Lectio Divina

In Lectio Divina, we read, we seek to understand with the help of a commentary, we ponder, we take time for stillness and we respond. It is a way of life, not a method of prayer. Take the Mother of God as your model, the one who brought forth the Word made Flesh, Our Savior Jesus Christ. 


28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The readings are:
Isaiah 25:6-10
Philippians 4:12-14 and 19-20
Matthew 22:1-14.

“Lectio: Read the first reading from the Prophet Isaiah chapter 25, verses 6-10.

Read the sacred text slowly and prayerfully, really listening as you read aloud. This is about our on-going conversion.
Meditatio: Understanding the text so that we can immerse ourselves in it, and make our response to it. This text is about the banquet on Mt. Zion. It is a simple text, as most commentaries note. The Jerome Biblical Commentary describes it as follows: “The banquet is the sequel to the enthronement scene of 24:21-23.  It celebrates the divine kingship.” (Cf. 15:47).  Take time to ponder on this text in the days ahead as you go about your work, rest, recreation.  Allow the Holy Spirit to work on the fibers of your heart, and bring forth
the melody of your response to this text. I share mine in Evangelizatio 1.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 22
Psalm 22 is a Psalm of confidence. I will pray this psalm each day, and pray it for those who are too weak or ill, and can’t pray.

Lectio: Read the second text from Philippians 4:12-14 and 19-20.
Meditatio: Some background to the text so that we understand it better and can then make our response. Paul is in prison when he writes this letter. It is an acknowledgment of the community’s gift (4:10-20). Paul first reasserts his principle of financial independence. Then he moves on to describe the fidelity of God, who will give to the Philippians that in which God is supreme – his glory. Glory alone
belongs to God. Glory is the divine power and presence, working in the transformation of human beings…” (Cf. NJBC 48:29.).
Read the text again and allow the Holy Spirit to work on your heart. Listen to the Holy Spirit praying within you and prompting you to respond to words, phrases, sentences which call you forth and challenge you. I share my response in Evangelizatio 2.

Gospel Verse is from Ephesians 1:17 & 18.
This text picks up the themes of both the first and second readings: hope and enlightenment.

Lectio: Read the Gospel text from Matthew 22:1-14.
Read it slowly and reflectively, and maybe a second time. Try to read aloud rather than with the mind. Listen to the text as you read.

Meditatio: What is it about? It is about the urgency of the kingdom of God. The king is Christ the King, the Son of God. The banquet represents the eternal Feast of heaven. We are all invited. We
make excuses. The kingdom of God is depicted as a Messianic banquet, derived from Isaiah 25:6-10. The servants are the prophets. The invited: an invitation is a free act of kindness. God is not obliged to invite. The word “ready” occurs three times, denoting the urgency – the Kingdom of God is near. The invited deny the urgency and become careless with the things of God.
The outskirts of the city: Gates and markets of an oriental city – outcasts, tax collectors and those in trades which are despised live in these areas. The message is that not only outcasts are invited but sinners too are invited.  The wedding garment: this represents a converted life, full of good deeds. Sinners are invited but are expected to repent.  Many are called: believers are warned about complacency.  There is an initial call and a final election and perseverance. (cf. NJBC 42:13)

Read the Gospel text a number of times during the week. Sit with the text for many “quiet” times. Listen to the Holy Spirit playing like a harpist on the fibers of your heart, to bring forth the melody of your response. I share my response in Evangelizatio 3.

EVANGELIZATIO: My lived response to the texts with which the Church gives me each Sunday for my formation as a Christian. St. James says “Be doers of the Word.” And the Book of Deuteronomy tells us that the Word of God is in our hands to do it.
1. My response is to the removing of the mourning veil and shroud. I am responding to this prophecy in the present. For the dead who are victims of war, there are no shrouds – they are left in the streets…men women and children step over the dead in order to break free. They crowd on to boats in order to find a place of peace. Yes, the mourning veil is an ever-present reality for us. It is hard to remove the mourning veil as we are confronted with war and the crimes against our children. We are disillusioned. No one can remove the mourning veil except Jesus. Therefore I will remain close to Jesus, calling his name and praying for mercy for the whole world
especially on October 17, the world day for the eradication of poverty, a poverty which is loudly expressed in the displacement of people, driven from their homes by war, in a place of uncertainty and hopelessness.

2. In response to this text with the promise of divine glory, I return to the words of St. Irenaeus: the glory of God is humanity fully alive, and the destiny of humanity is the vision of God. This is not an instantaneous event. Paul presents it here as the divine power and presence working the transformation of each one of us. God is at work within us, transforming us, shaping us all the days of our lives so that when we see God face to face we will be ready. I have seen a number of nuns pass over into the hands of God since I entered the monastery 35 years ago. I have experienced the divine presence taking hold of each one and helping each her to pass over. William Meninger beautifully describes the journey towards God as a journey of love. Because God is love, the journey begins with God. St. Therese tells us that the way to heaven is heaven.  We already have that for which we seek. This is because the Lord…dwells
within us. He is the ground of our being (p. 93). God is the ground in
whom our soul stands. To come to the full knowledge of God we must know our own soul. We must know it as touched by God, grounded in God and as the recipient of God’s mercy and grace. (p. 95). This is what St. Paul means by the Divine Presence transforming us. (These quotations I have taken from William Meninger’s book, “Lectio Divina with Julian of Norwich”. William Meninger is a Cisterician Monk).

3. I am invited to the Messianic banquet. When I know God is calling me to come close and be nourished by his mystery, do I make excuses? Yes, sometimes I do. Lately, the Lord is calling me to look honestly at what

Cardinal Walter Kasper calls “social poverty”. I have already shared his teaching, but return to it again. God has been presenting situations of social poverty as “messianic banquets”, feasts for three – God, me and another person experiencing social poverty. There are little banquets – contacts which last for five to ten minutes and there are longer banquets.  My responsibility is to heed the call to the feast. These feasts are preparing me for the final heavenly feast. Jesus is the Way, and Jesus, through the mystery of his Incarnation is present in all people.  Lectio Divina is about reading the Sacred Scriptures and reflecting on them from an informed background.  It is allowing the Holy Spirit to play on the fibers of my heart like a harpist, and bring forth the beauty of my response.  In responding to the text, my life is changed more and more into Christ.”