Summary: Sunday, January 8-Friday, January 13, 2017
Scripture as validated by experience and experience as validated by Tradition are good scales for one’s spiritual worldview. (Sunday)
The Bible is the best book in the world and the worst book in the world. It is the worst when it is used for bullying and self-justification; it is the best when it is used for the healing of the world and for transformation of the self. (Monday)
Jesus taught us how to see, what to emphasize, and also what could be de-emphasized or ignored. Jesus himself is our hermeneutic! (Tuesday)
The very inclusion of the Hebrew Bible into the official canon of the Christian Bible is forever a standing statement about inclusivity. (Wednesday)
The genius of the biblical revelation is that we come to God through “the actual,” the here and now, or quite simply what is. (Thursday)
We have created an artificial divide or dualism between the spiritual and the so-called non-spiritual. This dualism is precisely what Jesus came to reveal as a lie. (Friday)
Practice: Lectio Divina
Jesus knows how to connect the dots and find out where the sacred text is truly heading, beyond the low-level consciousness of a particular moment, individual, or circumstance. He knows there is a bigger arc to the story—one that reveals a God that is compassionate and inclusive.
Jesus doesn’t quote lines that are punitive, imperialistic (“My country is the best!”), wrathful, or exclusionary. He does not mention the list of 28 “thou shall nots” in Leviticus 18 and 20, but chooses to echo the one positive command of Leviticus 19:18: “You must love your neighbor as yourself.”
The longest single passage he quotes (in Luke 4:18-19) is from Isaiah 61. Jesus closes with the words “proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,” deliberately omitting the next line—“and the day of vengeance of our God”—because he did not come here to announce vengeance.
This is what the Spirit teaches any faithful person to do—read Scripture (and the very experiences of life) with a gaze of love. Contemplative practice helps you develop a third eye that reads between the lines and finds the thread always moving toward inclusivity, mercy, and justice.
Lectio divina is a contemplative way to read short passages of sacred text and discover meaning deeper than the literal layer. With the first reading, listen with your heart’s ear for a phrase or word that stands out for you. During the second reading, reflect on what touches you, perhaps speaking that response aloud or writing in a journal. After reading the passage a third time, respond with a prayer or expression of what you have experienced and what it calls you to. Finally, rest in silence after a fourth reading.
I invite you to practice lectio divina with Jesus’ own reading of Scripture in the synagogue:
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the Sabbath day. And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 
Gateway to Silence:
Your word is a light for my path. —Psalms 119:105
 Luke 4:16-21, Revised Standard Version.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Hierarchy of Truths: Jesus’ Use of Scripture (CAC: 2014), CD, MP3 download.