LECTIO DIVINA: XXXI Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

1

Translated by Fray Dunstan Huberto Decena, OAR

Mt. 23:1-12

A. Invoking the Holy Spirit.

We invoke the Holy Spirit using the words of St. Augustine.

Come, Holy Spirit, by whom every devout soul, who believes in Christ, is sanctified to become a citizen of the City of God! (en. Ps. 45:8) Come, Holy Spirit, grant that we receive the motions of God, put in us your flame, enlighten us and raise us up to God. (s. 128,4). Amen.

B. Lectio.

With heart well disposed, with serenity, read slowly the following words, savoring them and allowing yourself to be touched by them.

Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.  They tie up heavy burdens [hard to carry] and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.  They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in market places, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’ As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called “Master’; you have but one master, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

C. Meditatio.

Let us now meditate with the commentary of St. Augustine on these words of the Gospel according to St. Matthew.

“Of the wicked, on the other hand, something else is said: The Scribes and Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses; do what they tell you, but do not imitate their works. You see how on the chair of Moses, to which the chair of Christ succeeded, the wicked also are seated; they harm their hearers by not saying good things. Why did you abandon this chair because of the wicked? Return to the peace, return to the harmony, that nothing may molest you. If I speak good things and I do the good, imitate me; but if what I speak I do not put into practice, you have the advice of the Lord: do what I say, but do not imitate what I do; but do not depart from the Catholic chair. This is the first thing I learnt in the Catholic Church: not to put my trust in man. Rightly do you reprove the men because you have put your hope in man. Thus whenever they reprove me, do not mind them. Well do I know what place I have in your heart, because I also know the place you occupy in mine. Do not fight for me against them. Whatever they may say about me, forget it immediately, lest by being preoccupied about my defense, you abandon your own (en. Ps. 36:3, 20).

St. Augustine also comments: “Do what they tell you, but do not do what they are doing. The fact that they say good things, and what they say the people would hear and usefully put into practice, it was not their work, because the Lord says: They are seated on the chair of Moses. By divine providence, preaching the Law of God, they can be useful for the hearers, though not for themselves. Regarding such persons, the prophet said in another place: You sow wheat and you harvest thorns, because they teach good things but do evil. Those who heard them and did what they said, were not harvesting grapes from thorns, rather they were harvesting grapes from the vine despite the thorns. It is like putting out one’s hand through a fence and harvest a bunch from the vine surrounded by a fence; this bunch is not fruit of the thorns but of the vine (s. dom. m. 2, 79).

D. Oratio.

With the text, let us now pray from the depths of our heart. I suggest the following phrases and questions that can awaken in you dialogue with God, and at the same time can give rise to affections and sentiments in your dialogue with God. Do not move to the next phrase or question if you can still continue dialoguing with God in one of them. It is not a matter of exhausting the list, but of helping you to pray with some points that better fit your personal experience.

a. “They do everything in order to be seen by the people” (Mt. 23:5).

  • With what intention do you perform your works of mercy and piety?
  • For you, how important is what people are saying about you?

b. “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself  shall be exalted” (Mt. 23:12).

  • What does this statement mean for you?
  • Why is humility important in your life?

c. Pray with this sentence: “Give me coherence between my life and my  works.

E. Contemplatio.

I propose to you some points for affective interior contemplation. Once again you need not follow all of it, rather you can choose what fits your personal experience.

a. Contemplate Christ humiliated in his Passion and Death on the Cross. On contemplating the Cross of Christ, learn humility, remembering the words of the Gospel: “he who exalts himself shall be humbled.”  Contemplate Christ on the Cross, be thankful for his love, learn of his humility and meekness. Contemplate and learn.

b. Contemplate your own heart and ask it for what motive it does the works of piety and charity. Contemplate the moments of prayer and ask your heart what is its intention. Contemplate the moments when you do works of charity, or you give help to some person, ask your heart for what do you do it. Ask God to purify your intentions and contemplate how the love that Christ puts into your heart should fill your works and your life. Contemplate and be thankful.

F. Communicatio.

Think of everything that you can share with those around you about the experience you had with God, especially about the coherence between your words and actions and of being humble. The following points can help you to share with your community the experience of the lectio divina on this text.

  • What have I discovered about God and about myself in this moment of prayer?
  • How can I apply this text of Scripture at this moment of my life? What light does it give me? What challenges does it put before me?
  • What concrete commitment does this text of Scripture ask of me in my spiritual life, in my community life?
  • What has been my predominant sentiment during this moment of prayer?

Final prayer of St. Augustine.

Turning towards the Lord:

Lord God, Father Almighty, with pure heart, as far as our littleness permits, allow us to give you our most devoted and sincere thanks, begging with all our strength from your particular goodness, that you deign to hear our petitions according to your goodwill, that by your power you may drive away the enemy from all our thoughts and actions; that you increase our faith, govern our mind and give us spiritual thoughts and bring us to your happiness, through your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, who with you lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen (en. Ps. 150:8).

“Where there is charity there is peace, and where there is humility there is charity” (ep. Io. tr. prol.).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Fray Dunstan Huberto Decena, OAR

Fray Hubert Dunstan Decena, OAR

Priest/Religious/Bible Professor of the Order of Augustinian Recollects in the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno.

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< 2020 >
November
SMTuWThFS
1
  • All day
    November 1, 2020

    ALL SAINTS’ DAY
    “The Solemnity of All Saints is ‘our’ feast not because we are good, but because the holiness of God touches our lives.” (Pope Francis)

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Marjorie Palacat, AR

2
  • All day
    November 2, 2020

    +ALL SOULS’ DAY

    As we prayerfully remember our beloved dead, we are reminded that eternal life “is not an unending succession of days, but an immersion of oneself in the ocean of infinite love, in which time, before and after, no longer exists.” (Pope Benedict XVI)

    Note: The customary celebration of the mass on this day at Himlayang Pilipino by the Recoletos Family members in Luzon is canceled. (cf. IATF Resolution No. 72, dated Sept. 17, 2020)

    NOTE: PLENARY INDULGENCE is extended beyond Nov. 1-8, 2020. Cf. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2020-10/decree-plenary-indulgence- faithful-departed-november.html

    BIRTHDAY
    Jovert Jimenez (RAY-Caidiocan)

3
  • All day
    November 3, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Lolita Esteves, AR

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (1971-2020)
    Fray Regino Bangcaya

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
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4
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5
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    (2000-2020)
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6
  • All day
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    COMMEMORATION OF THE DECEASED MEMBERS OF THE ORDER

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Leoncia Bandal, AR
    Sr. Rona Alaza, AR
    Sr. Liezl Palabrica, AR
    Jeaseamaine Genelaso (RAY-Provincialate)

7
  • All day
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    SOLEMN PROFESSION OF FRAY RAMON B. BITANCOR III, OAR
    Venue: OLCP Mira-Nila Homes, Quezon City Time: 10:00 A.M.

    BLD. GRATIA OF KOTOR, Religious (Patron of OAR Lay Collaborators)

    9th CATHOLIC SOCIAL MEDIA SUMMIT
    VISIT: https://catholicsocialmediasummit.com/

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8
  • All day
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    BIRTHDAY
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9
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
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10
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11
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    Sr. Christie Maquiling, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Fernanda Balaba, AR

12
  • All day
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Corazon Nartia, AR

13
  • All day
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    ST. AUGUSTINE’S 1,666th BIRTHDAY

    ALL SAINTS OF THE ORDER

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
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    Sr. Rechilda Llorando, AR

14
  • All day
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15
  • All day
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    Sr. Ma. Elisa Abellaniza, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Encarnacion del Santissimo Sacramento, AR
    Sr. Consolacion Salamanca, AR
    Sr. Ma. Belen Muñez, AR
    Sr. Juana Mirasol, AR

16
  • All day
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    Mass Presider: Archbp. Jose Palma, D.D.
    Live streaming at 4:00 P.M

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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
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17
  • All day
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    Live streaming @ 6:00 P.M.

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18
  • All day
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19
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    BIRTHDAY
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    Sr. Ma. Jeanne Partosa, AR
    Sr. Josephine Tanio, AR

20
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    50th ANNIVERSARY OF POPE PAUL VIs “DECRETUM LAUDIS” granted to the Congregation of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters
    Mass Presider: Bp. Broderick Pabillo, D.D.
    Time: 10:00 A.M.

    BIRTHDAY
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    Mo. Eufemia Lauzon, AR
    Rea Mae Avila (RAY-Provincialate)

    ANNIVERSARY OF SOLEMN PROFESSION
    (2001-2020)
    Mo. Ma. Emy Catalonia, OAR (Tangub Monastery)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Celestina de San Nicolas de Tolentino, AR

21
  • All day
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    Archbp. Peter Liu Cheng-chung (Diocese of Kaoshiung, Taiwan)

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (1998-2020)
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
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    Sr. Ma. Clara Flores, AR

22
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    SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Consejo de Santa Monica, AR
    Sr. Ma. Paulita Llacer, AR

23
  • All day
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    BIRTHDAY
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24
  • All day
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    BIRTHDAY
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    Sr. Fulgencia Relos, AR
    Sr. Cathryn Nove Vila, AR
    Sherwin Louie Laserna (RAY-Talisay)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Imelda Lachica, AR
    Sr. Mary Bernard Matanguihan, AR

25
  • All day
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
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    Sr. Francisca Abad, AR

2627
  • All day
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    Sr. Antonietta Castañares, AR
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28
  • All day
    November 28, 2020

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR THE MISSION (cf. LAMP I,5c)

    CONSISTORY FOR THE CREATION OF 13 NEW CARDINALS
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    Below 80:

    • Maltese Mario Grech (Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops)
    • Italian Marcello Semeraro (new Prefect for the Congregation of Saints’ Causes)
    • Archbishop of Kilgali, Rwanda, Antoine Kambanda
    •  Archbishop of Washington, United States, Wilton Gregory
    • Archbishop of Capiz, Philippines, Jose Fuerte Advincula
    •  Archbishop of Santiago, Chile, Celestino Aós Braco
    • Apostolic Vicar of Brunei, Cornelius Sim
    • Archbishop of Siena, Italia, Augusto Paolo Lojudice
    •  Italian Fr. Mauro Gambetti (Guardian of the Franciscan Sacro Convento in Assisi)

     

    Above 80:

    • Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, Archbishop Emeritus of San Cristóbal de Las Casas (Mexico)
    •  former Apostolic Nuncio Silvano Tomasi, former permanent observer at the United Nations in Geneva who then worked in the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development
    •  Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the Papal Household
    • Pastor of the Shrine of Divine Love, Msgr. Enrico Feroci

     

    XXII FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY of the PROVINCE OF ST. EZEKIEL MORENO (1998-2020)

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Eva Grace Cadungog, AR

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (2013-2020)
    Fray Jose Prudencio Castillo
    Fray Giovanni Gil Magbojos
    Fray Alexus Mansueto
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    9th ANNIVERSARY (2011-2020) OF ACCEPTANCE AS BROTHERS/SISTER GENERAL OF THE ORDER (OAR)
    Hon. Rufus Rodriguez
    Mr. Fulgencio Culaton
    Dr. Milagros Espina

29
  • All day
    November 29, 2020

    FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

    BIRTHDAY
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Ester Anacleto, AR

30
  • All day
    November 30, 2020

    ST. ANDREW, apostle

    Holiday: BONIFACIO DAY

     

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