Lectio Lent 2013 - Diocese of Broken Bay

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Lectio Lent 2013 - Diocese of Broken Bay

lEcTIO dIvINaPRAYING THE SCRIPTURES IN LENT Year C, 2013


Lectio divinaLectio divina is the meditative reading of a text of God’s Word, the Scriptures,alone or with others, which leads to prayer, transformation of life, and,through that transformed life, the sharing with others of the mystery of Godentrusted to us. This practice of prayer involves the whole person. Throughour senses we read, we meditate using our reason and imagination, and wepray and transform our life with our will. It is not just an interior practicebut one that engages with the issues of our Christian life and prompts us towork with them. At different times, the emphasis may be on different aspectsof the prayer. But it would be unwise to omit any of them altogether.In the light of what has been said, we can look at the presuppositionsthat underpin this form of Scriptural prayer. Firstly, it embraces theScriptures as God’s Word speaking to us. It emphasises that this practiceis a personal encounter with the eternal Word, who is Jesus. It sees, asthe source and goal of this prayer, the life of Christian discipleship.The image of the arch is sometimes used to speak of prayer. Prayer is designatedas the keystone of the arch, the stone at the top which takes the strain, and stopsthe sides of the arch from falling in. However, the keystone will not stay up thereby itself: it needs the sides of the arch. The sides of the arch are working with ourlife; to root out the vices and to practice the virtues. The practice of lectio is nota discrete or isolated event, totally suffi cient in itself: it takes place within theliving of Christian discipleship. It arises out of the conscious determined effort tolive as disciples of Jesus and has as its goal to strengthen that determination andeffort. Transformation of life is an essential element of praying the Scriptures.Lectio divina arises out of a faith relationship with Jesus and reaches its fulfi lmentin the transformation of that faith relationship. The Scriptures are more open tothose active disciples who love God and who are endeavouring to transform theirlife in conformity with their faith. It is the heart fi lled with this loving faith thatwill be most open to the spiritual message of the Scriptures. Active effort to livea life of Christian virtue is an important preparation for reading the Scriptures.


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013ContentsBishop David’s Introduction .................................................................................... 2How to use this booklet ........................................................................................... 3Lent: Opening the Gifts of the Holy Spirit ................................................................. 4Lent: Year C .......................................................................................................... 111 st Sunday of Lent ................................................................................................. 152 nd Sunday of Lent ................................................................................................ 183 rd Sunday of Lent ................................................................................................. 214 th Sunday of Lent ................................................................................................. 255 th Sunday of Lent ................................................................................................. 29Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord ................................................................. 32Holy Week ............................................................................................................ 39Thursday of The Lord’s Supper .............................................................................. 42Friday of the Passion of the Lord ........................................................................... 45Holy Saturday ....................................................................................................... 51Sunday of the Resurrection ................................................................................... 531


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013Bishop David’s IntroductionLent this year occurs within the framework of the Year of Grace initiatedby the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, and the Year of Faithinitiated by the Holy Father, Benedict XVI. The universal and thelocal Church are focusing on “grace” and “faith”, and our prayerfulrefl ection during Lent should be informed by these two celebrations.The subtitle for the Year of Grace is “starting afresh from Christ.”It is meant to focus on Jesus and what the mystery of Jesus meansto us all. Grace is basically what God has done for us in Jesus. TheTrinity takes on a human face in Jesus, and invites us to share in its life, both inthe present and for all eternity. Grace is about God’s love for us: a love that tookthe initiative and reached out to us to offer us a share in the love of the Trinity.“As the Father has loved me, I have loved you. Love one another as I have lovedyou.” The Year of Grace calls us to bask in the divine love, to become more awareof what God has done for us in Jesus, and to respond in an appropriate way.The response to God is what is captured in the Year of Faith. Again it focuses onJesus, who provides us with the model of how to respond to the divine approach. Jesusis the sacrament of encounter with God: the visibility, availability and tangibilityof God’s approach to us, and our response to that approach. In him the whole ofthe mystery is present to us. The teaching of Jesus provides us with how to live as achild of God; how to embody the divine love in our life and share it with others.It is in the Scriptures that this mystery of salvation is proclaimed. “Ignorance ofthe Scriptures is ignorance of Christ,” said St Jerome. As we prayerfully refl ect onthe Scriptures in Lent, we are being involved in this mystery of grace and faith.The proposed model of lectio divina causes us to become more aware of the Godwho has come to us in Jesus, and to make our own the love of that God. It alsofocuses on our own personal response and encourages us to work with it to makeit an appropriate response to the divine love. It is a model of lectio divina thatcaptures perfectly the essence of both the Year of Grace and the Year of Faith.David L. WalkerBishop of Broken Bay2


How to use this bookletLectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013This booklet invites you to prayerfully and meditatively refl ect on theSunday readings during Lent and select readings from Holy Week.An outline of a meditative and prayerful refl ection is offeredon the inside covers of both the front and back pages of this booklet,which can be used as a bookmark throughout the period.To fi nd out more about lectio divina please visit www.dbb.org.auThis booklet is an instrument that can be used in a variety ofways. Please use it in whatever way suits you best.3


LENT:4Opening the Gifts of the Holy Spirit 1


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013We use the word ‘spirit’ in many settings – team spirit, school spirit.Often we are encouraged to “get into the spirit” of things. But “gettinginto the spirit of Lent”, well, that’s another matter. The spirit of Lentis the Holy Spirit. What’s at stake here is not so much how to get into the spirit ofLent, rather how can we allow the spirit of Lent – the Holy Spirit – to get into us?Why is the spirit of Lent the Holy Spirit? Because of the relationship between Lent andthe Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confi rmation and Eucharist – which conferthe Holy Spirit. Historically and liturgically, Lent and Christian initiation are closelyassociated. We cannot understand Lent without reference to the Sacraments of Initiation.During Lent, the elect – those catechumens who will be initiated into the Churchat the Easter Vigil – prepare to celebrate the sacraments of Baptism, Confi rmationand Eucharist for the fi rst time. Lent is their “40-day retreat” before Baptism.For those of us who have already been initiated into the Church by the sacramentsof Baptism, Confi rmation and Eucharist, Lent is a time to renew the grace– the Spirit – of these sacraments within us. We promise once again to die toselfi shness and sin, through our Lenten prayer, fasting and almsgiving, so thatthis year at Easter we may more completely rise to new life with Christ.Initiation and the Holy SpiritIt is our custom to think of Confi rmation as the sacrament which gives us the HolySpirit. But Confi rmation is best understood in its relation to Baptism and Eucharist.An analogy can illustrate the relationship among the three Sacraments of Initiation.What do you do when you are invited to a special meal? When the time comes, you fi rsttake off your old clothes and shower; then you dry off and put on your good clothes; thenyou go to the meal. Baptism, Confi rmation and Eucharist exist in a similar relationship.In Baptism we take off the old, sinful person and wash away original sin, thus receivingnew life; at Confi rmation we put on the new person and are anointed with the oil ofthe Holy Spirit; and, fi nally, we are led to the Eucharistic Banquet. The offi cial prayersof these sacraments indicate how the Holy Spirit operates in each of these actions.Baptism and the Holy SpiritWhen the elect come to the place for Baptism at the Easter Vigil, we learn of the role ofthe Holy Spirit in the prayer over the baptismal water: “…look now, we pray, upon theface of your Church and graciously unseal for her the fountain of Baptism. May this waterreceive by the Holy Spirit the grace of your Only Begotten Son, so that human nature,created in your image, and washed clean through the Sacrament of Baptism from all squalorof the life of old, may be found worthy to rise to the life of newborn children through waterand the Holy Spirit”. Then the minister lowers the Easter candle into the water – thesymbol of Christ impregnating and making fruitful the womb of the Church – and prays:5


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013“May the power of the Holy Spirit, O Lord, we pray, come down throughyour Son into the fullness of this font, so that all who have been buried withChrist by Baptism into death may rise again t life with him…”Confi rmation and the Holy SpiritThe prayers of Confi rmation tell us how the Holy Spirit, received atour Baptism, is to function in our lives. The presider holds his handsoutstretched over the entire group of those to be confi rmed and prays:“All powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by water and the Holy Spirityou freed your sons and daughters from sin and gave them new life. Send your HolySpirit upon them to be their helper and guide. Give them the spirit of wisdom andunderstanding, the spirit of right judgement and courage, the spirit of knowledgeand reverence. Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence.”This prayer names the traditional “seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.” The biblical origin ofthese seven gifts (seven is the biblical number meaning “completion, totality, all-that-weneed”)is foretelling the qualities of the Messiah. The word Messiah – Christos in Greek– means “anointed.” When we are anointed in the Sacraments of Initiation, we “puton Christ” and the qualities of the Messiah take root in us and become our qualities.The Isaiah passage is well known: “But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, andfrom his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spiritof wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledgeand of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:1-3).(The ancient Greek and Latin translations of this passage read “piety”for “fear of the Lord”; this gives us our traditional seven gifts.)Following this prayer for the sevenfold gift of the Spirit, each candidate goes to theminister of the sacrament. He dips his right thumb in the holy oil (chrism) andmakes the sign of the cross on the forehead of the one to be confi rmed and prays:“[Name], be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Here the “gift/fruit” referred tois the Holy Spirit himself. We are sealed with the gift “of” (= “the gift which is”)the Holy Spirit, God’s “fi rst fruits for those who believe” (Eucharistic Prayer IV).Eucharist and the Holy SpiritClothed in the sevenfold Spirit, with our sins wiped away, wenow come to the banquet table of the Eucharist.The eucharistic prayers which have been given to us following the SecondVatican Council express the role of the Holy Spirit even more clearly than the6


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013traditional Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer II). Although the words varyaccording to the prayer, at each Eucharist we ask God: “Make holy…these gifts, wepray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall, so that they may becomefor us the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eucharistic Prayer II).This asking God to send the Holy Spirit is called the epiclesis (invocation orpetition) prayer. In the prayers of many Eastern-rite Churches the prayer comesafter the narrative of Institution of the Eucharist. In the Eucharistic prayers of theRoman rite, the epiclesis is split. The fi rst part of the prayer (in which we ask theSpirit to change the bread and wine) is prayed before the institution narrative. Thesecond part of the prayer (in which we ask the Holy Spirit to change those whoeat and drink the bread and wine) is prayed after the narrative of the institution.But whether the two parts of the prayer occur together as in many of the Easternrites or whether they are split as in the Roman rite, the two parts of the prayer gotogether: We ask God to send the Holy Spirit to transform our food and drink so thatwe who eat and drink might be transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ.This unity in Christ is the culminating work of the Holy Spirit – the Spirit given atBaptism and Confi rmation. The Holy Spirit is the divine spirit of unity and communion.It is the work of the Holy Spirit ultimately to consummate the high priestly prayerof Jesus: “I pray…that all may be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, so thatthey may also be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I havegiven them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in themand you in me that they may be brought to perfection as one.” (John 17:20-23)The purpose of Lent and the role of the Holy Spirit are one and the same: that we all beone in Christ. By the Spirit we know that we are sisters and brothers. By the Spirit we seeall of humanity to be members of one Body. By the Spirit we experience the harmony ofthe earth and all creation. The Holy Spirit brings about the ultimate design for creation:that we become one in Christ. As St Paul tells us, this is God’s “plan for the fullnessof times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth” (Ephesians 1:10).As a practical exercise try to use one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spiritduring each of the seven periods of Lent, the fi rst being Ash Wednesdayand the following three days, then each of the six following weeks.Each of the Spirit’s gifts is personal and often shaped by the individualperson. Mindful of that, the following exercises might offer ideas,refl ections and prayers to assist your own thinking and creativity.If you practise this exercise during the weeks of Lent then by Easter you will have gaineda real facility for using the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. The exercise might wellserve to prepare for the opening of God’s fi nal gift – everlasting life in the risen Lord.7


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013Ash Wednesday – WisdomAs we begin the season of Lent, open – and use – the gift of Wisdom. Whatdoes it mean to be wise? Being wise is different from just being smart. Wisdommoves our vision far out into the future; it gives us perspective. God’s gift ofWisdom – the Holy Spirit – enables us to see things with God’s eyes.Wisdom enables us to see this world through the lens of Christ’s Eastervictory. The wise person knows that Good Friday will be followed byEaster Sunday. God’s gift of Wisdom enables us to see our own sufferingsand “Good Fridays” in the light of God’s loving plan for us.Idea: Today I will consider my own life’s troubles and look for God’s hand in them.Prayer: God of Wisdom, you created us in wonder and sustain us in your embracinglove. May your Holy Spirit of Wisdom enable us to see even as you see.First Week – UnderstandingDuring this week open the gift of understanding. Understanding is to “standunder,” to “get to the bottom of things.” Sometimes in order to understand howto use a gift – a new DVD player, for example – we have to read the directions.God’s gift of Easter life comes with directions also – the sacred scriptures.Prayerful reading of the Bible enables us to understand God’s plan and toget to the bottom of things. The psalmist prays: “I have more understandingthan all my teachers, because I ponder your decrees…The revelation of yourwords sheds light, gives understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:99, 130). StFrancis of Assisi was a simple man who enjoyed the Gift of Understanding.Pray with him, in the Peace Prayer: “Lord, make me an instrument of yourpeace…Grant that I may not so much seek to be understood, as to understand.”Idea: This week I will read more carefully and listen more attentively to theBible passages from Sunday’s liturgy as I do my lectio refl ection.Prayer: God of Understanding, your inspired word reveals yourmysterious plan for the world. May your Holy Spirit of Understandinghelp us to interpret your will in the daily events of our lives.Second Week – Right Judgement (Counsel)Decisions! From the time we decide to get up in the morning, we make choices. Moderntechnology facilitates quick decisions. A computer can process thousands of bits ofinformation in a second. God doesn’t always act so quickly. God worked on the GrandCanyon for years and years. God waited countless generations before sending Jesus.And one thing God is really slow at is anger! Time after time the Bible describes ourGod as a God who is slow to anger. Right Judgement helps us avoid rash judgements.8


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013The Spirit of Right Judgement is the gift to make good choices – to make God’schoices. Many times our decisions seem to be based on merely one thing: money. Wechoose the career where we will make the most money. We buy the bottle of milk thatwill save us the most money. Money seems to determine how much time we spendwith our families. The Gift of Right Judgement helps us seek God’s counsel, God’sadvice. Right judgements are made in the light of God’s great Final Judgement.Idea: This week I will pray about my biggest life decisions: family, vocation, and career.Prayer: God of Right Judgement, you are slow to anger and quick to forgive. Mayyour Holy Spirit of Right Judgement free us from all resentment and prejudice.Third Week – Courage (Fortitude)We come to the heart of Lent. The word courage is derived from the Latinword cor, “heart.” Courage is the gift that enables us to face danger andovercome fear with confi dence. In the Gospels, before performing a cureJesus often says, “Take courage…Take heart…Be confi dent….”Sometimes we are afraid in the face of danger or illness because we are dependingon our own resources, our own strength. The Gift of Courage enables us to seewhere our real strength lies: God is our strength. “God indeed is my saviour; I amconfi dent and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the Lord” (Isaiah 12:2).How much of our planning is based on our own strength and resources?Idea: This week I will bring my diffi culties before God in prayer.Prayer: God of Courage, your strength enables us to overcome any diffi culty. Mayyour Holy Spirit of Courage give us bold hearts to proclaim your love always.Fourth Week – KnowledgeIt’s important to know things. We know how to make a living, how to raise afamily, how to use a computer, how to make vegetable soup. But neither the joysof heaven nor a life here on earth really worth living are achieved simply byknowing lots of things. The Gift of Knowledge helps us know the right things.Knowledge helps us know which things are important and which are not.As Christians, it is important to know Jesus. Even non-Christians can knowa lot about Jesus. The Gift of Knowledge helps us to know Jesus. “… [No] onecan say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3).A good way to tell if we are really using the Gift of Knowledge is to examine whetheror not the things we know lead us to charity in our actions. The Spirit does notreveal things merely to satisfy our idle curiosity. “The whole concern of doctrineand its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends” (Catechism, #25).Idea: This week I will make a concrete act of charity each day,and pray about the most important things in my life.9


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013Prayer: God of Knowledge, you know when we sit and when we stand;you know the hidden secrets of the universe. May your Holy Spirit ofKnowledge enlighten us to know how we are to love all you have made.Fifth Week – Reverence (Piety)Reverence is a versatile gift; it serves many different functions. For example, weexpect children to revere and respect their parents. Reverence does not meanthat the child must always be solemn and silent; there are times for children tolaugh and shout. But reverence demands that the child remembers who is who– who is the child and who is the parent. When this perspective is forgotten andthe child becomes demanding, insisting on its own way, reverence is lost.As Lent comes to a close, our journey through this holy season brings us toJesus’ death on the cross. Reverence places us at the foot of that cross, lookingup to the face of Jesus. This perspective lets us see our relationship to God: thesaved and the Saviour. The Gift of Reverence enables us to act in the light ofthis reality and to show our gratitude by our piety and devotion. It is the HolySpirit who enables us to pray, “Our Father…” We are God’s children.Idea: This week I will be aware of the crucifi x at Mass and pray before a crucifi x in private.Prayer: God of Reverence, you are always in loving relationship with your creation.May your Holy Spirit of Reverence place us confi dently in your loving embrace.Holy Week – Wonder and Awe in God’s Presence(Fear of the Lord)During these fi nal days of Lent before the Easter Triduum of the passion andresurrection of Christ, we open the seventh gift: Wonder and Awe. It takes timeand leisure to wonder and be amazed. To take time to see God’s beauty in a bladeof grass, a baby’s hand, a loved one’s face. When was the last time you simplystood back in awe of something beautiful and said, “Wow!” Christians havetraditionally taken time for a spiritual retreat – a time to step back from our dailyroutine and to take stock of our lives. Lent is our 40-day retreat before Easter.Idea: This week I will take notice of something of beauty in my life – aplace, a person, a work of art – and look for the hand of God.Prayer: God of Wonder and Awe, how wonderful the work of yourhands, how awesome your ways. May your Holy Spirit of Wonder andAwe enable us to see your beauty in each person we meet.1Adapted and updated from article Thomas Richstatter OFM,published by St Anthony Press (CO298) – with thanks10


LENT: ÁEaR CMay you live these Lenten daysnot in purple penitential denialbut in the joyfulness of the intimate embraceof your Blessed God.May you hear on the Lenten windsyour Beloved calling you dailyto go apart from your routine timeto spend desert time with your God.Then your heart can be freshly aflamewith a lover’s delight in your God.May you have a blessed and grace-filledLenten season so as to be a new personin Christ in alleluia joy on Holy Easter.11


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013Ash WednesdaySome of the most fertile and rich soil comes from ashes. Out of theseashes, signs of our mortal nature, comes something else. Once we recogniseour own responsibility for wrongdoing, once we acknowledge our mortaland dusty nature, the ashes also become a sign of fertility.If we are truly repentant, and truly cleansed, and open to the reality of Godaround us, then we are also fertile, ready to give growth to greatness.Out of seven years’ worth of ashes on the island of Madeira came one of the fi nest winesof the time. There is no way the wine could have been produced without the burning,without the ashes. In fact, it was the burning that cleared the ground in the fi rst place.Ash Wednesday and Lent are, likewise, the burning and cleaning of ourChristian lives. We enter a time for confession, for penitence, for realisationof our earthly nature. But this is also a fertile day, a time for self-examinationand self-preparation. Today is getting us ready for something.In The Artful Ashes, Jan Richardson shared what she discovered whenshe undertook a project where she learned to draw in charcoal:Taking up a new medium, entering a different way of working, diving or tiptoeinginto a new approach: all of this can be complex, unsettling, disorienting. Launchinginto the unknown and untried confronts us with what is undeveloped within us. Itcompels us to see where we are not adept, where we lack skill, where we possess littlegracefulness. Yet what may seem like inadequacy – as I felt in my early attempts withcharcoal – becomes fantastic fodder for the creative process, and for life. Allowingourselves to be present to the messiness provides an amazing way to sort throughwhat is essential and to clear a path through the chaos. To borrow the words of thewriter of Psalm 51, the psalm for Ash Wednesday, it creates a clean heart within us.Ash Wednesday beckons us to cross over the threshold into a season that’s all aboutworking through the chaos to discover what is essential. The ashes that lead us into thisseason remind us where we have come from. They beckon us to consider what is mostbasic to us, what is elemental, what survives after all that is extraneous is burned away.With its images of ashes and wilderness, Lent challenges us to refl ect on what we havefi lled our lives with, and to see if there are habits, practices, possessions, and ways ofbeing that have accumulated, encroached, invaded, accreted, layer upon layer, becominga pattern of chaos that threatens to insulate us and dull us to the presence of God.Have you settled on a Lenten disciple, are you thinking of making roomfor silence in your life? What are you thinking about for this Lent? Whatneeds to be added to your life? What could you do without?12


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013Joel 2:12 - 1812Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, withweeping, and with mourning; 13 rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to theLord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfastlove, and relents from punishing. 14 Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord, yourGod? 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; 16 gather thepeople. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children, even infantsat the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her canopy. 17 Betweenthe vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep. Let themsay, “Spare your people, O Lord, and do not make your heritage a mockery, a bywordamong the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”18Then the Lord became jealous for his land, and had pity on his people.2 Corinthians 5:20 - 6:220So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; weentreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him tobe sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.6As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God invain. 2 For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvationI have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!Matthew 6:1-6, 16-186“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for thenyou have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “So whenever you give alms, do notsound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, sothat they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3 Butwhen you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 sothat your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.5“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love tostand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they maybe seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6 Butwhenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to yourFather who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you13


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 201316“And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for theydisfi gure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you,they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head andwash your face, 18 so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by yourFather who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.14


1 st SuNdaYof LENT15


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013As we have heard many times the Season of Lent is a time of preparation. Weprepare by prayer, good works and fasting. What are we preparing for? Only thecelebration of the second greatest miracle that you and I will ever encounter,the resurrection of Jesus. The fi rst greatest miracle was God taking on our humanity sowe may call God, Abba, Father. As people of faith through the grace of God we celebratewhat we profess. We profess that Jesus the living Word died, was buried, went into ourgraves took us by the hand and led us to eternal life. Now that is something to celebrate.In the fi rst reading from the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses is making hisfarewell speech to his people in which he tells them to offer the fi rst fruitsof the harvest to Lord our God and then to celebrate. Jesus is the fi rst fruitof the harvest of the Lord. Through the Paschal Mystery we witness theoffering of those fi rst fruits to the Father and then we celebrate.Any good celebration takes time and hard work to prepare. To properly celebrate theResurrection of our Lord we must prepare. How? By prayer, by fasting and by good works,that is how. In our Gospel we are reminded that Jesus prepared for his ministry by fastingin the desert. While he was in the desert when he was “famished” Jesus was tempted bythe devil. When he was at his lowest, Jesus was tempted with power over nature, “turnthese stones into bread”, over people, “worship me and I will give you dominion over allnations” and over God, “jump and God will send angels to protect you.” How did Jesusmeet these temptations? He prayed, “One does not live on bread alone”, “Worship theLord your God and serve only God” and “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”Life can be a struggle. When we are “famished” we are tempted. We are tempted bypower over nature. Do we use more than we need? We are tempted by power overpeople. Do we impose our will on others? We are tempted by power over God. Do wetell God what we expect out of life, what God can do, indeed must do, for us? Howdo we meet those temptations? In the extract taken from Paul’s Letter to the Romans,we “confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord and believe” and God will save us.As we prepare for the miracle that is Easter may we place ourselves, ourlives, our successes, our failures before the Lord our God. We are the fi rstfruits of the harvest of the Word who is on our lips and in our hearts. Letus place those fi rst fruits before the Lord our God and let’s celebrate.Deuteronomy 26:4 - 104When the priest takes the basket from your hand and sets it down before the altar of theLord your God, 5 you shall make this response before the Lord your God: “A wanderingAramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few innumber, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous. 6 When the Egyptianstreated us harshly and affl icted us, by imposing hard labour on us, 7 we cried to theLord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affl iction, our16


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013toil, and our oppression. 8 The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and anoutstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; 9 and hebrought us into this place and gave us this land, a land fl owing with milk and honey. 10 Sonow I bring the fi rst of the fruit of the ground that you, O Lord, have given me.” Youshall set it down before the Lord your God and bow down before the Lord your God.Romans 10:8 - 138But what does it say? “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart” (that is, theword of faith that we proclaim); 9 because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lordand believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 Forone believes with the heart and so is justifi ed, and one confesses with the mouth andso is saved. 11 The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.”12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lordis Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. 13 For, “Everyonewho calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”Luke 4:1-134Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit inthe wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing atall during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. 3 The devil said tohim, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” 4 Jesusanswered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’” 5 Then the devil ledhim up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And the devilsaid to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been givenover to me, and I give it to anyone I please. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all beyours.” 8 Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve onlyhim.’” 9 Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of thetemple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for itis written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ 11 and ‘On theirhands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” 12 Jesusanswered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 When thedevil had fi nished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.17


2 nd SuNdaYof LENT18


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013We are on a journey, a journey from the womb to the tomb and beyond.As Paul reminds us in our second reading we are citizens of heavenput on this planet for a short while that we may come to know God,to believe that God is the one true God and to worship God and no other.In the reading from the Book of Genesis we note that over 4000 years agoAbraham, then known as Abram, for himself and for you and me, entered intoa covenantal relationship with God. Abraham promised that God would be hisonly God and that he and his descendants would only worship God and no other.God promised Abraham that his descendants would be as many as the stars inheaven. True to God’s promise you and I are part of the countless descendants ofAbraham, our father in faith. Have we, the descendants of Abraham, been trueto our promise? Do we worship only God or do other lesser gods such as money,fame, power, body image, popularity, distract us from our part of the bargain.Our Gospel reminds us that on their journey to Jerusalem and the Cross, the disciplesneeded to be reminded of the majesty of God. Jesus was transfi gured before Peter, Jamesand John so that they may see (that is, to know in their hearts and their souls) that Jesusis the Son of God and that they may listen (hear with the ears of the hearts and souls)to Jesus. Jesus can transfi gure us if we only have the eyes to see and the ears to listen.On our journey through life do we need to be reminded that Jesus is our Lordand God? Do we need to see with the eyes of our soul, to listen with the earsof our souls and to believe? Do we need to take time during this Lenten periodto put the busy-ness of our lives to one side, to quieten the noise in whichwe live and to listen for the words of Jesus as our Father commands us?Abraham listened to God with the ears of his soul and saw God with the eyesof his soul and believed. We, and the billions of citizens of heaven who cometo know and believe in God, Father, Son and Spirit, are the fruits of that belief.Like Abraham, our father in faith, like Peter, James and John and like the billionsof fellow citizens of heaven may we stand humbly before our God see, listenand worship God with all our hearts and all our souls and all our might.Genesis 15:1-12, 17-1815After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Donot be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”2But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, andthe heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me nooffspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” 4 But the word of the Lordcame to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shallbe your heir.” 5 He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the19


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendantsbe.” 6 And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.7Then he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, togive you this land to possess.” 8 But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shallpossess it?” 9 He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three yearsold, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 He brought him all theseand cut them in two, laying each half over against the other; but he did not cut the birdsin two. 11 And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.12As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a deep andterrifying darkness descended upon him. 17 When the sun had gone down and itwas dark, a smoking fi re pot and a fl aming torch passed between these pieces. 18 Onthat day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants Igive this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,Philippians 3:17 - 4:117Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to theexample you have in us. 18 For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often toldyou of them, and now I tell you even with tears. 19 Their end is destruction; their god isthe belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. 20 But ourcitizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord JesusChrist. 21 He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to thebody of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself.4Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joyand crown, stand fi rm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.Luke 9:28-3628Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John andJames, and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And while he was praying, the appearanceof his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. 30 Suddenly they saw twomen, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. 31 They appeared in glory and were speakingof his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and hiscompanions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, theysaw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33 Just as they were leaving him,Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings,one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” —not knowing what he said. 34 Whilehe was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrifi ed asthey entered the cloud. 35 Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is mySon, my Chosen; listen to him!” 36 When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.20


3 rd SuNdaYof LENT21


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013The third Sunday of Lent lays heavy emphasis on suffering, the destructiveforce of sin, and the unexpected healing presence of God. It is a timelytheme for Lent, when we are called to repent. The time of Lent, also atime of fasting and penance, invites us to re-examine our lives and in particular,where we have strayed into ways of misery and failure, which is the focus ofthe Readings today. Lent is our time to stop and consider conversion, whichis only possible through our recognition and acceptance of God’s grace.In Exodus 3 we encounter the well-known story of Moses and the burning bush. Ifwe delve further we come to the awareness that it is the story of present sufferingand the hope of salvation, which is very much similar to our Lent and Easter times ofrepentance and new life. Moses himself is a man of sorrow but at the burning bush hecomes to an awareness that all the Hebrew people are suffering too. As God declares,‘I have observed the misery of my people in Egypt’. There is suffering all around us,wherever one may be and whoever they are. It is unfortunately a universal phenomenonthat drags people down. However, today’s reading offers the hope of a new life, wherepeople can overcome their injustices and live in freedom. God promises to Moses,‘Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them.’ What wehave here is a God moved with compassion, a God who seeks human joy and desiresto save us. It is the one and same God who will be with us in his Son Jesus, the sameGod who loved us into being and who chose to experience human suffering anddeath. God takes the initiative always to draw closer to us. The question is, will weaccept the promise and hope God extends to us, when we are suffering in our sin?The following two Readings from 1 Cor 10 and Luke 13 are fi rm in their messageand raise the question, will we continue to wallow in sin and misery when Godis among us? Yes God extends compassion and money. God takes the initiativebut do we respond? Can we, during this Lenten Season, recognise and appreciatethe blessings of life and commit to living under God’s grace and will, or will weremain the barren fi g tree. The fi g tree gave no fruit, yet Jesus was willing to giveit another go. God is always waiting patiently to give us another chance.God was with the people in Egypt when they were enslaved, God was in thedesert with the people despite the rebellion, God took them to the PromisedLand leading them to the waters of life, and God is with us today in givinghope in our struggles. In this Lenten week, we are reminded that God hearsour cries and knows our suffering. Now it is up to us to come forward asMoses did, to listen to God and be transformed in the hope of new life.Exodus 3:1- 8, 13-153Moses was keeping the fl ock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he ledhis fl ock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There22


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a fl ame of fi re out of a bush; he looked,and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, “I must turnaside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” 4 When theLord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses,Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove thesandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Hesaid further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac,and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.7Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I haveheard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, 8 and Ihave come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of thatland to a good and broad land, a land fl owing with milk and honey, to the country of theCanaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.13But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The Godof your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ whatshall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He said further,“Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’“ 15 God alsosaid to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of yourancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sentme to you’: This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations.1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-1210 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestorswere all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptizedinto Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 andall drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock thatfollowed them, and the rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleasedwith most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness.6Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evilas they did. 10 And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyedby the destroyer. 11 These things happened to them to serve as an example, andthey were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages havecome. 12 So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall.Luke 13:1-913At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileanswhose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifi ces. 2 He asked them, “Do youthink that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinnersthan all other Galileans? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish23


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013as they did. 4 Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell onthem—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living inJerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”6Then he told this parable: “A man had a fi g tree planted in his vineyard; andhe came looking for fruit on it and found none. 7 So he said to the gardener, ‘Seehere! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fi g tree, and still Ifi nd none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ 8 He replied, ‘Sir,let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. 9 Ifit bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”24


4 th SuNdaYof LENT25


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013Last week’s Sunday Readings focused on God’s outstretched hand of mercyand our invitation to overcome our sin and suffering to accept God’sgrace. This fourth week’s Sunday Readings, further that promise. TheLenten Season lends itself to experiencing God’s tender mercy, in order that ourlives may be transformed. The more we enter into the Season of Lent, the morewe will come to the awareness that God can only be a God of new life for us.Despite the impossibilities of our situations, there is always faith in God that willsee us through. In the fi rst Reading from Joshua we read of the transitioning ofthe life of the Hebrews who once were in slavery in Egypt and now experiencetheir freedom and satisfaction in the Promised Land. For God provides anddoes so abundantly, when we are willing to partake in the Promise to be allGod calls us to be. Our Lenten journey is towards the goal of self-fulfi lment inGod, just as Jesus walked the path of suffering and death, to fullness of life.Our second Reading from the Letter to the Corinthians speaks of life becoming a newcreation in Christ. Last Sunday we focused on the invitation to get up out of our miseryand grasp the open hand of God. This week, as our Reading declares, we will fi nd new lifein our Lenten journey, when we can live our lives once again in accordance to God’s will.Our Gospel Reading this Sunday is that of the parable of the loving father andhis two sons, and is one of the most enduring passages, for very good reasons.It encapsulates all we have been focusing on throughout Lent, the ongoinginvitation to turn away from our wasted living and run into the open arms ofour God who is love. The hope and promise, the transformation and salvation,the joy and love of our lives, is God’s agenda and our fulfi lment. God has waitedbehind the scenes forever, waiting for us to turn around and come home.This Season of Lent is a journey from sin and despair, from careless living andguilt, into the dawn of a new life, graced with hope and joy, peace and love.Joshua 5:9-129The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away from you thedisgrace of Egypt.” And so that place is called Gilgal to this day.10While the Israelites were camped in Gilgal they kept the passover in the eveningon the fourteenth day of the month in the plains of Jericho. 11 On the day after thepassover, on that very day, they ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes andparched grain. 12 The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land, and theIsraelites no longer had manna; they ate the crops of the land of Canaan that year.26


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 20132 Corinthians 5:17-2117So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passedaway; see, everything has become new! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled usto himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is,in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespassesagainst them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20 So we areambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat youon behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sinwho knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.Luke 15:1-3, 11-3215Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2 And thePharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinnersand eats with them.” 3 So he told them this parable. 11 Jesus said, “There was a man whohad two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share ofthe property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 A fewdays later the younger son gathered all he had and travelled to a distant country, andthere he squandered his property in dissolute living. 14 When he had spent everything,a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. 15 Sohe went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him tohis fi elds to feed the pigs. 16 He would gladly have fi lled himself with the pods that thepigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to himself hesaid, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but hereI am dying of hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father,I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called yourson; treat me like one of your hired hands.”’ 20 So he set off and went to his father. Butwhile he was still far off, his father saw him and was fi lled with compassion; he ranand put his arms around him and kissed him. 21 Then the son said to him, ‘Father, Ihave sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called yourson.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—andput it on him; put a ring on his fi nger and sandals on his feet. 23 And get the fatted calfand kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and is alive again;he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate. 25 “Now his elder son was in thefi eld; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 Hecalled one of the slaves and asked what was going on. 27 He replied, ‘Your brother hascome, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe andsound.’ 28 Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and beganto plead with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Listen! For all these years I have beenworking like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you havenever given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But27


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes,you killed the fatted calf for him!’ 31 Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are alwayswith me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, becausethis brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’”28


5 th SuNdaYof LENT29


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013We arrive at the fi fth Sunday of Lent. The shops have been full of eggsand hot cross buns for weeks now. Amongst all the busyness of preparingfor your Easter break and catching up with family and friends, hasthis Lent been a time of preparation of a different kind for you? What have you beenpreparing for? As you have read the Lenten readings for the four previous Sundays,have there been any challenges? If not, the reading from John this week challenges us.It comes from the beginning of Chapter 8 in John’s gospel. Jesus was a teacher andhad been teaching in the temple when a woman caught in adultery was brought tohim. The people who brought the woman knew the laws, and knew that the lawstated that the woman should be stoned to death. They ask Jesus ‘What do you say?’This is where the story gets interesting. What could Jesus do? He could abide by thelaw and see the woman stoned, which would be against all that he had been teaching,or he could tell the crowd that she should be forgiven and not receive a punishment,thus condemning himself. The woman was used as a ploy as they wanted to trapJesus – it seemed that he was in a no-win situation. He needs to come up with asolution where the law is kept intact – he doesn’t want to reject it, or change it.He bends down and writes in the sand – we don’t know what he wrote.Maybe he was listing in the sand all the sins of those who were condemningthe woman; others think he was buying time as he didn’t want to be rushedas he thought out a solution. We know that he provides a brilliant solution– he invites those without sin to throw the fi rst stone. They all leave!The woman’s dignity is left intact and Jesus tells the woman that he does notcondemn her, but he doesn’t just leave it at that. He tells her to sin no more.Is Jesus judging her? Has she done the wrong thing? Does he forgive her?Jesus is making a judgement – he is not saying that what shehas done is OK. He challenges her to start afresh, to realisewhat she has done is wrong, and to change her life.How can we relate this to our lives? How many times have you wanted to throw astone at someone? Especially when they deserved it? Jesus did not throw stones atthe woman, and he won’t at us. The woman made a mistake, as we do. Jesus didn’tleave the woman, and he won’t leave us. Jesus knows that we all make mistakes, asthe woman did. His challenge to her was to ‘sin no more’. This is our challenge too.Isaiah 43:16-2116Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, 17 whobrings out chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise,they are extinguished, quenched like a wick: 18 Do not remember the former things,30


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013or consider the things of old. 19 I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth,do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in thedesert. 20 The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I givewater in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, 21 thepeople whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise.Philippians 3:8-148I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowingChrist Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and Iregard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found…9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from thelaw, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God basedon faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharingof his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11 if somehow I may attain theresurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained this or have alreadyreached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has mademe his own. 13 Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this onething I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 Ipress on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.John 8:1-118While Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to thetemple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. 3 Thescribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; andmaking her stand before all of them, 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman wascaught in the very act of committing adultery. 5 Now in the law Moses commanded usto stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They said this to test him, so that theymight have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with hisfi nger on the ground. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up andsaid to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the fi rst to throw a stoneat her.” 8 And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 When they heardit, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alonewith the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman,where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesussaid, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”31


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Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013Holy Week 2013 begins today and Christians the world over are called totheir special annual sharing in the story of salvation. More than a merehistorical remembrance of one man’s movement through a week thatbegan on a high note of praise and acclamation only to end on the bitterest noteof rejection, suffering and execution, Holy Week provides the gathered assemblywith what should be an existential and multi-dimensional experience of passion.Of course, the primary focus of these days is the passion of Jesus Christ. Accordingto the New Catholic Encyclopaedia, the passion was comprised of the suffering,both interior and exterior, endured by Jesus from his last supper with his friendsand followers until his death on the cross. From the earliest centuries of theChurch, Christians have sought to better realise and understand the intensity ofJesus’ passion; to that end, Melito of Sardis, living in the second century C.E., ina homily on the passion exhorted, “Listen while you tremble! He that suspendedthe earth was hanged up; He that supported the earth was supported upon a tree;the Lord was exposed to ignominy with a naked body; God, put to death!”During the Middle Ages, the efforts of the faithful to concentrate on the mysteryof Jesus’ saving death took the form of plays or dramatic re-enactments of thegospel passion narratives. Performed in the vernacular, these plays brought hometo young and old alike, the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ passion and death.In the readings for today’s liturgy, these circumstances are sketched for the contemporarygathered assembly in vivid verbal portraits. Deutero-Isaiah (fi rst reading) prepares thescene by describing the determination of God’s saving servant: Passionately intent uponcarrying out the mission given him, and fully reliant on God’s strength and support, hedid not yield until his work was completed. Paul, in the second reading from Philippians,takes us behind the physical pain, buffets and spitting to understand the inner attitudeof obedience and self-giving which motivated Christ’s passion. In the gospel, Lukeguides us through the last hours of Jesus’ earthly life, portraying the passion and death ofJesus as a gift freely given by a forgiving brother (“Father, forgive them, they do not knowwhat they are doing”) and loving Son (“Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit!”).However, there are also other passions which are to be experienced duringthis Holy Week. Believers cannot look upon the crucifi ed Jesus or listen to theproclamation of his passion without also being aware of the passionate love whichmotivated such a sacrifi ce. This week is much more about blessing, loving andgiving than it is about cursing, rejecting, taking and killing. Jesus’ passion wascontingent upon and prompted by the incredible love of God for all peoples.In addition to the passion of Jesus and the passionate love of God, this week is alsoabout the ongoing passion of humankind. Rather than simply steer our energies intosympathising with Christ or with his mother, Mary, by remembering what was, nodoubt, the most trying and painful period of their lives, this week, which we call holy,33


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013also challenges us toward a personal share in the passion of Christ. Karl Rahner (TheGreat Church Year, Crossroad Pub. Co., New York: 1994) suggested that we do this bybearing the burdens of our life with simple fortitude and without ostentation. For weshare by faith in the passion of Christ precisely by realising that our life, with all its joysand sorrows, is a participation in his destiny. These burdens also give us a mysteriousshare in the destiny of all human beings. However, believers must take care to avoidthe deadly danger of egoism, thinking only of ourselves and our own pain. When wecan freely accept our own sufferings as a participation in those of Christ and as ourcontribution to the destiny of all people, then the burdens of others will be lightened.During this week of passion – passionate suffering, passionate grace, passionate loveand passionate forgiving – each of us is called to remember the Christ of Calvary andthen to embrace and lighten the burden of the Christ whose passion continues to beexperienced in the hungry, the poor, the sick, the homeless, the lonely and the outcast.Isaiah 50:4-74The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how tosustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens— wakens my earto listen as those who are taught. 5 The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was notrebellious, I did not turn backward. 6 I gave my back to those who struck me, and mycheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult andspitting. 7 The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; thereforeI have set my face like fl int, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.Philippians 2:6-115Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in theform of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 butemptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. Andbeing found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to thepoint of death – even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God also highly exalted himand gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesusevery knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and everytongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Luke 22:14 - 23:5614When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. 15 Hesaid to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 forI tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfi lled in the kingdom of God.” 17 Then he tooka cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 forI tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom34


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013of God comes.” 19 Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks,he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you.Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And he did the same with the cup after supper,saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.21But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. 22 For theSon of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he isbetrayed!” 23 Then they began to ask one another, which one of them it could be whowould do this. 24 A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to beregarded as the greatest. 25 But he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it overthem; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you;rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like onewho serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is itnot the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 “You are those whohave stood by me in my trials; 29 and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred onme, a kingdom, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and youwill sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 31 “Simon, Simon, listen! Satan hasdemanded to sift all of you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your own faithmay not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” 33 Andhe said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death!” 34 Jesus said, “Itell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you have denied three times thatyou know me.” 35 He said to them, “When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals,did you lack anything?” They said, “No, not a thing.” 36 He said to them, “But now, theone who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no swordmust sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfi lled in me,‘And he was counted among the lawless’; and indeed what is written about me is beingfulfi lled.” 38 They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” He replied, “It is enough.”39He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciplesfollowed him. 40 When he reached the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may notcome into the time of trial.” 41 Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, kneltdown, and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not mywill but yours be done.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave himstrength. 44 In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like greatdrops of blood falling down on the ground. 45 When he got up from prayer, he came tothe disciples and found them sleeping because of grief, 46 and he said to them, “Whyare you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.”47While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came, and the one called Judas,one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him; 48 but Jesussaid to him, “Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?” 49 Whenthose who were around him saw what was coming, they asked, “Lord, should westrike with the sword?” 50 Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and35


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his earand healed him. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the offi cers of the templepolice, and the elders who had come for him, “Have you come out with swordsand clubs as if I were a bandit? 53 When I was with you day after day in the temple,you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!”54Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. ButPeter was following at a distance. 55 When they had kindled a fi re in the middle of thecourtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. 56 Then a servant-girl, seeinghim in the fi relight, stared at him and said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But hedenied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” 58 A little later someone else, on seeinghim, said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” 59 Then about anhour later still another kept insisting, “Surely this man also was with him; for he is aGalilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about!” At thatmoment, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked atPeter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before thecock crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.63Now the men who were holding Jesus began to mock him and beat him; 64 they alsoblindfolded him and kept asking him, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” 65 Theykept heaping many other insults on him. 66 When day came, the assembly of the eldersof the people, both chief priests and scribes, gathered together, and they brought himto their council. 67 They said, “If you are the Messiah, tell us.” He replied, “If I tell you,you will not believe; 68 and if I question you, you will not answer. 69 But from now on theSon of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” 70 All of them asked,“Are you, then, the Son of God?” He said to them, “You say that I am.” 71 Then they said,“What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips!”23Then the assembly rose as a body and brought Jesus before Pilate. 2 They began toaccuse him, saying, “We found this man perverting our nation, forbidding us to pay taxesto the emperor, and saying that he himself is the Messiah, a king.” 3 Then Pilate asked him,“Are you the king of the Jews?” He answered, “You say so.” 4 Then Pilate said to the chiefpriests and the crowds, “I fi nd no basis for an accusation against this man.” 5 But they wereinsistent and said, “He stirs up the people by teaching throughout all Judea, from Galileewhere he began even to this place.” 6 When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the manwas a Galilean. 7 And when he learned that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent himoff to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. 8 When Herod saw Jesus, he wasvery glad, for he had been wanting to see him for a long time, because he had heard abouthim and was hoping to see him perform some sign. 9 He questioned him at some length,but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehementlyaccusing him. 11 Even Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mockedhim; then he put an elegant robe on him, and sent him back to Pilate. 12 That same dayHerod and Pilate became friends with each other; before this they had been enemies.36


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 201313Pilate then called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people, 14 and saidto them, “You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and here Ihave examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of yourcharges against him. 15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us. Indeed, he has donenothing to deserve death. 16 I will therefore have him fl ogged and release him.” 18 Then theyall shouted out together, “Away with this fellow! Release Barabbas for us!” 19 (This wasa man who had been put in prison for an insurrection that had taken place in the city,and for murder.) 20 Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again; 21 but they keptshouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” 22 A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has hedone? I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death; I will therefore have himfl ogged and then release him.” 23 But they kept urgently demanding with loud shouts thathe should be crucifi ed; and their voices prevailed. 24 So Pilate gave his verdict that theirdemand should be granted. 25 He released the man they asked for, the one who had beenput in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus over as they wished.26As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was comingfrom the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behindJesus. 27 A great number of the people followed him, and among them were womenwho were beating their breasts and wailing for him. 28 But Jesus turned to them andsaid, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and foryour children. 29 For the days are surely coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are thebarren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ 30 Thenthey will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 Forif they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”32Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 Whenthey came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucifi ed Jesus there with thecriminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; forthey do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35 Andthe people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others;let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” 36 The soldiers alsomocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If you are the King ofthe Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of theJews.” 39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Areyou not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do younot fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeedhave been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but thisman has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come intoyour kingdom.” 43 He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”44It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in theafternoon, 45 while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn intwo. 46 Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend37


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last. 47 When the centurion saw what hadtaken place, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent.” 48 And whenall the crowds who had gathered there for this spectacle saw what had taken place, theyreturned home, beating their breasts. 49 But all his acquaintances, including the womenwho had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.50Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a memberof the council, 51 had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from theJewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom ofGod. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he tookit down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb whereno one had ever been laid. 54 It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath wasbeginning. 55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and theysaw the tomb and how his body was laid. 56 Then they returned, and prepared spicesand ointments. On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment.38


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Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013All week, we remember how he loved us. Whatever we do, nomatter how busy or “distracted” we might be, we can let the powerof this week be in the background of our daily refl ections.Jesus entered into our life – with its profound joys and its punishingevils – that we might never experience those struggles alone.So, no matter what we experience this week, we can let it become a“holy” week, letting it all be touched by the graces of this week.From the humble, yet triumphant, entry into Jerusalem, to our standingtogether at the foot of his cross, this can be a week which helps us bringall of the elements of our lives, all our experiences of sin and death, intothe font of his redeeming, liberating death and resurrection.We enter into a week made “holy” forever by the self-surrendering love of Jesus - for us all.Monday STAY AWAKEIs 42:1-7; Jn 12:1-11Sometimes we just don’t understand the signifi cance of what is going on all around us.Events move too quickly to be sorted out or too slowly to be noticed. It was like thatfor the disciples too. Although Jesus had tried to prepare them for his crucifi xion, theywere stunned that Passover night when he was arrested. They ran like the wind.Tuesday MARVEL AT REDEMPTIONIs 49:1-6; Jn 13:21-33, 36-38In an ideal world, love, denial and betrayal wouldn’t go together. But in the realworld, they often do. The disciples no doubt loved Jesus, yet most were disloyalto him at the end. What a marvel that God loves us and sent his Son!Wednesday PREPARE FOR VICTORYIs 50:4-9; Mt 26:14-25In literary tragedy, the hero or heroine is ultimately cut down and dies. Thegospel, though, is different. The hero, Jesus, willingly walks the path that leadsto death. But soon after, he is raised up, given a new, resurrected life by God.Jesus glorifi ed becomes “the Christ.” Our story is no tragedy. Good triumphs!40


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013The Easter TriduumOur long journey to the font culminates in the Easter Triduum. These three days drawus into the mystery of our salvation. Whatever we are doing these days, these prayersand resources can help us be open to the graces the day offers. Each morning, we canpause to acknowledge the meaning of the day ahead. Each night, we can give thanks.Even if we can’t celebrate these days liturgically, we can refl ect upon the symbolsand rituals, and let the prayers of the liturgies draw us in. All, that we might knowthe depth of the love being offered us, and power of the gift of life won for us.We celebrate Easter each day this week. We keep celebrating so that we mightcontinue to enter into the meaning of the resurrection. In the early Church,the newly baptised would be at each liturgy this week, wearing their whitegarments. We go through our everyday lives this week conscious of the “whitegarments” we all wear – the waters of our baptism certainly do not dry off! We arerenewed as a priestly people, committed with Jesus to give our lives for others.The resurrection stories, which we read this week, come from communities that areproclaiming the good news. The tomb is empty - Jesus’ tomb and every tomb that triesto claim us in death. These are not believers who, in their deep desire, just made upthe resurrection. These are people who can hardly believe what they are seeing andexperiencing. They, like us now, had trouble recognising his presence with them.We let the prayers of this Easter week draw us into the joy. Jesus is with us. He isnot dead, but alive. And, that makes all the difference in the world in how muchhope and courage we have, before any struggle, any possible fear of death.41


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Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013BE OF SERVICEEx 12:1-8, 11-14; 1 Cor 11:23-26; Jn 13:1-15Being a servant runs against the grain of most people. It’s lowly and diffi cult. We preferbeing served. Jesus’ disciples still didn’t understand that selfl ess service is God’s way,the key to the Kingdom. So Jesus showed them what to do. He washed their feet.Exodus 12:1-8, 11-1412The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: 2 This month shall mark foryou the beginning of months; it shall be the fi rst month of the year for you. 3 Tell thewhole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lambfor each family, a lamb for each household. 4 If a household is too small for a wholelamb, it shall join its closest neighbour in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided inproportion to the number of people who eat of it. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish,a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 You shall keep ituntil the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israelshall slaughter it at twilight. 7 They shall take some of the blood and put it on the twodoorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the lamb thatsame night; they shall eat it roasted over the fi re with unleavened bread and bitter herbs11This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staffin your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord. 12 For I will passthrough the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every fi rstborn in the land ofEgypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments:I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I seethe blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land ofEgypt. 14 This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festivalto the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.1 Corinthians 11:23-2623For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on thenight when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, hebroke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 Inthe same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenantin my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often asyou eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.John 13:1-1513Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart43


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, heloved them to the end. 2 The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of SimonIscariot to betray him. And during supper 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given allthings into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4 got upfrom the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5 Then he pouredwater into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with thetowel that was tied around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, areyou going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing,but later you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesusanswered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him,“Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “One whohas bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you areclean, though not all of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason hesaid, “Not all of you are clean.” 12 After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, andhad returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 Youcall me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14 So if I, your Lordand Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 ForI have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16 Very truly,I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater thanthe one who sent them.17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.44


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Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013PUT YOURSELF IN GOD’S HANDSIs 52:13—53:12; Heb 4:14-16, 5:7-9; Jn 18:1—19:42Often, the only way out of an ordeal is to go straight through it. We have toaccept and submit rather than fi ght. While on trial for his life, Jesus is askedrepeatedly to do this or that to save himself. But he refuses. Jesus accepts hisunjust conviction. Then he puts himself completely in God’s hands.Isaiah 52:13 - 53:1213See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be veryhigh. 14 Just as there were many who were astonished at him – so marred was hisappearance, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of mortals – 15 so he shallstartle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had notbeen told them they shall see, and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate.53Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lordbeen revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root outof dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothingin his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected byothers; a man of suffering and acquainted with infi rmity; and as one from whomothers hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account.4Surely he has borne our infi rmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted himstricken, struck down by God, and affl icted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions,crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and byhis bruises we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned toour own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed,and he was affl icted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to theslaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open hismouth. 8 By a perversion of justice he was taken away. Who could have imagined hisfuture? For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgressionof my people. 9 They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich,although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.10Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain. When you make his lifean offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; throughhim the will of the Lord shall prosper. 11 Out of his anguish he shall see light; heshall fi nd satisfaction through his knowledge. The righteous one, my servant,shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I willallot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors;yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.46


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7:914Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus,the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest whois unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect hasbeen tested as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore approach the throne of gracewith boldness, so that we may receive mercy and fi nd grace to help in time of need.7In the days of his fl esh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, withloud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, andhe was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Although he was a Son,he learned obedience through what he suffered; 9 and having been madeperfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him,John 18:1 - 19:4218After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidronvalley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2 NowJudas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there withhis disciples. 3 So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police fromthe chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torchesand weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward andasked them, ‘For whom are you looking?’ 5 They answered, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesusreplied, ‘I am he.’ Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When Jesus saidto them, ‘I am he’, they stepped back and fell to the ground. 7 Again he asked them,‘For whom are you looking?’ And they said, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ 8 Jesus answered, ‘I toldyou that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.’ 9 This was to fulfi lthe word that he had spoken, ‘I did not lose a single one of those whom you gaveme.’ 10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, andcut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. 11 Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put yoursword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?’12So the soldiers, their offi cer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus andbound him. 13 First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law ofCaiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advisedthe Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.15Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was knownto the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 butPeter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was knownto the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, andbrought Peter in. 17 The woman said to Peter, ‘You are not also one of this man’sdisciples, are you?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ 18 Now the slaves and the police had made47


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013a charcoal fi re because it was cold, and they were standing round it and warmingthemselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.19Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. 20 Jesusanswered, ‘I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagoguesand in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing insecret. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they knowwhat I said.’ 22 When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struckJesus on the face, saying, ‘Is that how you answer the high priest?’ 23 Jesus answered,‘If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, whydo you strike me?’ 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.25Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, ‘You are not alsoone of his disciples, are you?’ He denied it and said, ‘I am not.’ 26 One of the slaves of thehigh priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, ‘Did I not see youin the garden with him?’ 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.28Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters. It was early in themorning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritualdefi lement and to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate went out to them andsaid, ‘What accusation do you bring against this man?’ 30 They answered, ‘If thisman were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.’ 31 Pilatesaid to them, ‘Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.’ TheJews replied, ‘We are not permitted to put anyone to death.’ 32 (This was to fulfi lwhat Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)33Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Areyou the King of the Jews?’ 34 Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did otherstell you about me?’ 35 Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and thechief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’ 36 Jesus answered, ‘Mykingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers wouldbe fi ghting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom isnot from here.’ 37 Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that Iam a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’ 38 Pilate asked him, ‘What is truth?’After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, ‘I fi ndno case against him. 39 But you have a custom that I release someone for you atthe Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?’ 40 Theyshouted in reply, ‘Not this man, but Barabbas!’ Now Barabbas was a bandit.19Then Pilate took Jesus and had him fl ogged. 2 And the soldiers wove a crown of thornsand put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. 3 They kept coming up tohim, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and striking him on the face. 4 Pilate went out again48


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013and said to them, ‘Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I fi nd nocase against him.’ 5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe.Pilate said to them, ‘Here is the man!’ 6 When the chief priests and the police saw him,they shouted, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Take him yourselves andcrucify him; I fi nd no case against him.’ 7 The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, andaccording to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.’8Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. 9 He entered his headquartersagain and asked Jesus, ‘Where are you from?’ But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Pilatetherefore said to him, ‘Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I havepower to release you, and power to crucify you?’ 11 Jesus answered him, ‘You wouldhave no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the onewho handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.’ 12 From then on Pilate tried torelease him, but the Jews cried out, ‘If you release this man, you are no friend of theemperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.’13When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’sbench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha. 14 Now it wasthe day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews,‘Here is your King!’ 15 They cried out, ‘Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!’Pilate asked them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We haveno king but the emperor.’ 16 Then he handed him over to them to be crucifi ed.So they took Jesus; 17 and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is calledThe Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucifi edhim, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19 Pilatealso had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, theKing of the Jews.’ 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place whereJesus was crucifi ed was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, andin Greek. 21 Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, ‘Do not write, “TheKing of the Jews”, but, “This man said, I am King of the Jews.” ’ 22 Pilate answered,‘What I have written I have written.’ 23 When the soldiers had crucifi ed Jesus, theytook his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They alsotook his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. 24 Sothey said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will getit.’ This was to fulfi l what the scripture says, ‘They divided my clothes amongthemselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.’ 25 And that is what the soldiers did.Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’ssister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw hismother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to hismother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ 27 Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is yourmother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.49


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 201328After this, when Jesus knew that all was now fi nished, he said (in order to fulfi l thescripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a spongefull of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had receivedthe wine, he said, ‘It is fi nished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.31Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crossduring the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So theyasked Pilate to have the legs of the crucifi ed men broken and the bodies removed. 32 Thenthe soldiers came and broke the legs of the fi rst and of the other who had been crucifi edwith him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did notbreak his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at onceblood and water came out. 35 (He who saw this has testifi ed so that you also may believe.His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) 36 These things occurred sothat the scripture might be fulfi lled, ‘None of his bones shall be broken.’ 37 And againanother passage of scripture says, ‘They will look on the one whom they have pierced.’38After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though asecret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the bodyof Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. 39 Nicodemus,who had at fi rst come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh andaloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. 40 They took the body of Jesus and wrappedit with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Nowthere was a garden in the place where he was crucifi ed, and in the garden therewas a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42 And so, because it was theJewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.50


HOlYSaTuRdaY51


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013On Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday, churches lie silent and empty.No sacraments of the Church may be celebrated on this day. But it is notjust a pause before the big celebration. Rather it is a pregnant silence.On Holy Saturday the Church recalls and ponders the words of the Apostles’ Creed:“He descended into hell.” The belief these words express is that Jesus, triumphant overdeath, saved those who had died without any chance of receiving his grace. Then,starting with Adam, the fi rst human being, he leads them to his Father in triumph.How relevant is this for us today. It would seem that we are more familiar than everwith the scope of hell: the ravages of war; the miseries of psychosis; the helplessnessof deep poverty; the evil manipulations of the human mind and genes.Yet from all of these Christ can deliver us. His descent into hell, his rising from thedead, his Easter triumph is the source of healing and forgiveness, of light and peace.Lamentations 3:1-24I am one who has seen affl iction under the rod of God’s wrath; 2 he has driven andbrought me into darkness without any light; 3 against me alone he turns his hand,again and again, all day long. 4 He has made my fl esh and my skin waste away, andbroken my bones; 5 he has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation;6he has made me sit in darkness like the dead of long ago. 7 He has walled me about sothat I cannot escape; he has put heavy chains on me; 8 though I call and cry for help,he shuts out my prayer; 9 he has blocked my ways with hewn stones, he has made mypaths crooked. 10 He is a bear lying in wait for me, a lion in hiding; 11 he led me offmy way and tore me to pieces; he has made me desolate; 12 he bent his bow and setme as a mark for his arrow. 13 He shot into my vitals the arrows of his quiver; 14 I havebecome the laughingstock of all my people, the object of their taunt-songs all daylong. 15 He has fi lled me with bitterness, he has sated me with wormwood. 16 He hasmade my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; 17 my soul is bereft ofpeace; I have forgotten what happiness is; 18 so I say, “Gone is my glory, and all that Ihad hoped for from the Lord.” 19 The thought of my affl iction and my homelessness iswormwood and gall! 20 My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me.21But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22 The steadfast love of the Lord neverceases, his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is yourfaithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”52


SuNdaYOf ThEREsuRREcTION53


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013In Richard Wagner’s opera, Das Reingold (“The Rhinegold,” 1869), onescene features the gods, gathered together on a mountain top, lookingacross a deep chasm. On the other side stands Valhalla, their beautifuland palatial home, for which they have longed for many years. Worn andweary, the gods are eager to rest in Valhalla’s welcoming comfort but, much totheir dismay, there is no way to cross the chasm. After a time, Thor, the stormgod produces a rainbow from which he fashions a bridge. The scene concludeswith the gods making their way across the bridge to their beloved home.Today, on this Easter Sunday, worn and weary Christian believers are celebrating theirsafe passage across another bridge to an even more wonderful home. Through his deathand resurrection, Jesus Christ has become the bridge by which all of humankind cantraverse the chasm from sin to forgiveness, from slavery to freedom, from darknessto light, from self to God, from death to life. Those who would avail themselvesof the bridge and safe passage which Jesus offers can do so only by faith. This is thechallenge of today’s feast, to bridge the chasm, i.e. to move beyond a mere mentalrecollection of the events we celebrate so as to make the leap of faith. Only by faithwill we truly appropriate the reality of Jesus’ resurrection as well as our own.Each of the readings for today’s liturgy references the concept of knowledge in thesense of intellectual comprehension while inviting each member of the gatheredassembly to allow that knowledge to lead them to faith. Peter, addressing thosegathered in Cornelius’ home (Acts), says, “I take it you know what has been reported.”Then he reiterated the facts concerning Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection.However, mere knowledge of the good news about Jesus is not suffi cient. There weremany people, in Jesus’ day, who knew what he did and said and who saw how his lifeevolved, but they did not believe in him. Knowledge may lead one to the brink of thechasm but only faith will dare to leap headlong toward God. Only a commitmentin faith to the person of Jesus Christ will lead to forgiveness and salvation.Paul, in his fi rst letter to the Corinthians, reminds his readers that, just as they knowhow yeast affects dough, so also should they know that corruption and wickedness affectthe believer. Only faith in Christ, our Passover, will enable us to overcome these evils.Today’s gospel is replete with references to not knowing and not understanding. Arriving atthe tomb and seeing the stone moved away, Mary did not know where Jesus was; she didnot know he was risen. In an aside with which today’s gospel concludes, the Johannineevangelist tells us that the disciples “did not yet understand the Scriptures that Jesus hadto rise from the dead.” Nevertheless, we are told that the disciple with Peter, whom mostscholars believe to be John, the beloved disciple, “saw and believed.” Beyond knowledgeand understanding, the insight which is faith pierces the mystery of the resurrection.Remarkably, the Greek noun for faith, pistis, never occurs in the fourth gospel. Rather,as Raymond E. Brown (The Gospel According to John, Doubleday, New York: 1966) has54


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013explained, the evangelist has a penchant for using verbs and action words; therefore, hepreferred the term pisteuein which means “to believe”, “to have faith”, “to come to faith”,“to put faith (into).” This term appears no less than 107 times in the Johannine literatureas compared to 34 times in the Synoptics. For John, being a believer is synonymous withbeing a disciple because faith is the primary factor in becoming a Christian. The fact thatJohn prefers the verb, pisteuein, than the noun, pistis, is also an indication that he thinksof faith, not as an internal disposition but as an active commitment. This faith involvesmore than trust and/or confi dence in Jesus; it is a deliberate, willed acceptance of Jesusas the Christ, which is expressed in a lived dedication to his person, words and works.As Brown has further noted, faith grows and develops in stages and full salvifi cfaith in Jesus is a gift of God which, like the gift of the Spirit, can comeonly after the resurrection. It is this gift which God holds out to each of ustoday. As we see Jesus in the signs of the sacraments, as we hear him in thesacred word of scripture, as we recognise and care for him in one another,each of us is invited to be renewed in our faith commitment to him.I believe Lord; help my unbelief. I believe Lord; help me to live,and die, and then to rise to everlasting life in you.Acts 10:34, 37-4334Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality.37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism thatJohn announced: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit andwith power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed bythe devil, for God was with him. 39 We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judeaand in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40 but God raisedhim on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us whowere chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose fromthe dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the oneordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify abouthim that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”1 Corinthians 5:6-86Your boasting is not a good thing. Do you not know that alittle yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?7Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch, as you really areunleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrifi ced. 8 Therefore,let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of maliceand evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.55


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013John 20:1-920Early on the fi rst day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came tothe tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2 So she ran and wentto Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them,“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laidhim.” 3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4 The twowere running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb fi rst. 5 Hebent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6 ThenSimon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappingslying there, 7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linenwrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who reached thetomb fi rst, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand thescripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples returned to their homes.2Easter Sunday relates to the fourteenth of Nisan of the year Jesus died, yes,but it does not follow the annual designation of the fourteenth of Nisanthat marks the preparation day for Passover from year to year even now.Instead, Easter Sunday morning takes us back to the empty tomb.There is a Passover here, too, of course. It is not the Passover of the “destroyer” thatspared the Jews in Egypt and generated their Exodus to the promised land. This Passoveris the passage of Jesus from this life to the fullness of divine life. It is also, then, thepassage of Christians from the life of this world to life lived n the light of the risen Jesus.The focus of the day shifts away from the vigil’s theology of creation andsalvation history to unrestrained joy and wonder, astonishment and faith,mystery and trust. Easter Sunday is the moment Christmas points to,the moment the Passion obscures, the moment the tomb reveals.On Christmas morning we fi nd the manger full of life; on Easter morning we fi nd thetomb empty of death. We know the whole truth now: death is not the end, and life aswe know it is only the beginning of Life. There is no suffering from which we cannotrise if we live a life centred in Jesus. It is the empty tomb on Easter Sunday morningthat says to us, “You go and tell the others. Now!” (Matthew 28:10, paraphrase)2The Liturgical Year: the spiraling adventure of the spiritual life, Chittister, pp.163-16456


Lectio divinaA reading and refl ection on the Scriptures which leads to prayer and transformation of lifeReading – getting to know the text (senses)• Take in all the elements of the text.• Be aware of context, related texts, quotes.• Who are key characters; what are key words.• Apply all that you know about the text.• Don’t choose any one thing to work with at this stage.Meditation – engaging with the text, making it my own (reason)What does the text tell me?• about the God who speaks?• about responding to that God?• about my faith life?• about what I need to do to transform my faith life?Prayer – let prayer emerge from your working with the text (will)• Our prayer stems from our reading / meditation.• Meditation humbles us, so we turn to God in our need.• We seek the grace we need to do what we must to transform our life.• We acknowledge that alone we can do nothing.• I can do all things in him who strengthens meAction – throughout the dayLectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013• Now choose a word, phrase, sentence.• Bring it to mind frequently during the day.• Let it recapture the experience of your lectio.• Use it especially in situations relating to your lectio insight.• “Daily and hourly till the soil of the heart with the Gospel plough”.57


Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent Year C 2013Written by Bishop David L. Walker DD, with the support of theAustralian Catholic Bishops Commission for Mission and Faith Formation©Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay 201358

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