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Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina (465)

"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)

Wednesday, 30 December 2009 19:55

Lectio Divina: 2nd Sunday after Christmas

Written by

Click here if your Country celebrate the feast of the Epiphany today

John 1,1-18

A different picture of Jesus
The words of a Canticle of the Community

1. Opening prayer
 
Lord Jesus, send your Spirit to help us to read the Scriptures with the same mind that you read them to the disciples on the way to Emmaus. In the light of the Word, written in the Bible, you helped them to discover the presence of God in the disturbing events of your sentence and death. Thus, the cross that seemed to be the end of all hope became for them the source of life and of resurrection.
Create in us silence so that we may listen to your voice in Creation and in the Scriptures, in events and in people, above all in the poor and suffering. May your word guide us so that we too, like the two disciples from Emmaus, may experience the force of your resurrection and witness to others that you are alive in our midst as source of fraternity, justice and peace. We ask this of you, Jesus, son of Mary, who revealed to us the Father and sent us your Spirit. Amen.

2. Reading
 
a) Key to the reading - the literary context:
 
This Sunday we meditate on the solemn Prologue of the Gospel of John. The Prologue is the entrance door. It is the first thing that is written. It is like a final summary, placed at the beginning. Under the form of a profound poem, mysterious and very solemn, John offers a summary of all that he will say about Jesus in twenty one chapters of his Gospel. Probably, this poem was from a canticle of the community, used and adapted by John. The canticle communicated an experience that the communities had of Jesus, the Word of God. Today also, we have many hymns and poems which try to translate and communicate who Jesus is for us. They reveal the experience that our communities have of Jesus. A poem is like a spectacle. It helps to discover the things which are inside us. Every time that we listen to or repeat attentively a poem, we discover new things, in the poem itself, as well as within us.
During the reading of the Prologue of the Gospel of John it is well to activate our own memory and try to remember some canticle or poem on Jesus, of the time of our childhood, which has marked our life.
 
b) A division of the text to help the reading:
 
1,1-5: The Word of God is light for all human beings
1,6-8:  John the Baptist was not the Light
1,9-11: His own did not recognize him
1,12-13: Those who receive him become children of God
1,14:  The Word became flesh
1,15-17: Moses give the Law, Jesus gives Grace and Truth
1,18: It is like the rain that washes.
 
c) The text:
 
1 In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things came into being, not one thing came into being except through him. 4 What has come into being in him was life, life that was the light of men; 5 and light shines in darkness, and darkness could not overpower it. 6 A man came, sent by God. His name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness to the light, so that everyone might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, he was to bear witness to the light. 9 The Word was the real light that gives light to everyone; he was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world that had come into being through him, and the world did not recognise him. 11 He came to his own and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believed in his name 13 who were born not from human stock or human desire or human will but from God himself. 14 The Word became flesh, he lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory that he has from the Father as only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John witnesses to him. He proclaims: 'This is the one of whom I said: He who comes after me has passed ahead of me because he existed before me.' 16 Indeed, from his fullness we have, all of us, received -- one gift replacing another, 17 for the Law was given through Moses, grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; it is the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known.

3. A moment of prayerful silence
 
so that the Word of God may penetrate and enlighten our life.

4. Some questions
 
to help us in our personal reflection.
 
i) Which phrase of the Prologue struck you the most? Why?
ii) Which are the images used by John in this poem to say who Jesus was for the community?
iii) Which is the new thing that the poem of John makes me discover in myself?
iv) The poem of John says. “He came to his own and his own people did not accept him!” (Jn 1, 11). What does this sentence mean? How does this happen today?
v) Which are the facts or events or persons of the Old Testament which are recalled in the Prologue?

5. For those who wish to deepen more into the text
 
a) The context:
 
On the Prologue of the Gospel of John many books have been written. And every year new ones are published. But they do not exhaust the content of the theme. This because the Prologue is like a source. The more water is drawn out from the source, the more it will give. Anyone who places his head above the source or fountain and looks inside, he sees his face mirrored in the water of the source. Describing the face that is seen, two things are described: the water of the source is commented upon, the prologue, and it tells us what has been discovered within the person himself.
The Prologue helps one to understand why the Fourth Gospel is so diverse from the other Gospels. In the Prologue, John presents the vision that he has of Jesus, Word of God, and describes the route of the Word. The Word was with God from the beginning of creation and by it everything was created. Everything which exists is an expression of the Word of God. Even being present in everything, the Word has wanted to place himself even closer to us and because of this he became flesh in Jesus, and lived among us, he carried out his mission and has returned to the Father. Jesus is the living Word of God. In everything that he says and does he reveals the Father: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!” (Jn 14,9). He and the Father “The Father and I are one” (Jn 10, 30).
 
b) Commentary on the text:
 
John 1, 1-5: The Word of God is light for every human being.
In saying: “In the beginning was the Word”, John makes us think in the first sentence of the Bible which says: “In the beginning God created Heaven and earth” (Gn 1, 1). God created by his Word. “The moment he spoke, it was so, no sooner had he commanded, than there it stood” (Ps 33, 9; Ps 148, 5). All creatures are an expression of the Word of God. Here, from the beginning, we have the first sign of ecumenical and ecological openness of the Fourth Gospel.
The Prologue says that the universal presence of God’s Word is life and light for every human being. But the majority of persons do not perceive the Good News of the luminous presence of the Word of God in their lives. The living Word of God, present in all things, shines in the darkness, but the darkness could not overpower it.
 
John 1, 6-8: John the Baptist was not the Light.
John the Baptist comes to help people to discover this luminous and consoling presence of the Word of God in life. The witness of John the Baptist was so important, that up to the end of the first century, at the time that the Fourth Gospel was written, there were still persons who believed that he, John, was the Messiah! (Ac 19,3; Jo 1,20).
For this reason, the Prologue clarifies things saying: “John was not the light! He came to bear witness to the light!”
 
John 1, 9-11: His own did not accept him.
Just as God’s Word manifests itself in nature, in creation, in the same way also, it manifests itself in the “world”, that is in the history of humanity, and particularly, in the history of the people of God. When he speaks about world, John wants to indicate a system, that of the empire as well as of the religion of the time, systems closed up in themselves and therefore, incapable to know and to receive the luminous presence of the Word of God. The “world” did not recognize, did not accept the Word. From the time of Abraham and of Moses, the Word “came for his own, but his own did not recognize him”.
 
John 1,12-13: Those who accept to become children of God.
But the persons who opened themselves accepting the Word, became children of God. The person becomes a son or daughter of God not by own merit, but by the simple fact of trusting and of believing that God, in his goodness, accepts us and welcomes us. The Word enters into the person and makes her/him feel accepted by God as daughter, as son. This is the power of God’s grace.
 
John 1, 14: The Word became flesh.
God does not want to be far away from us. For this reason his Word gets close to us and becomes present in our midst in the person of Jesus. The Prologue literally says: “The Word became flesh and placed his tent in the midst of his people. Now the tent where God dwells with us is Jesus “full of grace and truth!” Jesus comes to reveal who is this God who is present in everything, from the beginning of creation.
 
John 1, 15-17: Moses gave the Law, Jesus came to bring us Grace and Truth.
These verses render the witness of John the Baptist. John began his proclamation before Jesus, but Jesus existed before him. Jesus is the Word which was already with God even before creation. Moses, in giving us the Law, manifested God’s will. Jesus gives us the fullness of grace and of truth which help us to understand and to observe the Law.
 
John 1, 18: It is like the rain which washes.
This last verse summarizes everything. It recalls the prophecy of Isaiah, according to which the Word of God is like rain which comes from heaven and does not return without having carried out its mission on earth (Is 55, 10-11). The way of the Word of God is like that. It comes from God and descends among us in the Person of Jesus. Through the obedience of Jesus he carried out his mission here on earth. At the hour of his death, Jesus gives up his Spirit and returns to the Father (Jn 19, 30).
He fulfilled the mission which he had received.
 
c) Deepening - The roots or origin of the Prologue of the Gospel of John:
 
The roots of Divine Wisdom - The Gospel of John is a poetical and symbolical text. It is difficult to say from where the author took such beautiful ideas and images to construct this poem. But something is certain, he had the concern to show that the prophecies of the Old Testament had been fulfilled in Jesus. That is why, speaking about Jesus, he recalls central points of the Old Testament. In the Prologue, we find much similarity with the poems of the Old Testament which present Divine Wisdom under the form of a person (Pr 9, 1-6), which already existed before all things. She participated in the creation of the world as an artist and craftsman of the universe, playing on the surface of the earth and delighting with humanity (Pr 8, 22-31). Desirous to have friendly relations, she invites persons to taste the sweetness of her honey and of her fruits (Si 22, 18-20). On the streets, the public squares and the cross roads she proclaims her word and asks that her advice be followed (Pr 1, 18-20). Wisdom is light and life: “Although she is alone, she can do everything; herself unchanging, she renews the world. She is indeed more splendid than the sun, she outshines all the constellations” (Ws 7, 26-29; cfr. I Jn 1, 5). Certainly, the communities of John knew these passages and John inspired himself in them to compose the poem which introduces his Gospel.
The Apocalyptic origin - There is another point of view which influenced the Prologue of the Fourth Gospel. In the Old Testament there was a popular belief, called Apocalyptic, according to which, together with God in heaven there were two personages to help him to govern the world and to guide humanity: an accuser (John 1, 6) and a defender or redeemer (Jn 19, 25). The Accuser kept God informed about our evil deeds. The Defender or Advocate took up our defence before the Judge. The Accuser in Hebrew is Satan. The Defender is Goél. The first Christians said: Jesus is our Defender or Saviour before God (Lk 2, 11). To defend us he descended from Heaven and, being here on earth, he took upon himself our pains, sufferings and came to live as we do and became our servant. He took upon himself the accusations which the Accuser made against us and “destroyed them, by nailing them to the cross” (Col 2, 13-15). Thus, the Accuser (Satan) lost his function and was thrown out of Heaven (Ap 12, 7-9). Jesus comes to free us! Through his death and resurrection, he becomes our Defender (Goél. Risen, he went back to the Father opening the way for all of us. He is the way, the truth and the life which take us to the house of the Father. This is the summary of the Prologue and also the summary of all the Gospel of John.

6. Prayer: Psalm 19 (18)
 
“God’s Word is truth!”
 
The heavens declare the glory of God,
the vault of heaven proclaims his handiwork,
day discourses of it to day,
night to night hands on the knowledge.
No utterance at all, no speech,
not a sound to be heard,
but from the entire earth the design stands out,
this message reaches the whole world.
High above, he pitched a tent for the sun,
who comes forth from his pavilion like a bridegroom,
delights like a champion in the course to be run.
Rising on the one horizon he runs his circuit to the other,
and nothing can escape his heat.
The Law of Yahweh is perfect,
refreshment to the soul;
the decree of Yahweh is trustworthy,
wisdom for the simple.
The precepts of Yahweh are honest,
joy for the heart; the commandment of Yahweh is pure, light for the eyes.
The fear of Yahweh is pure, lasting for ever;
the judgements of Yahweh are true, upright, every one,
more desirable than gold, even than the finest gold;
his words are sweeter than honey, that drips from the comb.
Thus your servant is formed by them;
observing them brings great reward.
But who can detect his own failings?
Wash away my hidden faults.
And from pride preserve your servant,
never let it be my master.
So shall I be above reproach, free from grave sin.
May the words of my mouth always find favour,
and the whispering of my heart, in your presence,
Yahweh, my rock, my redeemer.

7. Final Prayer
 
Lord Jesus, we thank for the word that has enabled us to understand better the will of the Father. May your Spirit enlighten our actions and grant us the strength to practice that which your Word has revealed to us. May we, like Mary, your mother, not only listen to but also practise the Word. You who live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.
Wednesday, 30 December 2009 19:50

Lectio Divina: John 1:19-28

Written by

Christmas Time



1) Opening prayer



All-powerful Father,

You sent Your son Jesus Christ

to bring the new light of salvation to the world.

May He enlighten us with His radiance,

who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen.



2) Gospel Reading - John 1:19-28



This is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, "Who are you?" He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, "I am not the Christ." So they asked him, "What are you then? Are you Elijah?" And he said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" He answered, "No." So they said to him, "Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?" He said: "I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, 'Make straight the way of the Lord,' as Isaiah the prophet said." Some Pharisees were also sent. They asked him, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?" John answered them, "I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie." This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.



3) Reflection



• Today’s Gospel speaks about the witness of John the Baptist. The Jews sent “priests and Levites” to question him. In the same way, some years later, they sent people to control the activity of Jesus (Mk 3:22). There is a resemblance between the response of the people regarding Jesus and the questions which authorities address to John. Jesus asks the disciples: Whom do people say that I am?” They answered: “Elijah, John the Baptist, Jeremiah, one of the Prophets” (cf. Mk 8:27-28). The authorities address the same questions to Jesus: Are You the Messiah, or Elijah, the Prophet?” John responds by quoting the prophet Isaiah: “I am a voice of one who cries in the desert: Prepare a way for the Lord”. The other three Gospels contain the same affirmation concerning John: he is not the Messiah, but he has come to prepare the coming of the Messiah (cf. Mk 1:3; Mt 3:3; Lk 3:4). The four Gospels give great attention to the activity and the witness of John the Baptist. Why do they insist so much in saying that John is not the Messiah?



• John the Baptist was put to death by Herod around the year 30. But up to the end of the first century, the time when the Fourth Gospel was written, John continued to be considered a leader among the Jews. After his death, the memory of John continued to have a strong influence in the living out of the faith of the people. He was considered a prophet (Mk 11:32). He was the first great prophet who appeared after centuries without prophets. Many considered him the Messiah. In the year 50 Paul passed through Ephesus, in Asia Minor, and found a group of people who had been baptized with the baptism of John (cf. Acts 19:1-4). Because of this, it was important to spread the witness of John the Baptist himself, saying that he was not the Messiah, and instead proclaim Jesus as the Messiah. John himself contributed to radiate better the Good News of Jesus.



• “How is it that you baptize if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet? The John's response is another affirmation in which he shows that Jesus is the Messiah: “ I baptize with water, but standing among you, unknown to you, is one who is coming after me; and I am not fit to undo the strap of His sandal”. Further ahead (Jn 1:33) John refers to the prophecies which announced the coming of the Spirit in the Messianic times: “The one on whom you will see the Spirit descend and rest upon Him, is the one who is to baptize with the Holy Spirit” (cf. Is 11:1-9; Ez 36:25-27; Joel 3:1-2).



4) Personal questions



• Have you had someone like John the Baptist who has prepared the way for you to receive Jesus?

• John was humble. He did not try to make himself greater than what he was in announcing Jesus. Have you been that way for someone in your life?



5) Concluding prayer



The whole wide world

has seen the saving power of our God.

Acclaim Yahweh, all the earth,

burst into shouts of joy! (Ps 98:3-4)


Lectio Divina:
2020-01-02
Wednesday, 30 December 2009 19:48

Lectio Divina: Solemnity of the Mother of God

Written by

Visit of the Shepherds to Jesus and His Mother

The marginalized are God’s favorites


Luke 2:16-21



1. Opening prayer



Lord Jesus, send Your Spirit to help us read the Scriptures the same way that You read them to the disciples on the way to Emmaus. In the light of the Word, written in the Bible, You helped them to discover the presence of God in the disturbing events of Your sentence and death. Thus, the cross that seemed to be the end of all hope became for them the source of life and of resurrection.



Create silence in us so that we may listen to Your voice in Creation and in the scriptures, in events and in people, and above all in the poor and suffering. May Your word guide us so that we too, like the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, may experience the force of Your resurrection and witness to others that You are alive in our midst as a source of fraternity, justice and peace. We ask this of You, Jesus, son of Mary, who revealed to us the Father and sent us Your Spirit. Amen.



2. Reading



a) A key to the reading: 









The reason for Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem was the census imposed by Rome’s emperor (Lk 2:1-7). Periodically, the Roman authorities decreed these censuses in the various regions of their immense empire. It was a matter of registering people and knowing how many had to pay taxes. The rich paid taxes on land and goods. The poor paid for the number of children they had.



In Luke’s Gospel we note a significant difference between the birth of Jesus and that of John the Baptist. John is born at home, in his land, in the midst of parents and neighbors and is welcomed by all (Lk 1:57-58). Jesus is born unknown, away from His surroundings of family and neighbors and far from His land. “There was no room in the inn.” He had to be left in a manger (Lk 2:7).



Let us try to put our text (Lk 2:16-21) into the wider context of the visit of the shepherds (Lk 2:8-21). As we read, let us try to pay attention to the surprises we find and the contrasts that appear in this text.



b) A division of the text to help us in our reading: 



Luke 2:8-9: The shepherds in the field, the first persons invited

Luke 2:10-12: The first announcement of the Good News is made to the shepherds

Luke 2:13-14: The praise of the angels

Luke 2:15-18: The shepherds go to Bethlehem and tell of their vision of the angels

Luke 2:19-20: Mary’s attitude and that of the shepherds concerning these events

Luke 2:21: The circumcision of the child Jesus



c) Text:



In the countryside close by there were shepherds out in the fields keeping guard over their sheep during the watches of the night. An angel of the Lord stood over them and the glory of the Lord shone round them. They were terrified, but the angel said, 'Do not be afraid. Look, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. And here is a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.' And all at once with the angel there was a great throng of the hosts of heaven, praising God with the words, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace for those He favors.’ Now it happened that when the angels had gone from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let us go to Bethlehem and see this event which the Lord has made known to us.' So they hurried away and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about Him, and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds said to them. As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as they had been told. When the eighth day came and the child was to be circumcised, they gave Him the name Jesus, the name the angel had given Him before His conception.



3. A moment of prayerful silence 



so that the Word of God may penetrate and enlighten our life.



4. Some questions 



to help us in our personal reflection.



a) What did you like best in this text? Why?

b) What surprises and contrasts do you find in this text?

c) How does the text teach us that the little ones are great in heaven and the poorest on earth?

d) What is Mary’s attitude and that of the shepherds concerning the mystery of God just revealed to them?

e) What is the message Luke wants to communicate to us through these details?



5. For those who wish to go deeper into the theme



a) The context of then and of today: 



The text of the feast of the Mother of God (Lk 2:16-21) is part of the broader description of the birth of Jesus (Lk 2:1-7) and the visit of the shepherds (Lk 2:8-21). The angel had announced the birth of the savior and gave a sign of recognition: “You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger!” They were expecting the savior of a whole people and they were to recognize Him in a newborn child, poor, who lies close to two animals! What a great surprise!



God’s plan is fulfilled in an unexpected way, full of surprise. This happens today too. A poor child is the savior of the people! Can you believe this?



b) A commentary on the text: 



Luke 2:8-9: The first invited people.

The shepherds were marginalized people and not appreciated. They lived together with the animals, separate from the rest of humanity. Because of their constant contact with animals, they were considered impure. No one would have ever invited them to visit a newly born baby. This is why the Angel of the Lord appears to pass on the great news of the birth of Jesus to them. Seeing the vision of the angels, they are full of fear.



Luke 2:10-12: The first announcement of the Good News



Luke 2:13-14: The praise of the angels: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace for those He favors.

A multitude of angels appears descending from heaven. It is heaven that bends itself towards the earth. The parts of this verse summarize God’s plan. The first part tells us what happens in the world up there: Glory to God in the highest heaven. The second part tells us what will happen in the world here below: On earth peace for those He favors! If people could experience what it means to be favored by God, everything would be different and peace would dwell on earth. And this would be to the greater glory of God who dwells in the highest!



Luke 2:15-18: The shepherds go to Bethlehem and tell of their vision of the angels.

The Word of God is no longer a sound produced by the mouth. It is an event! The shepherds literally say, “Let us go to Bethlehem and see this event which the Lord has made known to us”. In Hebrew, the expression DABAR means word or talk. The word of God is a creative force. It fulfills what it says. At creation God said, “Let there be light, and there was light!” (Gen 1:3). The word of the angel to the shepherds is the event of the birth of Jesus.



Luke 2:19-20: Mary’s attitude and that of the shepherds concerning these events

Luke immediately adds that, "Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart". These are two ways of hearing and welcoming the Word of God: (i) The shepherds get up to see the events and verify the sign given by the angel, and then they go back to their flocks glorifying and praising God for all that they had seen and heard; (ii) Mary, on the other hand, carefully keeps all these events in her mind and meditates on them in her heart. To meditate on things in one’s heart means to reflect on them in the light of the Word of God, to understand their full significance.



Luke 2:21: The circumcision and Name of Jesus.

According to the norms of the law, the child Jesus is circumcised on the eighth day after His birth (cf. Gen 17:12). Circumcision was a sign of belonging to the people. It gave the person an identity. On this occasion each child received his name (cf. Lk 1:59-63). He receives the name of Jesus that had been given Him by the angel before His conception. The angel had said to Joseph that the name of the child had to be Jesus, as “He is the one who is to save His people from their sins” (Mt 1:21). The name of Jesus is the transliteration of the name “Yeshua”, or Joshua, and means Yahweh saves. Another name that will gradually be given to Jesus is Christ, which means Anointed or Messiah. Jesus is the awaited Messiah. A third name is that of Emmanuel, which means God with us (Mt 1:23).



c) Further information: 



Mary in Luke’s Gospel



i) The role of the first two chapters of Luke’s Gospel:

These are two rather well known but less understood chapters. Luke writes them in imitation of the Old Testament. It is as though these two chapters were the last of the Old Testament so as to open the door for the coming of the New Testament. In these chapters, Luke creates an atmosphere of softness and praise. From beginning to end the mercy of God is sung: God, who comes to fulfill His promises. Luke shows us how Jesus fulfills the Old Testament and begins the New Testament. And He does so in favor of the poor, the anawim, who knew how to wait for His coming: Elisabeth, Zachary, Mary, Joseph, Simeon, Anna and the shepherds. That is why the first two chapters are history but not in the sense that we give to history today. They were more like a mirror for the Christians converted from paganism. They could discover who Jesus was and how He had come to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament, satisfying the deepest aspirations of the human heart. These chapters were also a mirror of the events that were taking place within the communities in Luke’s time. The communities originating from paganism will be born from the communities of converted Jews. But these were different. The New did not correspond to what the Old Testament imagined and expected. It was "the sign of contradiction" (Lk 2:34), and caused tensions and was the source of much suffering. In Mary’s reaction, Luke presents a model of how the communities could react to and persevere in the New.



ii) A key to the reading:

In these two chapters Luke presents Mary as a model for the life of the community. The key is given to us in the episode where the woman in the crowd praises the mother of Jesus. Jesus modifies the praise and says: “More blessed still are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Lk 11:27-28). Herein lies the greatness of Mary. It is in the world where Mary knows how to relate to the Word of God that the communities contemplate. The better way of relating to the Word of God: welcoming it, incarnating it, living it, deepening it, reflecting on it, giving it birth and making it grow, allowing oneself to be overpowered by it even when one does not understand it or when one suffers because of it. This is the vision underlying the texts of chapters 1 and 2 of Luke’s Gospel, which speak of Mary, the mother of Jesus.



iii) An application of the key to the texts:

1. Luke 1:26-38: The Annunciation: "Let it happen to me as you have said!"

Opening oneself so that the Word of God may be welcomed and incarnated.

2. Luke 1:39-45: The Visitation: "Blessed is she who believed!"

Recognizing the Word of God in the events of life.

3. Luke 1:46-56: The Magnificat: “The Almighty has done great things for me!”

A resistance hymn of hope.

4. Luke 2:1-20: The Birth: "She treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

The marginalized welcome the Word.

5. Luke 2:21-32: The Presentation: "My eyes have seen the salvation!"

God's promise is fulfilled.

6. Luke 2:33-38: Simeon and Anna: "A sword will pierce your soul"

Being a Christian means being a sign of contradiction.

7. Luke 2:39-52: At twelve years: "Did you not know that I must be in My Father's house?"

They did not understand the Word of God addressed to them!



iv) The contrasts that stand out in our text:

1. In the darkness of the night a light shines (2:8-9).

2. The world up there, heaven, seems to embrace our world here below (2:13).

3. The greatness of God manifests itself in the weakness of a child (2:7).

4. The glory of God is made present in a manger, close to animals (2:16).

5. Fear generated by the sudden apparition of an angel is changed into joy (2:9-10).

6. Those completely marginalized are the first to be invited (2:8).

7. The shepherds recognize God present in a child (2:20).



6. Praying with the Psalm 23 (22)



“Yahweh is my shepherd!”

Yahweh is my shepherd,

I lack nothing.

In grassy meadows He lets me lie.

By tranquil streams He leads me

to restore my spirit.

He guides me in paths of saving justice as befits His name.



Even were I to walk in a ravine as dark as death

I should fear no danger,

for You are at my side.

Your staff and Your crook are there to soothe me.



You prepare a table for me under the eyes of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil;

my cup brims over.

Kindness and faithful love pursue me every day of my life.

I make my home in the house of Yahweh for all time to come.



7. Final Prayer



Lord Jesus, we thank for the word that has enabled us to understand better the will of the Father. May Your Spirit enlighten our actions and grant us the strength to practice what Your Word has revealed to us. May we, like Mary, Your mother, not only listen to but also practice the Word, You who live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.



The first thing the angel says is, “Do not be afraid!” The second is Joy to be shared by the whole people! The third is Today! Then the angel gives three names to indicate who Jesus is: savior, Christ and Lord! Savior is the one who frees all people from all ties! The authorities in those days liked to use the title savior. They attributed the title of Soter (Greek) to themselves. Christ means anointed or messiah. In the Old Testament this was the title given to kings and prophets. It was also the title of the future messiah who would fulfill the promises made by God to His people. This means that the newly born child, who lies in a manger, has come to fulfill the hopes of the people. Lord was the name given to God Himself! Here we have the three greatest titles imaginable. From this announcement of the birth of Jesus as savior, Christ and Lord, can you imagine anyone with a higher standing? If an angel says to you, “Be careful! I give you this sign of recognition: you will meet a child in a manger, in the midst of poor people!” Would you believe him? God’s ways are not our ways! 






Lectio Divina:
2020-01-01
Page 34 of 34

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