In the spirit of the pastoral letter written by our bishop at the beginning of the season of Lent, where he urges us to "take one step with the Holy Spirit this Lent and so deepen our love for the inspired Sacred Scriptures," we would like to lead you in a prayerful encounter with the scriptures for each day of the season of Lent. This is not a bible study but a heart-felt encounter with the One who has longed to reveal himself to you in prayer. The manner in which we will read the scriptures is called "Lectio Divina," an ancient method of reading, meditating, praying and contemplating the living word of God. Each day we will take the scripture of the day (the scripture of the daily Mass) and guide you through this beautiful process:
Today, Saturday after Ash Wednesday
Text: Luke 5:27-32
Step One: Lectio:
Slowly read the text below. As in all prayer, it is God who takes the first step, and so God now desires to speak to you through this holy text. Savor the words, but more importantly, savor the love with which the Lord speaks these words to you today.
Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, "Follow me."
And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.
Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house,
and a large crowd of tax collectors
and others were at table with them.
The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying,
"Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?"
Jesus said to them in reply,
"Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners."
Step Two: Meditatio:
What does the biblical text say to us? I become aware of the thoughts and feelings I have as I encounter this holy text. The following reflection may help you today to focus on the meaning of the text for your life today.
So what’s the big deal about being a tax collector? The Romans were providing the people of Palestine a variety of public services -- good roads, protection from the external enemies and internal robbers, making it somewhat safe to travel about. Someone has to pay for all this, and obviously someone has to collect it! So why all the fuss when Jesus chooses to eat with tax collectors?
Tax collectors were opportunists – people who were able to use a situation for their own personal advantage. As they extorted money from people at their customs post, they took a tidy sum off the top as part of their own pay. So Jesus is able to look upon Levi with love, and call him away from his post and his former way of life.
So how does this gospel touch me? There are many compartments in my heart. For the most part I am a good disciple of Jesus, and I try to do what is right and good. But perhaps there is a secret room in my heart where I don’t let Jesus in. This is the room in my heart where I have learned “to be an opportunist,” to use certain people, certain situations for my own personal advantage, just like a tax collector would. This is the room in my heart where I have made excuses and rationalizations convincing myself that what I am doing is not all that bad. Is Jesus knocking at the door of that room in your heart?
Step three: Oratio:
What do we say to the Lord in response to His word? What are the petitions or praise I offer him? What are the graces I am seeking as I encounter this holy text?
Am I aware of those rooms in our heart where I make excuses, accommodations, rationalizations for the behaviors that I have maintained? Today I want to invite Jesus to show me any room in my heart where he has not otherwise been welcome.
Step Four: Contemplatio
We take the time to be silent, to allow our heart to rest in the One who loves us so. We simply allow our hearts to be still for all hat we need and all that we have asked for has now been placed in the hands of the One who loves us so.