|A mosaic on a tomb in the central cemetery of Kufstein, Austria showing Christ as the Good Shepherd.|
Fourth Sunday of Easter, May 12, 2019
Steps to Lectio Divina
Start by using these steps to reflect on the Scripture verse. Then read my meditation slowly.
Lectio: Having asked for the grace to hear God's word, read the passage twice.
Meditatio: During the second reading, pause whenever so moved and reflect on a word, a sentence, or an image that strikes you.
Oratio: Speak directly to God, and open your reflection to Him.
Contemplatio: Listen contemplatively for any response God might choose to make. Remember that God responds to us at times with loving silence.
Paul and Barnabas continued on from Perga
and reached Antioch in Pisidia.
On the sabbath they entered the synagogue and took their seats.
Many Jews and worshipers who were converts to Judaism
followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them
and urged them to remain faithful to the grace of God.
On the following sabbath almost the whole city gathered
to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth.”
The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them,
and went to Iconium.
The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
Alleluia! Thanks be to God for it’s still Easter! And it’s still a season of rejoicing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ who came to call all to salvation, even to the ends of the earth. Then just as now, we are faced with two choices before us in response to Jesus: obedience fueled by love, or obstinance fueled by resentment.
Today we hear that in response to the Gospel the “Gentiles were delighted when they heard and glorified the word of the Lord.” This occurred while the Jews and others responded with persecution and even violence. That day some heard and rejoiced in the Lord while others responded by plotting against them. These who heard and recognized His voice responded with love. Yet some did not hear Him with gladness. Even now, some do not hear the voice of correction, the call to conversion, and the call to holiness with gladness but with resentment and hardness of heart.
Those of us who have been baptized share in the same mission to continue Christ's work to “be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.” To accomplish this mission in our hearts and in our lives, we need guidance. We need guidance not of human design but from Christ Himself, and we need to practice the virtue of obedience so that we may be unified in His mission.
Since our mission in Christ is to continue His work, we need guidance and unity in order to accomplish it. These same faithful (the baptized) have also been likened to sheep. As humbling as it is, we are ever in need of the Good Shepherd, who is Jesus. And knowing our need for this guidance, Jesus has entrusted this plentiful work, in a particular way, to His Apostles and their successors.
And so this weekend, we are especially asked to pray for vocations. Some surely are to marriage, but there are those among us called to love the Lord in a more singular way and to join in His work more intimately, be it through the priesthood or consecrated life. So I ask you to pray with me today that we as a Church will be more open to His voice. Pray with me that in hearing His voice we will rejoice and follow Him in all things.
Callie Nowlin, MTS, is the Director of Religious Education for Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Abbott and Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Penelope.
Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
Today we hear that in response to the Gospel the “Gentiles were delighted when they heard and glorified the word of the Lord.” This occurred while the Jews and others responded with persecution and even violence.