LECTIO DIVINA: Easter Sunday, Cycle B
Translated by Fray Dunstan Huberto Decena, OAR
A. INVOCATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
WE INVOKE THE HOLY SPIRIT USING THE WORDS OF ST. AUGUSTINE
Come, Holy Spirit, by whom every devout soul, who believes in Christ, is sanctified to become a citizen of the City of God! (en. Ps. 45:8) Come, Holy Spirit, grant that we receive the motions of God; put in us your flame; enlighten us and raise us up to God (s. 128, 4). Amen.
WITH THE HEART WELL DISPOSED, WITH SERENITY, READ SLOWLY THE FOLLOWING WORDS, SAVORING THEM AND ALLOWING YOURSELF TO BE TOUCHED BY THEM.
On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; He bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the scripture that he had to rise from the dead.
LET US MEDITATE NOW WITH THE COMMENTARY OF ST. AUGUSTINE ON THESE WORDS OF THE GOSPEL AC- CORDING TO ST. JOHN.
“Well then, on the first day of the week, in the morning when it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw the stone removed from the tomb. The first day of the week is called by Christian custom the Lord’s Day because of the Lord’s resurrection. Thus, Mary Magdalene ran and came to Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved and tells them: “They have taken the Lord from the tomb and we do not know where they placed him.” Some codices including the Greek, have: “they took away my Lord”, which seemed to have been said because of a very intense affection of love or of servitude. But in the majority of codices that I had at my disposition I have not found this….
Peter and that other disciple went out and arrived at the tomb. They ran together, but that other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and arrived first at the tomb. Here, one is to take note and evaluate the recapitulation: how he comes back to what was overlooked and as though what follows has been added. Thus, even though he had said: “They arrived at the tomb” he goes back to narrate how they arrived. And he says: how he bent forward (the beloved disciple), he sees the linens placed; nevertheless, he did not enter. Thus, Peter arrived following him and entered the tomb, and saw the linens in place, and the sudarium, that had been on his head, not placed with the linens, but folded in a separate place. Do we suppose that these data do not mean anything? In no way would I think so. But I hurry towards other things in which the necessity of some problem or the obscurity would force to detain me. Therefore, the disciple who had arrived first also entered the tomb. He arrived first and entered last. Evidently, neither is this useless but I have no time for it. He saw, he says, and he believed. Some, for being little attentive, suppose that here John had believed this: that Jesus had risen. but what follows does not indicate this. In fact, what does, what he immediately adds, mean: Because they had not yet known the Scripture: that it was necessary that he rise from the dead? Therefore, he did not believe that he had risen from the dead in respect to someone who did not know that he had to rise. What then did he see; what did he believe? Certainly, he saw the empty tomb and since they had not yet known the Scripture –that it is necessary that he rise from the dead- , he believed what the women had said: that they had removed him from the tomb. And therefore, when they heard the Lord say it in person, even though he said it very clearly, for the custom of hearing him in parables, they did not understand and believed that he was alluding to some other thing (Io. eu. tr. 120, 6, 4. 0).
WITH THE TEXT, LET US NOW PRAY FROM THE DEPTHS OF OUR HEART. I SUGGEST THE FOLLOWING PHRASES AND QUESTIONS THAT CAN AWAKEN IN YOU DIALOGUE WITH GOD, AND AT THE SAME TIME CAN GIVE RISE TO AFFECTIONS AND SENTIMENTS IN YOUR DIALOGUE WITH GOD. DO NOT MOVE TO THE NEXT PHRASE OR QUESTION IF YOU CAN STILL CONTINUE DIALOGUING WITH GOD IN ONE OF THEM. IT IS NOT A MATTER OF EXHAUSTING THE LIST, BUT OF HELPING YOU TO PRAY WITH SOME POINTS THAT BETTER FIT YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.
a. “The first day of the week, at dawn before sunrise, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb” (Jn. 20:1).
•Why do you believe that Mary Magdalene went so early to the tomb?
•Where were the other disciples at daybreak on the first day of the week?
b. “He saw and believed; since they had not yet understood the Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead” (Jn. 20:9).
•How can you apply in your life the two verbs “see” and “believe”?
•What importance does the Sacred Scripture have in your life?
I PROPOSE TO YOU SOME POINTS FOR AFFECTIVE INTERIOR CONTEMPLATION. ONCE AGAIN, YOU NEED NOT FOLLOW ALL OF IT, RATHER YOU CAN CHOOSE WHAT FITS YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.
a. Contemplate Mary Magdalene and her surprise at the empty tomb. Contemplate how she runs. Experience with her the joy of the resurrection, Contemplate Christ risen who has come out of the tomb.
b. Contemplate the empty tomb of Christ. Go in it with Peter and the Beloved Disciple and observe what is in it and live the joy of the morning of the resurrection.
THINK OF EVERYTHING THAT YOU CAN SHARE WITH THOSE AROUND YOU ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE YOU HAD WITH GOD, ESPECIALLY CONCERNING THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST AND THE UNIVERSAL JUDGMENT. THE FOLLOWING POINTS CAN HELP YOU AS GUIDE TO SHARE WITH YOUR COMMUNITY THE EXPERIENCE OF THE LECTIO DIVINA ON THIS TEXT.
• What have I discovered about God and about myself in this moment of prayer?
• How can I apply this text of Scripture at this moment of my life? What light does it give me? What challenges does it put before me?
• What concrete commitment does this text of Scripture ask of me in my spiritual life, in my community life?
• What has been my dominant sentiment during this moment of prayer?
G. FINAL PRAYER OF ST. AUGUSTINE
Turning towards the Lord: Lord God, Father Almighty, with a pure heart, as far as our littleness permits, allow us to give you our most devoted and sincere thanks, begging with all our strength from your particular goodness, that by your power you may drive away the enemy from all our thoughts and actions; that you may increase our faith, govern our mind, give us spiritual thoughts, and bring us to your happiness, through your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, who with you lives and reigns, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen (en, Ps. 150:8).