A Lectio Divina Approach to the Sunday and Weekday Liturgy

 

BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD (Series 10, n.45)

WEEK 26 IN ORDINARY TIME: September 30 – October 6, 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:

September 30 – October 6, 2012. The following reflections are based on the weekday liturgy’s Gospel reading.)

 

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September 30, 2012: 26th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME   

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Teaches Us to Be Authentic and Inclusive”       

 

BIBLE READINGS

Nm 11:25-29 // Jas 5:1-6 // Mk 9:39-43, 45, 47-48

 

 

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

            The following charming story, “Jesus at the Football Match”, from Anthony De Mello’s book, The Song of the Bird (New York: Doubleday Image Books, 1984), p.147, helps me to understand today’s Gospel reading in a humorous vein. 

Jesus Christ said he had never been to a football match. So we took him to one, my friends and I. It was a ferocious battle between the Protestant Punchers and the Catholic Crusaders. The Crusaders scored first. Jesus cheered wildly and threw his hat high up in the air. Then the Punchers scored. And Jesus cheered wildly and threw his hat high up in the air. This seemed to puzzle the man behind us. He tapped Jesus on the shoulder and asked, “Which side are you rooting for, my good man?” “Me?” replied Jesus, visible excited by the game. “Oh, I’m not rooting for either side. I’m just enjoying the game.” 

            Indeed, Jesus is not in the habit of taking sides. He is concerned with the good of people and not with trifling issues of party membership or political color. In light of the above story, we can understand why Jesus roots for anyone who does good in terms of service to God’s anawim – his “little ones” – even if that person does not belong to the inner circle of disciples. In today’s Gospel reading, he recognizes the good work done by someone driving out demons in his name. He tries to correct the clique tendency and the petty exclusivity of his disciples. John complained about the outsider: “We tried to prevent him because he does not follow us”. Jesus’ reply challenges the disciples’ narrow mindedness and parochial parameters: “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward”

Jesus thus refutes the immaturity and the petty arrogance of his disciples who try to exclude a “non-member” from doing a ministry to “the little ones” in his name. As the Divine Master, he teaches his disciples to be tolerant and open to others of good will. He also underlines the reward due to the laudable ministry done by anyone who is not against us. Indeed, charity done to Christian disciples and to all the “little ones” in his name will be graciously rewarded.

            Today’s Gospel reading continues to underline the challenges of Christian discipleship. Confronting the evil of causing scandal to others, Jesus uses the imagery of the unquenchable fires of Gehenna. In order to avoid this unfortunate destiny, the disciples must be extremely cautious of giving bad example to anyone. Jesus asserted: “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire”. Jesus’ remarkable saying is not meant to be taken literally. Physical mutilation will not always work against temptation. Aelred Rosser explains: “The point of the hyperbole here is to emphasize beyond any doubt how important it is to enter the reign of God, no matter what the cost. We are being taught in a very striking way what our hierarchy of values must be. Nothing, absolutely nothing is more important that belonging to the reign of God. Anything that jeopardizes our participation in it must be expunged from our lives.” 

Indeed, the Christian disciples need to be purified in their innermost motives. They need to be “salted with fire” and experience the purifying fire of trials by which the faithful become pleasing sacrifices to God and at peace with one another. They need to expunge the evils of ambition, intolerance and scandal from their midst. In place of these, they have to make a tough choice for primacy in service, for tolerance and openness to others of good will, and for integrity in their dealing with God’s “little ones”. Those who respond to the radical demands of Christian discipleship with zest and gusto become the “salt of the earth”. As the good “salt of the earth”, they continue to inspire people with the liveliness of the Gospel spirit and lead them to yearn for God’s kingdom.  

 

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

 

Do we exclude “non-members” from the ministry and echo the intolerance of the immature disciples of Jesus: “Teacher, we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us”? Do we believe wholeheartedly in Jesus’ declaration: “There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us”? How do we respond to the radical challenge of Jesus: “It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire”?    

 

 

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

 

Lord Jesus,

at times, our hearts are intolerant.

We try to lay exclusive claim to the Reign of God.

Help us to realize that the heavenly Kingdom

is meant for all people of good will

in every time and culture.

Teach us to be receptive to your saving grace

in its manifold and all-inclusive expressions.

Dear Jesus,

forgive us when we cause scandal and damnation

for God’s “little ones”.

Help us to heed your warning

not to corrupt their innocence and integrity.

Teach us to treat the “little ones”

with respect and loving care.

O merciful Lord,

help us to reject the evil choices we have made.

Teach us to make the right choices for the Kingdom.

We trust in you, Divine Master,

for in letting us be “salted with fire”,

we become the “salt of the earth”.

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.

 

“Whoever is not against us is for us.” (Mk 9:40)

 

 

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

 

Pray for the success of the ecumenical movement in the Church and the laudable endeavor of inter-religious dialogue. See what tangible contribution you can make in this regard. Pray for the victims of sexual abuse and the perpetrators of these crimes. Offer something significant in reparation for this grave scandal and injustice against God’s “little ones”.  

 

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October 1, 2012: MONDAY – SAINT THERESE OF THE CHILD JESUS, virgin, doctor of the Church

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Teaches Us to Care for Little Ones and to Be Little Ones”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jb 1:6-22 // Lk 9:46-50

 

 

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

 

As Jesus comes closer to his passion, he strains to prepare his disciples for his death and its meaning in God’s plan. But they fail to understand, and are unresponsive to his second prediction of the passion. Their self-centered focus has blinded them to the divine purpose. Very inappropriately, they begin to argue who is the greatest and quarrel about their status in God’s kingdom. The Divine Master is ever patient and, to help them overcome their obtuseness, he takes a child. Placing the little one by his side, Jesus asserts that to receive and care for such a “child” is to receive him. He likewise declares that the least is the greatest in the kingdom. Jesus drills into his disciples the following truth: that the greatest loves even the lowliest and has the greatest need for God. A “child” is thus a model of discipleship and the “little one” among us – the poor, the weak, the humble and vulnerable - becomes the object of our caring discipleship.

 

The life of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus is a beautiful response to Jesus, who teaches us to care for the “little one” and shows the way of the “little one”. The following insights into her spirituality are circulated on the Internet.

Thérèse entered the Carmel of Lisieux with the determination to become a saint. But, by the end of 1894, six full calendar years as a Carmelite made her realize how small and insignificant she was. She saw the limitations of all her efforts. She remained small and very far off from the unfailing love that she would wish to practice. She understood then that it was on this very littleness that she must lean to ask God's help … Thérèse found a passage from Proverbs that struck her with particular force: If anyone is a very little one, let him come to me (cf. Proverbs 9:4). And from the book of Isaiah (66:12-13), she was profoundly struck by another passage: As a mother caresses her child, so I shall console you, I shall carry you at my breast and I shall swing you on my knees. She concluded that Jesus would carry her to the summit of sanctity. The smallness of Thérèse, her limits, became in this way grounds for joy, more than discouragement.

It is only in Manuscript C of her autobiography that she gave to this discovery the name of “little way”, “petite voie”. Echoes of this way, however, are heard throughout her work. From February 1895 she would regularly sign her letters by adding very little, toute petite, in front of her name. It was on this view then, that she based her extraordinary refusal to consider her daily faults important.  Because of her lack of illusions in her view of human beings, she assigned to these things no more significance than they deserved. "I have long believed that the Lord is more tender than a mother. I know that a mother is always ready to forgive trivial, involuntary misbehaviour on the part of her child. Children are always giving trouble, falling down, getting themselves dirty, breaking things - but all this does not shake their parents’ love for them. "

This “little way” of Therese is the foundation of her spirituality: “I rejoice to be little because only children, and those who are like them, will be admitted to the heavenly banquet.” She developed an approach to the spiritual life that people of every background can understand and adopt. This is evident in her approach to prayer: "For me, prayer is a movement of the heart; it is a simple glance toward Heaven; it is a cry of gratitude and love in times of trial as well as in times of joy; finally, it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus. . . . I have not the courage to look through books for beautiful prayers ... I am like a child who does not know how to read; I say very simply to God what I want to say, and He always understands me.”  

 

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

 

How do we heed Jesus’ invitation to care for the little ones in our midst and to pursue the Kingdom as a “child” who greatly needs divine help?

 

 

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

 

Lord Jesus,

we thank you for teaching us the “little way”.

You teach us to receive a “child” in your name.

You also teach us

that the least is the greatest

in the heavenly kingdom.

Help us to care for the “little ones” among us,

especially the poor and vulnerable.

Give us the wisdom to pursue the kingdom

following the path of humility

and total dependence on his grace.

We love you Jesus

and we offer ourselves totally you.

You are our saving Lord,

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.

 

“Whoever receives this child in my name receives me … The one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.” (cf. Lk 9:48)

 

 

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

 

Be greatly aware of the Church’s social teaching concerning the option for the poor and vulnerable. By prayer, word and action, show your care for the weakest among us – the unborn, those dealing with disabilities or terminal illness, the poor and marginalized.

 

***

 

October 2, 2012: TUESDAY – THE HOLY GUARDIAN ANGELS

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Entrusts Us to Guardian Angels”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jb 3:1-3,11-17,20-23 // Mt 18:1-5,10

 

 

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

 

Jesus continues to teach his disciples not to despise the little ones. They are so important to God that he has given his angels charge over them. If children need angelic guardians, we can safely assume that adults need them. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, number 336, asserts about angels: “From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.” Angels, who are pure spiritual creatures, live constantly in the presence of God and convey God’s will to us and his protection. Like the angels, we are intelligent beings created by God to glorify him and be happy with him in heaven.

 

The famed Mother Angelica of EWTN has this to say about angels (cf. Mother Angelica’s Answers, Not Promises, Mother Angelica with Christine Allison, New York: Pocket Books, 1987, p. 197-199).

 

I will never forget an incident that happened when I was ten or eleven years old. I was still living in Canton, Ohio, and had gone to the town square in the early evening to run some errands for my mother. There was a parking lot in the middle of the square, and for some reason it was blocked off by a big chain that day so cars could not enter. I blithely strolled across the street when I suddenly heard someone screaming, and I looked around only to see a pair of headlights coming at me. I was temporarily blinded, and then felt two hands pick me up and swing me over the chain barricade.

 

The car had run a red light and sped on. Slowly I realized what had happened. Dozens of people ran up to ask how I had leaped over the chain. I had no idea how I had gotten there.

 

I ran home and burst into the house looking for my mother. I was pale and trembling and started crying. “Mother, I almost got killed tonight.” Then she, too, started crying and said, “I know, Rita, I know.”

 

Later, I learned that my mother had sensed somehow that I was in danger earlier that afternoon and had knelt down to pray, asking God to save my life. Clearly, God had sent my angel to do just that. I will never forget that odd sensation of being lifted up, literally lifted, by two hands over a chain that separated me from death.

 

You and I, and everyone who ever lived, all have guardian angels. They are powerful friends, probably the most powerful friends you will ever have. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always needed all the friends I could get, and therefore have been on very close terms with my angel since the day of near-tragedy. I call my angel Fidelis, which is Latin for faithful, and faithful he has been, for I know I’ve been on tough assignments. (…)

 

God loves you so much that he gave you a guardian angel, a friend who prays for you, cheering you on, concerned for your salvation. If you’ve been overcome by loneliness, you should remember the friend God has given you as part of your birthright. He is with you every moment of the day.

 

 

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

 

Do I believe in the presence of an angel who is ever at my side to light and guard, to protect and guide me?

 

 

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

 

            God our Father,

in your loving providence

you send your holy angels to watch over us.

Hear our prayers,

defend us always by their protection

and let us share your life with them for ever.

We ask 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.

 

“Their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” (Mt 18:10)

 

 

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

 

Pray the beautiful prayer “Angel of God, my guardian dear …” and if you have not done it yet, give a name to your guardian angel. By your kind deeds and compassionate acts, be an “angel” to the people around you.

 

 

***

 

October 3, 2012: WEDNESDAY – WEEKDAY (26)

 “JESUS SAVIOR: He Lays Down the Demands of Discipleship”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jb 9:1-12, 14-16 // Lk 9:57-62

 

 

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

Before sending out seventy-two disciples ahead of him, Jesus clarifies the meaning of discipleship. He meets three candidates and utilizes this occasion to underline the exigent character of Christian discipleship. To the first, who makes an enthusiastic offer of allegiance: “I will follow you wherever you go”, Jesus presents the challenge of sacrifice: “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” The second asks permission to go first and bury his father, that is, he wants to attend to his family before he follows Christ. Jesus asserts that all filial obligations are subordinate to his urgent call to proclaim the kingdom of God, which demands an immediate response. The third is willing to follow but asks to say farewell to his family at home. Jesus challenges him to a total renunciation and wholehearted dedication. The call of Christian discipleship demands an irrevocable response and entails a wholehearted dedication.

In light of today’s Gospel I re-read my vocation story as a Pious Disciple of the Divine Master. Christ has showered me with overwhelming mercy and love. I heard his urgent call to follow him and I responded readily to his gift of vocation. I was a B.S. Premed student at the University of the Philippines when I got to know about the PDDM Congregation. I entered the convent after my third year of college. One month after my entrance, the major Superior asked me to go back to school and finish my B.S. degree. My name was among the list of 80 students that would be interviewed in 1971 for admission at the College of Medicine. But my dream to become a doctor was subordinate to my religious vocation. I left school altogether after Premed and underwent intense preparation for my religious consecration. I made my first religious profession in 1974 and was deeply happy with my life as a consecrated person. However, I continued to nurture my dream to become a medical doctor, which I presented several times to our major Superior. Before my finals vows in 1980 I requested again to be given a chance to become a medical doctor. But I was told in serious terms to make a decision: to follow Christ or to pursue my “career” outside the convent. My tears flowed when I pronounced my decision to follow Christ and to let go of my dream. In 1989 I became a “doctor” – not a “Doctor of Medicine” – but a “Doctor in Sacred Liturgy”.

 

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

Do we realize the cost of Christian discipleship, and are we ready to pay the price of commitment? 

 

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

 

Jesus Lord,

you are God’s faithful servant.

We thank you for your obedience

to the divine saving will.

Help us to listen to your call

and answer it readily.

Teach us to serve

with whole-hearted dedication.

Let the pain of sacrifice

be turned into the joy of self-giving

and let our discipleship

be filled with beauty and grace.

You are the font of love

and the author of our vocation.

Let us follow you wherever you go.

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.

 

            “I will follow you wherever you go.” (Lk 9:57)

 

 

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

Pray in thanksgiving for the gift of Christian vocation and the call to holiness. Express your gratitude by acts of kindness to the people around you.

 

***

 

 October 4, 2012: THURSDAY – SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Calls Us to Proclaim the Gospel and to Be Bearers of Peace”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jb 19:21-27 // Lk 10:1-12

 

 

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

 

            The book, Stories for the Heart, compiled by Alice Gray (Multnomah Press: Sisters, Oregon, 1996, p.239), contains a heartwarming story, “Picture of Peace” by Catherine Marshall. Her story gives us a glimpse of what true peace is all about.

 

There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures. But there were only two he really liked, and he had to choose between them. One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace. The other picture had mountains, too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But when the king looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest – in perfect peace.

 

Which picture do you think won the prize? The king chose the second picture. Do you know why? “Because,” explained the king, “peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. This is the real meaning of peace.”

 

Today’s Gospel tells us about the mission of the seventy-two disciples who are called to be peace-bearers. The peace that they are sent forth to bring comes from the sacrificial love of Christ, and it is the true peace welling up from within. The peace-bearing mission of Christ’s disciples has a universal character. In Luke’s account, we hear: “The Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.” The number “seventy-two” stands for the number of all the nations; and the Christians disciples are to reach out to all the nations and preach the Good News. Harold Buetow adds a depth of meaning to the number seventy-two symbolism. He remarks: “In the Gospel Jesus sends seventy-two disciples like lambs among wolves (v. 3) to spread his message of peace – a reminder that, when Moses was worn down with work, the Lord had him designate seventy-two elders to help him … We must not only be grateful for his salvation but must actually share it by carrying our responsibilities. Although we can’t offer instant solutions to all problems or suffering, Jesus’ Good News can alone provide true peace.”

 

            The evangelist Luke expresses the magnitude of the missionary task of the seventy-two disciples in terms of “abundant harvest” as we can glean from Jesus’ exhortation to his disciples: “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest” (Lk 10:2). The plentiful harvest refers to the extensive missionary work that the followers of Christ need to carry out on behalf of the entire human race. Indeed, the task of preaching the Gospel of peace to humankind entails the self-sacrificing ministry of apostolic “reapers” to gather the fruitful harvest of the redeemed into the barns of God’s kingdom.

 

            Luke’s account of mission-sending underlines, moreover, the urgency of the Gospel task. According to the commands of Jesus, the disciples are to travel light, salute no one along the road, and not be deterred by those who refuse to welcome them. There is an impelling quality and resoluteness in the task of proclaiming the Reign of God and in spreading the message of peace. The disciples sent by Jesus must not be waylaid nor indulge in distractions or petty matters, but rather, trust in the providence of God as they experience their own vulnerability and the people’s hostility. Indeed, the time of salvation has come. The kingdom of God is at hand. The mission of the Christ’s disciples is urgent and they must keep moving.

 

Marked by the spirit of poverty, Saint Francis of Assisi is a true Gospel bearer, a channel of God’s peace and a promoter of the integration of creation. Circulated on the Internet, the following article helps us understand what it means to proclaim that the kingdom is at hand.

 

It has been argued that no one in history was as dedicated as Francis to imitate the life, and carry out the work, of Christ in Christ’s own way … This is important in understanding Francis' character and his affinity for the Eucharist and respect for the priests who carried out the sacrament… He and his followers celebrated and even venerated poverty. Poverty was so central to his character that in his last written work, the Testament, he said that absolute personal and corporate poverty was the essential lifestyle for the members of his order … He believed that nature itself was the mirror of God. He called all creatures his “brothers” and “sisters,” and even preached to the birds and supposedly persuaded a wolf to stop attacking some locals if they agreed to feed the wolf. In his “Canticle of the Creatures” (“Praises of Creatures” or “Canticle of the Sun”), he mentioned the “Brother Sun” and “Sister Moon,” the wind and water, and “Sister Death.” He referred to his chronic illnesses as his “sisters." His deep sense of brotherhood under God embraced others, and declared that he considered himself no friend of Christ if he did not cherish those for whom Christ died … Francis' visit to Egypt and attempted rapprochement with the Muslim world had far-reaching consequences, long past his own death, since after the fall of the Crusader Kingdom it would be the Franciscans, of all Catholics, who would be allowed to stay on in the Holy Land and be recognized as Custodians of the Holy Land on behalf of Christianity. (…)

Francis preached the teaching of the Catholic Church, that the world was created good and beautiful by God but suffers a need for redemption because of the primordial sin of man. He preached to man and beast the universal ability and duty of all creatures to praise God (a common theme in the Psalms) and the duty of men to protect and enjoy nature as both the stewards of God's creation and as creatures ourselves … Legend has it that on his deathbed, St. Francis thanked his donkey for carrying and helping him  throughout his life, and his donkey wept. 

 

 

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

 

Do we heed the exhortation of Jesus: “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest”? As disciples of Christ in mission are we resolute and decisive in proclaiming the Reign of God and its message of peace? Do we travel light or are we are encumbered with a heavy load? Are we distracted or do we have focus? Are we truly bearers of peace? Does our evangelical mission beget tranquility in others?

 

 

 

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

 

Lord Jesus,

we pray for more laborers to reap the harvest of the human race.

Help us that we too may be self-giving reapers

in that fruitful harvest.

Make us instruments of your peace.

May the peace that you have bestowed upon us

rest on the people we are to bless.

Do not let discouraging results overwhelm us,

nor encouraging achievements inflate us.

Let us truly rejoice in your peace

and in the assurance that having done your saving will,

our names are written in heaven.

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.

 

            “Go on your way; behold I am sending you.” (Lk 10:3)

 

 

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

 

Pray for an increase of priestly and religious vocations in the Church. Pray for peace in the world and those called to be special peace-bearers in today's situations of violence and conflict. By your kind words and charitable speech, be a bearer of God’s peace, harmony and reconciliation.

 

***

 

 

 October 5, 2012: FRIDAY – WEEKDAY (26)

“JESUS SAVIOR: Woe to Those Who Reject Him!”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jb 38:1,12-21; 40:3-5 // Lk 10:13-16

 

 

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

 

Jesus warns the recipients of his public ministry in Galilee of the dire consequences of their impenitence. The lakeside towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum have received so much in terms of divine grace, but fail to bear fruits of conversion. They do not surrender themselves to Jesus and are deaf to his word. Jesus works miracles in their midst and proclaims the Good News to them, but they refuse to accept him as the Messiah. Because of their resistance to grace, they merit judgment more severe than the people of Tyre and Sidon, ancient cities notorious for wickedness and impiety. The life-giving Gospel that Jesus preaches can not be ignored. There are unfortunate and death-dealing consequences in rejecting his divine offer of salvation. To reject Jesus is thus to opt for self-destruction.

 

Like Jesus, his disciples of today will meet hostility and rejection as the following article shows (cf. “Hands off the Cross” in L’OSSERVATORE ROMANO, July 25, 2012, p. 9).

 

The Russian Orthodox Church cannot stand by and watch while Christianity is persecuted in Europe, according to Fr. Philip Ryabykh, a representative of the Patriarchate of Moscow to the Council of Europe, in an interview with the Voice of Russia. He was referring to the two British citizens fired for their refusal to remove the crosses around their necks in the workplace. The cases of Nadia Eweida, an employee of British Airways at Heathrow Airport, and Shirley Chaplin, a nurse, will soon be examined by the European Court of Human Rights and Orthodox representatives, together with Russian lawyers, have already guaranteed their support. Fr. Philip called this an “unprecedented situation”.

 

The two women have appealed to the Court to recognize that the freedom of religion has been violated and that they have been discriminated against because of their religious ties. British authorities – the Voice of Russia says – did not expect the case to be brought before the Strasbourg Court and has proposed a law that allows employers to dismiss employees who refuse to hide their religious confession.

 

“The decision of the Strasbourg Court will apply to all countries that are members of the Council of Europe, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova – that is, countries where Orthodox Christianity is the most common denomination”, Fr. Philip says. It is a tradition among Orthodox Christians to wear a crucifix and, he warned, “if the Strasbourg Court’s decision turns out not in favor of these women, this would create a dangerous precedent which, I believe, would be very dangerous. This may become a start of persecution against Christianity in Europe”.

 

 

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

 

Do we suffer rejection and hostility for our Christian faith? What is our response to such a situation?

 

 

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

 

Loving Father,

you experienced hostility and rejection

in the lakeside towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum.

Your compassionate healing ministry

and your proclamation of the Word

did not bear the fruit of conversion.

They are resistant to grace.

Forgive us Jesus

for our lack of response to your merciful love.

Give us the grace never to reject you again.

Deliver us from indifference and impenitence.

Fill us with courage to be faithful.

You are our saving Lord,

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.

 

“And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” (Lk 10:16) 

 

 

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

 

Through prayer, word and action, seek to overcome the hostility and “persecution” against the Church in the modern world.

 

 

***

 

October 6, 2012: SATURDAY – WEEKDAY (26); SAINT BRUNO, priest; BLESSED MARIE ROSE DUROCHER, virgin (USA); BVM ON SATURDAY

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Rejoices at the Return of the Disciples in Mission”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jb 42:1-3, 5-6, 12-17 // Lk 10:17-24

 

 

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

 

The Divine Master experiences misunderstanding and rejection from the towns of Lake Galilee where he has performed many miracles. Many have painfully disappointed him. But the seventy-two disciples who returned rejoicing from their mission have filled Jesus with joy. They have subjected demons through the power of his name. Rejoicing with them, Jesus makes them understand that the source of their joy should not be in having subjected the demons, but in having their names written in heaven. His disciples, in welcoming him as their true Master and Lord, have proven themselves “childlike” in character. They have opened themselves up to the spiritual revelation that Jesus gives, but which “the wise and the learned” of this world refuse to perceive. Through Jesus, God the Father is revealed. God is no longer an enigma, for through Jesus we can “see” God as the fullness of love. No wonder Jesus turns to his disciples and exclaims: “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!”

 

As Christian disciples in today’s world, we too must be “childlike” in our stance. We are able to rejoice because we are assured of the divine presence wherever we are and in whatever “storms” we encounter. The following story, circulated on the Internet, will give insight into this and will make us smile.

 

A little girl walked to and from school daily. Though the weather that morning was questionable and clouds were forming, she made her daily trek to school. As the afternoon progressed, the winds whipped up, along with lightning.

 

The mother of the little girl felt concerned that her daughter would be frightened as she walked home from school. She also feared the electric storm might harm the child. Full of concern, the mother got into her car and quickly drove along the route to her child’s school. As she did, she saw her little girl walking along. At each flash of lightning, the child would stop, look up and smile. More lightning followed quickly and with each, the little girl would look at the streak of light and smile.

 

When the mother drew up beside the child, she lowered the window and called, “What are you doing?” The child answered, “I am trying to look pretty because God keeps taking my picture.”

 

 

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

 

Do we trust in Jesus as the true revelation of the Father? Are we the “little ones” who are willing to savor the rich and life-giving revelation of Jesus?

 

 

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

 

O loving Father,

thank you for the gift of your Son Jesus,

the meek and humble One.

Teach us to be receptive as “little ones” to the light of wisdom

and perceive the beauty of your saving plan.

Grant us the grace to live the life of Christ in the Spirit

and reject the awful pride of the “wise and learned”

May we live forever in the glory of Christ

and relish the joy of the Holy Spirit,

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 rejoiced in the Holy Spirit.”  (Lk 10:21)

 

 

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

 

Pray that Christian disciples may always be “childlike” and receptive to the divine revelation given to us in Jesus Christ each day. Make an effort to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church or the Youth Catechism.

 

***

 

 

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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