Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lectio Divina Meditation for Fourth Sunday of Lent

Fourth Sunday of Lent Year C
March 14
“The Prodigal Son”

1. Lectio
Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
1 The tax collectors and sinners, however, were all crowding round to listen to him, 2 and the Pharisees and scribes complained saying, 'This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.' 3 So he told them this parable:
11 'There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, "Father, let me have the share of the estate that will come to me." So the father divided the property between them.
13 A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery.
14 'When he had spent it all, that country experienced a severe famine, and now he began to feel the pinch; 15 so he hired himself out to one of the local inhabitants who put him on his farm to feed the pigs. 16 And he would willingly have filled himself with the husks the pigs were eating but no one would let him have them.
17 Then he came to his senses and said, "How many of my father's hired men have all the food they want and more, and here am I dying of hunger! 18 I will leave this place and go to my father and say: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; 19 I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired men."
20 So he left the place and went back to his father. 'While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him.
21 Then his son said, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son."
22 But the father said to his servants, "Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the calf we have been fattening, and kill it; we will celebrate by having a feast, 24 because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found." And they began to celebrate.
25 'Now the elder son was out in the fields, and on his way back, as he drew near the house, he could hear music and dancing. 26 Calling one of the servants he asked what it was all about. 27 The servant told him, "Your brother has come, and your father has killed the calf we had been fattening because he has got him back safe and sound." 28 He was angry then and refused to go in, and his father came out and began to urge him to come in; 29 but he retorted to his father, "All these years I have slaved for you and never once disobeyed any orders of yours, yet you never offered me so much as a kid for me to celebrate with my friends. 30 But, for this son of yours, when he comes back after swallowing up your property -- he and his loose women -- you kill the calf we had been fattening."
31 'The father said, "My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours. 32 But it was only right we should celebrate and rejoice, because your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found." '

The theme of these parables in Luke Chapter 15 is “lost and found”. The younger son was lost in his selfishness, self-centredness, and sinfulness but he found himself again in his father’s love. The elder son who had remained behind didn’t even know that he was ‘lost’ and so he could not be ‘found. The elder son was lost because he worked for his father out of obligation rather than out of love. He felt that he needed to earn his father’s love. But the real focus of the story is the father who is given as the perfect example of unconditional love. He loved both sons. He loved the wayward younger son who had turned his back on him and welcomed him back without reservation. He also loved his elder son even though the elder son refuses to acknowledge his father’s love for him.

2. Meditatio
1. Use your imagination to picture the story.
2. Try to picture the story from 3 perspectives: Imagine yourself as the son – selfish, self-centred, and stubborn. (Pause for 5 minutes)
3. Imagine yourself as the elder brother – self-righteous, judgmental, refusing to forgive. (Pause for 5 minutes)
4. Imagine yourself as the father – loving, forgiving and accepting the two sons. (Pause for 5 minutes)

3. Oratio
Father, you are full of mercy and compassion.
Forgive us for having chosen our own way, independent from you.
Forgive us for having followed our selfish desires and
abused the gift of freedom which you have bestowed upon us.
Please help us for we are broken and our life is shattered.
Father, we have sinned against heaven and against you.
We no longer deserve to be called your children.
And yet you receive us with open arms.
Father, your merciful love is abounding.
Forgive us for being self-righteous.
We have judged others harshly and refused to show compassion
And yet You still reach out to us to invite us Home to you.
We are “lost” and are in need of healing.
Help us to turn you with filial love and repentance.
Help us recognise that your joy is our joy and that everything you have is ours.
Help us to remember that we are your children.

4. Contemplatio
Imagine yourself being embraced in the arms of God the Father with your head upon his chest.

5. Actio
1. Personal Life: During this month, pray for someone whom you have found hard to forgive. Pray that you would be able to forgive this person.
2. Communal Life: Reach out to someone in the neighbourhood / BEC that you know has not been to the BEC gatherings or to Church for some time. Just show concern without judgment.

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