JANUARY 15, 2016 – FIRST WEEK – FRIDAY – THE PARALYZED MAN

(Mark 2:1-12)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Give me friends with great faith.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus healing the paralyzed man.)

Context:

The next five stories contain controversies which allow Jesus to make a solemn pronouncement (the high point of each story). This reveals Jesus’ prerogatives. In this story, Jesus proclaims that he has the power to forgive sins.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus was at Capernaum, a crowd gathered around the house. Four men arrived, carrying a paralyzed man. Because of the crowd, they could not get him to Jesus. So, they uncovered the roof and lowered the man to Jesus. Seeing how much faith they had, Jesus said, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Some thought, “This is blasphemy. Only God can forgive sins.” Jesus asked them, “Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’, or ‘arise and walk’? “ So that you may know that I have the power to forgive sins, I say, “Arise, take up your bed and walk.”

He got up, took his bed and went away in the sight of all. The crowd was amazed and said, “We have never seen anything like this.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)

  1. The heroes are the four friends who love the paralytic. Against all odds, they make sure that he comes to Jesus.
  2. Because of their faith, Jesus forgives the man’s sins. (The gospel never mentions the paralytic’s faith).
  3. To prove that the sins were really forgiven, Jesus heals the paralyzed man.
  4. In all of this, the paralytic remains totally passive.
  5. However, when Jesus tells him to get up, he obeys. He rises and picks up his mat.
  6. The event confounds the learned critics and delights the simple believers who believe in Jesus’ powers.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. Lord, send me friends who believe in you. Let their efforts bring me to you.
  2. What is it like to come close to you and to see you, face to face?
  3. Forgive my sins. This is your greatest gift, (which I often do not seek.)
  4. You heal everything – soul, mind, feelings, senses, intellect and will.
  5. You say, “Arise, take up your mat and walk”, and your power lifts me up.
  6. Lord, do your work in me and I will be a sign to others.       They also will come to believe.

Resolution: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will choose my friends from those who believe in Jesus.
  2. I will seek forgiveness in the sacrament of Confession.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The four men uncovered the roof and lowered the man to Jesus.

JANUARY 14, 2016 – WEEK ONE – THURSDAY – CLEANSING A LEPER

(Mark 1:40-45)

Prayer:   Come, Holy Spirit. Help me to believe that Jesus can cleanse me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus cleansing the leper)

Context:

Mark provides no geographical setting for this miracle. His goal is to show Jesus’ power and how his fame quickly spreads. Jesus tries to avoid this publicity.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

A leper came to Jesus. Kneeling down he said, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Jesus had compassion on him. He stretched out his hand and, touching him, said, “I do will it. Be made clean.”

The leprosy left him immediately and he was made clean. Warning him strictly, Jesus said to him, “Tell no one. Go, show yourself to the high priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed. That will be proof for them.”

However, the leper went away and told everyone. When the news went forth, Jesus could not go openly into a town. He stayed outside in deserted places. Yet, they came to him from everywhere.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you).

  1. Having seen others who were healed, the leper believes totally.
  2. Jesus shows deep human feelings of compassion for the leper’s condition.
  3. Jesus comes close. He touches the leper and makes himself ritually unclean.
  4. His power goes forth quickly. He uses just a simple word, “Be clean.”
  5. The leper cannot control his joy. He tells everyone the story.
  6. The crowds find Jesus even when he remains in deserted places. They know the power of God is in their midst.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. Lord Jesus, I know you have power. I have read the gospel stories.
  2. I ask with all my heart, “Please make me clean.”
  3. Jesus, you always have compassion for me.
  4. You come close. You touch me. You make me whole.
  5. After you cleanse me, I can begin a new life.
  6. My tongue will not be silent. I will tell everyone. I will claim your mighty deeds.
  7. By my words, others will believe in you and search for you.

Resolutions: (Use one of these or make one of your own).

  1. No matter what my illness (moral or physical) I will believe that Jesus can make me clean.
  2. I will be God’s witness, telling others of Jesus’ compassion for them.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

If you will it, you can make me clean.

JANUARY 13, 2016 – WEEK ONE – WEDNESDAY – MULTIPLE HEALINGS

(Mark 1:29-39)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me experience your healing power.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus surrounded by the sick seeking to be healed.)

Context:

Jesus’ powers are diverse. He heals many illnesses and casts out all kinds of demons. They do not shout out because Jesus quiets them. When his work is finished, He walks away from the acclaim, because much work lies ahead.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

When they left the synagogue, they came to the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law was sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her.

He took her by the hand and lifted her up. Immediately, the fever left her and she waited on them.           When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill and possessed with demons. All the city was gathered at the door. He healed many with various diseases and he cast out demons, not allowing them to speak because they knew who he was.

Rising early before dawn, he went out to a deserted place to pray. Simon, and those with him, followed Jesus. When they found him, they said, “Everybody is looking for you”. Jesus said, “Let us go to the neighboring towns and villages, that I may preach there, also. For this purpose I have come.” So, he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout Galilee.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you).

  1. These apostles have quickly come to believe. They know that Jesus can heal the mother-in-law’s illness.
  2. The crowds also have great faith. At sunset (as soon as the workers are home), they bring everyone to Jesus.
  1. Jesus does not disappoint their simple faith. His power goes forth to all.
  2. Jesus’ pace is hectic. From the synagogue, to the house and to the crowds after sunset.
  3. The final scene is important. The disciples want to bask in the popularity. Jesus wants to go elsewhere. He is interested only in doing the Father’s work.
  4. Jesus senses an urgency. He must visit all the towns.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words in prayer)

  1. O Jesus, lift my heart to a highest level of faith. Then, do your wonders in my soul.
  2. If the crowds, who hardly knew you, believe, why do I not have greater faith?
  3. O Jesus, fill me with zeal. Let me not rest until I complete your work.
  4. O Jesus, your power is always going forth. At every moment, You are always blessing me.
  5. I will bring you all my worries, my hopes and my burdens, laying them at your feet.
  6. You will complete your task. You will visit me and I will receive you.
  7. Come to my village, Jesus.

Resolutions: (Use one of these or make one of your own).

  1. I will have faith in Jesus’ powers.
  2. I will go to Jesus with my greatest difficulty.

Thought: (Recall this text during the day)

After sunset, they brought to Jesus all who were ill.

JANUARY 12, 2016 – WEEK ONE – TUESDAY – AN EXORCISM IN THE SYNAGOGUE

(Mark 1:21-28) 

Prayer: Come Holy Spirit. Set me free from the Kingdom of Darkness.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in a synagogue setting the man free from the unclean spirit.)

Context:

Mark groups his stories by geography. The next few stories take place at Capernaum, and provide a quick overview of Jesus’ activities. Jesus’ ministry begins in the Jewish culture and in their place of religious worship – the synagogue.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

In Capernaum, Jesus entered the synagogue on the sabbath and began to teach. The people were spellbound by his teaching because he taught with authority and not like the scribes. In the synagogue, there was a man with an unclean spirit who cried out, “What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet! Come out of the man.” The unclean spirit convulsed him. Then crying out with a loud voice, the spirit left him.

All were amazed and asked among themselves, “What is this? What is this new teaching with authority? He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him. His fame spread over the whole region of Galilee.

Thoughts: ( Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you).

  1. The man had attended the synagogue for years, but the synagogue had no power over his unclean spirit.
  2. When Jesus enters, the demon can no longer stay hidden.
  3. The demon faces a powerful new enemy and realizes that Jesus has come to destroy him.
  4. The demons know well that Jesus is “the Holy One” come from the Father.
  5. Jesus acts quickly so the unclean spirit can do little harm.
  6. This was never heard of before. The people have never seen such power. The word about Jesus spreads quickly.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. O Jesus, how many hidden forces come against me.
  2. Without you, O Lord, these forces would control my life and I would be in complete darkness.
  3. Jesus, you are the demons’ powerful enemy. To me, you are a mighty friend.
  4. Cast out from me any powers of darkness that dwell within me.
  5. Come to my synagogue, O Jesus – to my heart which needs your cleansing.
  6. Never have I seen such power as yours, and you always use it for my benefit.

Resolution: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. Does the demon have any power over me? I will examine my conscience.
  2. If involved in occult practices, I will confess them and seek total freedom.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

He commands even the evil spirits and they obey him.

JANUARY 11, 2016 – WEEK ONE – MONDAY – JESUS FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE

(Mark 1:14-20)

Prayer – Lord Jesus, invite me today to be your disciple.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus calling his first disciples along the Sea of Galilee.)

Context

This gospel text begins “After John was arrested” and it records Jesus’ first homily of his public ministry. He repeats John’s teaching that the reign of God has come and gathers his four most important helpers.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

After John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, saying, “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel.

Passing by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother, Andrew, casting nets into the sea, for they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately, they left their net and followed him.

Going a little farther, he saw James, the son of Zebedee and his brother, John. They were mending their nets in the ship. He called them, also. They left Zebedee in the ship with his hired men and followed him.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you).

  1. Jesus follows his heavenly Father’s timetable. While John is preaching, he remains silent. When John is arrested, Jesus knows to begin.
  2. These are the most important years in world history, as Jesus begins to save all mankind.
  3. Jesus says that the Kingdom is at hand. God’s power will break into human history.
  4. Everyone must be ready. So, Jesus tells everyone to turn away from evil and believe in him.
  5. The two sets of brother are the first to hear the message. They respond immediately.
  6. Peter and Andrew leave their boats behind. James and John leave their father and friends. These four are perfect models for all believers.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words in prayer).

  1. Heavenly Father, what is your timetable for my life? When is the time for me to act?
  2. Jesus, I believe. This is the hour, the time of fulfillment. I will not delay.
  3. I believe. I accept your Kingdom. I repent. I turn to you and hear your voice.
  4. Jesus, you want to come into my heart.
  5. I hear your call. I will follow you, forever and ever.
  6. O Jesus, You are the gift of the Father. What else compares with your friendship? I will leave everything to be your friend.

Resolutions: (Use one of these or make your own)

  1. I will learn God’s timetable. What does he expect today?
  2. When Jesus invites me today, I will answer immediately.

Thought: (Recall this text during the day)

Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.

JANUARY 10, 2016 – BAPTISM OF THE LORD – C – BAPTIZING WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT

(Luke 3:15-16; 21-22)

Prayer: Holy Spirit, pour out your fire.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus after his baptism.)

Context:

In Luke, the crowds play a large role. They are filled with anticipation. Also, they get baptized before Jesus does. The two central points are Jesus’ power to baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire, and the heavenly manifestations of the Spirit and the Father.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The crowd was wondering, thinking in their hearts that John perhaps might be the Messiah. John answered, saying to all, “I, indeed, baptize with water, but there shall come someone mightier than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to tie. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire.

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus was at prayer after he had been baptized, the heavens were opened. The Holy Spirit descended in the visible form of a dove. A voice came from heaven saying, “You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. John turns the spotlight away from himself.
  2. His task is to prepare for Jesus.
  3. He minimizes his own power to baptize with water.
  4. He promises a more powerful person who will baptize in the Spirit.
  5. According to God’s plan, Jesus comes to the Jordan as god had planned.
  6. After his Baptism, the Holy Spirit remains on Jesus as a permanent anointing.
  7. The Father’s voice confirms Jesus as his beloved.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. Jesus, prepare my heart for you.
  2. Pour out your Spirit upon me.
  3. Teach me to know and follow the Father’s plan.
  4. When You open the heavens all your graces fall on me.
  5. Spirit, remain upon me.
  6. Father, I also will exalt your Son.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will ask for the Holy Spirit.
  2. I will try to be the Father’s beloved child.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The Spirit descended and remained on him.

JANUARY 9, 2016 – SATURDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY – THE MORE POWERFUL ONE

(Mark 1:7-11)

Prayer: O Holy Spirit, fall upon me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus coming out of the Jordan)

Context:

Mark begins his gospel with the ministry of John the Baptist. The preceding verses describe John who then describes Jesus as the more powerful one. After the baptism comes the divine manifestation of the Spirit and the Father.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

John preached, saying, “There comes after me one more powerful than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.

In those days, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As he came out of the water, he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit as a dove descending and remaining on him. There came a voice from heaven. You are my beloved Son. In you, I am well pleased.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. John turns the spotlight away from himself.
  2. His task is to prepare for Jesus.
  3. He minimizes his own power to baptize with water.
  4. He promises a more powerful person who will baptize in the Spirit.
  5. Jesus comes to the Jordan as God had planned.
  6. After his Baptism, the Holy Spirit remains on Jesus as a permanent anointing.
  7. The Father’s voice confirms Jesus as his beloved.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. O Jesus, prepare my heart for you.
  2. O Jesus, you are the strong one, who comes from Nazareth.
  3. O Jesus, pour out your Spirit upon me.
  4. Teach me to know and follow the Father’s plan.
  5. Open the heavens and pour out all your graces.
  6. O spirit, remain upon me.
  7. O Father, always exalt your Son. I will do the same.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will ask for the Holy Spirit.
  2. I will try to be the Father’s beloved child.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The Spirit descended and remained on him.

JANUARY 8, 2016 – FRIDAY AFTER EPIPHANY – THE SPIRIT DESCENDS

(Matthew 3:13-17)

Prayer: O Spirit of God, descend upon me.

Imagination: (Imagine Jesus meeting John by the Jordan River)

Context:

In Matthew’s gospel, John is reluctant to baptize because he realizes the greater holiness of Jesus. After the baptism, God’s fullness upon Jesus is manifested.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. However, John said, “I should be baptized by you and yet you come to me.” Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be for now so we can fulfill all justice. So, he allowed him. After being baptized, Jesus came out of the water and behold, the heavens were open and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and coming upon him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. The Father’s plan was happening as scheduled.
  2. At the right moment, Jesus comes to the Jordan.
  3. John grows confused. Although Jesus is holier, he submits to his Baptism.
  4. This is all part of God’s plan.
  5. When both are obedient to the Father, the heavens open up.
  6. The Spirit’s power rests upon Jesus.
  7. The Father approves Jesus as his beloved Son.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. Jesus, you are all holy yet you submit to the Father’s will.
  2. O God, you have a plan for my life.
  3. I will be faithful and obedient to all your desires.
  4. I await your call. I listen for your voice.
  5. O Holy Spirit, rest upon me.
  6. O Jesus, make me beloved to the Father.

Resolution: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will ask Jesus to send his Holy Spirit to rest upon me.
  2. I will seek to be beloved of the Father.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The Spirit in the form of a dove came to rest on him.

JANUARY 7, 2016 – THURSDAY AFTER EPIPHANY – IN THE NAZARETH SYNAGOGUE

(Luke 4:14-30)

Prayer – O Jesus, send the Spirit of the Father upon me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching in the synagogue.)

Context:

Having overcome Satan’s three temptations, Jesus begins his public ministry. Other gospels record this visit to the synagogue but Luke gives it preeminence. This is Jesus’ inauguration address and highlights all the themes of his preaching.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee and his reputation spread throughout the region. He taught in their synagogue and was praised by all.

Jesus came to Nazareth where he had been raised and, entering the synagogue on the Sabbath, as he was accustomed, he got up to read. The book of the prophet, Isaiah, was given to him and he found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners. To preach a year of favor from the Lord.”

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down. All the eyes of the synagogue were upon him. He said to them, “This day, this reading is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)

  1. Jesus loved to preach in the synagogue where good people, eager for God’s word, gathered.
  2. Jesus explains the source of his power. The Holy Spirit has come upon him.
  3. Because his reputation had spread, all eyes were on him.
  4. He chooses a text which outlines his work. He will preach and set free.
  5. Every group (the poor, the captives, the blind) will receive the favors.
  6. His coming establishes an extended time of God’s favor for all Israel.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. Jesus, I know your reputation and I desire your favor.
  2. The Spirit of the Lord is upon you. You are the Holy One.
  3. I am poor. Preach your gospel to me. I am a captive. Set me free.
  4. I am blind. Help me to see.
  5. Your time of favor extends to all the years of my life.
  6. I will not delay. I will not put off accepting you as my King.

Resolutions: ( Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will be faithful to my reading of Scripture.
  2. Today, I will ask Jesus for the Holy Spirit.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me.

JANUARY 6, 2016 – WEDNESDAY AFTER EPIPHANY – WALKING ON THE WATER

(Mark 6:45-52)

Prayer: O Jesus, come to me when the waves threaten my boat.

Imagination: (Picture the disciples in the boat, seeing Jesus on the water.)

Context:

These early stories of Mark’s gospel reveal to the disciples who Jesus is. However, even as they see the miracles, they do not understand. For some reason, their minds are closed.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus told his disciples to get into the boat while he dismissed the crowds. Then he went up the mountain to pray. When it was late, the ship was in the middle of the sea and he was alone on the land. He saw them being tossed about while they were rowing, (for the wind was against them). About the fourth watch of the night, he came to them walking on the sea. He was going to pass them by. When they saw him walking on the water, they thought it was a ghost and they cried out because they all saw him and were troubled.

Immediately, he spoke to them saying, “Take courage and do not be afraid. It is I”. He got into the ship and the wind ceased. They were astonished. They did not understand the incident of the loaves because their hearts were hardened.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. Jesus brings about this situation by telling the disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee while he remains on land.
  2. Jesus’ supernatural powers are on full display.       By divine revelation, he knows they are struggling on the lake and where to find them.
  3. He is going to “pass them by.” This means “to come close enough to manifest himself”.
  4. By lack of faith, they mistake Jesus for a ghost.
  5. Fortunately, he identifies himself and overcomes their blindness.
  6. He gets into the boat and the wind dies down. (Another divine manifestation).
  7. In spite of all these signs, the disciples do not understand the mystery.
  8. They didn’t grasp the multiplication of loaves, either.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. O Jesus, you plan all the events of my life.
  2. Seeing my struggles, you come to me.
  3. You whisper in my heart, “Do not be afraid.       I am with you.”
  4. You “pass by”, close enough for me to experience your presence.
  5. O Jesus, you are not a ghost. You are my friend and companion.
  6. When you are in my boat, all is calm.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will obey Jesus and go wherever he wants.
  2. I will not miss his presence when he passes by today.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Take courage. It is I. Do not be afraid.

JANUARY 5, 2016 – TUESDAY AFTER EPIPHANY – FEEDING THE FIVE THOUSAND

(Mark 6:34-44)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Multiply your gifts within me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus feeding the crowds.)

Context:

This is the first of two multiplications of food in Mark’s gospel. (This one is for a Jewish crowd and the other is for Gentiles). This miracle is told in all four gospels and six times altogether, because it prefigures Jesus’ gift of Eucharist. Epiphany means manifestation and these gospels are Jesus’ manifesting himself.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved to compassion for they were like sheep without a shepherd. He began to teach them at great length. When the day was far spent, his disciples said, “This is a deserted place and the hour is late. Send them away to the nearby villages where they can buy something to eat.”

Jesus answered, “You give them something to eat.” They replied, “It would cost two hundred days of wages for bread to feed them all.” Jesus said, “Go, and see how many loaves you have.” They said, “We have five loaves and two fish.”

When they sat down, Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. Looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke the loaves and gave them to his disciples to distribute. The two fishes he divided among them all. All ate and had their fill. The disciples gathered up twelve baskets of fragments. Those who ate were five thousand.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. As Jesus begins to teach them, the crowd responds.
  2. They pass the whole day with Jesus, heedless of their need to eat.
  3. Jesus responds to their faith and He will provide a great abundance.
  4. Jesus looks up to heaven, blesses and beaks the bread. He will do this again at the Last Supper. This miracle is just a preview.
  5. Jesus invites the disciples to help him. The bread multiplies as they distribute it
  6. Jesus brings all to completion. The people have their fill and twelve baskets are left over for us.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. Speak to me, O Lord.   I will hear your voice, and you will be my shepherd.
  2. O Lord, I will stay with you during the whole day of my life.
  3. O Jesus, your plans for me are beyond my greatest dreams.
  4. O Jesus, I will help you with your tasks.
  5. Every day, you multiply the bread from heaven.       Help me to love the Eucharist.
  6. I will eat your flesh and drink your blood, so you can complete your work in me.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. Today, I will seek out Jesus’ teachings.
  2. My heart will seek the Bread of Life.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The disciples said, “Send them away.” Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.”

JANUARY 4, 2016 – MONDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY – MESSENGERS FROM JOHN

(Matthew 11:2-6)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me always believe in You.

Imagination: (Picture John’s disciples questioning Jesus.)

Context:

John, in prison, heard about the works Christ performed and sent two disciples to Jesus to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or do we look for another?”

Jesus said, “Go back and tell John what you have heard and seen. The blind see. The lame walk. The lepers are cured. The deaf hear. The dead rise. The poor have the gospel preached to them. Blessed is that person who finds no stumbling block in me.”

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

John’s disciples came to him and told him all that was happening in Jesus’ ministry. John sent two of them to Jesus. When they arrived, they asked him, “Are you the one who is to come, or do we look for another?” At that very hour, Jesus was curing many people of their diseases, sufferings and evil spirits. He also gave sight to many who were blind.

Jesus said, “Go and tell John what you have heard and seen. The blind see. The lame walk. The lepers are made clean. The deaf hear. The dead rise. The poor have the gospel preached to them. Blessed is that person who is not scandalized about my ministry.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. John sits in prison, his life’s work almost completed.
  2. He is filled with doubts. Was he correct in pointing out Jesus as the Messiah?
  3. He has an important question. Are you the Messiah? Are you the one who is to come?
  4. Jesus presents all the evidence. He heals the blind, the lame and the lepers.   Even the dead rise and testify to Jesus.
  5. The gospel does not record the effect of these words upon John or his disciples.
  6. Matthew recorded this story for us.
  7. God will always do things God’s way. Do not be scandalized by God’s plan.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. Jesus, in my doubts, I will come to you.
  2. O Jesus, You present all the evidence. I know you are the Messiah.
  3. You heal. You cure. You raise from the dead.
  4. I will be still. I will watch for you. When you finish your work in me, I will understand what you are doing.
  5. Do your work in me. I will await your touch.
  6. You are not a stumbling block. You are the way.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will ponder the evidence in the gospels.
  2. I will believe in Jesus, no matter what happens.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Go and tell John all that you have seen and heard.

JANUARY 3, 2016 – EPIPHANY – THE MAGI

(Matthew 2:1-12)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Give me your light to search for the Christ Child.

Imagination:  (Picture the three Magi worshipping Jesus in Bethlehem.)

Context:

Since the Magi were not Jewish, Epiphany is called the Gentile Christmas, a symbol that Christ is for all the world. Magi were a learned priestly class of Persia, who knew the stars. The Old Testament had a prophecy about a star that is a symbol of David (Num 24:17).

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star rising and have come to do him homage.” King Herod summoned the chief priests and scribes, inquiring where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem of Judea”, they said. Herod called the Magi aside to learn the exact time of the star’s appearance. Then he sent them to Bethlehem

As they set out, the star which they had observed at its rising went ahead of them until it came to the place where the child was. They were overjoyed to see the star, and on entering the house, they found the child, with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage, offering him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They went home by another route because they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)

  1. The star is a totally unexpected invitation and the perfect help for their searching.
  2. The Jewish leaders know the place of Jesus’ birth but have no interest in going.
  3. Even worse, Herod is jealous and wants to kill the child.
  4. In contrast, the Magi believe, hope and act.
  5. They make sacrifices. They persevere and they do not grow discouraged.
  6. They stay together, rejoice and encourage each other.
  7. Their hearts are one, always intent on the same goal.
  8. They give themselves completely to the Child, bringing their finest treasures.
  9. They are the perfect examples of beginners in search for Christ.
  10. They return home by a different route to safeguard the Child.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. Show me your star, O Lord, I will make any sacrifice to follow it.
  2. Teach me to believe and to set out in faith.
  3. I will trust even though I do not know what lies ahead.
  4. Give me companions for my journey. Let us be of one heart, and have you as our goal.
  5. O Lord, I hold back nothing. I give you all of my treasures.
  6. I will change my life and take a different path to safeguard my life with you.

Resolution: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. Today, I will be attentive how God calls me.
  2. I will be as a child, believing that God will show me his way.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

They rejoiced to see the star again.

JANUARY 2, 2016 – THE BAPTIST’S FULL IDENTITY

(John 1:19-28)

Prayer: O Jesus, help me to find my identity in you.

Imagination: (Picture John preaching at the Jordan River.)

Context:

The gospel of John focuses on Jesus’ identity. This gospel clarifies the Baptist’s identity so he is not confused with the messiah. John also distinguishes their two Baptisms.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The priests and Levites were sent from Jerusalem to ask John, “Who are you?” He said, “I am not the Christ.” They continued. “Are you Elijah?” He answered “I am not”. “Are you the prophet?” “I am not”, he said. “Who are you, then?” He answered, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’”

Some Pharisees asked him, “If you are not the Christ, Elijah, or the prophet, then why do you baptize?” John answered, “I baptize with water, but one comes after me, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize with the Holy Spirit.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. The Jerusalem leaders are concerned because large crowds follow John.
  2. John clarifies all their perceptions. He is not the Christ, Elijah or a prophet.
  3. John gladly disclaims these titles, when he would easily have been believed.
  4. John’s identity comes from Jesus. He is a voice preparing everyone for the Word of God.
  5. John understands that his power is less than Jesus. Only Jesus can baptize in the Holy Spirit.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. Who am I, O Lord? Why have you created me? What is my role in the Kingdom?
  2. You have written my identity on my soul. Reveal it to me!
  3. O Jesus, in you, I discover who I am.
  4. I seek only to be the least in your Kingdom.
  5. I will be a voice proclaiming you as the Word of God.
  6. Fill me, O Lord, with the powers of your Holy Spirit.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will seek to know God’s place for me in his Kingdom.
  2. I will serve Jesus Christ, whose sandals I am unworthy to loosen.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.

JANUARY 1, 2016 – SOLEMNITY OF MARY THE SHEPHERDS’ RESPONSE

(Luke 2:16-21)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Give me the shepherds’ faith.

Imagination: (Picture the shepherds adoring Jesus with Mary and Joseph).

Context:

The gospel stories are filled with people. Some respond to Jesus and others do not. Those who respond are always blessed. Here, the shepherds glorify God for all they saw and heard.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

After the angels departed into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this word that has come to pass.”

They went with haste and found Mary and Joseph together with the infant who was lying in the manger. When they saw, they understood what had been spoken to them about this child. All who heard, wondered at these things which the shepherds told them. Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.

The shepherds returned, glorifying God for all the things that they had heard and seen, just as it was told them. When the eighth day arrived for his circumcision, the name Jesus was given the child, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)

  1. Seeing the angels deeply affects the shepherds.
  2. They encourage one another. They grow bold and do not fear the journey to Bethlehem.
  3. They waste no time. Like Mary visiting Elizabeth, they go in haste.
  4. When they see the child, they fully understand the angel’s words.
  5. They are excellent witnesses, recounting to Mary and Joseph exactly what had happened.
  6. Mary meditates on these events, cherishing God’s words and pondering their meaning.
  7. Afterwards, the shepherds proclaim their experiences and glorify God who sent his angels.
  8. Mary obeys Gabriel’s command and names her son, Jesus, the name that brings salvation to all.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. O Lord, fill me with religious experiences.
  2. I will respond to your heavenly words and go in haste.
  3. O Mary, give me your inner stillness.
  4. Share with me your gift of pondering God’s word.
  5. O Jesus, I will tell everyone of your wonders and your name will always be on my lips and in my heart.

Resolution: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will keep watch like the shepherds, ready to experience God’s manifestation.
  2. When God tells me where to find Jesus, I will go in haste.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.

DECEMBER 31, 2015 – THE WORD BECAME FLESH

(John 1:1-14)

Prayer: O Jesus, thank you for leaving the Father’s side and becoming a man.

Imagination:  (Imagine Mary telling the angel, Gabriel, that she would be God’s mother.)

Context:

Mark begins his gospel with John the Baptist. Matthew and Luke begin their gospels with infancy stories. John begins his gospel in heaven. Quickly, the gospel enters into human history, as “The Word became flesh and dwelled among us.” The text is used today because tomorrow will be a new beginning.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God and all things were made by him, and without him, nothing was made. In him was life and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.

The real light which gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world and the world was made by him but the world did not know him. He came into his own and his own received him not. But as many as received him, he gave them power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name. These are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word was made flesh and dwelled among us. And we saw his glory, the glory of the only begotten Son, coming from the Father, filled with enduring love.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)

  1. Jesus is the Word, perfectly conceived in the mind of the Father.
  2. He is God, equal to the Father.
  3. Through him and in him, the whole world was created.
  4. Yet, when he came into the world, people did not recognize him.
  5. Even his Jewish people did not understand that he was sent by the Father.
  6. He was a light removing the darkness.
  7. He filled all who believed with divine life, making them God’s children.
  8. He became flesh. He lived among us. People could see his glory. That is the mystery of Christmas.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. Jesus, you are eternal. You come from the Father.
  2. Jesus, you created everything. You own the whole world. You own me. I am yours.
  3. Jesus, I recognize you. I know who you are.
  4. Come into my life. I welcome you.
  5. You are life, full life, abundant life, God’s life.
  6. Make me a child of God, so I will live forever in perfect happiness.
  7. You have become flesh. People have seen you and recorded your words.
  8. Thank you for being born among us.

Resolution: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. In this Christmas season, I will reflect on this greatest mystery – the Word became flesh.
  2. More than anything else, I will cherish being a child of God. This is Jesus’ gift.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The Word became flesh and we have seen his glory.

DECEMBER 30, 2015 – THE WOMAN PROPHETESS

(Luke 2:36-40)

Prayer: O Lord, teach me to fast, to pray and to listen to your word.

Imagination: (Picture Joseph and Mary holding the Christ Child in the presence of Simeon and Anna.)

Context:

Luke likes to portray both men and women ministering. So, he added Anna, a prophetess, to Simeon’s story. She is a widow who serves in the temple by prayer and fasting. In this text, she says no specific words. She believes in Jesus and alerts all to his saving power for Jerusalem (which symbolizes all the elect).

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

There was a prophetess named Anna, the daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher. She was far advanced in years, having lived with her husband for seven years and then, as a widow until she was 84. She never left the temple but served night and day by prayer and fasting. Now, at this same moment, she came on the scene. She gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

After the couple had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their city, Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom and God’s favor was upon him.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)

  1. God has everything planned. At just the right moment, Anna comes on the scene.
  2. She is the perfect person. Everyone knows her because she is always in the temple, praying, fasting and serving needs.
  3. She understands immediately and believes that Jesus is the Messiah.
  4. She becomes an evangelist, telling everyone in the temple that she had seen the Messiah who would deliver Jerusalem.
  5. The family’s responsibilities are complete. They return ninety miles to Nazareth in Galilee.
  6. The years in Nazareth are so important. The child Jesus will experience all the natural phases of human maturing.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. O God, all is planned for your glory and our happiness.
  2. Each of us is the perfect person, exactly the one needed to spread your word in our culture.
  3. O Jesus I must prepare for my task in your Kingdom.
  4. Help me to fast and pray. Give me a spirit of service.
  5. O Jesus, you are the Deliverer. You will free me and bring redemption to our land.
  6. Teach me your plan. Where am I to go? Where am I to settle?
  7. Help me to mature – to grow in wisdom and favor. This is my deepest request.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will believe that God has a task for me to do.
  2. Every day, I will pray and sacrifice so I can be ready.

Thought for today: (To recall your meditation)

At this very moment, she came on the scene.

DECEMBER 29, 2015 – SIMEON’S INSPIRED WORDS

(Luke 2:25-27)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Lead me this day to your divine appointment.

Imagination:  (Picture Simeon praising God with Jesus in his arms.)

Context:

After forty days, Mary and Joseph fulfill the Mosaic Law by presenting Jesus in the temple. Surprisingly, Simeon appears on the scene. Luke says that the Holy Spirit was with Simeon, revealed the future to him and led him into the temple.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

In Jerusalem was a man named Simeon. He was just, devout and waited for the consolation of Israel. The Holy Spirit was with him. The Spirit had told him that he would not see death until he had seen the anointed one of the Lord.

On this day, the Spirit led him to the temple. When his parents brought in the child Jesus, according to the custom of the law, he took him in his arms and blessed God.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)

  1. Simeon totally dedicated his life to God.
  2. He is just, devout and awaiting the consolation of Israel.
  3. Even more important, the Spirit of God is upon him.
  4. The Spirit had spoken to him, promising that he would see the Messiah.
  5. Simeon is not a priest and has no duty to remain in the temple. He is guided by the Spirit.
  6. The Spirit says, “Go quickly to the temple, Simeon. Today is the day.”
  7. He keeps his divine appointment. He is at the right place at the right time, the very moment when the parents bring in the child.
  8. He receives his promised gift, seeing and holding the Messiah.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. O God, I will be devout and await your kingdom.
  2. O Jesus, let your Spirit anoint me.
  3. Help me to believe your promises to me.
  4. When your Spirit speaks, I will listen. When he leads, I will follow.
  5. O God, let your inner stirrings move me to the right place at the right time.
  6. Jesus, someday I will see you and hold you.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. With God’s help, I will be just and devout today.
  2. Today, I will open my heart to the Spirit’s promptings.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

On this day, the Spirit led Simeon to the temple.

DECEMBER 28, 2015 – THE HOLY INNOCENTS) – HEROD’S MASSACRE

(Matthew 2:13-18)

Prayer: O Lord Jesus, I would love to shed my blood for you.

Imagination: (Picture Mary, Joseph and the Child fleeing into Egypt.)

Context:

In Matthew’s gospel, Joseph is the central person in the infancy stories and God’s usual way of communicating with him is by an angel in his dreams. Historically, Herod was an insane man who killed many of his wives and relatives. The Church honors as martyrs the children whom he killed. The text mentions Rachel, who was Jacob’s wife. Two tribes of Israel were named after her two sons. They were slaughtered 700 years before Jesus.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

After the Magi departed, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in sleep saying, “Arise and take the child and his mother and go to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you. Because it will happen that Herod will seek to destroy the child.”

He arose and took the child and his mother and went to Egypt until the death of Herod. Thus the word the Lord spoke to the prophet might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt, I have called my Son”.        When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the Magi, he was exceedingly angry. He ordered that all the boys in Bethlehem and the surrounding regions who were two years old or less be killed. This was according to the time which he had learned from the Magi. What was said through the prophet Jeremiah was thus fulfilled, “A voice was heard in Rama, sobbing and loud lamentation. Rachel bewailing her children. There was no comfort for her because they were no more.” (Jer 31:15)

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)

  1. Joseph has great spiritual gifts. He receives angelic messages that others would have missed.
  2. Despite all the difficulties, he immediately obeys the angel’s message.
  3. He will stay in Egypt until he receives another message.
  4. How much we owe to Joseph. He spared Mary’s life when she was pregnant and saved Jesus’ life from Herod.
  5. By this slaughter, the shadow of the cross appears early in the gospel.
  6. Satan uses Herod to kill these children. Later, he will use Judas and Pilate to kill Jesus.
  7. Without knowing it, these children become Jesus’ disciples and share in his cross.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. O Lord, help me to hear your directions for my life.
  2. O Jesus, speak and I will listen. Guide me and I will follow.
  3. O Lord, protect me in a world so filled with dangers.
  4. Keep me in your hiding place, O Lord. I live to be hidden in your hands.
  5. O Jesus, I accept whatever suffering comes to me as your disciple.
  6. Destroy my plans for my life. Reveal your plans.
  7. Help me to avoid those whom Satan controls.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will be sensitive this day to God’s promptings.
  2. I will not endanger my body or my soul, my human life or my eternal life.

Thought for the today: (To recall your meditation)

Herod will seek to destroy the child.

DECEMBER 27, 2015 – HOLY FAMILY SUNDAY (C) – SEARCHING FOR JESUS

(Luke 2:44-52)

Prayer: O Lord, may I always seek to find you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his parents in the Temple)

Context:

Luke uses this story, when Jesus is twelve years old, as a bridge between the infancy stories and the public ministry (when Jesus was thirty). It portrays the transition from being Mary’s son to being the Son of the Father. When Mary finds him in the temple, Jesus reminds her that he must be in his Father’s house.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

When his parents did not find the child Jesus among their relatives, they returned to Jerusalem looking for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, hearing them and asking them questions. All who heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers.

Seeing him, his parents were astonished and his mother said, “Son, why have you done this to us. Your father and I have sought you sorrowing.” He said, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I had to be in my father’s house?” They did not understand what he said.

He went down with them, came to Nazareth and was obedient to them. His mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom, age and grace before God and men.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. Like all parents, they search for Jesus with anxious hearts.
  2. Where else would they look, except in the temple.
  3. Jesus assumes the role of teacher in Israel.
  4. Mary can only speak of her own feelings.
  5. Jesus speaks of another world – his Father’s house.
  6. For now, Jesus’ mission is put off. He returns to the hidden years of Nazareth.
  7. These are very productive years, preparing him to assume his lifelong ministry.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. O Jesus, I long for you and I search for you.
  2. I, too, will find you in the temple, where you stay in the Blessed Sacrament.
  3. You are my teacher. I go to you for wisdom.
  4. O Mary, share your feelings with me.
  5. Jesus, bring me into your Father’s house.
  6. O Lord, I will prepare every day for my mission.
  7. Fill these years with your blessings.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own).

  1. I will search for Jesus at every moment.
  2. I will be obedient to Mary.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Your father and I have sought you sorrowing.