LECTIO DIVINA: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C
Lk. 14:1. 7 – 14
A. Invoking 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, 40) Amen.
With heart well disposed, with serenity, read slowly the following words, savoring them and allowing yourself to be touched by them.
1 On a Sabbath he went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. … 7. He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. 8 When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, 9 and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you will proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. 10 Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” 12 Then he said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. 13 Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; 14 blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” +
Let us now meditate with the commentary of St. Augustine on these words of the Gospel according to St. Luke.
On humility St. Augustine points out the following: “Hence the Lord himself speaks through his own mouth: He who exalts himself shall be humbled and he
who humbles himself shall be exalted. Here we reasonably understand that we deal not with that humility with which each one humbly confesses his sins and not attributing justice to himself, but with being humiliated by some tribulation or discouragement that his pride merited; or by which his patience is tried or sought; of which this Psalm says: Before being humiliated I transgressed; and also the Book of Wisdom: Be strong in pain and be patient in humiliation, because gold is purified with fire, and men are approved in the oven of tribulation. By saying approved he gave the hope that consoles in humility. The Lord Jesus Christ also, on predicting that his disciples would be humiliated by their persecutors, did not leave them without hope, but gave for their consolation saying: By your patience you shall save your souls” (en. Ps. 118, 15, 1).
On the humiliation that will come upon the proud, on those who have exalted themselves, St. Augustine comments: “Every impious and every unfaithful exalts his heart, since he does not want to believe in God. But this exaltation prepares for the incredulous the humiliation on the day of judgment, because then he will be humiliated when he does not want it; since there are vases of wrath that are prepared for perdition. Let them indulge themselves now, let them chat, pounce on the faithful, laugh at them, sneer at the Christians, and say: ‘What they say of the day of judgment are old ladies’ tales’. This conceitedness prepares the humiliation. This judge, now being announced they ridicule, when he comes then he who indulges now will be humiliated, not with profit but with punishment. Now he does not humble himself, but he is being prepared to be humiliated; i.e., he is being prepared for condemnation, being prepared to be victim” (en. Ps. 134, 20).
St. Augustine makes an interesting invitation to help the poor in consonance with the final part of the Gospel of today. St. Augustine comments: “(…) Christ says (…) When you hold a banquet, invite the blind, the disabled, the weak, those who have nothing to repay you, and you will be repaid in the resurrection of the righteous; call them, feed them; eat with them, be happy when they are fed, because they are fed with your bread, and you with the justice of God. Let no one tell you: “There exists a precept of Christ to give to the servant of God, but not to give to a beggar.” There is no such thing; on the contrary, the impious says these things. Give to this, but much more to that one, because that one begs, and by the voice of the beggar you know whom to give. As regards the other, the less he begs, the more you must watch out, to anticipate what he may ask. Or maybe now he does not beg, but one day he will condemn you. Therefore, my brothers, be diligent in this, because you will encounter the indigence of many servants of God, as much as you want. But how the excuse delights you saying: “We did not know”, that is why you do not find them” (en. Ps. 103, 3, 10).
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. “Because he who exalts himself shall be humiliated and he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (Lk. 14:11).
- How do you live humility in your life?
- What does this statement of St. Augustine suggest to you: Be more humble through piety the higher you move up in power (ep. 153, 4,11)?
b. “When you hold a banquet, invite the blind, the disabled, the weak, those who cannot repay you; you will be repaid in the resurrection of the righteous; call them, feed them, eat with them, be happy when they are nourished, because they are fed with your bread and you with the justice of God” (en. Ps. 103, 3, 10).
- How do you live mercy?
- What concrete gestures and acts of mercy have you performed and can perform 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 your littleness and poverty, and how everything comes from God. Be conscious that everything good in you comes from God and a gift from God that you may serve your brothers. Praise God for all the benefits he has granted you, be thankful for the gifts and ask for the wisdom to make them bear fruit. Praise and be thankful!
b. Contemplate how Christ invites you to give and share what you have received. Be thankful for all things received and ask for the wisdom to share what he has given you.
F. Communication. Think of everything that you can share with those around you about the experience you had with God, especially as regards humility and wisdom
to have mercy for others. The following points can help you share with your community the experience of the lectio divina on the 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 Reflection of St. Augustine.
“There is nothing more excellent than the path of charity, and only the humble walks on it” (en. Ps. 141, 7).
Final Prayer of St. Augustine.
Turning towards the Lord: Lord God, Father Almighty, with 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 you deign to hear our petitions according to your goodwill, 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 and 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). +
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