WEEK TWENTY FOUR – SATURDAY – SEPTEMBER 18, 2021 – THE SOWER (LK 8:4-15)

Prayer:

Jesus, plant the powerful seed of your Kingdom in my heart. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus preaching to the crowds. 

Context:

This parable contrasts the difficult beginning of the Kingdom and its glorious fulfillment. The beginning has multiple frustrations. The end has a gigantic harvest.

Jesus’ ministry is experiencing many obstacles. The disciples see failures, desertions and hostility. Jesus, however, sees that God’s work is doing quite well.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

A farmer went out to plant seeds. Some seed fell by the wayside and the birds of the air ate it. Some seed fell on rocky ground and grew quickly because the soil was not deep. When the sun rose, it was scorched for lack of roots. Some fell among thorns. The thorns grew and choked it and it did not yield grain. Some fell upon good ground and brought forth abundant fruit that yielded thirty, sixty or a hundred fold. He who has ears, let him hear. 

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

  1. God scatters these abundant seeds of his power in your heart. 
  2. Some seeds you miss entirely. These invitations fall “by the wayside.” 
  3. Other seeds you resist by the hardness of your heart. They do not take root. 
  4. You mix some seeds with your other worldly concerns. Unfortunately, these never produce any worthwhile fruit. 
  5. But some seeds you receive without compromise. You give them fertile soil. They produce abundant fruit and you rejoice. 

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

  • Lord, sow the seeds of your kingdom and of eternal life in my heart. 
  • O God, I see those times when I was not receptive to your Kingdom. 
  • Jesus, why did I resist your kingdom? Why was my heart like rocky ground? 
  • O Lord, when I mix your seeds with my human desires, they bring forth no fruit. 
  • Jesus, my life can still be glorious. There is still time for an abundant harvest. 

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

+ I will believe that the seeds of God’s Kingdom are abundant and powerful within me. 

+ I will clear the soil, so the seeds can grow. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.) 

The harvest was thirty, sixty and a hundredfold.

WEEK TWENTY FOUR – FRIDAY – SEPTEMBER 17, 2021 – THE SPECIAL DISCIPLES (LK 8:1-3) 

Prayer:

O Jesus, let me accompany you all the days of my life 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with these special disciples – both men and women. 

Context:

Only Luke has this section which highlights the role of women in a ministering role for the Kingdom. Jesus had helped each of these women. After being blessed by Jesus, they were invited to travel with the group.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Jesus travelled through the cities and towns, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom. With him were the Twelve as well as certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities. Mary, called Magdalen, from whom seven devils were cast out. And Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chusa, Susanna and many others who were assisting Jesus out of their means. 

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

  1. This short summary contains many individual stories. First, the Twelve who are so tightly bonded to Jesus. 
  2. Then the three women whom Luke says were healed. (Chusa is probably the royal official whose son was healed. No wonder he let his wife travel with Jesus.)
  3. Finally, “many others.” All of whom had received some blessing. 
  4. Their gratitude led to full-time service and even using their money for the Kingdom. 
  5. Luke writes that “the women who had followed him from Galilee“ were at Jesus death and burial (24:49 and 55). They were faithful to the end. 

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

  • O Jesus, what a privilege to be always in your company. 
  • By your favors and blessings you bond me to you. 
  • You share your work. You give me a task. What more can I ask? 
  • Jesus, wherever you go, I will go. 
  • Lord, I will use my money for your Kingdom. 
  • Even at Calvary, I will be there for you. 

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

+ I will recall the special blessings of Jesus. 

+ In my gratitude, I will do everything I can for his Kingdom, today. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.) 

The Twelve were with Jesus as well as certain women. 

WEEK TWENTY FOUR – THURSDAY – SEPTEMBER 16, 2021 – PARABLE OF THE TWO DEBTORS (LK 7:36-50)

Prayer:

O Jesus, even though I am a sinner, I will approach you. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus at table with the woman at his feet. 

Context:

The central figure is the creditor who forgives both debtors. Where can such a man be found? He is God with his inconceivable goodness. The woman understands this goodness. Simon does not and, therefore, cannot accept Jesus allowing the woman to cleanse his feet.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

A certain Pharisee, named Simon, invited Jesus to dine with him. A woman learned of this and brought a vase of perfumed oil. Her tears fell upon his feet and she wiped them with her hair. 

Jesus’ host thought, “If this man were a prophet he would know that this woman is a sinner.” Jesus said to his host, “Simon, a certain creditor had two debtors. One owed him five hundred days wages and another fifty. Since neither could pay, he forgave both. Who loved him more? 

Simon said, “The one who was forgiven more.” Jesus replied, “When I entered your house, you gave me no water to wash my feet. She washed them with her tears. You gave me no kiss. She has kissed my feet. You did not anoint my head. She has anointed my feet.” I say, “Many sins are forgiven her because she has loved much.” 

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

  1. Before this happened, Jesus had already forgiven the woman’s sins. 
  2. The greatness of her sins leads to her to great thankfulness. 
  3. She expresses this gratitude totally with her perfume, her tears and her hair. 
  4. She desires only to thank Jesus, God’s instrument of forgiveness. 
  5. The whole scene puzzles the Pharisee. He cannot comprehend the woman’s total thankfulness or Jesus’ total acceptance of her. 
  6. Jesus clarifies what has happened. Her love is as deep as her sins used to be. She sinned totally. She was forgiven totally. She now loves totally. 

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

  • O Lord, you have forgiven all my sins. Why do I not love you totally? 
  • O Jesus, where my sins have been total, my love will be total. 
  • Jesus, you have redeemed me and bought me back. You own me. 
  • How can I repay you? I cannot! 
  • What a blessing to weep at your feet! 
  • I will anoint you with deepest feelings. 

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

+ I will see my past sins as a cause for thanking God for his mercy. 

+ I will thank God for saving me from hell. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.) 

Which of these loved him most?

WEEK TWENTY FOUR – WEDNESDAY – SEPTEMBER 15, 2021 – OUR LADY OF SORROWS (LK 2:33-35)

Prayer:

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

Imagination:

Picture Simeon praising God with Jesus in his arms and prophesying to the Blessed Mother. 

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. 

Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 

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. He receives his promised gift, seeing and holding the Messiah. 
  6. He prophesies the sword of sorrow that will pierce the Blessed Mother’s Heart. 

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

  • O God, let me be a solace to the heart of the Blessed Mother. 
  • O Jesus, let your Spirit guide me in all distress. 
  • When your Spirit speaks, I will listen. When He leads, I will follow. 
  • Jesus, someday I will see you and hold you. 

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

+ With God’s help, I will be just and devout today and open to the Holy Spirit. 

+ Today, I will open my heart to the heart of the Blessed Mother. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.) 

On this day, let the Spirit touch our hearts.

WEEK TWENTY FOUR – TUESDAY – SEPTEMBER 14, 2021 – EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS (Jn 3:13-17) 

Prayer:

O Jesus, you were lifted up on the cross to save me. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching Nicodemus. 

Context:

This is Nicodemus’ first appearance in John’s gospel. (He appears two other times). He is the best and the brightest of the Jewish religion, yet he has difficulty understanding this greater gift of Jesus Christ and his Kingdom. 

This text comes from the second half of their conversation in which Jesus speaks to all the world about his saving actions for the whole world.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up so that whoever believes in him may not perish, but may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in him may not perish but may have everlasting life. God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world, but so the world might be saved by him. 

Whoever believes in him, will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe in him is already condemned because he does not believe in the name of God’s only Son. 

The Judgment is this. The light came into the world and men loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who practices evil hates the light. He does not come near it so his deeds are not exposed. But whoever acts in truth comes into the light, so his works can be clearly seen as done in the light.” 

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

  1. When the Israelites in the desert disobeyed, God allowed them to grow sick from a serpent’s bite. 
  2. To heal them, God told Moses to nail a bronze serpent to a wood. Whoever gazed on it was saved. (Numbers C21) 
  3. In like manner, Jesus will be lifted up on the cross so we can be saved. 
  4. We experience this saving action by having faith in Jesus. 
  5. Anyone who refuses to believe condemns himself. 
  6. In Jesus, God’s eternal light has come. 
  7. If the person is evil, the light will reveal their evil deeds. 
  8. If the person is good, the light will reveal their goodness. 

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

  • O Jesus, you were lifted up on the cross for me. 
  • Only your cross can save me from eternal death. 
  • Father, you sacrificed your Son to save me. 
  • I accept you, Jesus. You are the Father’s only begotten Son. 
  • O Jesus, shine your light. I will repent of my evil deeds. 
  • Reveal my heart. Make me a child of light. 

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

+ I will thank Jesus for dying on the cross. 

+ I will bring my sins into Jesus’ light. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.) 

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so those who believe will not perish.

WEEK TWENTY FOUR – MONDAY – SEPTEMBER 13, 2021 – NO NEED TO ENTER MY HOUSE (LK 7:1-10) 

Prayer:

Lord, fill me with faith in your power. 

Imagination:

Picture the centurion showing great faith in Jesus’ power to heal. 

Context:

The Gentile centurion sends Jewish friends to seek the favor. As Jesus approaches, this Gentile is concerned that Jesus would contract ritual impurity if he entered his house. Jesus notes that he had not found this faith among the Israelites. The Early Church especially loved this miracle which Jesus performed at a distance for a Gentile.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

When Jesus returned to Capernaum, the beloved servant of a centurion was sick to the point of death. Hearing of Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and save his servant’s life. These elders asked Jesus, saying that the centurion was worthy of this. “He loves our nation and has built us a synagogue”. 

Jesus went with them. When he was near the house, the centurion sent some friends to say, “Lord, do not trouble yourself. I am not worthy that you should come under my roof. For this reason, I did not see myself worthy to come to you. Say but the word and my servant shall be healed.” Jesus marveled at this and said to the crowd, “I have not found such great faith in Israel.” When the messengers returned home, they found the servant well. 

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

  1. From the very beginning, the centurion sees himself as unworthy. Therefore, he sends Jewish friends to ask. 
  2. His long years of charity have won him a place in these Jewish hearts. 
  3. Seeing the man’s worthiness, Jesus sets out immediately. 
  4. The man is caught in a dilemma. He wants the servant healed but he does not want Jesus defiled by entering his house. 
  5. Faith provides an alternative. The centurion believes that Jesus can heal from a distance. 
  6. Jesus praises his great faith and performs the miracle. 
  7. How many virtues the centurion has – humility, love for Jewish friends, love for his servant and unbounded faith. 

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

  • O Jesus, how unworthy I am to receive your favors. 
  • Lord, I will be kind to the needy. They will speak to you on my behalf. 
  • Jesus, you do not delay. You come quickly. 
  • Give me unbounded faith. You can do anything, anywhere at any time. 
  • O Jesus, say but the word and my soul will be healed. 

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

+ I will care for the needy, day in and day out. 

+ I will have unbounded faith. Jesus can do anything. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.) 

I have not found such faith in Israel.

WEEK TWENTY FOUR – SUNDAY – B SEPTEMBER 12, 2021 – THE RISE AND FALL OF PETER (MK 8:27-33)

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, lift me up and I will be secure in your arms

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with his apostles. 

Context:

This text is central to Mark’s gospel (exactly the midpoint) and contains the two themes of the gospel: Jesus is the Messiah and he is a suffering Messiah. For many chapters, the people have been wondering, “Who is this Jesus.” Peter answers that Jesus is the Messiah (Theme one). Then Jesus predicts his suffering and shows that he will be a suffering Messiah (Theme two). However, Peter uses his human intellect and fails miserably to understand the second mystery. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Jesus and his disciples set out for Caesarea Philippi. On the way, he asked them, “Whom do people say I am?” They answered, “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, one of the prophets.” 

He said to them, “Whom do you say that I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Christ.” Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone. He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, be rejected by the elders, the high priests and the scribes and be killed. After three days, he would rise again. 

Peter took Jesus aside and disagreed with him. Jesus turned back to the disciples and rebuked Peter, “Get out of my sight, Satan. You are not judging by God’s standards but by man’s.” 

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

  1. The people’s opinions about Jesus are confused. They represent the confused thinking of the world. 
  2. Jesus asks for the disciples’ opinion. 
  3. Peter’s response is true. He has been shown that Jesus is the Messiah. 
  4. Quickly, Jesus tells his disciples that he will be a suffering Messiah. 
  5. Peter responds in an all too human way. He refuses to accept a Messiah who will suffer. 
  6. He has become a Satan, an obstacle, a stumbling block to the others. 
  7. So Jesus must publicly reprimand him. His limited intellect does not grasp God’s plan. 

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

  • Jesus, the world is so confused about You. They refuse to acknowledge you. 
  • You are deeply interested in my opinion, what I believe about you. 
  • For me, You are the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer. 
  • You are a suffering Messiah and I need faith to follow you. 
  • Shatter my human thinking. Destroy the limits that I would put upon you. 
  • “Come” you say. “Let us walk together to Calvary.” I am coming, Jesus. 

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

+ Today, I will pray often, “Jesus, you are my Messiah.” 

+ I will ponder this mystery. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.) 

Peter replied, “You are the Christ” (the anointed one).

WEEK TWENTY THREE – SATURDAY – SEPTEMBER 11, 2021 – THE PARABLE OF THE TWO HOUSES (LK 6:43-49)

Prayer:

O Jesus, I will put your word into practice so my house will always stand. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with His disciples. 

Context:

Jesus chooses an example from the people’s daily experiences. In Israel, the rains come suddenly. A dry canal becomes quickly a raging stream. This parable is an excellent example of the sudden, unexpected moment of trial or judgment.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Everyone who hears my words and acts on them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rains fell. The floods came. The winds blew against that house, but it did not fall for it was founded on rock. 

Everyone who hears my words and does not act on them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rains fell. The floods came. The winds blew against that house. It collapsed and its fall was total. 

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

  1. Jesus speaks this parable to believers. All of these have heard his words. 
  2. Some are wise enough to put the words into practice. Others are foolish and do not live out the words. 
  3. Both houses are the same. The difference lies in their foundations of strong rock or of weak sand. 
  4. The wind, the rains and the floodings are the moment of truth, the time of reckoning. Both houses experience the same destructive powers. 
  5. The results are completely opposite. One remains unharmed. The other collapses. Jesus warning is stark and evident. You must build your life on God’s word. 
  6. O Jesus, I have your word. I know your teaching. I will act. I will put into practice. 

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

  • Jesus, your word is abundant. I must act on it. 
  • O Lord, what do I build my life on? The rock of your teaching or the sand of my desires? 
  • Let your word, O Lord, penetrate my heart! 
  • How can I build my life on your word unless I meditate on it daily! 
  • O Lord, if I live by your word, my life will not collapse. 

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

+ I will apply these meditations to my daily way of acting. 

+ I will honestly examine the parts of my life built upon sand. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.) 

The wise man built his house upon rock.

WEEK TWENTY THREE – FRIDAY – SEPTEMBER 10, 2021 –A BLINDED EYE (LK 6:39-42)

Prayer:

O Lord, open my eyes to see the true path of devotion. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus speaking with his disciples. 

Context:

Jesus continues to instruct his disciples. They are blind and if they do not listen to him they will remain blind. Even worse, they will be blind to their own gigantic faults, while trying to remove faults in others.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Jesus spoke to his disciples in images. Can a blind man guide a blind man? Will they both not fall into a ditch? The disciple is not above his master but he will be perfect if he becomes like his master. 

Why look at the splinter in your brother’s eye and miss the plank in your own? How can you say, “Brother, let me remove the splinter in your eye, and you do not see the plank in your own. Hypocrite, cast out first the plank in your own eye. Then you shall see clearly how to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.” 

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

  1. Without Jesus, we are all blind. 
  2. We join with others who are also blind. Then, we wonder why we stray from Jesus’ path and fall into the pit. 
  3. We are blind to our great faults and act as if we had none. 
  4. To heal our blindness, we must listen to Jesus. Then, we will have his light. 
  5. He will remove our faults so we can see perfectly. The plank will be out of our eye. 

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

  • Jesus, I am blind. I do not see. I do not understand. I choose poorly. 
  • Pour your light into my soul. 
  • If I listen to your words, I will become like you. Give me light and I will always choose the Kingdom. 
  • What gigantic planks I have in my eye. Remove them all, Jesus. 
  • When I see, I will help others and we will all see you. 
  • O Jesus, my days of being blind are over! Thank you. 

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

+ All during this day, I will ask for Jesus’ light in every decision. 

+ I will realize my own blindness. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.) 

The disciple will be perfect when he becomes like his master.

WEEK TWENTY THREE – THURSDAY – SEPTEMBER 9, 2021 – THE DEMANDS OF DISCIPLESHIP (LK 6:27-36) 

Prayer:

O Lord, you demand so much but you reward so generously. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching his disciples. 

Context:

Jesus does not give these commands to the crowds but to his disciples. He reveals what he expects of them. The demands are high but the reward is even greater.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Jesus said to his disciples, “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those that curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on the cheek, turn and offer him the other. If someone takes your cloak, offer him your coat, also. 

Give to everyone who asks. When someone takes what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others as you would have them treat you. If you love those who love you, what thanks do you deserve? Sinners do the same. If you do good to those who do good to you, what thanks do you deserve? Sinners do the same. If you lend to those who will repay, what do you deserve? Sinners lend to sinners to be repaid. 

Love your enemies and do good. Lend without expecting repayment. In this your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and to the wicked. Be merciful, therefore, as your Father is merciful.” 

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

  1. These commands demand a drastic change in behavior. 
  2. Jesus wants a total change in our relationships and a total rethinking of how we act. 
  3. Frequently, he mentions what sinners do for their friends. The disciples are called to much more for everyone. 
  4. God acts this way. He blesses sinners and gives them earthly goods. Should not the disciple imitate God. 
  5. Jesus wants disciples who are as merciful as God is merciful. 

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

  • O Jesus, help me to pray for my enemies and to do good to those who hate me. 
  • Jesus, I will love those who do not deserve love. This will be my gift. 
  • Jesus, I am special to you. I am your disciple. You expect much more of me. 
  • I see clearly, Jesus. My heavenly Father acts this way and You reveal his heart. 
  • I will give and seek no reward. This is how you love me. 
  • O Lord, I will pour out my mercy upon all, no exceptions. I will imitate the Father who has mercy for all. 

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

+ I will examine how I treat the people in my life. 

+ I will make changes and ask God for help. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.) 

Your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High.

WEEK TWENTY THREE – WEDNESDAY – SEPTEMBER 8, 2021 – NATIVITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY / JOSEPH’S DILEMMA (MT 1:18-25) 

Prayer:

Come, Holy Spirit. Give to me Joseph’s fidelity to God’s plan. 

Imagination:

Picture Joseph receiving the angel’s message. 

Context:

Luke tells us about Mary accepting her role as Mother of God. In Matthew’s gospel, the stories focus on Joseph’s dilemma. How does an upright Jewish man resolve the dilemma of a pregnant wife? Joseph is a just man.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, an upright man, unwilling to expose her to the law, decided to divorce her quietly. 

Such was his intention, when an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in sleep. “Joseph, Son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, because the child has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. She shall have a son whom you will call Jesus. He will save many from their sins.” All this happened to fulfill what the Lord said, “A virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall call him Emmanuel, meaning, ‘God is with us.’” Joseph did as the angel commanded and took Mary as his wife. 

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

  1. By his human attraction for Mary, Joseph gets immersed in a divine mystery. 
  2. Both Mary and Joseph had a dilemma. 
  3. Mary could not explain to him what happened and Joseph had to live according to his beliefs. 
  4. Realize the greatness of Joseph. He could have had Mary killed. 
  5. If he did, the Messiah would not have been born and the world would be in total darkness. 
  6. An angel resolves the problem. 
  7. In his darkest hour, Joseph always followed God’s light. 

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

  • O Jesus, in my dilemmas, send me your angel of light. 
  • Give me the faith of Mary and Joseph. 
  • Let all my decisions be gentle and thoughtful. 
  • Reveal my role in your Kingdom. 
  • Thank you, Joseph, for preserving the life of the Messiah. 
  • O Jesus, you take away my sins. 
  • You are Emmanuel, God with us. How much I owe to you! 

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

+ I will enkindle a devotion to Joseph (a favorite patron of St. Teresa of Avila). 

+ I will seek God’s help in my dilemmas. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.) 

Joseph did as the angel commanded.

WEEK TWENTY THREE – TUESDAY – SEPTEMBER 7, 2021 – PRAYER, SELECTION AND HEALING (LK 6:12-19) 

Prayer:

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

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with his disciples and the crowds. 

Context:

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.)

  1. Jesus was always in communion with his Father but he climbed the mountain to spend hours in prayer. 
  2. His prayer helps him to he make a vital decision choosing twelve disciples to be his inner circle of apostles. 
  3. At the lower level are more disciples and the crowds. These, too, will be blessed according to their capacity. 
  4. The crowds have heard the stories. Filled with enthusiasm, they bring their sick. 
  5. God’s power goes forth from Jesus’ humanity. Just touching him caused great healings. 

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

  • Jesus, teach me to pray. Give me the gift of communing with the Father. 
  • Let all my decisions come from prayer. 
  • Lord, call me to your side. Make me your special friend. 
  • Jesus, speak to my heart. Make me attentive. I want to hear you. 
  • I know all your healing stories, Jesus. I come to you in faith. 
  • 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.)

+ I will make time for prayer today. 

+ 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.

WEEK TWENTY THREE – MONDAY – SEPTEMBER 6, 2021 – HEALING ON THE SABBATH (LK 6:6-11) 

Prayer:

O Jesus, you have come that I might have life. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus in the synagogue curing the man’s withered hand. 

Context:

Although Jesus heals the man’s withered hand, the healing seems secondary to the confrontation. This reveals the unbelievable lack of compassion of many hearts.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

On another sabbath, Jesus entered the synagogue and taught. A man with a withered right hand was there. The scribes and Pharisees watched to see if Jesus would heal on the Sabbath so they could find a charge against him. Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to the man, “Arise and stand here in front.” He rose and stood. 

Jesus said to them, “I ask you if it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath or to do evil, preserve life or to destroy it?” Looking around at all of them, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was perfectly restored. 

They became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus. 

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

  1. This story involves Jesus, the sick man and Jesus’ opponents. All have different feelings. 
  2. Jesus is filled with compassion knowing that he has God’s power to heal. 
  3. The man is filled with hope and expectation. The long years of his illness might come to an end. 
  4. The opponents are filled with hardness of heart. They do not share Jesus’ compassion for the sick man’s suffering. 
  5. Jesus works his miracle. The sick man experiences God’s healing. The opponents’ hearts are hardened even more. 

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

  • O Jesus make my feelings like yours. 
  • Fill me with compassion for all who suffer. 
  • Fill me with hope. You will do great wonders in me. 
  • You call me. You tell me to stand before you. I will stand there in faith. 
  • Break open my hardened heart. Too often I close my heart to others. 
  • When I am healed, what will I do for you? I will bring everyone to be healed. 

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

+ I will live in the deepest faith in Jesus’ powers. 

+ I will not harden my heart to those who are suffering. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.) 

“Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and it was restored.

WEEK TWENTY THREE – SUNDAY – B – SEPTEMBER 5, 2021 – THE ENTHUSIASTIC CROWD (MK 7:31-37)

Prayer:

O Jesus, open my ears to hear your gospel and my tongue to speak your word

Imagination:

Picture Jesus healing the deaf and dumb man. 

Context:

Since the Ten Cities are outside of Israel, Jesus becomes a preacher to the Gentiles. Because the Gentile crowd might not understand, he takes the man aside and performs a healing ritual (almost like a sacrament.) As usual, the crowd disobeys Jesus’ command and tells everyone. As a result, many are in awe.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus came into the district of the Ten Cities, they brought to him a man who was deaf and dumb, and asked him to lay hands on the man. 

Taking him apart from the crowd, he put his fingers into his ears, and spitting, he touched his tongue. Looking up to heaven, he sighed and said, “Be thou open.” Immediately his ears were opened. His tongue was loosed and he spoke. 

Jesus told them that they should tell no one. But the more he told them, so much more did they proclaim it. And they were in great wonder, “He has done all things well. He has made the deaf hear and the dumb to speak.” 

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

  1. The crowd initiates this healing. They bring the man to Jesus. 
  2. They believe that Jesus can heal by the laying on of hands. 
  3. The man himself is passive, so Jesus needs to take him away from the crowd. 
  4. Jesus’ power comes through two actions. Placing his hands in his ears and spittle on his tongue. 
  5. The results are full and immediate. All this power comes from Jesus. 
  6. The wonderful crowd sees their faith in Jesus fulfilled, and tells everyone. 
  7. They have the highest esteem for Jesus. He does all things well. 

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

  • Jesus, I come to you in faith. Lay your hands of power upon me. 
  • Take me aside. Teach me. Instruct me. Work your wonders in me. 
  • Let me receive your sacraments often. These contain all your power. 
  • Open my ears. Let me hear your words. Let me understand your mysteries. 
  • Loosen my tongue. I will proclaim your mighty deeds. 
  • You do all things well, Jesus. Your actions on my behalf are perfect. 

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

+ Today, I will have great faith in what Jesus will do for me. 

+ I will speak of Jesus to my friends. They, too, can receive. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.) 

Immediately his ears were opened and he began to speak.

WEEK TWENTY TWO – SATURDAY – SEPTEMBER 4, 2021 – LORD OF THE SABBATH (LK 6:1-5)

Prayer:

O Jesus, you are God, Lord even of the sabbath. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with his disciples being confronted by the Pharisees). 

Context:

These confrontation stories highlight Jesus’ authority bring out new aspects of Christian life and most important, reveal Jesus’ identity. This story uses the powerful Sabbath regulation to reveal Jesus’ divinity and the disciples’ freedom. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

On the sabbath, Jesus and his disciples went through a field of standing grain. The disciples picked the grain and ate it. Some Pharisees saw them and said, “Why do you do what is not awful on the sabbath?” 

Jesus answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his men were hungry? He entered God’s house and took and ate the holy bread and gave it to his men, even though only the priests are allowed to eat it. Then, he said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord even of the sabbath.” 

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

  1. Jewish law permits the disciples to pick the grain. The Pharisees object to their doing this on the Sabbath. 
  2. In the Old Testament, King David assumed a new freedom to help his soldiers. 
  3. David acted correctly. His men’s welfare was more important than the law. 
  4. Jesus invokes the same freedom for his disciples. God always puts man’s welfare first. 
  5. Jesus goes much further. He reveals that He is the Son of Man. He is Lord and has divine power which is greater than the sabbath law. 

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

  • Jesus, when I walk with you, all creation serves my needs. 
  • You give me new freedom and lead me to joy. 
  • You always place me first, Jesus. I am always the center of your attention. 
  • I know who you are. You are God. You are Lord. You are the Son of Man, with all power and authority. 
  • You love me, call me and want me to be with you forever. 

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

+ By faith in Jesus, I will try to experience true freedom. 

+ In my heart this day, I will constantly proclaim Jesus as Lord. 

Thought for Today: (To recall your Meditation.) 

The Son of Man is Lord, even of the sabbath.

WEEK TWENTY TWO – FRIDAY – SEPTEMBER 3, 2021 – IMAGES OF JESUS’ KINGDOM (LK 5:33-39)

Prayer:

O Jesus, give me faith which accepts your new Covenant. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus surrounded by his disciples and his opponents.

Context:

In this text, Jesus uses three images, the bridegroom, the new coat and the new wine. They all reveal the new powers of the Kingdom. Jesus’ opponents are holding on to the old and see no need to accept Jesus.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The scribes and the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Why do John’s disciples fast and offer prayers. The disciples of the Pharisees do the same. Yours, on the contrary, eat and drink quite freely.” Jesus responded, “Can the guests of the bridegroom fast while the groom is still with them? When the groom is taken away, they shall fast.” 

Jesus proposed a figure. No one uses a piece of a new coat to patch an old one. The old coat will tear and the new piece will not match. 

No one puts new wine into old skins. The new wine will break the old skins and all will be lost. New wine should be poured into fresh skins. 

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

  1. Jesus deliberately does not allow his disciples to fast. Their freedom highlights the newness of his Kingdom. 
  2. He is the bridegroom and the wedding will soon begin. 
  3. He uses this confrontation to preach his message. The Kingdom is a totally new gift of God. 
  4. Any attempt to join the old with the new will destroy everything. 
  5. The new wine is too powerful for the old wineskins. 
  6. Jesus prepares his disciples for divine favors which their Jewish faith cannot imagine. 

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

  • Jesus, how limited is my faith, unable to grasp your favors. 
  • Jesus, You are the bridegroom. The wedding has begun. You are in our midst. 
  • I will put aside my old way of life and receive all you will give. 
  • How powerful is your new wine. I will drink it fully and it will change me. 
  • 5. Give me new faith, Jesus. My present faith cannot receive all you want for me. 

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

+ I will ask for greater faith. 

+ I will set aside my old habits that limit Jesus’ power. 

Thought for Today: (To recall your Meditation.) 

The guests of the bridegroom cannot fast while the bridegroom is present.

WEEK TWENTY TWO – THURSDAY – SEPTEMBER 2, 2021 – PETER’S CALL (LK 5:1-11)

Prayer:

O Jesus, call me to serve you. 

Imagination:

See Peter on his knees before Jesus in the boat.

Context:

Peter has witnessed many of Jesus’ miracles but this miracle is unique. Peter is a fisherman. He knows that filling both boats with fish is impossible in the daylight. This is the perfect miracle. It drives Peter to his knees.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said to Peter, “Go out into the deep waters and lower your nets.” Peter replied, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing. However, at your command, I will lower the nets.” 

When they did this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets broke. They called to their partners in the other boat. They filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” 

Great astonishment at the catch of fish seized him and all who were with him. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching men.” Bringing their ships to land, they left everything and followed Jesus. 

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

  1. Peter’s boat and Peter’s heart were empty before Jesus acted. 
  2. After catching the fish, Peter experiences a fullness which he cannot explain. 
  3. Jesus of Nazareth stands at the center of this story. He has brought about the great catch of fish. 
  4. Peter realizes that he is “a sinful man”. Wanting to resolve his pain, he asks Jesus to depart. 
  5. Jesus has a better solution. He invites Peter into a new holiness and a new task. 
  6. Peter will be a “fisher of men.” This great call gets the disciples to leave everything behind. 

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

  • O Lord, I am empty. I have fished all night and caught nothing. 
  • My world, my career and my human goals do not fill me. 
  • I will obey you and put out deeper into the devout life. 
  • Suddenly, my little boat has your abundant fullness. 
  • O Lord, I cannot handle all my feelings. Depart from me. 
  • As I kneel at your feet, Jesus, I hear you call me to serve your Kingdom. 
  • For you, everything is left behind. Everything! 

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

+ For a few minutes today, I will take my boat into the ocean of prayer. 

+ I will accept God’s holy light, no matter what it reveals. 

Thought for Today: (To recall your meditation.) 

Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man.

WEEK TWENTY TWO – WEDNESDAY – SEPTEMBER 1, 2021 – HEALING, PRAYING AND TRAVELING (LK 4:38-44)

Prayer:

O Jesus, use your powers for me. I will follow you wherever you go. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus healing the sick. 

Context:

This text manifests Jesus’ great powers but it also shows his desire to avoid the limelight and to preach in other towns to complete his mission. The crowds want Jesus to stay with them.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus left the synagogue he came to Peter’s house. His mother-in-law had a high fever and they interceded for her. Standing over her he commanded the fever and it left her. Rising immediately, she waited on them. 

When the sun went down, all who had people sick with a variety of diseases brought them to Jesus. He laid his hands and healed all of them. The devils departed from many. They cried out, “You are the Son of God.” Jesus rebuked them and did not allow them to speak, for they knew he was the Messiah. 

In the morning he went to a desert place but the crowds searched and found him, asking him not to depart from them. He said, “I must preach the Kingdom of God to other cities. This is why I am sent.” And he preached in the synagogue of Galilee. 

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

  1. The disciples have caught on. Jesus can heal. So they plead with him to heal Simon’s mother-in-law. 
  2. Jesus stands over her in complete authority and rebukes the fever as if the disease were an evil spirit which has no right to possess the woman. 
  3. Having heard the stories of Jesus, the crowds have great faith. At sundown (after returning from work), they bring the sick. 
  4. Jesus’ power heals all and drives out the evil spirits. His victory is complete and total. 
  5. The crowd wants these blessings to continue but Jesus realizes that he must go to all the synagogues of Galilee. 

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

  • O Jesus, remove the fever of my disordered passions. 
  • In your authority cast from me every evil. I will bring you all of my anxieties. 
  • I know these stories of your powers. Like the crowds, I will come to you with my weaknesses. 
  • Make your victory complete. Touch my whole life. Touch my body and soul, my past and present. 
  • The Father sent you to the whole world. You go everywhere. You even come to me. 

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

+ I will have total faith in Jesus’ love for me. 

+ I will hold nothing back from his touch. 

Thought for today: (To recall your meditation.) 

I must preach the Kingdom of God to other cities.

WEEK TWENTY TWO – TUESDAY – AUGUST 31, 2021 – ASTONISHING POWER (LK 4:31-37)

Prayer:

O Jesus, use your power to cleanse me. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus in the synagogue.

Context:

Rejected by the people of Nazareth, Jesus establishes His new base at Capernaum. The people receive Him and upon entering the synagogue, He casts out an unclean spirit. The people praise Him and spread his fame throughout the whole region. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus went to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and he taught on the sabbath. All were astonished at his teaching because his words had power. 

In the synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit who cried out in a loud voice, “Let us alone. 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 and said, “Be still and come out of him.” After the devil had thrown him on the floor, he left him and did him no harm. Awe came upon everyone and they asked, “What is the power of his words? He commands the unclean spirit with authority and power, and they leave.” His fame kept spreading throughout the whole region. 

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

  1. The people sense Jesus’ authority in the power of His teaching. 
  2. Jesus’ holiness forces the unclean spirit to reveal himself. He will soon lose his hold upon the man. 
  3. Satan’s keen intellect sees quickly. Jesus is the Holy One and He can destroy the devil. 
  4. The devil is powerless. He throws the man to the floor but that is all he can do. The man is free forever. 
  5. The people were already in awe. After seeing Jesus’ cast out the demon, their enthusiasm spills over to the whole countryside. 

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

  • O Jesus, I see your power and authority. You are the Christ. 
  • O Jesus, cleanse and purify. Set me free of my hidden evils. 
  • Jesus, You are the Holy One who comes to save not to destroy. 
  • Set me free, Jesus, and I will be free forever. 
  • I will tell everyone of your power. You can free them also. 
  • Jesus, set the whole world free from the Evil One. 

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

+ I will bring to Jesus all my inner evils. 

+ I will seek the freedom given to the children of God. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.) 

He commands the unclean spirits with authority and power.

WEEK TWENTY TWO– SUNDAY – B – AUGUST 29, 2021 – WASHING HANDS – LIP SERVICE (MK 7:1-8)

Prayer:

O Jesus, let my heart be set only on the Heavenly Father’s will. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus in this controversy with the Pharisees. 

Context:

These critics come from Jerusalem to find fault with Jesus’ disciples. Instead, Jesus finds fault with their piety. This gospel contains two Pharisic practices – washing of hands and declaring things sacred. Mark explains these practices for his Gentile Christians who have no idea. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The Pharisees and some scribes from Jerusalem came to Jesus. They found fault with some who ate bread with unwashed hands. The Pharisees, indeed all Jews, do not eat without washing their hands according to the tradition of the elders. Also, they never eat anything from the marketplace without sprinkling it. They also observe many other customs, for example washing cups and jugs and kettles. Therefore, the Pharisees and the scribes questioned Jesus, “Why do your disciples not follow the traditions of the Elders but they eat bread without washing their hands. 

Jesus answered, “Well did Isaiah prophecy about you hypocrites when he wrote, ‘This people honor me with their lips but their heart is far from me. In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines what are merely human precepts’. You disregard God’s commandment and you cling to human tradition. You even set aside God’s commandments. For example, Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’, but you declare to your parents, ‘Any support you had from me is dedicated to God (Korban)’. Then, you do nothing for your father and mother. You nullify God’s words.”

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

  1. These Pharisees and scribes totally ignore Jesus’ miracles. They are concerned that some disciples do not wash their hands. 
  2. They have a whole list of rules concerning washing which they call “the tradition of the elders.” 
  3. They attack Jesus based upon their views of religious practice. 
  4. Jesus sees their misguided piety. He quotes Isaiah who has already confronted this problem. 
  5. They give their lips to God but not their hearts. 
  6. They teach as divine what are merely human laws. 

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

  • Jesus, you are the center of my devotion. My eyes are always upon you. 
  • O Jesus, wash my heart, not just my hands. 
  • Teach me your ways, O Jesus, and I will follow. 
  • I will follow you, Jesus. You will get me to heaven. 
  • Let my heart remain simple and my piety centered on you. 
  • Jesus all of your commands are in my heart. 

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

+ I will not judge others by my standards. 

+ I will give my heart to God’s important demands. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.) 

They honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.