LECTIO DIVINA: 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 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. 128,4) Amen.
With heart well disposed, with serenity, read slowly the following words, savoring them and allowing yourself to be touched by them.
12 When he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 He left Nazareth and went to Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: 15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, 16 the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.”17 From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 18 As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. 19 He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 H walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him. 23 He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.
Let us now meditate with the commentary of St. Augustine on these words of the Gospel according to Matthew.
“There are three things (…), vocation, justification and glorification (…). We are called for the preaching of repentance, because the Lord began to evangelize in this way: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. We are justified by the call of mercy and by the fear of judgment; thus it is said: Save me, God, in your name and judge me with your power. He does not fear to be judged one who beforehand asked to be saved. Being called, we renounce the devil by repentance to remain under his yoke. Justified, we are healed by mercy that we may not fear the judgment. Glorified, we pass on to eternal life, where we will praise God without end (en. Ps. 150:3).
The Lord had not yet suffered his Passion nor had he arisen. They cast the nets: they caught a quantity of fish such that the two boats were filled and the nets were breaking for the fish were many. Then he told them: Come, I will make you fishers of men. They received from him the nets of the word of God, they cast them into the world as to the deep sea, and they caught a multitude of Christians; we see it and we admire. Those two boats symbolize two peoples: the Jews and the Gentiles, the Synagogue and the Church, the circumcised and the uncircumcised. Christ is the Corner Stone of those two boats, like two walls going in distinct directions. But what have we heard? The boats were threatening to sink because of the multitude of fishes. The same thing happens today: the many Christians that live bad lives oppress the Church. And this is little: they also break the nets. Because if the nets had not broken, schisms would not have existed” (s. 248, 2).
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.
- “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt. 4:17).
- How important is conversion for you?
- “The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” what does it mean to you?
- “He sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, and recovery of sight to the blind” (Lk. 4:18).
- How can you prolong the mission of Jesus in your life? Who are the “poor”, the “captives”, or the “blind” around you?
- What does this statement of St. Augustine suggest to you? “He shed his blood for the sick and with the eye drops of his blood he anointed the eyes of the blind”(s. 265F, 1).
- Pray with this phrase: “Spirit of God, guide me, be active in me” (s. 335J, 4).
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.
- Experience and contemplate in your interior how every day God frees you from your captivities, breaks your chains and opens your eyes. Express gratitude for Christ’s redemptive acts.
- Contemplate Christ, anointed and sent by the Father. As you contemplate, tell him interiorly in your heart: “You are my salvation” (conf. 1, 5).
Think of everything that you can share with those around you about the experience you had with God, especially your experience of Christ as redeemer, as the one who free you from your chains and restores to you your interior freedom. 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 predominant sentiment during this moment of prayer?
- 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 good will, that by your power you may drive away the enemy from all our thought 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, one God, forever and ever. Amen (en. Ps. 150:8).
“When this Spirit, God from God, gives himself to man, he inflames him with the love of God and of neighbor, because he is love” (trin. 15, 17,31).
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