Jesus says stop murmuring


Sunday, August 12th,  2012, is the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B.  

Lectio:  Read the Gospel text from John 6:41-51

Read it slowly and reflectively, and maybe a second time.  Try to read aloud rather than with the mind.  Listen to the text as you read.

Meditatio:  What is it about?   Some background so that we can better understand the text and make our response to it.

This text is about the origins of Jesus.

But firstly, the Jews are “murmuring”.  In the Greek New Testament we know that this word means “to utter secret and sullen discontent”.  It is done in an underhand way, behind the hand, behind one’s back.  It is meant to undermine someone – in this case, Jesus.  Old Testament examples of murmuring are:  Exodus 15:24; Exodus 16:2, 7, and 12.  (In these cases - more “complaining” than “murmuring”).

Jesus commands the Jews to stop murmuring, and then there follows a series of sayings which “encapsulate the Johannine theology of belief.”  (cf.  NJBC  61:95).

Only those drawn by God believe in Jesus.

God is responsible for the faith of those who believe in Jesus.

One cannot be taught by God apart from hearing and believing the word of Jesus.

It is all about Divine Mystery.

Ponder over the text for some hours or days.  Different words, motifs, themes, images will come to you.  Stay with them.

Listen to the Holy Spirit playing like a harpist on the fibres of your heart, to bring forth melody of your response.

I share my response in Evangelisatio No. 1

EVANGELIZATIO:  My lived response to the texts with which the Church exhorts me to pray.  St. James says “Be doers of the Word.”  And the Book of Deuteronomy tells us that the Word of God is in our hands to do it. 

I am privileged to have made more than one Retreat on John’s Gospel, and I well know that this particular passage is about the Mystery of being drawn.  It is about being touched and drawn into something deeper than consciousness.  Unless one is in the realm of faith, there is no way one can embrace the text.  One must stand before the Mystery of the Eucharist once again, and make one’s act of faith, as one is drawn into the depths of Divine Presence.  We stand before “pure gift”, universal salvation.

Lectio Divina is about reading the Sacred Scriptures, reflecting on the them from an informed background.  It is allowing the Holy Spirit to play on the fibres of my heart, like a harpist, and bring forth the beauty of my response.  In responding to the text, my life is changed more and more into Christ.

– Sr Hildegard Ryan OSB is based at Jamberoo Abbey