I have a small group of women that I try to get together with once a month to pray using lectio divina and the Gospel reading for the upcoming Sunday. We have actually not been able to meet for the last few months so I have not been doing this as regularly as I should. They help keep me accountable! So it’s really nice to be able to do it on occasion here on the blog.
I hope you’ll join me today and spend some time in preparation for this coming Sunday. Lectio divina is a perfect way to enter into the Gospels and spend some time in prayer with them, not just reading the passage, but really praying with it and listening to what God wants you to hear.
This Sunday is Good Shepherd Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Easter. The Gospel passage can be found on the USCCB website. Be sure to have it in front of you as you follow along through the rest of this post. For a brief review of the lectio divina steps, I recommend this brief explanation from the Archabbey of St. Meinrad.
- By name
- I am the gate
- Have life
REFLECT: What is God saying to you?
A few months ago I was assisting in a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd class and the lesson was on this passage from the Gospel of John. The kids we have in the class are between the ages of 3 and 6, but we only have 6 kids total. When I read this passage I was taken back to that lesson and watching the kids playing with the mini sheep, shepherd, and sheepfold that were on the table. The teacher also asked them all to be sheep and picked one person to be the shepherd. The shepherd was asked to call the sheep by name and the kids responded appropriately. They mostly enjoyed the opportunity to run around a little bit and take turns being “in charge.” But one thing I took away from watching these little people quickly respond to the “shepherd” calling their name was how they responded immediately and joyfully. The joy and the quickness of their trust is inspiring for us adults who often are jaded by life and are more cautious with our trust in others. To watch these littles ones respond to hearing their names got me thinking and those thoughts came back when I opened to this passage on Monday night.
The idea that Jesus calls me by name is mind-blowing. I may be one little sheep out of literally billions, but he will still call me by name. How do I or will I respond? Do I follow with the trust and joy of those small children in our CGS class? In John’s Gospel Jesus tells us that the sheep follow “because they recognize his voice.” I want to follow Jesus but the only way to do so is by regular prayer and listening for his will. I won’t recognize his voice unless I’m already used to hearing it.
One other note, Good Shepherd Sunday is also the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Please pray this Sunday (and every day, for that matter) for more vocations in your diocese and the Church overall, specifically vocations to the priesthood and religious life. There are prayers available on the World Day of Prayer for Vocations website and from the USCCB.
RESPOND: What do you want to say to God?
Dear Jesus, I pray that I will hear your voice and recognize it so as to properly discern your will for me and my family. May my prayer always be fruitful so as to always recognize your voice. I pray, too, for those sheep who have lost their way that they may open themselves up to hearing your voice so they may once again follow you.
O Lord, I pray that more young men will listen for your voice and recognize and respond to the call to help lead your flocks. May many young men and women also respond to your call to enter religious life.
Read the passage one final time and spend a few moments in quiet contemplation, rest in the words of the Gospel.
What do you feel God is saying to you in this passage? How would you respond to him? Share your thoughts in the comments.