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Matthew 8 bears witness to a series of extraordinary encounters where Jesus demonstrates his unparalleled power, compassion and authority, revealing to us the transformative impact of faith.

Lectio Divina Matthew 8:1-4

Visio DivinaOrange Marilyn

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Bible project: MATTHEW

Matthew 8

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THE BIBLE PROJECT: BOOK OF MATTHEWMatthew’s Gospel was written to show that Jesus isn’t just another prophet or king. He’s the ultimate prophet-priest-king that the people had been waiting for. Jesus fulfilled everything that Moses foreshadowed, and he is the King who was promised to rescue Israel. Jesus is the one who restores humanity to the garden and God’s presence. And even more, Jesus is God with us. He is the place where Heaven and Earth overlap permanently. One of the many ways Matthew shared this truth was by recounting Jesus’ baptism. Baptism is the reenactment of what it means to be rescued through waters of death in order to enter a new creation life. The practice of baptism is seen all throughout the story of the Bible, so when Jesus comes to be baptized, many of the baptismal events from the Hebrew Bible are alluded to and find their ultimate significance in this important scene. Jesus’ baptism is the beginning of a new creation. He is the ultimate Noah’s ark where we can be saved and start again. He is the new Moses who rescued us from slavery and into freedom. He is the new Joshua who we can follow into God’s promises. All that Jesus did when he underwent the violent flood of chaos in his crucifixion made a way for everyone who trusts in him to enter the new creation life that he offers. He is where life can flourish and God’s pleasure rests.

GUIDED LECTIO DIVINA The practice of Lectio Divina is based on the belief that Christ is truly present in Scripture and that the reading of Scripture allows God to speak to us. The phrase Lectio Divina means “divine reading” in Latin and is a fitting name for this prayer practice of listening to Scripture with the ear of the heart. The traditional monastic practice includes scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God's word. In the view of one commentator, it does not treat Scripture as texts to be studied, but as the living word. 1) Opening prayer Father,guide and protector of Your people,grant us an unfailing respect for Your name,and keep us always in Your love.We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 8:1-4 After Jesus had come down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him. Suddenly a man with a virulent skin-disease came up and bowed low in front of Him, saying, 'Lord, if You are willing, You can cleanse me.' Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him saying, 'I am willing. Be cleansed.' And his skin-disease was cleansed at once. Then Jesus said to him, 'Mind you tell no one, but go and show yourself to the priest and make the offering prescribed by Moses, as evidence to them.' 3) Personal questions • In the name of the Law of God, the lepers were excluded and they could not live with others. In our Church are there norms and customs which are not written and marginalize persons and exclude them from living together with others and from communion? Do you know any such persons? What is your opinion concerning this?• Jesus had the courage to touch the leper. Would you have this courage? 4) Concluding Prayer I will bless Yahweh at all times,His praise continually on my lips.I will praise Yahweh from my heart;let the humble hear and rejoice. (Ps 34:1-2) This Lectio was directly taken from the Lectio Divina collection for the Catholic Order of the Carmelites.

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Matthew 8:28-34 When Jesus reached the country of the Gadarenes on the other side of the lake, two demoniacs came towards him out of the tombs – creatures so fierce that no one could pass that way. They stood there shouting, 'What do you want with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before the time?' Now some distance away there was a large herd of pigs feeding, and the devils pleaded with Jesus, 'If you cast us out, send us into the herd of pigs.' And he said to them, 'Go then', and they came out and made for the pigs; and at that the whole herd charged down the cliff into the lake and perished in the water. The swineherds ran off and made for the town, where they told the whole story, including what had happened to the demoniacs. At this the whole town set out to meet Jesus; and as soon as they saw him they implored him to leave the neighbourhood. Visio Divina is translated from Latin as “divine seeing.” It is related to the prayer form Lectio Divina (divine reading). But instead of Scripture, this form of prayer uses visual elements to help set your mind on prayer. It allows God to speak into your heart through the image. You are invited to experience this image below through Visio Divina. You can also continue on to read a devotional related to the passage of scripture and piece of art. Visio Divina Questions: What thoughts or feelings does this image evoke? Is there something God wants you to see? To hear? What kind of prayer rises within you as you ponder this work? Go ahead and express that to God now. Orange Marilyn,Painted by Andy Warhol (1928-1987),Painted in 1962,synthetic polymer and silkscreen inks on canvas© Christie’s New York, 15 November 2006, lot 32, sold $16 million "Today's Gospel story of the Gadarene swine has led to the use of the adjective 'gadarene' to describe anything that moves rapidly and without control, headlong, without direction. It would be easy to apply this adjective to certain aspects of contemporary culture. I think our celebrity culture is certainly one of them. It moves towards an undefined goal, uncontrolled, without direction, and yet so many people are completely taken in by it. There is a good side to this, as I think all of us are curious to know how someone has made it to be successful, what has driven them, how hard they had to work for their success, what their struggles have been, etc… We can all identify somehow with them, and yet their success can make us overly admire them. This high volume and intense fascination with celebrity can be dangerous." READ MORE ABOUT THIS PIECE OF ART.

1. What stood out to you this week?2. Was there anything confusing or troubling?3. Did anything make you feel differently about God?4. How might this change the way you live?

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