LECTIO DIVINA: Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C
Lk. 12:32 – 40.
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, 40) Amen.
With heart well disposed, with serenity, read slowly the following words, savoring them and allowing yourself to be touched by them.
“Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” – “Gird your loins and light your lamps, and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
Let us now meditate with the commentary of St. Augustine on these words of the Gospel according to St. Luke.
On being in vigil and having the loins girt and the lamps lighted, St. Augustine makes this comment: “We shall have perfect peace when our nature is inseparably one with its Creator and there is no opposition in our interior. That is what Jesus wants us to understand, to my judgment, when he says: keep your loins girt and your lamps alight. What does it mean to ‘gird your loins’? Control the evil passions, that is proper to continence. What does ‘maintain your lamps alight’ mean? To shine and be enthusiastic in good works, which is proper to justice. And do not be silent about the purpose for which we must engage in such work, for he adds: and you shall be like those who await their Master when he comes home from the wedding. When he comes, he will reward us, because we controlled what carnality suggested to us and we did what charity required of us, so that in this way we may reign in his perfect and eternal peace, when we repair the evil without any opposition whatsoever and we rejoice in the good with full solace” (cont. 17).
And on the fact that the Lord makes the faithful servants recline at his table and serves them, St. Augustine sees in it a pre-figuration of the heavenly banquet and of eternal life with God: “The Lord himself says it to his servants: Amen, I say to you, he will make them recline at his table, he will pass and will serve them.” What does ‘to sit at table’ mean if not to be free of cares? What does ‘to sit at table’ mean if not to rest? And what does it mean ‘he will pass and serve them’? First, he passes and thus serves them. But where? In the heavenly banquet of which he says: Amen, I say to you, many will come from the east and from the west and will sit with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. He who feeds there is the Lord, but before that he had to pass by here. For you know that ‘Pasch’ means ‘transition’. The Lord came, did divine works, suffered human torments. Is he still spat upon? Is he still slapped? Is he still crowned with thorns, scourged, crucified, or is he still pierced with a lance? He has passed. Finally, the Gospel also speaks in this way, concerning the Pasch celebrated with the disciples. What does the Gospel say? ‘Jesus has arrived at the hour of passing from this world to the Father.’ Therefore, he has passed to feed us; let us follow him that he may feed us” (s. 103, 6).
With the text, let us 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. “Be prepared and have your lamps alight” (Lk, 12:35)
- St. Augustine comments: “What does ‘Gird your loins’ mean? Control your evil passions, which is proper to continence” (cont. 17).
How do you apply this to your life?
- What do you think of the words of St. Augustine: What does ‘keep your lamps alight’ mean? To shine and be enthusiastic of good works” (cont. 17).
b. “I assure you that he will let them recline at table and will himself serve them” (Lk. 12:37).
- What is the importance of eternal life for you?
- To what does this commentary of St. Augustine invite you: What does ‘to recline at table’ mean but to be free of cares? What does ‘to recline at table’ mean but to rest?” (s. 103, 6)
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 how your life is in the hands of God, who invites you to have no fear, that you abandon yourself in his hands. Contemplate how God accepts you, and trust fully in him. Live this moment of contemplation from surrender and trust.
b. Contemplate how your life is having the lamp burning to go out to meet Christ. Contemplate your lamp, the light that it has. Contemplate if it needs more oil, that is the love of God, and beg him at this moment of prayer to give you the oil of love and perseverance that you may always have your lamp burning and be ready to go out to meet the Lord.
Think of everything that you can share with those around you about the experience you had with God, especially as regards your trust in God and of being in vigil waiting for Christ. The following points can help you share with your community the experience of the lectio divina on the 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 dominant sentiment during this moment of prayer?
G. Final Reflection of St. Augustine.
“He is the font, we are the receptacles; he is the day, we the lamps. Great is the weakness of men. Using the lamp, they seek the day” (s. 289, 5).
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, God forever and ever. Amen (en. Ps. 150:8). +