A Lectio Divina Approach to the Sunday and Weekday Liturgy

 

BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD (Series 10, n.40)

WEEK 21 IN ORDINARY TIME: August 26 – September 1, 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.

 

Below is a LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE SUNDAY - WEEKDAY LITURGY: August 26 – September 1, 2012. The following reflections are based on the weekday liturgy’s Gospel reading.)

 

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August 26, 2012: 21st SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME  

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Challenges Us to Decide for Him”       

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jos 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b // Eph 5:21-32 // Jn 6:60-69

 

 

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

 

We were surfing the channels during a break in the TV news and hit the popular show, “America’s Got Talent”. A family musical group called “Celtic Air” performed delightfully a lively Irish jig, and with virtuoso skills, also played musical instruments. Since I felt that those talented family members were sure winners, I was perplexed when an unimpressed judge gave his verdict. He challenged the lead performers in the family to axe their parents and the youngest family member if they wish to have a shot at the one million dollar prize. The youngest sister’s limpid eyes brimmed with tears. The parents were shaken, though they bravely tried to keep their dignity and composure. The eldest son explained that, like other music groups with backup performers, their parents and kid sister were their backup. The exigent judge was adamant. They would have to decide to drop their parents and sister from the group, or else, lose the million dollars. The family heroically decided to stay together. Another judge was more sympathetic. He concurred with the family’s decision to stay together. He wisely commented that breaking up the family is not worth the million dollars.

 

Today’s Gospel reading (Jn 6:60-69) is about making a radical decision. When many of his disciples had returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him on account of his hard saying, Jesus challenges his disciples: Do you also want to leave? On behalf of the Twelve, Peter reiterates their fundamental option for Christ: Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God. Indeed, Christian discipleship is a decisive response of loyalty and a plunge of commitment into the person of Jesus. He is the Eucharistic Master who gives himself to us as the bread of the Word and offers his flesh and blood as “true food and drink” in the sacramental form of bread and wine.

 

The call to faith commitment is directed to us anew, especially in the sacrament of the Eucharist. We are questioned as to what the Eucharist means for us personally and summoned to make a core decision for Jesus. The liturgical scholar, Adrian Nocent, asserts: “We too are faced with a choice. When we celebrate the Eucharist, which is the sacrament of the new covenant, we are forced to choose and to say, with the faithful disciples, To whom shall we go? Or, with the Israelites, Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord. Every sharing in the Eucharist implies such a decision, for each time the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she renews her covenant with the Lord, protests her faith in him, and draws the faithful with her in her act of unconditional fidelity.”

 

 

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

 

Do we realize that we are a “Eucharistic people” nourished by Christ’s bread of the Word and his “flesh and blood” given to us in the sacramental form of bread and wine? At the Eucharist do we renew our covenant with the Eucharistic Master, avow our faith in him and make an act of unconditional fidelity in him? As a people of the Eucharist, do we declare with Peter: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God”?

 

 

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

 

Lord Jesus,

you are the living Bread and the Bread giver.

Your words are spirit and life.

Like Peter and the Twelve Apostles,

the foundation stones of the new Israel, the Church,

we renew our commitment to you.

As we share the bread of eternal life and the cup of salvation,

we offer our whole life to you.

By the grace of the Eucharist,

the sacrament of the new covenant,

may we love and serve you alone.

We adore you as our Eucharistic Master,

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.

 

            “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (Jn 6:68)

 

 

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

 

As we celebrate the Eucharist this Sunday, let us renew our covenant with the Lord Jesus, declare our faith in him and resolve to serve him with unconditional fidelity. Endeavor to help others to “decide today” for the Lord, whose words are spirit and life.

 

 

***

 

August 27, 2012: MONDAY – SAINT MONICA

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Rejects Hypocrisy”

 

BIBLE READINGS

II Thes 1:1-5, 11b-12 // Mt 23:13-22

 

 

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

 

Jesus calls for integrity of heart. When our thoughts, words and actions correspond to our ideals, we have integrity. Jesus confronts the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy and lack of integrity. To shake them up from complacency, he pronounces a series of woes upon them. The “woe” pronouncements manifest his concern for their self-destructive ways and serve as warnings of the unfortunate things to follow unless they change their ways. The scribes and Pharisees have rejected Jesus as Savior and likewise prevent others from entering the kingdom of God through Jesus. They have been zealous missionaries, but because of their false teachings their converts become worse than before. Their ridiculous discussions on what makes an “oath” binding express their perversion and evasion of truth. In an act of love, Jesus Master attempts to tear away their “masks” to bring them back to their senses and avert dire consequences.

 

The following story illustrates the hapless destiny of the fraudulent and hypocrite (cf. Anthony De Mello, Taking Flight: A Book of Story Meditations, New York: Image Books, 1988, p.132-133).

 

A seeker in search of a Master who would lead him to the path of holiness came to an ashram presided by a Guru who, in addition to having a great reputation for holiness, was also a fraud. But the seeker did not know him.

 

“Before I accept you as my disciple”, said the Guru, “I must test your obedience. There us a river flowing by the ashram that is infested with crocodiles. I want you to wade across the river.”

 

So great was the faith of the young disciple that he did just that. He walked across the river, crying, “All praise to the power of my Guru!” To the Guru’s astonishment, the man walked to the other bank unharmed.

 

This convinced the Guru that he was more of a saint than he himself had imagined, so he decided to give all his disciples a demonstration of his power and thereby enhance his reputation for holiness. He stepped into the river, crying, “All praise to me! All praise to me!”

 

The crocodiles promptly seized him and devoured him.

 

 

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

 

Do I have sentiments and attitudes that do not build up integrity of heart? Am I guilty of hypocrisy? If so, what do I do to overcome this?

 

 

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

 

Lord Jesus,

you love us deeply.

You care for our well-being.

You wish to convert us

from our hypocrisy and evil ways.

Help us to have integrity of heart

and seek true holiness in you.

Live in us that we may live in you.

We praise and adore you,

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.

 

“Woe to you, blind guides.” (cf. Mt 23:16)

 

 

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

 

Today make a conscious effort to unite with Jesus every act of charity that you do, every kind word that you speak, every gracious thought that you think and every compassionate sentiment that you feel.

 

 

***

 

August 28, 2012: TUESDAY – SAINT AUGUSTINE, bishop, doctor of the Church

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Calls Us to Greater Authenticity”

 

BIBLE READINGS

II Thes 2:1-3a, 14-17 // Mt 22:23-26

 

 

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

 

We continue to listen to Jesus’ “woe” pronouncements that are meant to lead us on the path of authenticity and integrity. He laments the legalism and externalism of the scribes and Pharisees. They are preoccupied with minutiae like paying the tithe on seasoned herbs, but neglect the really important teachings of the Law, such as justice, mercy, and faithfulness. The perversion of their priorities is such that they are virtually straining out the gnat while swallowing the camel. Their concern for external observance is symbolized by vessels that are washed merely on the outside. Inner purity, however, is not obtained by external correctness in religious observance, but by cleaning up our inner dispositions. Sometimes we have moments of hypocrisy when we try to appear what we are not, especially in the area of personal worth. We also tend to have recourse to legalism because it presents the easy way out of our moral obligations. Indeed, trying to be good is more demanding than merely looking good. It is also easier to fulfill religious observances than concern ourselves with works of justice and compassion and to endeavor to translate our faith into action.

 

The following story gives insight into the Christian call for greater authenticity and charity (cf. Anthony De Mello, Taking Flight: A Book of Story Meditations, New York: Image Books, 1988, p. 33-34).

 

There was once a woman who was religious and devout and filled with love for God. Each morning she would go to church. And on her way children would call out to her, beggars would accost her, but so immersed was she in her devotions that she did not even see them.

 

Now one day she walked down the street in her customary manner and arrived at the church just in time for service. She pushed the door, but it would not open. She pushed it again harder, and found the door was locked.

 

Distressed at the thought that she would miss service for the first time in years, and not knowing what to do, she looked up. And there, right before her face, she found a note pinned to the door.

 

It said, “I’m out there!”

 

 

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

 

How do we respond to the Christian call to greater authenticity, interiority and charity?

 

 

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

 

Jesus Master,

you call us to greater authenticity, interiority and charity.

Teach us to delineate properly our priorities

so that we may avoid the ridiculous situation

of straining out the gnat while swallowing the camel.

Help us to purify our inner dispositions.

Grant us honesty and integrity of heart.

Be with us Jesus.

Let your spirit of love shape our life.

May we witness to the world

the beauty of being a true Christian.

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.

 

“You have neglected the weightier things of the law.” (Mt 22:23-26)

 

 

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

 

Open your eyes to the people around you today. Thank the Lord for the goodness you see. Beg the Lord for the grace to assist those who are lonely and needy.

 

 

***

 

August 29, 2012: WEDNESDAY – THE PASSION OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

 “JESUS SAVIOR: His Death Is Prefigured

in John the Baptist’s Death”

 

BIBLE READINGS

II Thes 3:6-10, 15-18 Mk 6:17-29

 

 

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

 

Today we recall the martyrdom of John the Baptist – his beheading by King Herod, who was tricked into it by his sister-in-law and wife, Herodias. It was made possible by her daughter Salome’s delightful dance that elicited a grandiose oath from the king, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.”  Through the Gospel account, we realize how evil gains increasing momentum in Herod’s soul, inciting him from sensuousness to murder.

 

John the Baptist is a precursor of Christ in birth and death. Saint Bede the Venerable comments: “There is no doubt that blessed John suffered imprisonment and chains as a witness to our Redeemer, whose forerunner he was, and gave his life for him. His persecutor had demanded not that he should deny Christ, but only that he should keep silent about the truth. Nevertheless he died for Christ. Does Christ not say: I am the truth? Therefore, because John shed his blood for the truth, he surely died for Christ. Through his birth, preaching and baptizing, he bore witness to the coming birth, preaching and baptism of Christ, and by his own suffering he showed that Christ also would suffer …But to endure temporal agonies for the sake of truth was not a heavy burden for such men as John; rather it was easily borne and even desirable, for he knew eternal joy would be his reward.”

 

Our own day is also a time for martyrs. This is verified in the life of Archbishop Romero whose bloodbath is like that of John the Baptist and, above all, of Jesus, the king of martyrs. Fr. Jon Sobrino, a Jesuit theologian based in El Salvador, narrates an incident that led to Romero’s martyrdom. On March 24, 1980 Archbishop Romero was shot to death while celebrating the Mass, the blood of his martyred body mixing with the sacramental body and blood of Christ on the altar of Eucharistic sacrifice.

 

On May 19, 1977 the army went to Aguilares, expelled the three remaining Jesuits, desecrated the church and sacristy, and declared a state of emergency. After a month of the state of emergency, the army simply drove the people out of Aguilares. Archbishop Romero decided to go there at the first opportunity, denounce the atrocities that had been committed, and try to inspire a threatened, terrorized people with hope. ‘You are Christ today, suffering in history,’ he told them. After the Mass we held a procession of the Blessed Sacrament. We processed out into a little square in front of the church to make reparation for the soldiers’ desecration of the sacramental Body of Christ and the living Body of Christ, the murdered ‘campesinos’. Across the square, in front of the town hall, were armed troops, standing there watching us, sullen, arrogant and unfriendly. We were uneasy. In fact, we were afraid. We had no idea what might happen. And we all instinctively turned around and looked at Archbishop Romero, who was bringing up the rear, holding the monstrance. ‘Adelante! (Forward!)’, said Archbishop Romero. And we went right ahead.

 

 

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

 

Are we willing to give witness to Christ even to the point of sacrifice? How does the courageous witnessing of John the Baptist impact our own witnessing in today’s world?

 

 

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

 

God our Father,

you called John the Baptist

to be the herald of your Son’s birth and death.

As he gave his life in witness to truth and justice,

so may we strive to profess our faith in your Gospel.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one 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.

 

            “Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man.” (Mk 6:20)

 

 

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

 

Inspired by John the Baptist’s life witnessing, endeavor to live fully the Christian virtues in today’s world.

 

 

***

 

 August 30, 2012: THURSDAY – WEEKDAY (20)   

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Urges Us to Stay Awake”

 

BIBLE READINGS

I Cor 1:1-9 // Mt 24:42-51

 

 

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

 

For nearly 20 years, Secret Agent Jerry Parr had guarded presidents and vice-presidents, always on the lookout for one pair of crazed, hate-filled eyes; always at the ready. He had to pass target practice every month as a requirement for his job. According to Jerry, prayer was an essential part of his life and job. In a way, Christian discipleship is similar to his job – something requiring watchfulness and constant vigilance.

 

Today’s Gospel reading underlines the need for vigilance and watchfulness in preparation for the coming of Christ. The disciples of Jesus through all times are to keep in mind his urgent admonition, “Stay awake!” The Christian disciples are to be ready to open their hearts to the “essential One” who came to save us, who continually comes in our daily life, and will come again at the end time to restore all things. We must be prepared to welcome the kingdom of glory that he brings to fulfillment. Therefore, we must stay awake! For we do not know on which day our Lord will come.

 

For the Christian disciples, Advent – the time of hopeful waiting – is a year-round season and an ongoing experience. Aelred Rosser asserts: “Every task, every little job, every good word, every kind deed – all of these are the Lord at work in us, enabling us to prepare for his coming – now and finally. Blessed is that servant whom the master finds ready – busily waiting.” Indeed, the life of Christian disciples is dynamically driven by the expectation of the full realization of the kingdom inheritance and the definitive coming of our Lord Jesus. The spirit of Advent expectation helps us to carry out faithfully our task and mission on behalf of the reign of God upon earth. 

 

 

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

 

How do we prepare for the Lord’s coming in mystery in the events of our life? How do we prepare for his definitive coming in glory? In word and deed, do we strive to enkindle the faith that the kingdom of God is come? Is our dynamic vigilance a source of inspiration for others? 

 

 

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

 

Loving Father,

we want to prepare for Christ’s coming in glory.

Help us to stay awake

for we do not know which day the Lord will come.

Teach us to work for the kingdom

with love and creativity.

Bless us and make us faithful servants

who wait for the Lord’s glorious return.

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.

 

            “Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.” (Mt 24:42)

 

 

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

 

List three events in your life for which you were prepared and three other events for which you were unprepared. Pray over these events and ask the Lord to strengthen your vigilant expectation for his coming. If possible, help an elderly and/or seriously ill person prepare to receive Jesus at the hour of death.

***

 

 August 31, 2012: FRIDAY – WEEKDAY (21)

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Wants Us to Keep the Lamp Burning”

 

BIBLE READINGS

I Cor 1:17-25 // Mt 25:1-13

 

 

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

 

The authors of the Days of the Lord, vol. 4, comment on today’s parable of the Ten Virgins: “Like many others, this parable is based on a fact, a situation of ordinary life. It tells of a custom connected with the wedding celebration … A parable is not a narrative of an event, retold with exactitude down to its minutest details. Storytellers can legitimately put in exaggerated traits that fit their purposes. This is done knowingly and fools no one. This being understood, the lesson of the parable is clear. We shall be kept waiting for the Lord’s coming; unforeseeable, it will happen suddenly. At that moment, everything will be lost for those who were taken by surprise. Others will not be able to help them. The improvident ones will find a closed door in the kingdom where the wedding of the Son of Man is celebrated.”

 

Today we are invited to prepare for our final encounter with God. If our eyes are focused on that glorious goal, we are more likely to keep our spiritual lamps lit for that reception. The bridegroom is on his way. We must rise to meet him. The liturgical scholar Adrian Nocent remarks: “Each is called, during the night of faith, to stand ready for the final encounter unto which God calls. This invitation and summons is most important. Everything else must take second place when it comes to having one’s lamp lit and trimmed.”

 

The following story illustrates a person’s ultimate encounter with the Lord at the hour of death (cf. Patricia Normile, “Caregivers Need Care Too” in SAINT ANTHONY MESSENGER, May 2010, p. 22-26).

 

A hospice visitor, Deacon Amado Lim of Blue Ash, Ohio, knew Richard well. World War II veteran, great story teller, a man with a fine sense of humor, Richard (name has been changed) was a joy to visit. Then one evening Deacon Lim noted that he looked unusually sad. “I asked him why”, says the deacon. He said, “I was afraid.”

 

Richard continued, “I’ve shared many stories, but there’s one story I’ve not told you or anyone.” When Richard’s unit attacked a Nazi hiding place in Belgium, they met heavy fire and his best friend was mortally wounded. “I became livid”, Richard said. “I entered the building with my gun blazing. I saw two Nazi soldiers fall. I rushed toward them. They sprawled on the floor, covered with blood. I saw their faces. They were barely 12 years old – children! They didn’t say anything, just looked at me. Their faces were pleading, begging for mercy. My adrenaline pumped furiously. I shot them both. The faces of those boys have haunted me ever since. I cannot erase their images from my mind. Now I’m dying. I’m afraid to stand before God. He’ll never forgive me for what I did to those boys.”

 

Deacon Lim invited Richard to describe God. To Richard, God was a just God who rewards good and punishes evil. Voice trembling, Richard said that he couldn’t imagine God forgiving anyone who hurts children. Deacon Lim asked Richard to read aloud Bible stories describing God’s mercy. When the repentant criminal crucified on Calvary begged, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”, Jesus replied, “Amen I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk 23:42-43). Richard wept.

 

When Deacon Lim returned later, Richard smiled. “I’m no longer afraid. Jesus forgave the criminal. He forgives me because he knows how sorry I am.” Richard died two days later. 

 

 

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

 

What is the personal significance of the wedding feast of the Bridegroom mentioned in today’s Gospel? In what ways are we the foolish bridesmaids? In what ways are we the wise bridesmaids? How do we deepen our spirit of preparedness for the Lord’s coming?

 

 

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

 

Lord Jesus,

let our lamps be burning at your return.

Help us to prepare worthily for our encounter with you

at the hour of our death.

We resolve to follow

the path of holiness and righteousness.

We commit ourselves

to do acts of mercy and justice,

of goodness and love,

so that the final “hour”

will be an encounter with your saving grace

and a joyful participation in the wedding banquet.

We love and serve you;

we bless and praise 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 bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.” (Mt 25:1-13) 

 

 

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

 

In order to keep our lamps burning for the Lord’s coming, participate actively, consciously and fruitfully in the Eucharist and offer an act of charity daily on behalf of the weak and the needy.

 

 

***

 

September 1, 2012: SATURDAY – WEEKDAY (21); BVM ON SATURDAY

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Wants Us to Be His Enterprising Servants”

 

BIBLE READINGS

I Cor 1:26-31 // Mt 25:14-30

 

 

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

 

Jesus tells us the story of the master who distributed various amounts of money to three servants before going away on a journey. The Greek word that describes these amounts is “talents”. From this is derived the English term “talent” to describe the natural ability that can be improved by diligent practice. Two servants invested their talents and doubled the amount; the other one dug a hole in the ground and buried the talent entrusted to him by the master. The master returned and demanded a reckoning. The point of the story is not the uncertainty of the time of the Lord’s final coming, but the reckoning that will come and the responsibility expected of us. The Parable of the Talents teaches us not to be complacent and lazy, but to be diligent and enterprising. God want us to be creatively involved in the work of the kingdom. We need to be courageous and trustworthy servants in this time of waiting for the Master’s return.

 

The following testimony of Eli Doroteo of Antipolo City, Philippines, gives insight into the personal implication of today’s Gospel.

 

It is still fresh in my memory the spiritual exercise we had with Sr. Mary Celine, PDDM, during our retreat sometime in April 1999. The exercise was to divide our life into three segments and list in each of the three segments our experiences, most especially the downside in our life. Also, in each of the segments, we had to write God’s graces that helped us through those trials.

 

I was moved to tears when I discovered that in the three segments of my life, God was always present in my life in my MUSIC MINISTRY. In the first and second segments, I was a church choir member that started in Aklan and next in my stint with MIESCOR and in Muntinlupa. In the third segment (and until now), I sing the Responsorial Psalm during the Eucharistic celebrations. I realized that this is my calling – God gifted me with a talent of singing and of serving him in the Church.

 

As indicated in the Gospel of today, each of us has a God-given talent. The more we receive from God, the more we should be responsible to him at the judgment hour. This reminds me of the movie “Spiderman”. Peter’s uncle said, “With great power comes great responsibility”. In capsule form, this is what the Gospel of today is all about. A man who left his precious possessions to his servants represents God in the parable; he is a risk-taker here. This, I think, is God’s way when he calls a person to answer a particular need; he endows the person with a specific charism. The specific charism, when nurtured, becomes his distinctive identity. When exercised to its full potential, the charism becomes the person’s contribution to the Church and becomes his special mission.

 

 

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

 

In this time of vigil for the Lord’s coming at the end time, am I his enterprising servant? Do I endeavor to make the talents I have received bear abundant fruits for the glory of God and the good of the Church? Have I failed to maximize the talents and grace given me by the Lord? 

 

 

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

(By Nerses Snorhali, Jesus, Fils unique du Pere in The Days of the Lord, vol. 4, Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1992, p. 254)

 

I was like the unworthy servant

who earned nothing out of his talents;

and I even outstripped him,

because I lost the gift of grace.

 

I have neither doubled your talent

nor made fourfold the two, nor tenfold the five,

so as to be in complete mastery

of the ten cities of the senses.

 

But I buried in the ground the one talent,

by wrapping it up in the shroud of vices.

I did not put the money in the bank

so that you might demand the interest,

 

that is, I have not carried the word of your command

to the ears of my mind,

which is the spiritual bank

of the wisdom of the Bread of Life.

 

This is why I expect

to be chastised in the darkness

until you come to look for the talent

which you granted me at the sacred font.

 

But to you, O Savior of my soul,

I want to weep and say:

“Since it is still possible for me to do good,

give me the grace to please you by acting rightly.”

 

Thus I shall hear the joyous sentence

like the faithful servant:

“Enter my celestial house

in the joy of your Lord.”

 

 

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.

 

            “Well done, my good and faithful servant … Come, share your master’s joy.” (Mt 25:21)

 

 

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

 

List five talents you have received from the Lord, which you have utilized fully at the service of the Church and on behalf of the community. Thank the Lord for all these gifts received. List five talents, which you have failed to use wisely for the benefit of all. Beg God’s mercy and pardon for your failure to invest them fully.

 

 

***

 

 

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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