Lectio Divina. Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Author: Order of Carmlites | Source: www.ocarm.org
1) Opening Prayer
guide and protector of your people,
grant us an unfailing respect for your name,
and keep us always in your love.
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 - Matthew 7,1-5
Jesus said to his disciples: 'Do not judge, and you will not be judged; because the judgements you give are the judgements you will get, and the standard you use will be the standard used for you. Why do you observe the splinter in your brother's eye and never notice the great log in your own? And how dare you say to your brother, "Let me take that splinter out of your eye," when, look, there is a great log in your own? Hypocrite! Take the log out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take the splinter out of your brother's eye.'
• In today’s Gospel we continue to meditate on the Sermon on the Mountain found in chapters 5 to 7 of the Gospel of Matthew. During the 10th and 11th week we have seen chapters 5 and 6. Beginning today, we will see chapter 7. These three chapters, 5, 6, and 7 offer an idea of how the catechesis was done in the communities of the converted Jews in the second half of the first century in Galilee and in Syria. Matthew unites and organizes the words of Jesus to teach how the new way of living the Law of God should be.
• After having explained how to re-establish justice (Mt 5, 17 a 6, 18) and how to restore the order of creation (Mt 6, 19-34), Jesus teaches how the life in community should be (Mt 7, 1-12). At the end he presents some recommendations and final advice (Mt 7, 13-27). Then follows an outline of the entire Sermon on the Mountain:
Matthew 5, 1-12: The Beatitudes: solemn openness of the New Law.
Matthew 5, 13-16: The new presence in the world: Salt of the earth and light of the world.
Matthew 5, 17-19: The new practice of justice: relationship with the ancient law. Matthew 5, 20-48: The new practice of justice: observing the new law.
Matthew 6, 1-4: The new practice of the works of piety: alms giving.
Matthew 6, 5-15: The new practice of the works of piety: prayer.
Matthew 6, 16-18: The new practice of the works of piety: fasting.
Matthew 6, 19-21: The new relationship to material goods: do not store up.
Matthew 6, 22-23: The new relationship to material goods: a correct vision.
Matthew 6, 24: The new relationship to material goods: God or money.
Matthew 6, 25-34: The new relationship to material goods: trust in Providence
Matthew 7, 1-5: The new community life together: do not judge.
Matthew 7, 6: The new community life together: do not despise the community
Matthew 7, 7-11: The new community life: trust in God produces sharing
Matthew 7, 12: The new community life together: the Golden Rule
Matthew 7, 13-14: Final recommendations to choose the sure way.
Matthew 7, 15-20: Final recommendations, the prophet is known by his fruits.
Matthew 7, 21-23: Final recommendations not only speak but also practice.
Matthew 7, 24-27: Final recommendations, construct the house on rock
The community lived experience of the Gospel (Mt 7, 1-12) is the touchstone. It is where the seriousness of the commitment is defined. The new proposal of life in community embraces diverse aspects: do not observe the sprinter in your brother’s eye (Mt 7, 1-5), do not throw your pearls in front of pigs (Mt 7,6), do not be afraid to ask God for things (Mt 7,7-11). These advices reach their summit in the Golden Rule: Always treat others as you would like them to treat you (Mt 7, 12). The Gospel of today presents the first part: Matthew 7, 1-5.
• Matthew 7, 1-2: Do not judge and you will not be judged. The first condition for a good life together in community is not to judge the brother or the sister, that is, to eliminate the preconceptions which prevent a transparent community life. What does this mean concretely? John’s Gospel gives an example of how Jesus lived in community with the disciples. Jesus says: “I shall no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know the master’s business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father” (Jn 15, 15). Jesus is an open book for his companions. This transparency comes from his total trust in the brothers and sisters and has its origin in his intimacy with the Father who gives him the force of opening himself up totally to others. Anyone who lives in this way with his brothers and sisters accepts others as they are, without any preconceptions, without previously imposing any conditions, without judging. Mutual acceptance without any pretension and with total transparency! This is the ideal of the new community life, which has come from the Good News which Jesus has brought to us: God is Father and Mother and,
therefore, we are all brothers and sisters. It is a difficult ideal but a very beautiful and attractive as the other one: “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.
• Matthew 7. 3-5: You observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the great log in your own. Immediately Jesus gives an example: Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye, and never notice the great log in your own? And how dare you say to your brother, ‘Let me take that splinter out of your eye, when look, there is a great log in your own? Hypocrite! Take the log out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye”. When hearing this phrase we usually think of the Pharisees who despised the people, considering them ignorant and they considered themselves better than others (cf. Jn 7, 49; 9, 34). In reality, the phrase of Jesus serves for all of us. For example, today many of us Catholics are less faithful to the Gospel than the non-Catholics. We observe the splinter in the eye of our brothers and we do not see the big log of collective powerful pride in our own eyes. This log causes many persons today to have much difficulty to believe in the Good News of Jesus.
4) Personal Questions
• Do not judge others and eliminate all preconceptions: which is my personal experience on this point?
• Splinter and log: which is the log in me which makes it difficult for me to participate in the life of the family and in community?
5) Concluding Prayer
Your kindnesses to me are countless, Yahweh;
true to your judgements,
give me life. (Ps 119,156)