Lectio Divina


Saturday - Ordinary Time

1) Opening prayer

Father of heaven and earth,
hear our prayers,
and show us the way to your peace in the world.
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 - Luke 22,24-30

An argument also began between them about who should be reckoned the greatest; but he said to them, 'Among the gentiles it is the kings who lord it over them, and those who have authority over them are given the title Benefactor. With you this must not happen. No; the greatest among you must behave as if he were the youngest, the leader as if he were the one who serves. For who is the greater: the one at table or the one who serves? The one at table, surely? Yet here am I among you as one who serves!
'You are the men who have stood by me faithfully in my trials; and now I confer a kingdom on you, just as my Father conferred one on me: you will eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel.

3) Reflection

In Luke’s Gospel, the context of the discussion as to whom was the greatest among them is that of the Last Supper. Jesus has just finished celebrating the Eucharist, the greatest sign of the gift of self to his brothers and sisters (Lk 22, 14-20). He had just finished showing them that the greatest proof of love is to give one’s life for the brothers (cf. Jn 15, 13). The more Jesus tries to descend in order to be able to serve, the more the disciples try to ascend in order to command. They discuss among themselves as to who is the greatest. All the Gospels recall the attitude of the disciples who want to be the greatest, and recall also the response of Jesus (Lk 9, 46-48; Mk 10, 41-45; Mt6 20, 24-28; Jn 13, 12-16) . All this indicates that they do not understand what is happening. Suffering was not in accordance with the idea that they had of the Messiah . The disciples, did not only not understand, but they continued to hold on to their personal ambitions. They did not understand the proposal of Jesus. They were concerned about their own interest. This reflects the clashes and the tensions which existed in the communities, in the time of Mark and which continue to exist even now in our communities.
• The response of Jesus: let it not be like that among you. Jesus reacts firmly and speaks about the exercise of power. At that time, those who held the power did not have any consideration for the people. They acted according to the way in which they thought they should (cf. Mk 6, 17-29). The Roman Empire controlled the world and had it submitted with the force of the arms and like this, through tributes, taxes and duties, succeeded in concentrating the wealth of the people in Rome. in the hands of a few. The society was characterized by the repressive and abusive exercise of power, but, in spite of that the great succeeded in making people call them benefactors. Jesus had another proposal. He says: “For you it will not be like that: but he who is the greatest among you should become like the smallest and the one who governs like the one who serves!” He teaches not to use the privileges, he is against rivalry. He inverts the system and insists on the service as a remedy against personal ambition.
• The summary of the life of Jesus. Jesus defines his mission and his life: “I have not come to be served but to serve!” He has come to give his own life for the salvation of many. He is the Messiah, the Servant, the announced by the Prophet Isaiah (cf. Is 42, 1-9; 49, 1-6; 50, 4-9; 52, 13-53, 12). He learnt from his Mother who says. “Behold the handmaid of the Lord!” (Lk 1, 38). A completely new proposal for the society of his time.
• You are those who have persevered with me in my trials. To follow Jesus means three things:
(a) To imitate the example of the Master: Jesus was the model to be recreated in the life of the disciple – man or woman (Jn 13, 13-15). Living together every day permitted a constant confrontation. In this “School of Jesus” only one subject was taught: The Kingdom! And this Kingdom was recognized in the life and in the practice of Jesus.
(b) To participate or share in the destiny of the Master. Those who followed Jesus had to commit themselves with him “to persevere with him in the trials” (Lk 22, 28), also in persecution (Jn 15, 20; Mt 10, 24-25). They should be ready to take up their cross and to die with him (Mk 8, 34-35; Jn 11, 16).
(c) To have the life of Jesus within ourselves. After the Passover, a third dimension: identification with Jesus, alive, living in the community. The first Christians sought to follow the path of Jesus who had died in defence of life and had risen by the power of God (Ph 3, 10-11). It is a question of the mystical dimension in the following of Jesus, the fruit of the Spirit: “I live, but it is no longer I who lives, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2, 20).

4) Personal questions

Jesus summarizes his life in this phrase: I have not come to be served but to serve. Can I also summarize my life in a similar phrase?
To follow Jesus, that is, to imitate his life, to persevere with him in trials, to bear within us his life. How do these three dimensions of the following of Jesus take place in me?

5) Concluding prayer

Even if great floods overflow,
they will never reach your faithful.
You are a refuge for me, you guard me in trouble,
with songs of deliverance you surround me. (Ps 32,6-7)

 
 
 
 
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Last revised: 14 January 2008