LECTIO DIVINA: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle
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.
There was a scholar of the Law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and your will live.”
But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that way, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ Which if these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”+
Let us now meditate with the commentary of St. Augustine on these words of the Gospel according to St. Luke.
Always remember this: do not love the descent and despise the ascent; continually think of the ascent, because he who descended from Jerusalem to Jericho fell into the hands of robbers. If he had not descended, he would not have fallen into the hands of robbers. Adam descended and he fell into the hands of robbers. All of us are Adam. The priest passed by and did nothing, he showed no concern; the Levite passed by, and he was not preoccupied, because the Law could not heal. A certain Samaritan, i.e., our Lord Jesus Christ, because he was told: Did we not correctly say that you are a Samaritan and you are possessed? He did not respond: “I am no Samaritan”, but: “I am not possessed. “Samaritan” means “guardian” If he had said: “I am not a Samaritan,” he would have affirmed that he was not a guardian. But who else would guard? In continuation, bringing in the similitude, he says, as you know: A Samaritan passed by and showed him mercy. He was lying wounded on the road, because he came down. On passing by the Samaritan did not abandon us; he healed us, he mounted us on his beast, his flesh; he brought us to an inn, i.e., to the Church, and entrusted us to the innkeeper, i.e., to the Apostle, and he gave two denarii for our cure, i.e., the love of God and of neighbor, because the whole Law and the Prophets are enclosed in these two commandments; and he said to the innkeeper: If you should spend some more, Iwill pay you upon my return. The Apostle contributed something more, since, having permitted all the Apostles to receive, as soldiers of Christ, the food on the part of the army of Christ, nevertheless, he worked with his hands and paid the provisions for the soldiers. All this happened. If we have come down and we are wounded, let us ascend, let us sing and let us move on to arrive. (en. Ps. 125, 15)
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. “But a Samaritan who was traveling arrived and on seeing him took pity on him” (Lk. 10:33).
- What is your attitude in front of the sufferings and needs of those around you?
- St. Augustine says that Christ is our Samaritan, since Samaritan means “guardian”. How is your trust in Christ, our Guardian, our “Divine Good Samaritan”?
b. “The next day, he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying: ‘Take care of him, and whatever you spend extra I will pay you back on my return’” (Lk. 10:35).
- St. Augustine interprets the two denarii as the two precepts of love of God and love of neighbor. How do you live these two precepts?
- How do you concretely show your love and compassion toward your brothers?
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 the Parable of the “Good Samaritan” and try to identify yourself with the man who fell into the hands of robbers. In the Good Samaritan, contemplate Christ. Contemplate his love and mercy.
b. Contemplate how Christ, “the Good Samaritan”, heals the wounds of your heart. Also contemplate how Christ entrusts to you the function of being another “Good Samaritan” making you share in his merciful love.
Think of everything that you can share with those around you about the experience you had with God, especially being compassionate as the Good Samaritan, knowing how to love your brothers. 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.
“In fact, Samaritan is translated “custodian”, “guardian”.
Therefore, He who created us is our guardian” (Io. eu. tr. 43, 2).
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 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).