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Gospel Lectio Divina for the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time - June 18, 2023

Gospel Lectio Divina for the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time - June 18, 2023

By David Kilby

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

READ

Matthew 10:26-33

"So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

MEDITATE

What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops.

Pray in private, but evangelize in public. Get charged up by prayer, then go take on the battles in the world. I understand it can be powerful to pray in public, but prayer’s real power is a secret weapon. Praying alone or in silence gives me peace that nothing else can give. It opens up the big picture like a cross-country flight. It lets me not sweat the little things, and focus on God–the greatest good. It’s tough to focus in this way when other people are around, anyway. 

That is why lectio divina is so important. Here we can listen more closely to what God whispers to us in the dark, so we can go forth into our daily lives with the confidence that he is by our side. By meditating on his words, praying, and listening, God gives us our mission for the day. We can best hear what he has planned for us when there are no distractions. 

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will.

God is the greatest investor of all time. He values all of his creations. He created everything knowing perfectly well that death would enter the world, and that we would have to endure many evils. Yet, he still created everything anyway. Why? Because he knew the good that would result from him creating everything would be far greater than the evil. He knew all the life that would be created would be far greater than all the death. Christ even sacrificed himself, paying the highest price one could pay, knowing full well that the return–the salvation of our souls–would be worth more than the sacrifice. 

What does all of this have to do with this verse? Christ is highlighting the value of something simple–sparrows–to simplify a grand concept. He doesn’t want us to worry because he has it all under control. He has counted the cost of everything, even each sparrow that is bought and each sparrow that dies. Even when a sparrow dies, God counts it as a loss. But he has done the math. Despite all of the losses he has taken since the beginning of time, despite all of the death and evil that has occurred, goodness will still win–goodness will still come out on top. The investment in creation still ends up being a net positive because life and goodness are worth much more than death and evil.

So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Jesus speaks so tangibly about our relationship with him and his Father. Where is all of this acknowledging and denying going on anyway? Christ is speaking about something that could be very abstract at times, but he speaks of it as if there are actual conversations going on where God may acknowledge us or deny us. How do we experience these acknowledgments and denials from God? Have you witnessed them? Have I? I don’t know. Maybe. Sometimes I feel like an outsider in my parish community. Sometimes I feel like an insider. Sometimes I feel like a little bit of both. In any case, though, it is always a very tangible experience. It is also mostly internal. When I am praying more, I sense God’s presence more. I see his works in my life and the lives of others. When I pray less, I do not sense this presence. Everything seems arbitrary and vain. I am then disconnected from truth, goodness, and beauty. When I acknowledge God before others, he connects me with that same truth, goodness, and beauty that illuminates my thoughts–and it’s like a constantly flowing river or well so deep that I feel I could wade in it for as long as I want, or dive as deep as my heart desires. I think this is what he means. It is not a tit-for-tat reaction to our denial of him or a return of favor for our acknowledgment of him. It’s just the natural result of our close-mindedness to him or our openness to his grace. When we acknowledge him, he opens up the floodgates of everything he can offer us. When we deny him, in acknowledgment of our own decision to keep those floodgates shut, he keeps them shut. So why not open those floodgates by acknowledging him?

PRAY

Dear Lord,

Here I am before you, often questioning the meaning of everything. But you have it all figured out. You teach us not to worry, and to see the immense value in every day, every moment. This, ultimately, is the gospel message you want us to share with the world. Like Fulton Sheen said, life is worth living despite all of the suffering, evil and death. I should shout from the rooftops the beautiful truths you reveal to me in prayer. I should thank you every day for revealing to me the mysteries of life that make it worth living. My prayer is that you keep all of that truth, goodness, and beauty ever present to me, to give me a great reason to continue to evangelize everywhere I go in every way that I can. In Jesus’ name, help me to see your will in my life. Amen. 

LISTEN

It is essential to begin and end lectio divina with God’s voice. We start with his words from Scripture, and then we end by listening to how that word specifically applies to our lives. How is God speaking to you through this Gospel right now? What has he whispered to you in the dark, in the quiet of your heart when you were all alone? This is the power of his voice. He can use the same words to say something different to each of us. 

Kilby is a freelance writer from New Jersey and managing editor of Catholic World Report.  He received his undergrad degree in humanities and Catholic culture from the Franciscan University of Steubenville. In addition to working with the Knights of the Holy Eucharist (knights.org), he has served as a journalist for Princeton Packet Publications, and the Trenton Monitor, the magazine for the Diocese of Trenton. Some of his published work can also be found in St. Anthony Messenger, Catholic Herald (UK), and Catholic World Report. For the latter he is managing editor. Find more of his writing at ramblingspirit.com.

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