1. Introductory prayer
God, You have become small in order for us to grow – so that we could accept our fragility and build on them. Bless me, please, my way of searching and receiving You and Your will, even when it seems to me that I’m going into the dark.
2. Reading – Listening: The Gospel according to Matthew 10:37-42
7 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
3. Thoughts on the Gospel
Jesus sends the apostles to proclaim the gospel. In today’s passage, he gives them the last guidance. He says, ““Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
” It is about the preachers, to have in front of them Jesus and his gospel, before their eyes and in their hearts. If they give priority to things and people, they will not be able to proclaim the gospel. This is a big danger.
Let’s take an example of a priest. As a novice he is full of zeal and the desire to bring Christ to the world. Over time, problems, failures, perhaps even boredom and disappointment come.
Here, a person can quickly connect to something trivial, whether it be material goods or people, career, success, friendship and something like that. How difficult it is in these cases to live the word of Jesus, the cross and walking for Him. And yet, this is exactly what liberates us. Accepting your cross does not mean only giving up, but also accepting your fragility, weakness, failure.
American spiritual writer Henry Nouwen says: It is not the right question: “Am I strong enough to be the proclaimer of the gospel?” But “am I sufficiently weak?”
It means that I am at home enough with my own weaknesses, boundaries, with my own fragility. Did I accept them? Can I live with my imperfection? Do I bear my cross for Jesus with his help? Those who are sent by Him out to preach, have a treasure, Jesus himself and his gospel, but they carry it in fragile vessels, as says St. Paul.
Jesus continues: “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” The disciples do not come in their own name. They did not make up this responsible work by themselves, but they were sent. With the words and life, to reveal him, who sent them, Jesus.
The more they are connected to him, the more people will believe them. As Jesus said, “He who sees me, sees the Father,” also applies to disciples: “He who sees us sees Jesus.” If the Lord does not radiate from the life of the proclamation, the people will stop with him only as by any other man. They will praise him or criticize him, perhaps help him or hinder him, but more of this will not happen.
And a word to those who will accept the apostles. Jesus promises: “Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward… And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward .”
What is the reward of the prophet?
Here is a beautiful narrative of how the pagan woman and her husband accept the prophet Elijah (2 Kr. 4,8-11,14-16).
They see that the he is the man of God, so they prepare a room for him to rest in it whenever he stops with them. Elijah sees their hospitality, so he asks for their son, because they are without children.
Son means hope, the future.
This is the payment of the prophet: hope, joy. To accept the prophet is to accept the word of God. That’s how God’s Mother Mary did. She accepted the angel, the divine messenger and his word. The fruit of her openness was Jesus, not just her hope, but the hope and salvation of the whole world. We should also accept those whom the Lord sends to us.
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:
- Walking with Jesus means leaving old patterns, being here and now with what is now. What pattern does Jesus tell me to change and see how could I live instead?
- God loves me like I am, whole – with fragility, weaknesses, failures. How am I at peace with my own weaknesses, boundaries, fragility? How much can I become one with them and become more fond of me?
- I mediate Jesus in everything I do and live. Where can I help people, like Elijah, so that God will be able to persuade people around me?
5. Personal Prayer
In the next moments of silence, I talk about of 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 to 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
God of Love, You speak when we allow ourselves to be weak and to help us, also through other people. Thank you for loving me like I am, my whole, my shadow and sunshine.
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 at 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. By 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