Prayer: – O Jesus, call me to a special goodness and help me to be a faithful disciple.

Imagination: – (Picture Jesus preaching to the disciples).

Matthew’s teachings are broken into five sections, (like the five books of Moses). The beatitudes are Jesus’ first major teaching. Matthew, seeing a decline in fervor in his church, sets a high level of morality. He calls this “the greater righteousness”. We will pray these beatitudes in 2 parts.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the mountain. After he sat down, his disciples gathered and he began to teach them.
Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the land.
Blessed are those who mourn; for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for holiness; they shall have their fill.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you).
1. Climbing the mountain and sitting down show the authority of Jesus in these teachings.
2. He teaches his disciples. They must know what is required of those seeking the Kingdom.
3. To be rich in the Kingdom, the disciples must be poor in their own spirit.
4. To gain everything, the disciples must not claim anything as their own.
5. To be comforted in a surprising way, they must be sorrowful when people do not accept the Kingdom.
6. To be made holy, they must hunger and thirst for Jesus’ new righteousness.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. O Jesus, use your authority. Establish your Kingdom in my heart.
2. Teach me, Jesus. I will listen attentively. I want to be your disciple.
3. To gain your Kingdom, I will leave everything behind.
4. If I claim nothing. You will give me every treasure of the Kingdom.
5. O Jesus, so many people reject you. What can I do to extend your Kingdom?
6. I want only to be close to you. What else should I seek? You are Jesus of Nazareth.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own)
1. I will say often, “Your Kingdom come.”
2. I will have only Jesus as my teacher.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
The disciples gathered around Jesus and he began to teach them.


Prayer: O Jesus, let me follow you to Jerusalem.

Imagination: – (Picture Jesus with his disciples and the Pharisees.)

Seemingly, the Pharisees are warning Jesus to leave Herod’s territory. Really, they want him to go to Jerusalem where they have more power. Jesus knows their plans and says that he will arrive in Jerusalem in time for his death.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
That same day, some Pharisees came and said to Jesus, “Depart from this place because Herod is thinking about killing you. Jesus replied, “Go and tell that fox that I cast out devils and heal today and tomorrow, and on the third day my purpose is accomplished.” Nevertheless, I must proceed on course, today and tomorrow and the following day, because no prophet can be allowed to die anywhere except in Jerusalem.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you. How often I would have gathered your children as a mother bird collects her young under her wing, and you refused me!
Your temple will be left abandoned and I say that you shall not see me until the time comes when you say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
1. Jesus, the man of peace, experiences hostility from every side
2. Jesus fears no one. He will continue his ministry until it is complete. Then he will leave.
3. He knows the Father’s plan. He can only die in Jerusalem.
4. Jesus loves Jerusalem. He weeps over the city. Shedding his blood will have little effect. Many will not believe.
5. He would save Jerusalem from the Roman destruction. Instead, their temple will be destroyed.
6. He will come again when Israel will believe in him as Lord.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. O Jesus, in the middle of my turmoil, fill me with your peace.
2. Let me be faithful to the work your Father has given to me.
3. O Jesus, you know the place and time of my death. Be with me in that moment.
4. You shed your blood for me. I will not let your sacrifice be in vain.
5. You would gather me in and protect me in your arms. Hold me, Jesus.
6. You are the King and you are coming again. I will await you.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. I will fulfill the task God gives me today.
2. I will ask Jesus to pour his blood upon me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
Jerusalem, Jerusalem. How I wanted to gather you like a mother hen gathers her young.


Prayer: – O Jesus, you are my Lord and Saviour

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

By this parable, Jesus confronts his hearers. They understand, all too well, what He means. He comes to their villages, preaches in their streets and eats with them. Yet, they do not accept his claims and cannot enter the Kingdom. Others, who never enjoyed the privilege of being near Jesus, will come from afar and enter the kingdom.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
A man asked Jesus, “Are there few who will be saved?” In response, Jesus said, “Strive to enter by the narrow gate. Many will seek to enter, but will not be able.”
When the master enters his house, he closes the door. Those outside knock at the door saying, “Lord, open for us.” The Master responds, “I do not know you nor where you are from.” They will say “We ate and drank with you. You taught in our streets.” He will repeat, “I do not know you or where you are from. Depart from me, you workers of evil.”
There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God but you are thrown out. They will come from East and West, North and South and sit down in the Kingdom of God. The last shall be first and the first will be last.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
1. The man has a serious question about the number to be saved.
2. Jesus responds that the gate is narrow and many will not be able to enter the Kingdom (an answer which all need to hear).
3. In fact, once the door is closed, no one can enter.
4. The people who were locked out had no significant relationship to the master.
5. They only “ate and drank” with Jesus and heard him “preach in their streets.”
6. They are strangers. The master doesn’t even know where they are from.
7. The consequences are stark. They are locked out while many from distant lands are inside.
8. They missed what they could have had so easily.

Affections: ((When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. O Jesus, I so much want to be saved.
2. Jesus, I will enter while the door is still open.
3. I will not stay outside, enjoying my false freedoms.
4. Jesus, my superficial religious practices are not enough.
5. Conform me to your image. Then, you will know me.
6. Your voice breaks through my deafness. Your light enters my darkness. You say,
“Come and know me.”
7. Someday, someday, Jesus, I will dine with you forever.

Resolution: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. I will never take my salvation for granted.
2. I will accept these warnings. They are needed helps for my salvation.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
They will come from East and West and North and South and sit down in the Kingdom.


Prayer: – O Jesus, plant your powerful Kingdom in my heart.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus preaching to the crowds)

These two little parables are excellent images of the reign of God. The mustard seed and the leaven are both small but powerful. As they are planted, people learn how forceful they are.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
Jesus asked, “What is the Kingdom of God like? What does it resemble?
It is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a great tree, so the birds of the air lodged in its branches.
Again he said, “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God? It is like yeast which a woman took and placed in three measures of flour until the whole mass of dough began to rise.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
1. These excellent images make the Kingdom of God easy to understand.
2. God places the Kingdom in the baptized like a farmer places the mustard seed in the ground.
3. The gigantic tree represents a symbol of the mature Christian.
4. The woman also knows the power of the yeast. She places it in the flour.
5. The whole mass of dough is expanded. The yeast changes everything. That is what the Kingdom does.
6. Jesus’ Kingdom seems so small, yet it totally changes people’s lives.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. Jesus, place your Kingdom in my heart.
2. Nothing is more real than your Kingdom. Thy Kingdom come!
3. What power your Kingdom has. It bestows eternal life!
4. O Jesus, Your Kingdom will change everything.
5. I will seek first the Kingdom of God.
6. By the power of your Kingdom, Jesus, all things are possible.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. I will place great faith in the power of God’s Kingdom.
2. I will allow God’s power to act within my heart.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation).
What does the Kingdom of God resemble? To what can I compare it?
It is like a mustard seed or like yeast.


Prayer: – Lord Jesus, if you choose me, I will serve you with all my heart.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples and the crowds.)

This text has 3 different scenes. First, Jesus is alone in prayer. Second, he is with his disciples. Third, he comes down the mountain and the crowds join him. Each scene has an important teaching.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).
Jesus went up the mountain to pray, spending the night in communion with God. At day break, he called his disciples and selected twelve of them to be his apostles. Simon, whom he called Peter, and his brother, Andrew, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James, the son of Alpheus, and Simon the Zealot, Jude, the brother of James and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
He came down to a level place where there were many disciples. A large crowd of people came to hear him and he healed them of their diseases. Also, those who were troubled by unclean spirits were cured. The whole crowd tried to touch him because power went out from him which cured all.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
6. Jesus was always in communion with his Father, but he climbed the mountain to spend hours in prayer.
7. His prayer helps him to he make a vital decision, choosing twelve disciples to be his inner circle of apostles.
8. At the lower level are more disciples and the crowds. These, too, will be blessed according to their capacity.
9. The crowds have heard the stories. Filled with enthusiasm, they bring their sick.
10. God’s power goes forth from Jesus’ humanity. Just touching him caused great healings.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
7. Jesus, teach me to pray. Give me the gift of communing with the Father.
8. Let all my decisions come from prayer.
9. Lord, call me to your side. Make me your special friend.
10. Jesus, speak to my heart. Make me attentive. I want to hear you.
11. I know all your healing stories, Jesus. I come to you in faith.
12. Let me touch you. That is enough. Power will go forth and I will be made new.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
3. I will make time for prayer today.
4. I will ask Jesus to give me tasks for his glory.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
Power went out from him which healed all.


Prayer: – O Lord, fill me with light that I would see my sinfulness.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples)

The two men both arrive at the hour of prayer (either 9:00AM or 3:00PM). Three aspects mark the Pharisee – his prominent position, the sins he has avoided and his good deeds which go beyond what is prescribed.
In contrast, the tax collector stands at a distance, is considered a robber (by respectable people) and recounts no good deeds. He strikes his heart (the source of all sin). His prayers and actions actually show a total helplessness of ever correcting his life. The parable is spoken to the religiously self-confident.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
Jesus spoke to those who trusted in themselves and despised others.
A Pharisee and a tax collector went up to the temple to pray. Standing, the Pharisee prayed, “I thank you, God, that I am not like the rest of men – greedy, dishonest and adulterers – as is this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give tithes on all that I possess.”
The tax collector stood afar off, not even raising his eyes to heaven. He struck his breast while saying, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”
I say to you that this tax collector returned to his home justified rather than the other.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
1. The parable has two scenes – one in the temple and one in heaven.
2. The temple scene is familiar, two men praying.
3. What happens in heaven, however, shocks his listeners. The tax collector is justified.
4. The Pharisee sets the stage for the tax collector. He is the one who has the correct attitude and prayer.
5. The tax collector is in total despair, locked into a disreputable lifestyle and, seemingly, has no ability to change.
6. Seemingly, he has no good resolutions.
7. However, he experiences the beginning step of conversion – a broken and contrite spirit.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. O God, I have absolutely nothing to offer you.
2. I have no spiritual strength, no good deeds and no resolutions.
3. Yet, I dare to enter your temple of prayer.
4. I offer you only one gift – an empty heart and a broken spirit.
5. But you accept this as the first steps on my new journey.
6. Your words encourage me, “This man went home justified.”
7. Your mercy is everywhere. Even I can hope.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. Even in my most sinful moments, I will turn to God for mercy.
2. I will never allow the candle of my hope to go out.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
This man went home justified, but the other did not.


Prayer: – O Lord Jesus, let me use this extra time to repent and receive the Kingdom.

Imagination: – (Picture Jesus speaking to the crowds.)

Although the judgment is inevitable, God marvelously extends the time for repentance. The Fig Tree parable teaches that in Palestine, the owner allowed three years for a fig tree to grow. In the parable, another three years has passed, a total of six years. The owner’s patience is past its limits, yet his mercy grants a stay of execution. When this extra year is over, no human power can prolong the time of salvation.
The fig tree absorbs large amounts of nourishment, thus depriving surrounding vines of their needed sustenance. Fertilizing a fig tree is highly unusual. This tree, therefore, will receive special, unmerited care.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
A man planted a fig tree in his vineyard and came to gather its fruit. He said to the gardener, “For three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and have found none. So, cut it down. Why should it continue to exhaust the soil?”
The gardener answered him, “Lord, let it alone for one year more. I will dig around it and put manure on it. Hopefully, it will bear fruit. If not, then you can cut it down.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
7. The vineyard represents all of creation. The fig tree is each person.
8. Three years represents a fullness of time, certainly enough for the fig tree to blossom.
9. The owner’s expectations are reasonable. A fig tree should produce figs.
10. His decision to cut down the tree is just. He has sought fruit for three years.
11. Even so, he will give the tree more time. It will even receive the special care of manure to nourish it.
12. However, even the farmer’s mercy cannot totally excuse the fig tree. It must respond to all these helps and produce life.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
6. God, you have given me so many graces and for such a long time.
7. You ask only that I produce virtues according to my state in life.
8. Jesus, how patient you have been with me. Year after year you came looking for virtues.
9. You give me your choicest graces, surrounding me with every possible help.
10. Jesus, I will delay no longer. I will choose a devout life and bring forth virtues.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
3. I will see all that God has provided.
4. I will no longer delay. I will no longer put off my decision. I know what God is calling me to do.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
“Lord, give it another year. If it bears no fruit, then cut it down.”


Prayer: – O Lord, do not let me lose the Kingdom.

Imagination: – (Picture Jesus teaching the crowds.)

This text has two parts. First, people should be able to see that the Kingdom is at hand. Second, the disciple must act now and accept the Kingdom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)
Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say that rain is coming and so it does. When you see the south wind blow you say that it will be hot and so it is. You, hypocrites, you know how to interpret the portents of earth and sky, why can you not discern this present time?
Tell me, why do you not judge for yourselves what is just. When you go with your opponent to the magistrate, try to settle with him on the way, lest he turn you over to the judge and the judge give you to the jailer and the jailer put you in jail. You will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
1. Jesus wants the crowds to become his disciples.
2. However, they see his miracles but hold back their decision. So Jesus uses an example.
3. Jesus talks about the western clouds and the southern winds. Seeing these, people understand that rain or heat is coming.
4. So, they are hypocrites. They see Jesus’ miracles but they refuse to see that the Kingdom is coming.
5. Jesus uses a more urgent example. Someone on his way to the courtroom knows he is going to jail. What does he do? He settles immediately, before he arrives.
6. Jesus is calling the crowds (and you) to a quick and total commitment to be a disciple.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. Jesus, You want me to be your disciple. I will put this off no longer.
2. Your Kingdom is at hand. I will no longer stand outside.
3. I see your love for me. I see your hand in my life. How can I not choose you as King?
4. How urgent this is, Jesus. Not much time is left. I must get this settled.
5. If I act quickly, I will avoid eternal death. I will be saved from the prison of hell.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own)
1. I will not postpone the decision I need to make.
2. I will not just be a member of the crowd. I will join Jesus as his disciple.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation.)
Why can you not discern the present time?


Prayer: – O Lord, I seek no sign or wonder. I seek only you.

Imagination: – (Picture Jesus speaking to the crowds.)

Although Jesus’ enemies asked for the sign, Jesus addresses this teaching to the crowds. He cites two Old Testament examples of foreigners having a change of heart. When Jonah preached in Nineveh (a perennial enemy of Israel) the people repented. When the Queen of Ethiopia came to see Solomon, she was totally impressed with his wisdom and the glory of the temple.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)
Jesus said to the crowd, “This is a wicked generation because it looks for a sign. No sign shall be given except the sign of Jonah, the prophet. As Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so shall the Son of Man be to this generation.
The Queen of the South shall rise in judgment upon the men of this generation and shall condemn them because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
At the judgment, the citizens of Nineveh will rise along with this generation and shall condemn it. At the preaching of Jonah they did penance, but you have a greater than Jonah here.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
1. People want signs to satisfy their intellect. Really, they should be surrendering their heart.
2. A sign satisfies curiosity. It does not get people to repent.
3. Jesus gives the whole world the greatest sign, his rising from the dead.
4. Jesus cites the Queen’s change of heart. She repented just by hearing Solomon speak. What is Solomon compared with Jesus?
5. The hated Ninevites repented when Jonah spoke. Who is Jonah compared to Jesus?
6. Jesus speaks about the most important moment of all. Every person in history will come before him in judgment.
7. On that day, the Queen and the Ninevites (both non-Jewish) will condemn those who did not repent.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. Jesus, give me no sign. Just give me yourself.
2. You are risen from the dead and I will rise with you. Alleluia!
3. Change my heart, Jesus. Turn me totally to Your way of life.
4. They repented when Jonah preached. I will repent at your word.
5. Send me your Spirit of repentance.
6. Only the moment of judgment is unchangeable. When I come to you after my death, let me be your friend.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own)
1. I will think today about this Sign of Jonah – the miracle of Jesus’ rising.
2. I will ponder Jesus’ claim that he is greater than all other teachers.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
A greater than Jonah or Solomon is here.


Prayer: – O Lord, let me serve you faithfully with a humble heart.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Jesus sees deeply into his disciples’ heart. He demands that they serve faithfully without any self-righteous feelings.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)
If a man has a servant who ploughs the field and feeds the cattle, will he say to him when he comes in from the field, “Sit down immediately for your supper?” Will the owner not say, “Prepare my supper first. Serve me, and I will eat and drink. Afterwards, you can eat and drink.”

Does he thank the servant for doing what he is commanded? Not at all. So, when you do all these things that are commanded, just say “We are unprofitable servants. We just do that which has to be done.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
1. The owner is not rich. He has just one servant who works both in the fields and in the house.
2. This servant is totally faithful. He does all his work in both places.
3. The servant has two responsibilities. Exteriorly, he must complete all his tasks. Interiorly, he must humble himself and think that he is “unprofitable.”
4. The servant has no faults. He must see his work as “doing what is commanded.”
5. No room for pride, even in a faithful servant.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. Help me, O Lord, to be your servant, faithful in the world and in my life of prayer.
2. Let me rejoice! To serve you is my greatest privilege.
3. When all is done, let me honestly say that my greatest efforts were very inadequate.
4. You are everything, O Jesus. You are the beginning and the end. Serving you is more a favor than a task.
5. My work is earthly. Your reward is heavenly. My labors will end. Your favors are forever.

Resolution: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. This day, I will be faithful to all of God’s interests.
2. At the end of the day, I will rightly call myself “an unprofitable servant.”

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
The servant, although totally faithful, did “only what was needed to be done.”