Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lectio Divina Meditation for 6th Ordinary Sunday

1. Lectio
Luke 6:17, 20-26
17 When Jesus had come down from the hill with the apostles, he stood on a level place with a large number of his disciples. A large crowd of people was there from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon;
20 Jesus looked at his disciples and said,
“Happy are you poor; the Kingdom of God is yours!
21 Happy are you who are hungry now; you will be filled!
Happy are you who weep now; you will laugh!
22 “Happy are you when people hate you, reject you, insult you, and say that you are evil, all because of the Son of Man! 23 Be glad when that happens, and dance for joy, because a great reward is kept for you in heaven. For their ancestors did the very same things to the prophets.
24 “But how terrible for you who are rich now; you have had your easy life!
25 How terrible for you who are full now; you will go hungry!
How terrible for you who laugh now; you will mourn and weep!
26 “How terrible when all people speak well of you; their ancestors said the very same things about the false prophets.

The list of blessings in Matthew’s gospel is different from Luke’s. Matthew gives Jesus’ teaching on ‘real happiness’ in nine statements – the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12). Luke reduces the number from nine to four and contrasts the blessings with woes. In Luke’s version, Jesus teaches that the four situations of poverty, hunger, weeping and rejection because of him become sources of blessing. Jesus gives a completely new perspective on life and offers hope and comfort to everyone in these circumstances. Our human nature is to try and avoid these things but Jesus warns that it is their opposites – wealth, gluttony, gloating and a ‘good’ reputation – that can be our ruin. The four beatitudes are blessings because they bring us into total dependence on God where our focus is completely on him. It is when we are experiencing a plentiful and comfortable life that we forget about God. Jesus reminds us that God himself is our only guarantee of happiness and security.

2. Meditatio
1. What are some of our priorities in life? Do we seek wealth, comfort, success, honour? Do these things really make us happy?
2. Have we experienced some difficulties recently or presently? Can we sense that God is with us in this situation? Can we recognise that God is our only source of joy and peace?
3. Can we rejoice in being poor, weak, helpless because we know we are held in the hands of God?

3. Oratio
Lord Jesus,
Increase my hunger for you
and show me the way
that leads to everlasting happiness and peace.
May I desire you above all else
And find perfect joy in doing your will.

4. Contemplatio
Choose one of the 4 beatitudes in today’s gospel. Memorise it and repeat carefully and prayerfully as you experience the blessing of being in God’s presence.

5. Actio
1. Personal Life: Make a list of the areas in your life that you feel blessed by God, especially in areas of difficulty.
2. Communal Life: Choose to reach out to a home, a centre, or a family and spend some time sharing with them in terms of material needs, time, and friendship.

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