December/January 2021: Lectio Divina
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Peace to this house (Luke 10:5)
What the Word says in itself…
Jesus instructs the disciples in these words: ‘Whatever house you visit, say: “peace to this house”.’ Jesus describes God as a heart of ‘many mansions’ (John 14:2). There is room for an inclusive variety of people. Catholic means universal. No-one is excluded. There is room, welcome and space for all. St Luke is a non-Jew who was a physician and he responds to the Lord as follower, disciple and evangelist. Luke includes more miracle and healing stories in his gospel than any of the other gospel writers.
What the Word says to me/us.…
October is always associated with harvest festivals. Yet this past summer we saw the global environmental disasters affecting every continent. Floods, fires, warmer seas, polar ice caps crying out for peace in the ‘house’ of Planet Earth that we share as our common home with one another. Profit was the driving force that has resulted in a reckless and damaging legacy. The ‘house’ of our Planet Earth needs sustainability and survivability. If we do not reverse the present trend – we embark on a slow process of suicide.
What the Word leads me/us to say…
The recent Olympics saw Irish runners, riders, rowers and boxers competing so well. They relied on motivation exclusively in their pursuit of excellence. Sadly, this is not the ethos that drives all sport. Our Irish Olympians taught us a higher kind of glory: to play for themselves, for each other and for our country. In the bible ‘God’s Word is to be more desired than gold, than the purest of gold’ (Psalm 19:10).
Being transformed by the Word…
God created the house our world as a place of immense beauty, from the smallest flower to the most precious gems, full of colour and wonder. ‘In the beginning was the imagination of God’ is another translation of the Greek word logos for the Word. What a daring risk God took: ‘Let us make mankind in our image and likeness’ (Genesis 1:26). The French poet, Alfred de Vigny (1797-1863) said: ‘The true God, the mighty God is the God of ideas.’
Putting the Word into practice…
If ever we needed to exercise our imagination, it is now, with increasing pressures and stress in our lives due to the pandemic, dwindling congregations and fewer priests. We cannot be pessimistic or forget the power of the Holy Spirit which was seen in the Bible and Gospel in such an imaginative way: wind, fire, dove and many languages. That dynamic spirit still is with us. New problems are new opportunities. God’s Word houses an audacious imagination of endless possibilities for us. Let us display a new passion about the Good News of peace that we are called to share with the house of the world.
John Cullen is a priest of Elphin Diocese.
He serves as chaplain in the Nazareth Care Home in Hammersmith, London.
He is also the Catholic representative on an interfaith and inter denominational outreach project
that serves and engages with homeless people