LECTIO DIVINA: 3rd Sunday of Easter, 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.
Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he hen the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread. While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; He took it and ate it in front of them. He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. Then he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”
LET US MEDITATE NOW WITH THE COMMENTARY OF ST. AUGUSTINE ON THESE WORDS OF THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. LUKE.
“After the disciples had touched his feet, hands, his flesh and bones, the Lord says: Do you have something here to eat? Consuming food, effectively, would be one more proof of his true humanity. He received it, he ate it and gave to eat of it; and while they were still trembling in fear, he said to them: Did I not tell you these things when I was still with you? What? Was he not with them now? What does it mean: when I was still with you? When he was still mortal, as you are right now. What did I tell you? That is was convenient that everything written about me in the Law, in the Prophets and in the Psalms be fulfilled. Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures; and he told them that it was convenient that the Christ should suffer and rise again from among the dead on the third day. Eliminate the true flesh and the true passion and the true resurrection will cease to exist. Here is the Spouse: It was convenient that Christ should suffer and rise again from among the dead on the third day. Retain what is said of the head; listen now to what refers to the body. What do we have to show now? Those of us who heard who is the Groom, let us also recognize who is the Bride. And let penance and forgiveness of sins in his name be preached. Where? From where? Until where? In all nations beginning from Jerusalem. See here the Bride. Let the rage of heretics cease to bark from a corner. The Church is extended to the whole globe of the earth; all the nations possess the Church. Let no one deceive you: she is authentic, she is Catholic. We have not seen Christ, we are seeing her. Let us believe what refers to him. On the contrary, the apostles saw him and they believed what refers to the Church. They saw one thing and they believed the other; we also since we see one let us believe the other. They saw Christ, and they believed in the Church that they did not see; we, who see the Church, let us also believe in Christ whom we do not see, and grasping what we see, we will arrive to him whom we do not as yet see. Thus recognizing the Groom and the Bride, let us recognize them in the acts of their matrimony so that such holy nuptials be not a cause of litigation (s. 238, 3).
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. “They were discussing about these things, when he presented himself in their midst and tells them “Peace be with you” (Lk. 24:36).
•What does it mean to you that Jesus presents himself in the midst of his disciples?
•How can you interpret Jesus’ invitation to peace?
b. “It was necessary that everything written in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms about me be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scripture” (Lk. 24:44-45).
•From your point of view, how are the Scriptures about the mystery of Christ fulfilled?
•Why is it necessary that Christ open our mind to understand the Scriptures?
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 Jesus appearing to the Apostles and greeting the with peace. Observe the faces of the disciples at first of admiration then fear, and later faces of joy and peace. Let this message of peace fill also your heart.
b. Contemplate how Christ is present in your heart and is telling you: “Peace be with you.” Contemplate how the peace of the resurrection and the love of Christ is penetrating your whole being and filling you. Adore Christ present in your heart, experience and enjoy his peace.
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).