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"Lectio divina is an authentic source of Christian spirituality recommended by our Rule. We therefore practice it every day, so that we may develop a deep and genuine love for it, and so that we may grow in the surpassing knowledge of Christ. In this way we shall put into practice the Apostle Paul’s commandment, which is mentioned in our Rule: “Let the sword of the spirit, the Word of God, live abundantly in your mouth and in your hearts; and whatever you must do, do it in the name of the Lord.”

 Carmelite Constitutions (No. 82)

Lectio Divina: Matthew 11:28-30

Lectio Divina

Ordinary Time

1) Opening prayer

God our Father,
Your light of truth
guides us to the way of Christ.
May all who follow Him
reject what is contrary to the Gospel.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus said: "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."

3) Reflection

• The Gospel today is composed of only three verses (Mt 11:28-30) which form part of a brief literary unit, one of the most beautiful ones, in which Jesus thanks the Father for having revealed the wisdom of the Kingdom to the little children and because He has hidden it from the doctors and the wise (Mt 11:25-30).  In the brief commentary which follows we will include the entire literary unit.

• Matthew 11:25-26: Only the little children accept and understand the Good News of the Kingdom. Jesus recites a prayer: “I thank You Father, Lord of Heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to little children.” The wise, the doctors of that time, have created a system of laws which they imposed on the people in the name of God (Mt 23:3-4). They thought that God demanded this observance from the people.  But the law of love, which Jesus has revealed to us, said the contrary.  What is important in order to be saved is not what we do for God, but what God, in His great love, does for us! God wants mercy and not sacrifice (Mt 9:13). The simple and poor people understood Jesus’ way of speaking and rejoiced.  The wise said that Jesus was in error.  They could not come to understand His teaching.  “Yes, I praise you! He praised the Father that the little children understand the message of the Kingdom despite it being hidden from the wise and the learned! If they want to understand it they have to become the pupils of the little children!  This way of thinking and of teaching makes people feel uncomfortable.

• Matthew 11:27: The origin of the new Law: the Son knows the Father. What the Father has to tell us He has given to Jesus, and Jesus reveals it to the little children, so that they may be open to His message. Jesus, the Son, knows the Father.  He knows what the Father wanted to communicate to us, when many centuries ago He gave His Law to Moses. Today, Jesus is teaching many things to the poor and to the little children and, through them, to all His Church.    

• Matthew 11:28-30: The invitation of Jesus which is still valid today.  Jesus invites all those who are tired to go to Him, and He promises them rest.  In our communities today, we should be the continuation of this invitation which Jesus addresses to people who were tired and oppressed by the weight of the observance asked by the laws of purity.  He says, “Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart.” Many times, this saying has been manipulated, to ask people for submission, meekness and passivity. Jesus wants to say the opposite. He asks people not to listen to “the wise and learned,” the professors of religion of that time, and to begin to learn from Him, from Jesus, a man who came from Galilee, without higher instruction, who says He is “meek and humble of heart.” Jesus does not do as the scribes, who exalt themselves because of their science, but He places Himself at the side of the people who are exploited and humiliated. Jesus, the new Master, knows by experience what takes place in the heart of the people who suffer.  He has lived this well and has known it during the thirty years of His life in Nazareth.

• How Jesus puts into practice what He taught in the Discourse on the Mission. Jesus has a passion: to announce the Good News of the Kingdom. He had a passion for the Father and for the people of His country who are poor and abandoned.  There, where Jesus found people who listened to Him, Jesus announced the Good News, in any place: In the synagoguesduring the celebration of the Word (Mt 4:23), in the houses of friends (Mt 13:36); walking along the way with the disciples (Mt 12:1-8); along the shore of the sea, sitting in the boat (Mt 13:3); on the Mount from where He proclaims the Beatitudes (Mt 5:1); in the  squares and in the cities, where people would bring the sick to Him (Mt 14:34-36). Also in the Temple of Jerusalem, during the pilgrimage (Mt 26:55)!  In Jesus everything is revelation of everything which He bore inside Himself! He not only announced the Good News of the Kingdom;  He Himself was and continues to be a living sign of the Kingdom. In Him we see clearly what happens when a human being allows God to reign in his life. Today’s Gospel reveals the tenderness with which Jesus welcomes the little children. He wanted them to find rest and peace. And because of this choice of His for the little children and the excluded, He was criticized and persecuted. He suffered very much! The same thing happens today. When a community tries to open itself to be a place of welcome and consolation for the little children and the excluded of today who are the foreigners and the migrants, many people do not agree and criticize. 

4) Personal questions

• Have you ever experienced the rest promised by Jesus?
• How can the words of Jesus help our community to be a place of rest for our life?
• How can one be meek and humble while at the same time striving for promotion or advancement at work or in the community?
• To follow Jesus requires radical change. How can this be an easy yoke or a light burden?  

5) Concluding Prayer

In You is the source of life,
by Your light we see the light.
Continue Your faithful love to those who acknowledge You,
and Your saving justice to the honest of heart. (Ps 36:9-10)

Lectio: Matthew 22:34-40
Lectio: St. Bartholomew, Apostle
Lectio Divina: Matthew 23:13-22
Lectio Divina: Matthew 23:23-26

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As Carmelites We live our life of allegiance to Jesus Christ and to serve Him faithfully with a pure heart and a clear conscience through a commitment to seek the face of the living God (the contemplative dimension of life), through prayer, through fraternity, and through service (diakonia). These three fundamental elements of the charism are not distinct and unrelated values, but closely interwoven. 

All of these we live under the protection, inspiration and guidance of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whom we honor as "our Mother and sister."