This coming Sunday’s Gospel reading is a familiar story. One of the things I most like about lectio divina is the chance to read and pray with a familiar passage and see it with new eyes. This comes from not just the act of reading for understanding, but from praying with it and listening to God’s voice. Join me in your preparation for this coming Sunday and pray along with the Gospel.
This Sunday’s passage is from the Gospel according to St. Luke, 17:11-19. I encourage you to pull it up and read it along with my reflections below. For a brief introduction to lectio divina, check out this page from St. Meinrad Archabbey.
Read the Gospel passage slowly and write down or hold in your mind one or two words or phrases that stick out to you as you read. After you are done reading, say the word or phrase out loud to yourself and reflect on it. Do it again for other words or phrases that remained with you.
For me: pity, cleansed, a Samaritan.
After a few quiet moments, read the passage a second time.
REFLECT: What is God saying to you?
Reflecting on the words that caught my attention at first, I realized that my focus was mostly on the lepers and their healing. In reading this passage a second time I was more drawn to the leper who came back to praise and glorify Jesus, and especially Jesus’ own words. I found it interesting that Jesus was gratified by the Samaritan leper coming back to thank him. He was also mystified, and likely disappointed, that the other nine did not come back to show their gratitude. I think sometimes we humans underestimate the importance of showing our gratitude to others, most importantly to Jesus.
I think one thing God is telling me here is that a simple “thank you” or any act of gratitude is always appreciated, even by God himself.
I have three small children and I know I get irritated when they fail to say “thank you.” They are still in varying stages of learning manners, so it is a continual work in progress. And when they do say it, with no prompting, it totally warms my heart.
Just think of how special a “thank you” for our everyday blessings is to God. Even more so, those unexpected blessings, healings, or answers to long-desired prayers.
Reflect yourself on what you read. Once done, read the passage a third time before moving on.
RESPOND: What do you want to say to God?
I feel that I often begin my prayer time with a prayer of thanksgiving (I hope!). But maybe this is too general. Further, maybe I am waiting too long. I know I would rather be thanked right away for something I did for someone, not the next day or the next week (unless we’re talking like a written thank you, obviously that would take extra time). Generally, though, hearing a thank you in the moment is definitely preferred. I suppose, then, that I need to get better at showing my gratitude to God in the moment. No waiting, just stop and do it. There is no reason why I can’t stop and take two seconds to thank God for the blessing of running water while I am in the shower or washing dishes. How about for the roof over my head when it is raining outside, or the food on our table at each meal? Here’s a good one, stop and thank God for the gift of your children whenever they are acting their worst. There are a multitude of things I can thank God for throughout my day.
Thank you, God, for all my many blessings, especially for the gift to read, reflect, and understand your Word and for the amazing gift of social media to share your Gospel far and wide. Lord God, I hope to work on having a more grateful heart and attitude at all times.
What do YOU want to say to God? Respond to God in your own way.
Finally, read the Gospel passage a fourth and final time. This time just rest with the Word.
Share in the comments, what do you feel God is saying to you in this passage? How would you respond to him? You can also join the conversation on the Catholic Sistas’ Instagram account, but I’d love to hear your thoughts here too.
Kerri Baunach is a Catholic wife and mother of three boys (plus three in heaven). She and her family live in beautiful central Kentucky where she is active in her church, a member of Cursillo, and a Benedictine Oblate. Kerri often writes on her Catholic faith, pregnancy loss, her kids, and pro-life issues. Kerri is a former music librarian (16 years) now stay-at-home mom, was a musician for over 20 years, loves taking her kids to the library (and loves that they love it), is passionately pro-life, can’t cook, and has lived in six states. In additional to writing at Catholic Sistas you can also find Kerri on her own blog at Journal of a Nobody.