1. Introductory prayer
I calm down and I feel the presence of God in me. I ask for the grace of the Holy Spirit to open the word of God, I accept it and allow it to fulfill my mission in me, in order to become more and more what I am in Holy Trinity. Then I ask God for this prayer, in my own words, or with those that are here…
If I reflect for myself, I can be overcome by horror, and many times, because I alone cannot face everything that happens in life, all the pain. With the Lord, who guides me when I surrender to Him, many things are possible, which I find quite incomprehensible, for he makes grace out of pain and injustice. Lord, the glorious Father, let me give up saving my own life and the lives of others because your Son has already saved me – and so I can stop losing my life because only you give the fullness of life.
2. Reading – Listening: Jesus Predicts His Death – Matthew 16 21-27 Commentary
Jesus Predicts His Death
21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
- 14 Stations of the Cross explanation with pictures
- The Crucifixion of Jesus – Good Friday Message and Meaning
3. Thoughts on the Gospel –Jesus Predicts His Death – Matthew 16:21-27 Commentary
Jesus ’own prophecy of suffering and death on the cross caused his disciples deep resentment and rejection. Peter, who was often the first to respond to everything Jesus said, wanted to protect him from any threat. He, therefore, rejected his thought that he had to face suffering, condemnation, and crucifixion.
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When Jesus went into the wilderness to prepare for his public ministry, Satan came to lead him on a different path than that chosen for him by the Father in heaven. Now Jesus recognized in Peter’s answer, another temptation to seek a different and simpler way of fulfilling his mission than the way of the cross. The word “satan” literally means “adversary” – one who stands in opposition. Jesus reminds Peter that his role is not to be an adversary, but a disciple — one who follows his Lord with trust and obedience.
Jesus knew that the cross was the only way to save us from the bondage of sin. By his death on the cross, he defeated Satan, who kept us in the bondage of sin and condemnation. His death allows us the freedom to live as adopted sons and daughters of a merciful Father in heaven. By his resurrection, Jesus overcame the power of death and the grave.
He told the disciples, however, that they too must be willing to leave their lives in order to gain a new and eternal life with the Father in the kingdom. We lose what we have gained and we gain what we lose. When we try to live our lives in our own way, this eventually turns out to be futile. Only God can free us from our ignorant and sinful ways. When we surrender our path to God, we are given new life by the Spirit and the promise of eternal life.
We determine ourselves in every decision. It is possible that some may gain all that they have placed in their heart, but suddenly wake up and discover that they have missed the most important thing of all. What is the value of material things if they do not help us obtain what really lasts for eternity. It is neither money nor property, for with them it is not possible to buy heaven, repair a broken heart, or cheer up a lonely person.
A true disciple of Jesus gladly gives all he has in exchange for an infinite life in joy and happiness with God. God gives without measure. The joy that God offers is not diminished by grief and loss. The cross of Jesus Christ leads to victory and freedom from sin and death. When we allow God’s will to cross our will, we begin to follow God the Father in Jesus Christ.
4. Meditation – thinking
About everything I have read and what has touched me, I am thinking now. I let my thoughts also touch my heart. Think:
- I try to stand among the disciples who listen to Jesus when he tells them the words of this passage, and I listen to him.
- What is Jesus inviting me to do?
- God wants mature people who fully accept themselves so that they can give themselves. What other abilities and limitations can I still accept and give them to the Lord?
5. Personal Prayer
In the next moments of silence, I talk about this with Jesus. I tell him what I think, what I feel, what I want. I ask him for the grace that I need for … (make your conversation with God).
6. Contemplation – Quiet moment with God
Now I let silence be in me. I am simply present in God, as He is quietly present in me. Perhaps from this silence, I hear God’s speech, which invites me perhaps in thanksgiving and worship or to open myself and accept him in my path life and work, maybe He gives me the courage to continue searching for…
When I walk into a personal relationship with God, he changes me, makes me more loving, and encourages me to the concrete action, which is….. (write down your insights for concrete action).
8. Prayer at the end
Thank you, Lord, for giving me the promise of life and for saving me. Thank you for stopping me when I only see the cross and show me the resurrection in the cross. Thank you for reminding me that I cannot save other people, for you have already saved us all.
9. Review of my prayer meditation or reflection
This is my view on what was happening in me at the time, I spent praying. In my reflection, I can help myself with the following questions:
- How was I feeling when I started praying?
- What happened during the prayer?
- What feelings and thoughts could I detect in myself?
- How did I feel with the revelations, which I had during my prayer?
- What did I learn about myself, about God, about his attitude towards me and others and me to him and others?
- How did I finish my prayer?
- What did I receive for my everyday life?
- In the end, I can write the lessons, findings, and insights. I can write also, where I had problems, they may have great value in learning about my relationship and myself with God. They can also help to find a more appropriate way of prayer for me.
- Then I thank the Holy Trinity. If I pray with my family or in the community, friends, I can share with them what I felt in this prayer. With a prayer for one another, you can support yourself throughout the week.
Lectio Divina meditations are published and adapted with permission from the Jesuits home – ignacijevdom.si
Text from the Bible – New International Version (NIV)