A Lectio Divina Approach to the Sunday and Weekday Liturgy

 

BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD (Series 10, n.15)

SECOND WEEK OF LENT: March 4-10, 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: March 4 – March 10, 2012. The following reflections are based on the weekday liturgy’s Gospel reading.)

 

***

 

March 4: SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT

 “LENT: A Time to Live as Children of God”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Gn 22:1-2,9a,10-13,15-18 // Rom 8:31b-34 // Mk 9:2-10

 

 

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

I greatly treasure a picture of the students enrolled in my liturgy class at Maryhill School of Theology in 1993. In it is Rhoel Gallardo, a Claretian seminarian. After ordination, Fr. Rhoel was assigned in the rebel infested Basilan Island in southern Philippines. The notorious Abu Sayaf rebels kidnapped him and some catechists. Fr. Rhoel was tortured. They pulled out his toenails. They also maliciously urged him to rape the catechists, which he refused. They mocked him when he prayed. Finally, as the rebels were retreating when the government forces attacked, they shot him in the head. Fr. Rhoel Gallardo died - a true pastor and martyr for the faith. When I look at the precious “souvenir” with his youthful face, I would beam and proudly acknowledge, “This is my beloved student!”

In today’s Gospel, we hear a similar acknowledgment in the voice coming from the cloud. The heavenly Father affirms, “This is my beloved Son.” His voice echoes what he declared at the baptism in the Jordan: “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased” (cf. Mk 1:9-11). The Son-Servant is deeply loved because of his faithful service to the Father’s saving will. The transfiguration of Jesus prefigures the glorious outcome of his sacrifice and obedience to the Father. Indeed, the words from the cloud, “This is my beloved Son,” received their full meaning from Jesus’ life-giving sacrifice and from the willingness of the Father “not to spare his own Son” (cf. Rom 8:32). Jesus is the sacrament of the Father’s covenant promise to save us. He incarnates the Father’s tremendous love for us. This is such an astounding reality that, with St. Paul, we can exclaim: “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

 

 

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

Do we believe that Jesus’ transfigured glory is the sacrament of God’s love and his covenant fidelity to save us? Do we allow ourselves to be transformed in Jesus? How do we contribute to the healing and transformation of our wounded society today? 

 

 

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

 

Loving and merciful Father,
you made us your sons and daughters
in your beloved Son, Jesus Christ.
He is the beautiful sacrament of your covenant love for us.
Transform us; transfigure us; renew us.
Grant us the grace we need
to live up to our duty and responsibility as your own beloved children
in today’s fragmented and lonely world.

We love you, Father,

and we surrender ourselves to your most gracious will.
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.

 

“This is my beloved Son.” (cf. 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 someone who feels rejected that will enable that person to feel the love of God. 

 

 

***

 

March 5, 2012 (Monday): LENTEN WEEKDAY (2)

 “LENT: A Time to Be Merciful and Forgiving”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Dn 9:4b-10 // Lk 6:36-38

 

 

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

 

In our Lenten journey, Jesus invites us to immerse ourselves in the ocean of divine mercy and experience deeply the forgiving love of God. The Divine Master urges us to be merciful just as the heavenly Father is merciful. Called to be like the Father, we need to be compassionate and generous in forgiving. We have undeservedly experienced the love of God and have been made whole by his forgiveness. Healed by his forgiving love, we are able to let go of bitterness and anger. We are able to view reality in the perspective of God’s abundant goodness and mercy. To be merciful as the Father is merciful and to be forgiving as he is forgiving enable us to savor the abundant riches of his grace.

 

The following article illustrates that it is possible to be merciful and forgiving (cf. Paul Gray, “Finding the Healing Strength to Forgive” in CARENOTES Catholic Perspectives Series, St. Meinrad: Abbey Press, p.2-4).

 

People were amazed when American Emmett E. “Bud” Welch pleaded against the death penalty for Timothy McVeigh, convicted in the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building. There was no question of Bud’s love for his daughter, Julie-Marie, senselessly killed in the bomb blast. He ached with longing for this daughter with whom he had regularly shared conversations over lunch, or that other Catholic meal, the Eucharist.

 

It was hard for many Americans, including Catholics, to understand Bud’s journey from raging anger to forgiveness. And yet, this journey was the only one that Bud could make. Retaining his rage, demanding death for death, made no sense to him, and, he asserted, Julie-Marie could not have wanted it. So he appealed relentlessly for sparing the life of McVeigh.

 

 

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

 

Have we accepted the forgiving love of God, and did we allow it to transform us into a more merciful and forgiving person?

 

 

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

 

Lord Jesus, we listen to your voice calling us to mercy and forgiveness. We are steeped in the divine saving love. Our experience of God’s abundant goodness and mercy gives us the healing strength to forgive and to care for those who have wronged us. Grant that we may always share with others the divine forgiving love. Teach us to be compassionate. Let us be generous in mercy that we may bring wholeness to brokenness, healing to pain, and the gift of peace to raging anger. We continue to journey with you, Jesus, in our daily pilgrimage to Easter glory. 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.

 

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (cf. Lk 6:36-38)

 

 

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

 

Resolve to be forgiving and merciful to those who have hurt or offended you. Make an effort to control your anger and replace it with gentle sentiments and kind thoughts.

 

 

***

 

March 6, 2012 (Tuesday): LENTEN WEEKDAY (2)

“LENT: A Time to Imitate the Divine Master”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Is 1:10,16-20 // Mt 23:1-12

 

 

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

(By Rodelio F. Paglinawan, Society of Mary Queen of Apostles)

 

            In today’s Gospel, we can learn two things that may be beneficial for our day-to-day living. These are: (1) practice what we preach and, (2) the virtue of humility. Although these two can be taken separately, they are closely intertwined in this gospel.

 

           I remember a story about a teacher who taught her pupils to keep themselves and their surroundings clean and neat at all times. She even taught them how to help clean their houses. She told them how she hated the sight of a dirty house and its filthy surroundings. Her pupils were happy about the lesson, but hated the way it was taught to them. They thought that their teacher was conceited. One day, her pupils visited her in her house. To their disgust, they saw a lot of spider webs in her house. The floors were littered with so many things and a few cats feasted at the table on the leftover food. The teacher was so embarrassed when she saw her pupils’ reaction at what they had witnessed.

 

            This story is told and retold in so many ways in our lives. We may be bragging about something that we have done and keep to ourselves the things that we failed to do. We may be bragging about a noble idea, which we cannot do ourselves. In both cases, traces of the story could be figured out. It will then be very embarrassing for us to face our own challenge and fail to meet the standard we ourselves have set. Humility is the best weapon we could have to counter this. Humility enables us to be what we should be, say only what we must say, and do only what we can, accepting our human limitations in the process. It is better to be humble than to be humiliated. (…) Practicing what we preach will make us humbler. Humility makes us nearer to the Almighty.

 

 

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

 

Like some scribes and Pharisees rightly castigated for their vanity and hypocrisy, are we also guilty of these faults? If so, what do we do? Do we fix our loving gaze upon Jesus, the Divine Master, and learn from him the ways of true wisdom and humility?

 

 

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

 

Jesus, you are the Divine Master, the way, truth and life. You are the way that leads to truth and eternal life. Help us overcome our evil tendency to vain glory. Lead us on the path of wisdom. You are meek and humble of heart. Make our hearts like unto yours. Give us the grace to imitate your life-giving lesson on the Cross – the way of sacrificial love and self-emptying. We give you honor and praise for you are the Teacher par excellence. We will follow 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 have but one master, the Messiah.” (cf. Mt 23:1o)

 

 

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

 

Pray for all teachers that they may always be limpid, credible and authentic in the way they teach. Support the apostolic works of the Pauline Family in their endeavor to give to the world Jesus Master, the Way, the Truth and the Life.

 

 

***

 

March 7, 2012 (Wednesday): LENTEN WEEKDAY (2)

“LENT: A Time for Humble Service”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jer 18:18-20 // Mt 20:17-28

 

 

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

 

Jesus continues his paschal journey to Jerusalem. In today’s Gospel reading, he makes a third prediction of his passion, death and resurrection. Since the coming of the kingdom is imminent, the mother of James and John would like to secure a privileged place for his sons in God’s kingdom. In light of the passion prediction, the mother’s request is totally inappropriate and reveals a worldly understanding of the Messiah as one who “lords it over them”. The indignation of the other equally ambitious disciples furnishes the occasion for Jesus to give them a lesson of true greatness in the kingdom of God. Service is the criterion for greatness in the heavenly kingdom. Just like Jesus, the Son of Man and the Suffering Servant, his disciples must be ready to give their life to serve the needs of all.

 

In this Lenten season, we who share in Jesus’ Eucharistic cup are called to live a life of humble service and self-emptying. Henri Nouwen remarks: “God has willed to show his love to the world by descending more and more deeply into human frailty. The descending way of love, the way to the poor, the broken and the oppressed becomes the ascending way of love, the way to joy, peace and new life.”

 

The total participation of a Christian disciple in the redeeming passion and death of the Suffering Servant-Messiah is illustrated in the life of the Japanese samurai martyr, John Hara Mondo (cf. Full Sail with the Wind of Grace: Peter Kibe and 187 Martyrs, ed. “Martyrs” Editorial Committee, Nagasaki: Do Bosco Sha, 2008, p. 85-87).

 

Mondo was taken to the banks of the Abe River where they cut off all his fingers and toes. With a burning iron, the sign of the cross was branded on his forehead, and finally, he was forced to lie down with his face on the ground as they cut off the tendons of his thighs. He was then thrown into a hut with lepers. Mondo, who once marched proudly at the front of the Shogun’s procession, now lay like a dead man unable to walk. (…)

 

Time passed, and Mondo was among the lepers in Asakusa in the town of Edo (Tokyo). He had to crawl to move about, but his kind eyes touched the hearts of the people ill with leprosy as he took care of them. The man who once served Ieyasu had fallen to the lowest rank in society, and was now serving people who had been abandoned even by their own families. Those around him saw something special in his kindness. Mondo had encountered God.

 

 

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

How do we understand and respond to Jesus’ call to humble service?

 

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

Lord Jesus, by your self-giving on the cross, you showed us what true greatness means. You are the Servant of God par excellence. By your sacrificial death, you have released us from the bondage of sin so that we may respond to the good news of the kingdom and live in covenant faithfulness. Teach us the ways of humble service. Let us experience the glory reserved for those who serve. Help us in our Lenten journey to Easter glory by filling our hearts us with serving love. We love you and serve you as the center of our life, 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 Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (cf. Mt 20:28)

 

 

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

 

Today make a concrete act of kindness and serve the people around you with a joyful smile.

 

 

***

 

 March 8, 2012 (Thursday): LENTEN WEEKDAY (1)

“LENT: A Time to Care for the Poor”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jer 17:5-10 // Lk 6:19-31

 

 

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

 

I love to read the “Missioner Tales” in Maryknoll, the magazine of the Maryknoll missionaries. The July-August 2004 issue contains an experience shared by Catherine Erisman, a Maryknoll sister. Her story, which illustrates the compassionate attitude totally lacking in the Rich Man mentioned in today’s Gospel parable, contains the hope that the pathetic Joseph, too poor to buy toothpaste, will have a better lot in heaven.

 

I was making pastoral rounds at Bugando Hospital in Mwanza, Tanzania, when a patient held my hand and made a request. Joseph, emaciated by AIDS, asked: “Could you please bring me some toothpaste?” Supplies like that are not available in the hospital, so I brought him a tube I bought at the local store. When I stopped in to visit him the following day, I was told that Joseph had died. I picture him standing before God with a stunning smile.

 

The parable of “The Rich Man and Lazarus” is to be seen against the backdrop of Jesus’ desire to teach his disciples the right use of money. Through this powerful story, the Divine Master reinforces his teaching that wealth must be rightly used to give solace to the poor. The parable is an indictment against today’s rich who do not care for the poor and whose callousness to the world’s afflictions is such that it can not be penetrated even “if someone should rise from the dead” (Lk 16:31).

 

The final destiny of the saved and the lost in the afterlife is unalterable. In the afterlife a reversal of fortune will take place. Those who were poor and destitute will be comforted. The chilling words of condemnation, however, will haunt the selfish and callous of heart – they who have been blind and deaf to the needs and agonizing cries of the poor: “My child, remember that you have received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here; whereas you are tormented” (Lk 16:31).

 

 

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

 

What is our attitude to the poor man – Lazarus, who lies at our doorstep? Do we care at all; or are we indifferent to his needs and agony?

 

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

 

Loving Father,

look with kindness upon the Lazarus at our doorstep.

Give us the grace to listen to the cry of the poor

and attend to their needs.

Do not let us be callous to their agony and torment.

Shatter the hard shell of our apathy and indifference.

May we stop playing the role of the Rich Man,

who is outrageously apathetic to the sufferings around him.

We beg you to challenge us every day

with the power of the Gospel indictment:

“My child, remember that you have received

what was good during your lifetime

while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;

but now he is comforted here;

whereas you are tormented”.

Please enfold us with the strength of your compassion

that we may be impelled

to cradle the poor Lazarus of today in our bosom.

We ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who though rich, became poor,

so that by his poverty we might become rich.

He lives and 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.

 

“When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.” (Lk 6:22)

 

 

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

 

Make a Lenten fast and offer the fruit of your sacrifice to feed the poor and hungry.

 

***

 

 MARCH 9, 2012 (Friday): LENTEN WEEKDAY (2)

“LENT: A Time to Overcome Violence”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Gn 37:3-4,12-13a,17b,28 // Mt 21:33-43,45-46

 

 

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

 

Today’s parable of the Wicked Tenants contains a thinly disguised reference to the violence that Jesus would suffer at the hands of the chief priests and Pharisees. The Son of God would be killed through the instigation of religious leaders who felt the status quo and their security were threatened. The mistreatment of the prophets of the past would fully bear upon Jesus as he undergoes his passion and death on the cross. The religious leaders of Israel had failed in their responsibility to nurture the spiritual growth and fruitfulness of God’s chosen people. They also became agents of bloodshed and injustice, putting to death an innocent man sent by God as Messiah. Though they were reading the Scriptures, they could not grasp their true messianic meaning for they were not using the eyes of faith. Because their hearts were blinded, they did not recognize that Jesus of Nazareth is the Servant-Messiah. But the Son of God who suffered violent death became the means of salvation for all. Christ’s resurrection was a glorious vindication and the cruel violence he suffered became an occasion for justification.

 

The season of Lent is an opportune time to repent of all the violence we have committed. It is a fitting time to offer to the Lord the spiritual fruitfulness of a humbled and peace-seeking heart. Lent calls us to overcome violence within our heart and in our midst and to look at today’s reality with the eyes of faith. We are also called to unite the injustices in the world and our unmerited sufferings with Jesus that they too may become means of salvation in the here and now.

 

The following story is fascinating. It gives insight into how Jesus Savior was subjected to torment and death. It also teaches us how to avoid the wicked ways of insensitivity, violence and injustice (cf. “Look into his Eyes” in Anthony de Mello, The Song of the Bird, New York: Image Books, p. 45-46).

 

The commander of the occupation troops said to the mayor of the mountain village, “We know that you are hiding a traitor. Unless you give him up to us, we shall harass your people by every means in our power.”

 

The village was, indeed, hiding a man who seemed good and innocent and was loved by all. But what could the mayor do, now that the welfare of the village was at stake? Days of discussion in the Village Council led to no conclusion. So the mayor finally took the matter up with the priest. Priest and mayor spent a whole night searching the scriptures and finally came up with the text that said, “It is better that one man die to save the nation.”

 

So the mayor handed over the innocent man, whose screams echoed through the village as he was tortured and put to death.

 

Twenty years later a prophet came to the village, went right up to the mayor, and said, “How could you have done this? That man was sent by God to be the savior of this country. And you handed him over to be tortured and killed.

 

“But where did I go wrong?” pleaded the mayor. “The priest and I looked at the scriptures and did what they commanded.”

 

“That’s where you went wrong”, said the prophet. “You looked at the scriptures. You should have also looked into his eyes.”

 

 

 

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

 

Have I committed acts of violence and aggression against innocent persons? What motivated me to do them? What did I do to overcome the violence and injustice I have inflicted on others?

 

 

 

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

 

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart. The priests and Pharisees did not look into your eyes with kindness and sensitivity. Hence, they did not recognize you and have betrayed you. Grant us the gift of faith. Give us the enlightened eyes of the heart that we may always recognize you as our loving Savior. Forgive us the violence we have inflicted upon you and the injustice we have committed against our innocent brothers and sisters. Loving Savior, make us instruments of your peace. Help us promote justice in this world and overcome the destructive force of violence. Let us reap the spiritual fruitfulness of God’s kingdom. We love you and serve you. Grant that we may rejoice in your eternal peace. 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.

 

 “He sent his son to them.” (Mt 21:37).

 

 

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

 

Be an instrument of peace to the people around you and in your society. Participate in a peace rally, if there is any possibility.

 

 

***

 

March 10, 2012 (Saturday): LENTEN WEEKDAY (2)

“LENT: A Time for Homecoming”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Dt 26:16-19 // Mt 5:43-48

 

 

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

 

            In 2001, I participated in a course entitled “Liturgical Dance and Drama”, offered at the Pope Paul VI Liturgical Institute in Malaybalay, Bukidnon in the Philippines. The culminating event of the course was a Eucharistic Celebration in which elements of dance and drama were used to highlight the important parts of the Mass. At the Gospel proclamation, the parable of the Prodigal Son was mimed by an excellent cast. After the presiding priest had finished the reading and declared solemnly, “The Gospel of the Lord”, the prodigal son and the servile brother gently placed their heads on the bosom of the welcoming father, whose arms enfolded them both in a joyful embrace. My eyes welled up with tears. The actors had put an appropriate resolution to an open-ended story. The “coming home” of the two lost sons is the best ending of all.

 

            Today’s parable is commonly called, “The Parable of Prodigal Son”, which is a misnomer. The popular name fails to indicate that the father has two lost sons, not one. The resentful elder son, however, did not know that he was “lost”. Though physically near, he was just as lost as the one who had set off for a distant country, squandering his inheritance in a dissolute life.

 

Others prefer to call this story, “The Parable of the Prodigal Father”. According to Aelred Rosser, “I agree with those who feel that the story would be more appropriately called the parable of the prodigal father. Clearly, the point that Jesus makes in this story is not how bad the boy (or his elder brother) is but how good the father is. It is the father who is excessive and extravagant and immoderate, anything but frugal with his forgiveness and mercy. It is the father who squanders love and reconciliation on the son. The father is the true spendthrift here, sparing no cost of labor to celebrate the homecoming of his wayward son. The reluctance of the elder brother to forgive with similar prodigality makes the father all the more generous.”

 

The parable of the Father’s prodigal love finds its completion in Jesus Christ. In taking on human nature, he became totally identified with the wayward son and every sinner. He experienced the alienation caused by humanity’s sin. By his passion and death, he carried the burden of sin as a means of expiation and redemption. When he breathed forth his last on the cross, crying out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Lk 23:46), Jesus experienced the ultimate “homecoming”. In that unique saving event, he also brought about the “homecoming” of the lost children of God.

 

 

 

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

 

Am I the lost, wasteful son? Am I the lost, elder brother? Am I the compassionate Father, so prodigal with love? How?

 

 

 

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

 

Father, you are full of mercy and compassion. Forgive us for having chosen our own way, independent from you. Forgive us for having wasted the spiritual riches and gifts you have bestowed on us. We wanted to build our lives outside of your loving plan. We were eager to taste the thrill of death-dealing adventures and relish the recklessness of false freedom. We also drank the dregs of sinful pleasure and indulged in selfish satisfactions. Now that we are done, we feel degraded, isolated and empty. Please help us for we are broken. Our life is shattered. Father, we have sinned against heaven and against you. We no longer deserve to be called your children. By the loving passion of our brother Jesus and his sacrificial death on the cross, we return to you, laden with tears of repentance.

 

O loving Father, thank you for your words: “We must celebrate and rejoice, because the dead has come to life again; the lost has been found.”

 

Father, your merciful love is abounding. Forgive us for being self-righteous. Our brutal sense of justice and unwarranted indignation made us resent your kindly embrace for those in need. Forgive us for treating harshly our brothers and sisters who have erred, but are humbly seeking to return to your loving embrace. Father, our pride has alienated us from you. We are “lost” and are in need of healing. In the name of our brother Jesus, your beloved Son-Servant, we turn to you with filial love and tears of repentance. Gracious Father, your joy is our joy. Everything you have is ours to share with those in need.

 

O loving Father, thank you for your words: “We must celebrate and rejoice, because the dead has come to life again; the lost has been found.”

 

 

 

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 was lost and has been found.” (Lk 15:24) 

 

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

 

During the Lenten season, participate in the Church’s celebration of the rite of penance and reconciliation. Make a step toward reconciliation involving a person you have hurt and/or offended.

 

 

***

 

 

Prepared by Sr. Mary Margaret Tapang  PDDM

 

 

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