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"Lectio divina is an authentic source of Christian spirituality recommended by our Rule. We therefore practice it every day, so that we may develop a deep and genuine love for it, and so that we may grow in the surpassing knowledge of Christ. In this way we shall put into practice the Apostle Paul’s commandment, which is mentioned in our Rule: “Let the sword of the spirit, the Word of God, live abundantly in your mouth and in your hearts; and whatever you must do, do it in the name of the Lord.”

 Carmelite Constitutions (No. 82)

Lectio Divina: Mark 6:53-56

Lectio Divina

1) Opening prayer

watch over Your family
and keep us safe in Your care,
for all our hope is in You.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
One God, forever and ever. Amen.

2) Gospel reading - Mark 6:53-56

After making the crossing to the other side of the sea, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up there. As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him. They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.

3) Reflection

The text of today’s Gospel is the final part of the whole passage of Mark 6:45-56, which presents three different themes: a) Jesus goes to the mountain alone to pray (Mk 6:45-46); b) Immediately after, He walks on the water, goes toward the disciples who are struggling against the waves of the sea (Mk 6: 47-52); 3) Now, in today s Gospel, when they were already on the shore, the people look for Jesus so that He can cure their sick (Mk 6:53-56).

Mark 6: 53-56. The search of the people. At that time, Jesus and His disciples having made the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret. When they disembarked, the people recognized Him at once. The people were numerous. They came from all parts, bringing their sick. The enthusiasm of the people who look for Jesus, recognize Him, and follow Him is surprising. What impels people to search for Jesus is not only the desire to encounter Him, to be with Him, but rather the desire to be cured of their sicknesses. Hurrying through the countryside, they brought the sick on stretchers to wherever they heard He went.

And wherever He went, to village or town or farm, they laid down the sick in the open spaces, begging Him to let them touch even the fringe of His cloak, and all those who touched Him were saved. The Gospel of Matthew comments and enlightens this fact quoting the figure of the Servant of Yahweh, of whom Isaiah says, “Yet ours were the sufferings he was bearing, ours the sorrows he was carrying.” (Is 53: 4 and Mt 8: 16-17)

To teach and to cure, to cure and to teach. Right from the beginning of His apostolic activity, Jesus goes through all the villages of Galilee, to speak to the people about the imminent coming of the Kingdom of God (Mk 1: 14-15). There, wherever He finds people to listen to Him, He speaks and transmits the Good News of God;  He accepts the sick, in all places: in the synagogues during the celebration of the Word on Saturday (Mk 1: 21; 3: 1; 6: 2); in the informal meetings in the houses of friends (Mk 2: 1,15; 7: 17; 9:28; 10:10); walking on the street with the disciples (Mk 2: 23); along the beach, sitting in a boat (Mk 4: 1); in the desert where He took refuge and where people looked for Him (Mk 1: 45; 6: 32-34); on the mountain from where He proclaimed the Beatitudes (Mt 5: 1); in the squares of the villages and of the cities, where the people took their sick (Mk 6: 55-56); in the Temple of Jerusalem, on the occasion of pilgrimages, every day without fear (Mk 14: 49)! To cure and to teach, to teach and to cure, that is what Jesus did the most (Mk 2: 13; 4: 1-2; 6: 34). This is what He used to do (Mk 10:1). The people were amazed (Mk 12: 37; 1: 22,27; 11:18) and they looked for Him, as a crowd.

The origin of this great enthusiasm of the people was, on the one hand, the person of Jesus who called and attracted and, on the other hand, the abandonment in which people lived, they were like sheep without a shepherd (cf. Mk 6:34). In Jesus, everything was revelation of what impelled Him from within! He not only spoke of God, but He also revealed Him. He communicated something of what He Himself lived and experienced. He not only announced the Good News. He Himself was a proof, a living witness of the Kingdom. In Him was manifested what happens when a human being allows God to reign in His life. What has value, what is important, is not only the words, but also, and above all,  the witness, the concrete gesture. This is the Good News which attracts!

4) Personal questions

The enthusiasm of the people for Jesus, looking for the sense of life and a solution for their ills. Where does this exist today? Does in exist in you? Does it exist in others?

What attracts is Jesus’ loving attitude toward the poor and the abandoned. And I?  How do I deal with the people excluded by society?

5) Concluding prayer

How countless are Your works, Yahweh,
all of them made so wisely!
The earth is full of Your creatures.
Bless Yahweh, my soul. (Ps 104:24,35)

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As Carmelites We live our life of allegiance to Jesus Christ and to serve Him faithfully with a pure heart and a clear conscience through a commitment to seek the face of the living God (the contemplative dimension of life), through prayer, through fraternity, and through service (diakonia). These three fundamental elements of the charism are not distinct and unrelated values, but closely interwoven. 

All of these we live under the protection, inspiration and guidance of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whom we honor as "our Mother and sister."