Lectio Divina, literally divine reading,’ is an ancient Christian practice of praying the Scriptures. The method of Lectio Divina includes moments of reading (lectio), reflecting on (meditatio), responding to (oratio) and resting in (contemplatio) the Word of God with the aim of nourishing and deepening one's relationship with the Divine.
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FAITH @ HOME
SPONSORED BY LA ARCHDIOCESE
The Office of Religious Education in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles wants to support you during this dif-ficult time in our world. Each week we will be sending out this resource which can help you and/or your family reflect on the upcoming Sunday readings, grow in your relationship with God and strength-en your faith. The resource is organized in 3 areas: Hear, Pray, Talk. We want to help you Hear God, Pray/Experience God, Talk or share with your family or a friend. We hope that this resource brings you closer to Jesus and to others. May the love of God radiate from your home to the world. Blessings!
Fourth Sunday of Easter Reflection
With whom do we converse and listen to the most? Believe it or not, the answer is ourselves. We are constantly having conversations with ourselves, and sometimes we even get caught! Our inner conversations reveal the truth about ourselves. We really cannot hide from ourselves, although we often pretend we can.
By conversing with ourselves, we find solutions to our challenges, problem solve, work through our relationships, formulate opinions, run through dress rehearsals of possible conversations, and wrestle with and determine our system of priorities and values. What other voices affect the conversations we have with ourselves?
Often, voices from our past continue to haunt us. These voices cause us to mistrust our judgment, harbor anger, and cling to our fears of rejection, failure, being wrong, and the like. It is in these inner conversations that we face what holds us captive — our limitations, weaknesses, sinfulness, and stubborn ego preoccupations. We often go about our lives putting out one fire or another, keeping ourselves preoccupied and busy, and trying to stay on top of things. Intentionally or unintentionally, we find ourselves wandering off. We turn around and can no longer see our home. We look down at our feet and realize we have lost our anchor. Feeling scared, out of place, desolate, unsettled, and lonely, we realize that we are lost.
We listened to the wrong voices! In the midst of everything competing for our attention, the voice of the One who could truly call us home got muffled. We didn’t hear it. As our inner dialogues continue to play out, the one voice we need to consult — even before our own — is God’s. He is the Good Shepherd who can keep us safely where we need to be. As we graze through the stuff of our lives, we must constantly remember to look up, be attentive, and stay focused. Our habits of prayer are the only thing that can properly root us and keep us grounded. Contemplating God’s presence and developing an inner awareness of love incarnate, we will then find ourselves praying unceasingly as the days and nights and the ebbs and flows of our of lives unfold. Suddenly, the inner conversations we are constantly having are no longer just with ourselves or with voices that can lead us astray but with the Trinity, who desperately wants us to stay home.
• The psalmist sings, “The Lord is my shepherd . . . Beside restful waters he leads me; / he refreshes my soul.” In what areas of your life are you in need of refreshment?
• The second reading from the first letter of St. Peter reminds us that Jesus, “when he was insulted, he returned no insult; / when he suffered, he did not threaten.” How do you follow Jesus’ path of nonviolence?
• In the gospel acclamation we hear the title for Jesus as “the good shepherd” who knows and is known by his sheep. How do you experience Jesus’ shepherding care in your life?
• Jesus tells the Pharisees that his sheep will not follow a stranger, “because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” What spiritual practices help you attune your ears to the voice of the Good Shepherd?
© Liturgical Press
In the “figure of speech” in today’s gospel, we are sheep whereas Jesus is the gate for the sheepfold. The imagery is simple and ancient. Here there is not “heaven” but instead a place of safety and security from the world with its dangers and threats. Even this place of safety is not entirely secure, as there are some thieves and robbers who would climb the fence, not entering through the gate. Our only “protection” from such dangers is that we would not follow their voice. This figure of speech should give us pause. Are we led astray by other voices in the culture—voices that might appeal to our preconceived ideologies or that would soothe us with simplistic and self-serving messages? Let us die to the other voices calling us away from gospel values. Let us know the gate through which we enter the sheepfold and not be called away by other voices.
© Liturgical Press