show me how to adapt, how to live instead of giving up. Maybe that’s what I’m supposed to do, learn to follow God with the pain – and then help others do the same. Lord, that sounds hard. But if you’re with me, I’ll try.

 

God showed Dr. Koenig how to live with pain and how to help others cope with it. In embracing the mystery of suffering and in trusting the divine saving will, he was able to experience that God works through our weakness and our strength. Indeed, Dr. Koenig is a sterling example of how a disciple could participate fully and intimately in the paschal destiny of Jesus Christ, the suffering Messiah. Suffering is integral to Christian faith. And to follow Jesus involves redemptive sacrifice.

 

 

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

 

Do we believe that suffering is an integral element of Christian faith? Do we wish to participate more fully in the paschal destiny of Christ, the suffering Messiah, as he redeems mankind and rebuilds the world?

 

 

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

 

Jesus Lord, you are the suffering Messiah. You save the world not by political power nor with worldly might, but by humble obedience to the Father’s saving will. You suffered passion and death, but were raised to life and eternal glory. By your cross and resurrection, you have set us free. You are the savior of the world. Give us the light of faith that we may see the beauty and nobility of a messiah-ship based on powerlessness and suffering. Loving Jesus, continue to heal the blindness in our heart and give us the courage to embrace you as the suffering Messiah. Grant that, together with you, we may dwell in eternal life in the bosom of God, 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.

 

“The Son of Man must suffer greatly” (Mk 8:31)

 

 

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

 

Pray that Christian disciples may have deep insight into the beauty and nobility of Christ as the suffering Messiah and try to live their life heartened by the life-giving quality of human suffering.

 

 

***

 

 February 17, 2012 (Friday): THE SEVEN HOLY FOUNDERS OF THE SERVITES, optional memorial

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Invites Us to Take Up Our Cross”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jas 2:14-24,26 // Mk 8:34-9:1

 

 

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

 

After prophesying his paschal destiny on the Cross, Jesus delineates the meaning of the discipleship of the cross: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (Mk 8:34-35). Jesus thus connects the fate of his disciples with his own. Christian discipleship involves a share in his paschal sacrifice on the cross. Only in letting go of self and in letting God realize his mysterious, saving plan in us, can we achieve true life and happiness.

 

Indeed, taking up one’s cross is a badge of discipleship. The great humanitarian and peace-worker, Chiara Lubich, underlines the vital role of the cross in Christian discipleship: “The cross is the necessary instrument whereby the divine penetrates into what is human, and humanity participates more fully in God’s life, entering into the kingdom of heaven already here on this earth. But we really have to take up our cross. We must get up in the morning expecting it, and knowing that only by means of it can we receive those gifts, which this world does not have – peace and joy, knowledge of the things of heaven, which are unknown to most people.”

 

The following account of the Japanese martyrs of Ikitsuki illustrates how they took up the cross and fully participated in the paschal destiny of Christ (cf. Full Sail with the Wind of Grace, ed. “Martyrs” Editorial Committee, Nagasaki: Don Bosco Sha, 2008, p. 44-46).

 

Genka’s daughter Maria was married to the son of Kondo Kisan, the commissioner of Tachiura (Hirado City, Nagasaki Prefecture).  Kondo was a devout Buddhist. He tried to convert his daughter-in-law and make her give up her faith. Maria always responded with the same words. “I was baptized by my father and have always walked the way of God that was taught to me. I cannot give up my faith.” “If you do not renounce your faith we cannot keep you in our household. Think well and choose either my son or your faith!”

 

Kondo oppressed Maria with these harsh words. After two years of struggling with the situation, Maria told her husband of her decision, and returned to her father Genka.

 

Shigenobu was furious with Genka who not only disobeyed his orders and continued to practice his faith, but also worked as a Christian leader. Shigenobu ordered the execution of Genka together with his wife Ursula and their oldest son John Mataichi.

 

Genka was handed over to the commissioner of Yamada (Hirado City, Nagasaki Prefecture), Inoue Umanojo to be executed on the 14th of November 1609. To Umanojo, Genka was a friend for whom he had great respect. Genka told him of his only wish. “Lord Inoue, could you do me a favor and perform my execution at the Kurusu (cruz = cross ) Trail?” “Why the Kurusu Trail?” “Once a cross stood there, and my parents and friends are buried there, too.”

 

Umanojo nodded and they started to walk toward the Kurusu Trail. When they arrived at the spot, Genka said to Umanojo, “Lord Inoue, it was my heart’s desire to offer my life here. None of this is your fault. Please be at peace.”

 

Genka knelt down, raised his tied hands toward heaven and silently bowed his head. Umanojo, choking down his tears, performed the execution with one stroke of his sword so that Genka would not suffer too much. Genka’s wife Ursula and their son John Mataichi were also beheaded about the same time at a place nearby. Gaspar Nishi Genka and his wife Ursula were both 54 years old. Their eldest son John Mataichi was 24 years old. Their remains were buried at the Kurusu Trail. The Christians secretly planted a pine tree on the spot.

 

In 1992, the Christians of Ikitsuki built a large cross on the Kurusu Trail. It is to remind them of the importance of faith strengthened in the family, a precious heritage of Gaspar Nishi Genka.

 

 

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

 

How do we actualize, in our daily lives, the discipleship of the cross? How do we translate into concrete reality the Christian challenge: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me”?

 

 

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

(From “Suffering with Jesus”, a prayer composed by Francois Fenelon)

 

O crucified Jesus, in giving me your cross, give me too your spirit of love and self- abandonment. Grant that I may think less of my suffering than of the happiness of suffering with you. What do I suffer that you have not suffered? Or rather what do I suffer at all, if I dare to compare myself with you? O Lord, grant that I may love you and then I shall no longer fear the cross.

 

 

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.

 

 “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mk 8:34).

 

 

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

 

Pray for those who find the cross of their daily lives overwhelming and burdensome. In your own way, and doing the best you can, try to alleviate the sufferings of the people around you.

 

 

 

***

 

February 18, 2012 (Saturday): BVM on Saturday

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Was Transfigured Before Them”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jas 3:1-10 // Mk 9:2-13

 

 

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

 

Mary Ann O’Roark’s article in the March 2004 issue of the GUIDEPOSTS magazine, which contains true stories of hope and inspiration, is about a hardworking mom, Oral Lee Brown, who helped poor children obtain an education and fulfill their potential. Belonging to a poor family of cotton pickers in Mississippi, she moved to California where she raised her three daughters. When they were grown, Oral Lee turned her energies to running a real-estate agency and a restaurant in Oakland. In 1987 she met a classroom of 23 first graders in Brookfield Elementary and realized that kids who are in the midst of poverty and crime-blighted neighborhoods hunger most of all for inspiration. She told the first graders in Brookfield Elementary: “If you stay in school and graduate, I’ll send you to college. That’s a promise.” Oral Lee made herself a part of the students’ lives, inspiring them with her own climb out of poverty. The kids did not disappoint their “real life angel”. Twenty of those 23 first graders graduated from high school. Oral Lee’s trust fund sent them to college. Last May Oral Lee watched the first of her class graduate from college. Latosha Hunter got her diploma from Alcorn State University in Mississippi, which she chose in part because it’s near where her mentor grew up. “If she can make it, I can make it,” Latosha says. Indeed, Oral Lee has given these privileged kids a glimpse of their future glory and inspired them to attain their wonderful destiny.

 

Today’s Gospel reading on the transfiguration gives us a glimpse of the glory of Jesus as the Son of God and Servant of Yahweh. It is also a pledge of our own paschal destiny and glory. The transfiguration of Jesus is meant to strengthen the faith of the Christian disciples journeying through death to the Easter glory. With the transfiguration event, we are given a forceful direction towards the completion of the Father’s saving plan. Confirmed in faith by the vision of Christ’s glory, we can assert with courage, “If Christ can make it, we can make it.”

 

 

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

 

How do we treasure the transfiguration event of Christ and its pledge of future glory? Do we allow ourselves to be strengthened by Christ as he gives us a glimpse of our paschal journey to Easter glory?

 

 

 

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

Lord Jesus, we thank you for bringing us to the mountain to witness the miracle of your transfiguration. You give us a glimpse of the Easter glory. You strengthen our faith that we may persevere in our paschal journey. We bless you for letting us know that the beauty of light and the Easter glory will prevail. We love you and adore you for you are the suffering Messiah and Father’s beloved Son. We praise and glorify 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.

            “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” (Mk 9:7) 

 

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

 

Pray the Holy Rosary, contemplating the five Mysteries of Light, especially focusing on the fourth Mystery: Christ’s transfiguration. Do something for the youth, especially the most rejected, that will enable them to feel that they are beloved by God.

 

 

***

 

 

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

Go back