A Lectio Divina Approach to the Sunday and Weekday Liturgy

 

BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD (Series 10, n.20)

EASTER WEEK: April 8-14, 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: April 8-14, 2012. The following reflections are based on the weekday liturgy’s Gospel reading.)

 

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April 8, 2012: EASTER SUNDAY OF THE LORD’S RESURRECTION

 “EASTER: A Time to Be Touched by the Miracle of the Risen Lord”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 10:34a,37-43 // Col I 3:14 or I Cor 5:6b-8 // Jn 20:1-9

 

 

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

            I injured my wrist on Holy Thursday 2000. I was brought to the Philippine Orthopedic Center for emergency treatment. My arm was temporarily put in a plaster cast. I was told to come back on Easter Sunday for surgery. And so, on Easter Sunday morning, I was seated at the Orthopedic Center’s emergency room, feeling dismal as an empty tomb. I complained: “This isn’t fair! I am missing the best part of Easter.” I felt sorry for myself. But then, the young resident physician who was finishing his shift stood up with alacrity and headed for the door, squealing: “Oh, yes! Easter egg hunting!” His enthusiasm was contagious. Then I realized I had to go on an “Easter egg hunt” myself … that I should open myself up to Easter joy. 

            The Beloved Disciple who outruns Peter to the tomb is presented as an image of receptivity to the Easter mystery. Though he does not see the body of Jesus, he opens himself to the miracle of Easter. No further proof is necessary for him. He simply believes. Faith is his response to the Easter event. This is also true for us. If we allow ourselves to be touched by the life-giving energy of the Lord’s resurrection, then we will experience the death-dealing experiences of our daily lives as being transformed into life-giving situations. In the midst of the degradation of death, the fullness of life will blossom. For the Beloved Disciple, the empty tomb is not an image of despair, but of the power of the Lord’s resurrection. And so it is for us, the Easter people: the “empty tombs” of our lives are simply preludes to more astounding apparitions of the Risen Lord, who loved us to the end. 

 

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

 

Do we believe with our whole mind, heart and soul in the Good News of Easter - that nothing can defeat us anymore – not pain, not sorrow, not even death? Are our actions permeated with the joy and glory of the Risen Christ, and thus become signs of hope for others?

 

 

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

 

Loving God,

the Father of our Risen Lord Jesus Christ,

we thank you for the gift of Easter,

which is the triumph of life over death,

of good over evil,

of love over hatred,

of healing over pain,

and of wholeness over brokenness.

Today, we open up our mind, heart and will

to the miracle of Easter.

Let our words and deeds be filled with Easter joy

that we may be a sign of hope for others.

You live and reign, forever and ever.

Amen. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

 

 

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 saw and believed.” (Jn 20:8)

 

 

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

 

Prepare an Easter card for three persons who are in most need to help them experience the good news of Easter. On Eastertide you may plant flower seeds, shrubs, trees, etc. as a way of celebrating the triumph of life. On April 22 the family can participate in the activities of EARTH DAY 2012 that are meant to raise public awareness and highlight the importance of caring for Mother Earth.

 

 

***

 

April 9, 2012: MONDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF EASTER

 “EASTER: A Time to Proclaim Christ Is Risen”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 2:14,22-33 // Mt 28:8-15

 

 

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

 

Today’s Gospel presents contrasting images: the faithful women as messengers of the Good News of the Lord’s Resurrection and the chief priests together with conniving soldiers as propagators of counterfeit news that Jesus’ dead body was stolen by his disciples. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, having received the Good News from an angel, hurriedly leave the tomb to tell the disciples. The Risen Lord meets them on their way. He instructs the trembling but joyful women to tell his brothers to leave Jerusalem, the place where Jesus was rejected, and to go to Galilee, the place of revelation. There they will see him.

 

As we bask in the joy and glory of the saving event of Jesus Christ rising from the dead, we feel our vocation to be Easter witnesses. Just like Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, the “apostles to the apostles”, we too must be messengers of life and hope. We must not be propagators of death and deceit as the chief priests and soldiers were. But rather, we must be “apostles of resurrection” and not negate the Easter miracle of life’s triumph over death.

 

The challenge of Christian discipleship is to allow the power of Easter to shine in us. The paschal mystery of Jesus Christ is complete, but our paschal experience of death and rising is progressive and ongoing. What gives us strength to embrace and proclaim the power of Easter is the Spirit of the Risen Lord who anoints us for the victorious struggle against hopelessness and despair. The following testimony about her “paschal experience” was presented by Rose Cerbo on April 23, 2003 at a Fresno retreat. It gives insight into what it means to be an Easter witness and a Gospel messenger today.

 

When I was diagnosed with lung cancer, we had no medical insurance. Three years before, we had lost our restaurant, our shopping center and our savings to a con-artist; over three million dollars, gone! In trying to save the restaurant we borrowed over a hundred thousand dollars against our home. So there we were, all we had left was our mortgaged home and a small take-out restaurant in Pinedale.

 

Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse … they did … much worse. The things we had lost were just that: things. This was my life … cancer! We prayed, we prayed for strength, for guidance and for help.

 

We found a doctor who would do my surgery and a hospital that would accept payments, and I had my surgery. Afterwards, there wasn’t money for chemo or radiation, and the doctor said that it would be alright to take a chance without it. It was in God’s hands.

 

Meanwhile the I.R.S. decided that we owed them one hundred thousand dollars. We were able to produce proof of what we had lost, so they reduced it to twenty-five thousand dollars: still more than we could ever afford unless we sold our home. But they had a lien on our home so we couldn’t sell it. Again we prayed for guidance, and again our prayers were answered. Friends and family came forward to lend us the money to pay the I.R.S. with only our word to pay them back when we sold our house.

 

We paid the I.R.S. the money owed them and they removed the lien on the house. We did what we could to make the house more attractive, and put it up for sale. We conducted an open house and received three bids. We accepted one of them. After three months it was done; the house was sold, the bank was paid what we owed them. All the people who had helped us were paid back in full … we were out of debt.

 

We were able to put a down payment on a small house. We had a chance for a new start. But this time things were going to be different.

 

I’ve been cancer free for eleven years. We both have jobs and have a good life. We’ve learned that each day is a gift … to enjoy all the gifts God has given us – the birds, the flowers and the trees, the sunsets, the star-lit nights, and the sparkle of morning dew on the flowers. There is so much beauty in the world. We finally learned to enjoy and appreciate all He has given us.

 

 

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

 

Do we truly believe that the Risen Lord is present in our midst? Do we believe that by the paschal event of his passion, death and resurrection, we die to sin and rise to new life with him and in him? Do we embrace fully our grace and responsibility as witnesses and messengers that the Lord Jesus is truly risen?

 

 

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

 

Loving Father,

we thank you for the great Eastertide.

Through it we come in contact

with the saving event of our Risen Lord Jesus Christ.

He commissions us to be his Easter witnesses

to the ends of the earth.

May we truly die to our sin

and live by his grace.

Like the “women of the resurrection”,

may we become limpid signs of the glory of Easter,

especially for the people of today

who yearn for life and beauty,

for grace and healing,

for peace and joy.

We are the “Alleluia people” formed by your Son Jesus Christ,

in the power of the Holy Spirit.

And we adore you, serve you and love you,

now and forever.

Amen. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

 

 

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 ran to announce the good news to Jesus’ disciples.” (cf. Mt 28:8)

 

 

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

 

By your acts of charity and service, proclaim the Good News of the Risen Lord to the many distressed people of today who long for the warmth of Easter.

 

***

 

April 10, 2012: TUESDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF EASTER

“EASTER: A Time to See the Risen Lord and Announce the Things He Said”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 2:36-41 // Jn 20:11-18

 

 

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

I was passing through downtown San Jose one windy afternoon last March 6 on my way to the Diocesan Chancery Office. I was holding on to my veil lest I become a “flying nun”. A young woman wearing a hooded jacket yelled at me, “To what church do you belong?” I turned to her and responded, “I belong to the Catholic Church.” She came up to me and removed her hood. Rings pierced her ears, nose and lips. She remarked, “I used to go to Five Wounds Church and Saint Elizabeth Church. I wanted to be a nun but it did not come true.” We carried on a light, friendly conversation. Then her mood changed. She became pensive. “I am Magdalene!” she confessed. I retorted factually, “The Risen Lord appeared to Magdalene.” She looked puzzled. Then she asked, “Is that in the Bible?” I reiterated with joy, “Jesus Christ, on the day of his resurrection, appeared to Mary Magdalene and made her an apostle.” She became silent. Then she said with awe, “You are very nice; you are very nice; you are very nice!” I introduced myself, “My name is Sr. Mary Margaret. What is your name?” She gave me her name. Shortly after, I bid her goodbye. As I continued my long hike up North First Street, it dawned upon me that I had just shared the Easter event with a prostitute.

Today’s Gospel presents the Easter apparition of Jesus to Mary Magdalene, the “apostle of the apostles”. She is the first to see the Risen Christ and the first to tell the apostles about the Lord’s resurrection. She was present at the foot of the cross as she is present now at the tomb. She looks for a dead body, but a living Christ appears to her at the dawn of a new day. She recognizes Jesus by his voice just as sheep recognize the voice of their shepherd. The Risen Lord entrusts her with the task of announcing his central Easter message: that from now on he and his disciples belong inseparably as members of the one family of God. Jesus commands her to tell them, “I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Released from a dubious past, Mary Magdalene becomes a messenger of the Easter message … of God’s new creation … of the newly created mystical body of the Risen Christ, of which she is an important part.

 

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

Do we imitate Mary Magdalene’s devout and wholehearted love for Jesus? Are we like her in her receptivity to the Easter apparition and in her witness of the Risen Lord and the things that needed to be announced to his brothers and sisters?

 

 

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

 

Loving Jesus, our Risen Lord!

How good you are to Mary Magdalene!

You made her an “apostle to the apostles”

and messenger of the Easter new creation.

Like her, we no longer cling to a dubious past,

but to a totally renewed present.

You call us to belong to your glorified mystical body.

By your death and resurrection we are able to say:

“Your Father is our Father.

Your God is our God!”

Help us to imitate Mary Magdalene

in her faithful discipleship and apostolic zeal.

Above all, fill us with the intense love

that enabled her to stand by the cross,

to keep vigil by the tomb

and to be the first “apostle of resurrection”.

We love you and adore you;

we praise and glorify you,

now and forever.

Amen. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

 

 

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.

 

“Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’ and what he told her.” (cf. Jn 20:18)

 

 

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

 

By your act of kindness to the people around you, enable them to experience the healing power of Easter. Pray in a special way for abused, disadvantaged and exploited women in today’s society and endeavor to help them in their need.

 

***

 

April 11, 2012: WEDNESDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF EASTER

“EASTER: A Time to Recognize the Risen Lord in the Breaking of Bread”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 3:1-10 // Lk 24:13-35

 

 

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

 

Linda Unger’s inspiring article, “Mission Family on the Move” is about the leap of faith made by a young married couple, Doug and Lisa Jo Looney, who hail from the western New York town of Allegany (cf. MARYKNOLL magazine, March 2005, p. 36-38). The desire to serve the poor brought the couple together. Doug and Lisa met while working in a homeless shelter in Boston with the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry. In 1995-1999, they served as Maryknoll lay missioners in Mwanza, Tanzania. Then they returned to New York and started a family. They have three children: a son Aidan, who is 5, and daughters Nora and Maeve, who are 3 and 18 months, respectively. With the birth of each child, Lisa Jo and Doug reaffirmed their desire to return to mission abroad. One evening, as they sat chatting and looking out the window of their Allegany home, they realized the moment had come. Doug called the Maryknoll Lay Missioners. He felt that the application process was like a homecoming. He remarked, “We wanted the children to be out of diapers when we went back overseas, but didn’t wait long enough for Maeve. She’s a very easygoing child, and that expedited our decision.” They chose Bolivia. According to Doug, “The presence of so many mission families in Bolivia was a strong draw. We feel privileged that our children will know other missioner children.”

 

Doug and Lisa Jo have now transferred their family of five from upstate New York to the sprawling Bolivian city of Cochabamba. They are helping the little ones adjust to unfamiliar surroundings. Lisa Jo confided, “For the first two weeks all I’ve been doing is holding back tears. In a way, they’re joyful tears: well, here we are, after all these years! But also, they’re tears because we know it’s the first time our children are experiencing this kind of poverty in the world. What are they thinking? What are they feeling?” Indeed, for Lisa Jo and Doug, the decision to return to mission with their children was a leap of faith. Before the Looneys left Allegany, their parish celebrated their missionary calling and presented them with a chalice to take to Bolivia. Lisa Jo mused, “I was thinking of our experience in Africa, how we broke bread and shared the cup and the broken body of Christ. How could we not share that with our children? The God we met in Tanzania is the God we want our children to experience in the people of Bolivia.”

 

Indeed, in opening their hearts compassionately to the poor and the needy, the Looneys have recognized more intensely the presence of Christ in the Eucharistic sacrament of the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the cup. Moreover, their participation in the Eucharistic banquet has deepened their recognition of the presence of Christ in the poor and committed them more strongly to the service of the least brethren. As Christian disciples, the Looneys have been impacted by the meaning of the “breaking of the bread” and challenged by the impelling needs of “the broken body of Christ”. Like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, Lisa Jo and Doug have recognized Christ in the “breaking of the bread” and responded in faith to “the broken body of Christ”, concretized in the lives of today’s poor and needy.

 

 

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

 

Are we ready to welcome Jesus as our life-giving companion on our journey to faith? Are we ready to welcome him in the “breaking of the bread of the word” and in the “breaking of the Eucharistic bread”? How do we commit ourselves to the compassionate service of the Risen Lord present in the poor and needy – the “broken body of Christ”?

 

 

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

 

Lord Jesus,

you journeyed with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.

Their hearts burn with love

as you shared with them the paschal meaning of the Scriptures.

The disciples recognized you at the breaking of the bread.

Now we are gathered at your Easter feast

and joyfully partake of the bread of your word

and the Eucharistic bread.

Nourished by you,

help us to recognize your “broken body”

in the poor and the hungry,

in the desolate and the needy,

in the weak and vulnerable of today’s society.

You are our Risen Lord whom we love

and proclaim to the nations.

You live and reign,

forever and ever.

Amen. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

 

 

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 two recounted how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.” (cf. Lk 24:35)

 

 

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

 

Offer the bread of the Word to the spiritually hungry and do compassionate acts of love and service for the “broken body of Christ”.  

 

 

***

 

 April 12, 2012: THURSDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF EASTER

“EASTER: A Time to Make Miracles Happen”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 3:11-26 // Lk 24:35-48

 

 

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

The great promoter of positive thinking, Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, believes that one of the most wonderful principles known to man is called the “miracle principle”. Six words describe the principle: Expect a miracle – make miracles happen. According to him, if you keep your eyes open expectantly every day for great and wonderful things to happen, it is astonishing that great and wonderful things will tend to happen to you. Expect great things from God and you will receive great things from God. How then, can one go about expecting miracles and causing miracles to happen? According to Rev. Peale, the number one thing is to have a tremendous faith, a deep faith - a faith that is so positively strong that it rises above doubt. He asserts that if we train ourselves to have faith in depth, it will release an astonishing power in our life to produce miracles. 

            Indeed, there are some people who are figuratively swimming in a sea of troubles. They are so discouraged and dismayed by so many things that it is impossible for them to believe that a life-giving miracle could ever happen in their lives. The disciples of Jesus who were devastated by the event of his passion and death were similarly troubled with doubts, fears and despair. An Easter apparition was necessary to assure them of the reality of a stupendous miracle: the Lord’s resurrection. To the frightened and troubled disciples who were incredulous to the beautiful reality of the “miracle”, the Risen Christ revealed himself anew, opening their minds and hearts, instructing them about the paschal event of his death and resurrection, and its implications in their life as Easter witnesses

In the marvelous account of the Easter apparition, the Risen Master was guiding his disciples to understand fully the meaning of the greatest miracle of all: his resurrection from the dead and his glorification. He was leading them on a spiritual journey from disbelief to belief, from doubt to worship, from despair to joy, from timidity to courage, from witnesses of the resurrection to powerful messengers of the good news of salvation. Indeed, in the miracle of Easter, the faith of the disciples was made complete. In opening themselves up to the Easter event, they would make miracles of new life and sunlit beauty happen, in time and space. 

 

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

 

Do we expect an Easter miracle every day of our life? What do we do to make the miracle of Easter happen in our life and in the life of others?

 

 

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

 

Loving Father,

we thank you for the miracle of Easter.

We trust in you

and humbly expect Easter miracles to fill our life.

Gracious God,

we firmly believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ

as we believe in the resurrection of the body.

Every day we want to arise to a new life

that we may merit to arise in the glory of the last day.

We honor and praise you.

You live and reign,

forever and ever.

Amen. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! 

 

 

 

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.

 

“It is I myself. Touch me and see.” (Lk 24:39)

 

 

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

Today, expect a “miracle” to happen in your life and thank the Lord for it. Today, make a small “miracle” happen in the life of others.

 

 

***

 

 April 13, 2012: FRIDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF EASTER

“EASTER: A Time to Share in the Lord’s Easter Breakfast”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 4:1-12 // Jn 21:1-14

 

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

 

It was Friday of Easter week. After the Mass in our chapel, our community at the General House in Rome went to the refectory for breakfast. That morning there very few of us at table – only about seven. The sister in charge of the kitchen served special bread from Genoa – flat bread as big as a plate, steaming hot right from the oven. Together with the bread, she served canned sardines soaked in thick olive oil and spicy chili. Munching on the delectable fare, I exclaimed with awe, “Oh my! This is the breakfast that Jesus served his disciples at Lake Tiberias.”

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus invites his toil-weary disciples, “Come, have breakfast!” The Risen Lord thoughtfully prepares a meal for them beside the seashore. Now that his paschal suffering is complete, his followers no longer have “to fast” from his presence. Jesus Christ will always be there for us in the Eucharistic meal – to nourish and care for his own. The “good food” at the beach symbolizes the kindness and caring of a “good God” who offered his body and blood in sacrifice that he may give us eternal life. Jesus, the Son-Servant of God, continues his Easter service as “chef” – as the one who prepares the Eucharistic banquet. As his disciples, we too are called to bring some “fish” into the Easter meal by participating in the Church’s mission of bringing souls to the Eucharist. As a community of faith gathered by the Risen Lord, he calls us today from Lenten fast to Easter breakfast!

 

 

 

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

 

After a weary life struggle, do we turn to the Risen Lord who invites us to delight in his consoling presence and have “Easter breakfast” with him at the Eucharistic table?

 

 

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

 

            Loving Jesus,

how good you are!

You have given your body and blood for us on the cross

in a life-giving sacrifice.

As the Risen Lord,

you continue to give us life

by inviting us to the feast of your Eucharistic sacrifice.

How gracious you are!

How heartwarming and nourishing

the Easter breakfast you have prepared by Lake Tiberias!

How kind you are in calling us from “Lenten fast”

to partake in the “Easter feast” at the table of the Eucharist!

Help us to bring in our own “contribution”

to the heavenly feast.

By partaking in the apostolic mission of the Church,

may we invite and lead the peoples of the earth

 to share in the eternal Easter feast in heaven.

Glory to you, Jesus!

You are the Risen Christ, the Lord of the banquet,

now and forever.

Amen. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

 

 

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.

 

 “Jesus said to them, ‘Come, have breakfast’.” (Jn 21:1-14).

 

 

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

 

To contribute to the Easter feast, so something to feed the hungry in today’s world.

 

 

***

 

 

April 14, 2012: SATURDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF EASTER

“EASTER: A Time to Go Out into the Whole World and Proclaim the Gospel”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Acts 4:13-21 // Mk 16:9-15

 

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

 

            Today’s Gospel reading that concludes the Easter week is very appropriate. It gives us the Risen Lord’s missionary mandate: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” The Easter apparitions of Jesus to Mary Magdalene and the other disciples are meant to evoke their faith and make them heralds of the resurrection. There will be initial reactions of unbelief, but the joy-giving reality of the Easter event will finally prevail. The Church’s missionaries have nothing to fear because the Risen Lord will be with them in their Gospel preaching and confirm their Easter witnessing with special signs of his presence and power.

 

I was traveling by Amtrak to Fresno last March 25 to help prepare the funeral of our beloved deceased Sr. Mary Leonia. The train was fully booked. I was one of the four passengers in a two-by-two seat compartment. The tall young man seated beside me engaged us in a friendly conversation which deepened into a beautiful faith sharing. He was an atheist two years ago, but then he received the gift of faith and conversion. He was traveling to Lake Isabela to meet his grandparents, and from there they will proceed to Los Angeles to take the flight for Honduras. They will join a group of Seventh Day Adventist missionaries who will minister to the people of Honduras. What was awesome was how he could gently inspire us to share our faith without being invasive. He politely asked me, “What do you – Catholics – believe in?” I initially gave a general answer, almost evasive. But then, I realized that I could do something better. I told him that our faith as Catholics is synthesized in the Nicene Creed and in the Apostles’ Creed. So I recited the Apostles’ Creed very slowly and with conviction. He listened with full attention. When I proclaimed the concluding part of the creed, “I believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting”, the lady sitting in front of me affirmed, “Amen!” Then she started to cry. She used to be a Catholic, but she had become Episcopalian. The young missionary was also able to coax the stolid Hispanic boy seated in front of him to speak. What the boy shared was amazing. A month ago he was mauled by a horse in a ranch where he was employed. He miraculously survived. The boy repeatedly said, “I thank God every day for saving my life!” That Amtrak experience made me realize that the Easter faith is alive. We need to set it aflame by courageously evangelizing – just as that young Seventh Day Adventist missionary has done.

 

 

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

 

Are we willing to heed the Risen Lord’s missionary mandate: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature”?

 

 

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

  

Jesus, our Risen Lord,

you give us the faith that we need to share.

Help us to trust

that the Easter faith is stronger

than the world’s unbelief.

Strengthen us in our Easter witnessing.

Give us the grace we need

to follow your missionary mandate:

“Go into the whole world

and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

We continue to celebrate joyfully the Easter event

in the vast green field of human history.

We love and adore you,

now and forever.

Amen. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

 

 

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.

            “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” (Mk 16:15) 

 

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

 

By your words and actions share the Good News of Christ rising from the dead, especially to people who are in desperate situations. Pray for those who commit criminal acts out of despair and for the victims.

 

 

***

 

 

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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