Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Psalm 23:1-6 Jesus, the Shepherd

Wednesday of the First Week of Advent
(Click here for readings)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.”

Jesus, the great Messiah that mankind had waited for, does not set out to make a great fortune. He does not seek power among the people. He does not even write anything for posterity. While men like the Caesars, the family of Herod, or poets like Vergil and Horace all seek to win fame among the known world, Jesus leads a deliberately obscure life. Despite His miracles, His wisdom, His resurrection, Jesus Himself effectively hides his own divine nature from the world, only revealing this truth to a few disciples. Furthermore, He chooses the most average men to share His gospel with world, some uneducated, some insecure, and some temperamental.

Far from imitating the opulence and splendor of Emperor Augustus, or King Solomon for that matter, Jesus manifests the simplicity and humility of shepherd. He works outside, beside the “restful water” of the Sea Galilee, with the lowly, not in the city filled with the rich and powerful. He ministers to “the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others.” He cures them of their sickness, and they give thanks to God. In giving thanks the souls of these afflicted are refreshed; thus, Jesus' miracles offer life in more ways than one. The spiritual life opens up for these common people; “the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is woven over all nations” breaks apart.

Jesus achieves this opening through His divine love, and invites those who receive His love to go and do likewise. He does not descend on the people like the god-kings of the Ancient World even though He has every right to do so. He could have these newly mended people build great monuments for Him like Ramses, or overthrow the ruling party for Him like Julius Caesar, or subjugate the known world for Him like Mohammed. He could have enslaved these people and kept them in the dark; they would have welcomed it. Instead, He leads them out of the darkness of idols, conquest, and heresy. His “rod and staff” give them courage because He assures the people, His sheep, of their value.

Leading His people out of the darkness, He brings them to the table. After curing the people, Jesus feeds them; and in feeding them, He feeds the world because His disciples now know what it means to share the gospel: it is not a matter of sharing a message to the uninitiated, but of sharing everything that makes humanity possible. These common people can sit and eat around Jesus in the sight of the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Romans, the very enemies of compassion, of honesty, and holiness. This latter group rules humanity by depriving humanity, yet Jesus and His followers demonstrate the opposite. Their humanity, His in giving, theirs in accepting, ennobles them and creates an abundance: “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”

Finally, Jesus the Good Shepherd brings His sheep home. The miraculous healing and the miraculous multiplication of loaves all foreshadow something greater, something that “follows [them] all the days of [their] life.” The miracles symbolize the eternal “house of the Lord,” Jesus' Own house, Heaven. They happen in time while their meaning points to eternity. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, gives of Himself only to give even more: He gives life to the sick, only to give eternal life to the healthy; He gives food to the hungry, only to give eternal food to the filled; He sits and preaches to the ignorant, only to sit and preach to the wise in heaven. He sustains his sheep for the journey, so they can enjoy unending sustenance in the presence of His Father.

Jesus is the Son of God. He is Our Elder Brother. He is Our Lord and Shepherd. We are adopted children of God. We are His little siblings. We are His disciples, His sheep. He will serve us and keep us safe, as long as we listen to Him and follow. Because our faith is really this simple, we must cease to be so complex. Let the rest of the world stew in complexity. Our Lord calls us to simplicity and obedience, and we should respond by joining His flock. By doing this, we may finally recognize Jesus as our Guide, and enter His House at the end of our lives.

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