A Lectio Divina Approach to the Sunday and Weekday Liturgy

 

BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD (Series 10, n.28)

TRINITY SUNDAY & WEEK 9 IN ORDINARY TIME: June 3-9, 2012 *

 

(N.B. The pastoral tool BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD: A LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE SUNDAY LITURGY includes a prayerful stud 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.

 

Below is a LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE SUNDAY - WEEKDAY LITURGY: June 3-9, 2012. The following reflections are based on the weekday liturgy’s Gospel reading.)

 

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June 3, 2012: SUNDAY - THE MOST HOLY TRINITY

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Sends Us to Baptize in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Dt 4:32-34,39-40 // Rom 8:14-17 // Mt 28:16-20

 

 

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

            Our life is deeply permeated by the Blessed Trinity, but we can be oblivious to this reality. A little story reported by Anthony de Mello in his book, The Song of the Bird, can give us an idea of this unfortunate situation. 

“Excuse me,” said one ocean fish to another. “You are older and more experienced than I, and will probably be able to help me. Tell me; where can I find this thing they call Ocean? I’ve been searching for it everywhere to no avail.” “The Ocean,” said the older fish, “is what you are swimming in now.” “Oh, this? But this is only water. What I’m searching for is the Ocean,” said the young fish, feeling quite disappointed as he swam away to search elsewhere …

Stop searching, little fish. There’s nothing to look for. Just be still, open your eyes, and look. You cannot miss it. 

Indeed, we are immersed in the life of the Blessed Trinity. We are enveloped and drenched in the creative power, redeeming sacrifice, and sanctifying love of the One and Triune God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, number 261: “The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of the Christian faith and of the Christian life. God alone can make it known to us by revealing himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” By his actions in history and in our lives, God wills to reveal himself to us in his inmost being.

The Gospel reading (Mt 28:16-20) contains the Risen Lord’s Easter command to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The apostolic mandate to baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” signifies that the person baptized belongs to the Trinity of persons and enters into an intimate relationship with them. According to St. Isidore of Seville, the sacrament of baptism is the “sacrament of the Trinity” for it makes us share in the life of the one God in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In the baptismal waters, we are immersed into the life of the Blessed Trinity and consecrated to the Triune God: to the Heavenly Father as his adopted children; to the Son of God as his brother/sister and disciple; and to the Holy Spirit as his holy temple. 

 

 

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

As persons baptized “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”, do we truly believe that we have been born to a new life, that of the three Persons of the Trinity? How do we carry out today Christ’s apostolic command to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit?

 

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

(“Prayer to the Holy Trinity” by Blessed James Alberione) 

 

Divine Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

present and active in the Church

and in the depths of my soul,

I adore you, I thank you, I love you!

And through the hands of Mary most holy, my Mother,

I offer, give and consecrate myself entirely to you

for life and for eternity.

To you, heavenly Father,

I offer, give and consecrate myself

as your son/daughter.

To you, Jesus Master,

I offer, give and consecrate myself

as your brother/sister and disciple.

To you, Holy Spirit,

I offer, give and consecrate myself

as a “living temple” to be consecrated and sanctified.

Mary, Mother of the Church and my Mother,

who dwells in the presence of the Blessed Trinity,

teach me to live through the liturgy and the sacraments,

in ever more intimate union with the three divine Persons,

so that my whole life

may be a “glory to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.”

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.

 

            “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Mt 28:19)

 

 

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

 

This week offer three good deeds and acts of kindness in honor of the most Holy Trinity.

 

 

***

 

June 4, 2012: MONDAY - WEEKDAY (9)

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Is the Beloved Son Finally Sent”

 

BIBLE READINGS

II Pt 1:2-7 // Mk 12:1-12

 

 

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

 

Today’s Gospel parable presents the drama of man’s wickedness and God’s faithful and patient love. A “parable of contention”, it is directed against the smugness, vanity and self-seeking of the religious leaders of Israel. They have failed in their mission as stewards. They have persecuted and even killed those whom the Lord sent them. As a last resort, God did send not only his servants the prophets, but his own Son. But the wicked tenants seized his “beloved son” and put him to death, throwing his body “out of the vineyard”. The “beloved son” finally sent is Jesus put to death outside the walls of Jerusalem. Cardinal Jean Danielou remarks: “God’s patience has been strained to its farthest limit in this tragedy of Christ, the Lord of the vineyard’s son, rejected by the tenants, crucified, treated by his own people as a stranger and an outcast. But from the lowest depths arises a sudden hope. He will let out the vineyard to other vinedressers, who will pay him his due when the season comes.” In this parable of the wicked tenants, we see God’s first covenant with his Chosen People Israel being transferred to all peoples of faith. As a result of the sacrificial death of the Son, peoples of all nations become tenants-producers in God’s vineyard.

 

We are called to be a productive part of the Lord’s vineyard. As workers in his harvest, we need to be responsible, dutiful and faithful. We need to overcome human tendencies to mediocrity, indifference and sloth in our service of God’s kingdom. The following story by Papa Mike Mc Garvin (cf. POVERELLO NEWS, November 2011, p. 1-2) gives insight into some of the foibles and counterproductive attitudes that we need to overcome in our daily life.

 

Several years ago, just before Thanksgiving, someone donated a turkey to us that was over fifty pounds. It was an absolute monster, the biggest gobbler I’d ever seen. I figured that meat from that bird would take care of several families on Thanksgiving Day. We made a big deal about it; we thanked the donor, of course, but we also mentioned the turkey to some of the news outlets that make their way down here on the holidays, and at least one station took some footage and showed the prize turkey on the air.

 

We were curious to discover just how much meat this big boy would provide, so it was with great anticipation that it was prepared and placed in the oven. Later that day, I went to our chef to ask how it came out. He looked at me and sighed. “Well … the boys burned it.” “Whaddaya mean they burned it?” I asked stunned in disbelief. “They just … burned it up. Nothing salvageable. I guess they weren’t paying attention.”

 

This wasn’t the first time that our drug program cooks had done something like this. I remember one time when lettuce prices were sky-high, and we received several crates of lettuce as a donation. I was elated, because it meant plenty for salads and hamburger trimmings at a time we couldn’t afford to buy this produce item. Our program cook at the time was a man who claimed to be a professional chef. I walked through the kitchen, and saw him happily washing the lettuce – in scalding water. By the time I caught him, he had washed over three-quarters of the supply, rendering it wilted and useless.

 

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

How do we carry out are task as “tenant farmers” in God’s vineyard? Do we try to overcome counterproductive tendencies and attitudes such as irresponsibility, indifference, incompetence, sloth, etc.?

 

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

 

Lord Jesus,

you call us to be the new “tenant farmers”

in the Lord’s vineyard.

Give us the grace

to work with personal dedication and loving responsibility

so as to produce a rich spiritual harvest.

Bless all our toils and labors

for the coming of God’s kingdom.

We love 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.

 

“He had one other to send, a beloved son.” (cf. Mk 12:6)

 

 

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

 

Today carry out your daily tasks with a greater spirit of love and personal dedication and with deeper awareness that we are called to be fruitful “tenant farmers” in the Lord’s vineyard.

 

***

 

June 5, 2012: TUESDAY – WEEKDAY (9); SAINT BONIFACE, martyr

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Calls us Repay to Caesar What Belongs to Caesar and to God What Belongs to God”

 

BIBLE READINGS

II Pt 3:12-15a,17-18 // Mk 12:13-17

 

 

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

 

Today’s Gospel reading presents an insidious trap concocted by some Pharisees and Herodians against Jesus. Recognizing their hypocrisy and evil intent, Jesus eludes the trap by asking them to bring him a denarius. When they handed him the Roman coin, he asks them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They reply “Caesar’s”. Jesus then confounds them with a masterly retort: “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God”.

 

The great preacher, Fulton Sheen comments on today’s Gospel episode: “Our Lord took no sides, because the basic question was not God or Caesar, but God and Caesar. That coin used in their daily marketing showed they were no longer independent from a political point of view. In that lower sphere of life, the debt to the government should be discharged … Once again he was saying that his kingdom was not of this world; that submission to him is not inconsistent with submission to secular powers; that political freedom is not the only freedom. To the Pharisees who hated Caesar came the command: Give unto Caesar; to the Herodians who had forgotten God in their love of Caesar came the basic principle: Give unto God. Had the people rendered to God his due, they would not now be in their present state of having to render too much to Caesar. He had come primarily to restore the rights of God. As he told them before, if they sought first the kingdom of God and his justice, all these things such as political freedom would be added unto them.”

 

Today we are reminded of our primary duty to render to God his rights as well as our obligation to render our due to the civil society. Jesus challenges us to be observant in paying our debts to God and to fulfill our duties to one another and to a larger society. I am a Filipino citizen, but because of the particular work that I do – spiritual ministry – I am not a wage earner. I do not pay income tax since I practically do not have any income. But I know the importance of paying taxes to the Philippine government. Taxes are needed to fund its community services and public works. Hence, I contribute my “little” to the civil society by paying my resident’s tax, travel tax, etc. not grudgingly but joyfully, and above all, by conducting myself in a manner that befits a citizen of our beloved nation.

 

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

Do I render to God his rights as well as my duty of service to humanity? Am I animated with love and zeal as I carry out my obligation to God and neighbors?

 

 

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

 

O loving Jesus,

you came into the world to uphold the divine majesty

and to promote the total integrity of the human person.

Help us to be totally dedicated to God

and fully involved

in the pursuit of justice and peace in today’s world,

in giving preferential care for the weak and vulnerable,

and in promoting the good of individuals and the society.

Bless our endeavors

to “repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar

and to God what belongs to God”.

Make us channels of your peace and healing love.

We love you and serve you;

we glorify you and give you praise, 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.

 

“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” (cf. Mk 12:17)

 

 

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

 

Participate actively, consciously and fruitfully in the Sunday worship and be honest and responsible in paying your dues to the State.

 

 

 

***

 

 

June 6, 2012: WEDNESDAY – WEEKDAY (9); SAINT NORBERT, bishop

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Calls Us to Faith in the God of the Living”

 

BIBLE READINGS

II Tm 1:1-3, 6-12 // Mk 12:18-27

 

 

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

 

This story is told by one of our Italian Sisters. Her father died of a massive stroke. Her mom was crying heartily at the funeral. She tried to console her with the thought of the final reunion in heaven. Her mom wailed: “But Jesus said in the Gospel that in the next life we will be like angels … no more matrimony. In heaven, I will no longer be your dad’s wife!” Of course, the widow’s fear of losing her husband in heaven is unfounded. True love never ends and nuptial love is perfected in heaven.

 

Today’s Gospel passage introduces us to the Sadducees, a group of religious leaders who deny the existence of resurrected life. They are bent on engaging Jesus in a reduced-to-absurdity argument against bodily resurrection. The Divine Master’s first rebuttal to the scheming Sadducees also uses a reduced-to-absurdity tactic. He argues that in the next existence, which has no place for death, the issue of marriage is irrelevant. Jesus refutes the basic premise of the Sadducees that the life of the age to come is a continuation of this life and therefore needs human propagation lest it die out. The second rebuttal of Jesus is derived from the Torah. Since the Sadducees hold only to the Law of Moses, Jesus utilizes it to bolster his argument about the resurrection. The opponents of the resurrection have quoted the Torah to justify their case, but Jesus also quotes the Torah (Ex 3:6) to prove that death does not end human existence. When God says: “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” this implies that the patriarchs are living.

 

The main object of human existence is to live for God and God’s glory. It is through the resurrection of the Son of God that we are brought to true and eternal life. Our belief in our resurrection is based on our faith in the resurrected Christ. Harold Buetow remarks: “Christian belief in immortality is unique and special. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Good News of fullness of life in this age, and of the resurrection in the age to come … Someone has compared death to standing on the seashore. A ship spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the open sea. She fades on the horizon, and some one says, ‘She’s gone.’ Just at the moment when someone says, ‘She’s gone’, other voices who are watching her coming on another shore happily shout, ‘Here she comes’. Or to use another metaphor, what the caterpillar calls ‘the end’, the butterfly calls the ‘beginning’.”

 

 

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

 

What is our concept of death and dying? Is this concept illumined by faith in the living God, in whom all are alive?

 

 

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

 

Loving Father,

you are the God of the living, not of the dead.

In Jesus, your Son and our Savior,

we live and move.

We love you and your only begotten Son

for he is the way to eternal life.

We believe that death

is a door to infinite beauty and wondrous glory.

We proclaim in the great assembly

and in our life of service to the poor and needy

that you are indeed the font of life.

May the Risen Christ whom we celebrate in every Eucharist

bring about more and more

our daily resurrection and transformation.

In our work for justice and truth in today’s wounded world,

may we always give glory and praise

to the triumph of life.

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 is not God of the dead but of the living.” (cf. Mk 12:27)

 

 

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

 

Pray for widows/widowers who have lost their partners and are grieving for them. Pray for the grace of a happy death and a deeper experience of trust in Jesus’ almighty Father, the God of the living. Unite the struggles and challenges of your daily life into the great Christian paschal mystery of dying that leads to eternal life.

 

 

***

 

 

 June 7, 2012: THURSDAY - WEEKDAY (9)

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Calls Us to Love God and Neighbor”

 

BIBLE READINGS

II Tm 2:8-15 // Mk 12:28-34

 

 

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

 

The social ills of our time that cry out for healing challenge us to incarnate the Gospel message: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart … Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus Christ’s assertion of the primordial importance of the twofold love-command can be understood in the light of the Old Testament reading (Dt 6:2-6), which underlines the obligation of the people of Israel to love God wholeheartedly. But Jesus imbues the “love of God” command with a new meaning by adding “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”, from the Book of Leviticus (19:8).

 

Harold Buetow explains: “What is new is that Jesus went further: For him there’s an extremely intimate bond between love of neighbor and love of God. In Christian charity, people and God are not merely side by side; they are inseparably one. That idea was new. Another facet of newness was that Jesus gave a completely new interpretation of neighbor. In the time of Leviticus it meant Hebrews only. By the time of Jesus, it included resident aliens as well. For Jesus, the word has the widest meaning possible: It includes every member of the human race: He died for all of us. This was a much greater depth and breadth than ever before imagined.”

 

The true meaning of love of God and neighbor is crystallized in the very life and person of Jesus, especially in his self-gift and sacrificial love on the cross. Because God, in his Son Jesus has loved us so much, we too are empowered to love. The commandment to love God and neighbor flows from the love that the Lord has for us. In accepting God’s love, it is possible to love God and neighbor in a wholehearted way.

 

The life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta exemplifies what love of God and neighbor means in our world today (cf. Mother Teresa: Her Essential Wisdom, New York: Barnes and Noble, 2006, p. 20-23). The following thoughts from her are very insightful.

 

Sometime back, a high government official said, “You are doing social work and we also are doing the same. But we are doing it for something and you are doing it for somebody.” To do our work, we have to be in love with God.

 

***

Charity begins today. Today somebody is suffering; today somebody is in the street; today somebody is hungry. Our work is for today; yesterday has gone; tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today to make Jesus known, loved, served, fed, clothed, sheltered. Do not wait for tomorrow. Tomorrow we will not have them if we do not feed them today.

 

***

I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving, but do not give your leftovers. Give until it hurts, until you feel the pain.

 

***

The sisters care for forty-nine thousand lepers. They are among the most unwanted, unloved, and neglected people. The other day one of our sisters was washing a leper covered with sores. A Muslim holy man was present, standing close to her. He said, “All these years I have believed that Jesus Christ is a prophet. Today I believe that Jesus Christ is God since he has been able to give such joy to this sister, so that she can do her work with so much love.

 

 

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

 

What is our response to Jesus’ great command: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart … You shall love your neighbor as yourself”? How do we try to put this twofold command into practice? Are we capable of wholehearted love and service? If not, what do we do to improve our capacity for loving and giving?

 

 

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

 

Lord Jesus,

you loved the Lord your God with all your heart

and loved your neighbor as yourself.

In the Eucharist you are present to us

as the One who loved his own “to the end”.

O Divine Eucharist,

flame of Christ’s love that burns on the altar of the world,

make the Church comforted by you,

even more caring in wiping away the tears of suffering

and in sustaining the efforts of all who yearn for justice and peace.

Let your love triumph,

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 shall love the Lord your God with all your heart … You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mk 12:30-31)

 

 

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

 

Pray that Jesus’ twofold love-command may truly impact and shape our daily lives. Let the words of Jesus and his Eucharistic sacrifice challenge you to love and embrace the poor and vulnerable in today’s fragmented and wounded world.

 

 

***

 

 June 8, 2012: FRIDAY – WEEKDAY (9)

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Is the Son of David and His Lord”

 

BIBLE READINGS

II Tm 3:10-17 // Mk 12:35-37

 

 

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

 

After being interrogated by his opponents on such issues as paying taxes to Caesar, on the doctrine of the resurrection, and on the greatest commandment, it is Jesus now who poses a question: how can the Messiah be a son of David, if David himself acknowledges him as his Lord? No one in the crowd answers. Jesus himself doesn’t answer his own question about what sense the Messiah could be David’s descendant. The purpose of raising the question is didactic. Jesus wants to underline that the title “son of David”, with which he was acclaimed by the welcoming crowd in his triumphant entry to Jerusalem, is not adequate to describe his nature as Messiah. Christ Messiah, on account of his exalted, transcendent origin, is more than just a “son of David”. Although a descendant of David, Jesus the Messiah is the Son of God. His divine character surpasses the nobility and regality of his ancestor David. By his paschal mystery of passion, death, and glorification, Jesus Savior proves that he is indeed the son of David and wields lordship over David and all his ancestors. Indeed, the glorified Jesus is Lord of the peoples of the earth and all creation.

 

I read a charming story about Pope John XXIII. After he became Pope, his relatives from Bergamo came to have an audience with him. A bunch of rural, humble folks, they were timid and overwhelmed to be received by the Supreme Pontiff. The good, jolly old Pope extended his arms to the intimidated group and coaxed them warmly, “Come; it is only me!” I fancy that King David is likewise overwhelmed by the glory of his illustrious progeny, Jesus – son of Mary and Joseph. But on the day of resurrection, the Risen Lord invites and assures his ancestor David, “Come; it is only me!”

 

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

 

Do we acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of David and his Lord and that he wields lordship over us all?

 

 

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

 

Lord Jesus,

by the Holy Spirit,

you are incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man.

You are a descendant of David.

The holy carpenter Joseph of Nazareth,

of the royal line of David,

is the foster father who cared for you.

We bless and thank you for being our Savior.

By the paschal events of your death and rising

and through the power of the Holy Spirit,

it has been revealed to us

that you are not simply the Messiah.

You are the “Son of God”

and not merely the “son of David”.

You are exalted above all.

You transcend the nature of a mere liberator.

You are God – our one Lord Jesus Christ!

We believe in you.

We submit to you our entire being

- our mind, heart and will.

We thank you for your gift of eternal life.

We love you and serve you,

now and forever.

Amen.

 

 

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

 

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

 

“The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand.’” (Mk 12:36) 

 

 

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

 

Meditate on the Nicene Creed and savor the beauty of the goodness of God who sent his only Son to the world to redeem us. In your daily life, endeavor to mirror the dignity and humility of the Son of God who became man to save us.

 

 

***

 

June 9, 2012: SATURDAY – WEEKDAY (9); SAINT EPHREM, doctor of the Church; BVM on Saturday

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Calls Us to a Total Self-Giving”

 

BIBLE READINGS

II Tm 4:1-8 // Mk 11:38-44

 

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

 

Today’s Gospel is a lesson on wholehearted giving. Jesus contrasts the sterling quality of an extremely generous widow with the greediness of scribes who “devour the houses of widows”. Observing the devout act of the poor widow who puts two small coins into the temple’s treasury, Jesus calls the disciples’ attention and teaches them the difference between complete and incomplete giving. The rich honor God with a portion of their wealth, but the poor woman gives from her very livelihood. As a consequence of her self-emptying, she entrusts herself wholly to God. The widow’s offering evokes the total gift that Jesus would make of himself on the cross. The Son of God is the ultimate self-giving Lord. He offers his life “once and for all” in order to redeem us. In union with him, our lives become capable of total self-giving. Together with Jesus, the “poor one” (anawim), we become a gift to God.

 

The generous stance of the Gospel’s poor widow is replicated by the beggar in the following story narrated by Mother Teresa (cf. Mother Teresa: Her Essential Wisdom, New York: Barnes and Noble, 2006, p. 21).

 

A beggar one day came up to me and said, “Mother Teresa, everybody gives you things for the poor. I also want to give you something. But today, I am only able to get ten pence. I want to give that to you.” I said to myself. “If I take it he might have to go to bed without eating. If I don’t take it, I will hurt him.” So I took it. And I’ve never seen so much joy on anybody’s face who has given his money or food, as I saw on that man’s face. He was happy that he too could give something. This is the joy of loving.

 

 

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

 

How do we react to situations of vulnerability, insecurity and poverty? Do we take the stance of the generous widow? Do we allow ourselves to be configured into the self-giving Lord Jesus, the true Anawim – the ultimate Poor One of Yahweh?

 

 

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

 

O Lord Jesus,

you are the anawim - the poor one of Yahweh.

You praised the self-giving widow at the temple treasury.

Her self-gift anticipates your self-sacrifice

on the wood of the cross.

Fill our hearts with your love

so that we too may be a total gift offered to God

and for the good of others.

Your life in us is our greatest treasure.

We are happy and content to possess you

and to be possessed by you.

We love you and serve you,

now and forever.

Amen.

 

 

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

 

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

 

“This poor widow put in more than all the others … She, from her poverty, has contributed all she had.” (Mk 12:43)

 

 

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

 

Pray that the spirit of total giving may animate our life of Christian discipleship and service. Pray also that the unjust structures that lead to destitution and greater abuse of the poor and needy in today’s society may be rectified. Strive to offer the gifts you have received from the Lord for good at the service of the community.

 

***

 

 

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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