SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER – B – APRIL 11, 2021 – JESUS BESTOWS THE SPIRIT (Jn 20:19-23)

Prayer:

O Jesus, breathe upon me and anoint me with your Spirit. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus appearing to his disciples in the Upper Room.

Context:

This vision occurs on Easter Sunday evening and reveals many truths. By coming through a closed door, Jesus clearly shows that he has a risen, glorified body. Showing his hands and his side proves that he is the crucified Jesus, born of Mary. His final action of bestowing the Spirit is really a Pentecost. Instead of bestowing the gift of tongues, the Spirit gives the greater power of forgiving sins.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

On the first day of the week, when the disciples were gathered in the upper room, the doors were locked for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 

He said to them again, “Peace be to you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Having said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive are forgiven them. Whose sins you shall retain are retained.” 

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

  1. In his mortal life, Jesus never came through locked doors. His glorified body has greater powers. 
  2. Seeing his hands and side, the disciples rejoice immediately. They know who Jesus is. 
  3. Before anything else, Jesus gives the disciples inner stillness, “Peace be with you.” 
  4. Filled with peace, they are ready to receive the Holy Spirit. 
  5. This is Pentecost! Jesus breathes on them and pours out the Holy Spirit of forgiveness. 
  6. This power to forgive will remain in the Church until the end of time. 

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

  • O Jesus, how fearful I am. 
  • Come quickly, Jesus, even though my doors are closed. 
  • Fill me with your stillness of peace. 
  • Joy! I experience joy when you come. 
  • Breathe on me. Send the Spirit into my heart. 
  • O Jesus, your forgiveness is your greatest gift to me. 

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

+ I will ask Jesus to send me His Spirit. 

+ I will seek forgiveness in the sacrament. 

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

The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 

EASTER WEEK – SATURDAY – APRIL 10, 2021 – REBUKING THE DISCIPLES (Mk 16:9-15)

Prayer:

O Jesus, heal my lack of faith

Imagination:

Picture Jesus gathered with his disciples at table. 

Context:

Mark summarizes the Easter visions. Jesus rose and appeared to Mary Magdalen. She told the disciples. He appeared to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. They, too, announced the good news but the other disciples did not believe. When Jesus comes, he has to rebuke them for lack of faith.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus rose from the dead early on the first day of the week, appearing first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. She went and told his disciples who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that he was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe. Later on, as two disciples were walking in the country, he appeared to them, totally changed in appearance. They told the disciples also, but they did not believe them either. 

Finally, he appeared to the eleven as they were at table. He rebuked them for their lack of faith and hardness of heart because they did not believe those who had seen him after he had risen. He said to them, “Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature.” 

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

  1. Mark recounts Jesus’ appearances so we believe. 
  2. Everyone who saw Jesus told the story to the disciples. 
  3. The evidence mounts up, but they refuse to open their minds. 
  4. Finally, Jesus has to come. He loves the disciples and wants them to have faith. 
  5. At the same time, he must confront their hard hearts which continually stayed closed. 
  6. In spite of this, Jesus chooses them to be his messengers to all the world. 
  7. Their great success in preaching justifies Jesus’ faith in them. 

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

  • O Jesus, I know the stories of your rising. The evidence overwhelms me. 
  • Thank you, Jesus, for dying and rising for me. 
  • You come to me. You sit at table. You give me your Body and your Blood. 
  • You commission me. You send me. You say “Tell the whole world.” 
  • I will preach. I will witness. I will tell everyone. Certainly, some will believe. 
  • Come, Lord Jesus, come soon. 

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

+ I will thank Jesus for the abundant evidence that he rose from the dead. 

+ I will also study his many more apparitions (Sacred Heart and Divine Mercy). 

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

While they were at table, Jesus was revealed to the Eleven. 

EASTER WEEK – FRIDAY – APRIL 9, 2021 – VISION AT THE SEA OF GALILEE (Jn 21:1-8)

Prayer:

O Jesus, make me aware of your presence. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus standing on the shore at the Sea of Galilee. 

Context:

Jesus had appeared to the apostles in Jerusalem on Easter Sunday and then to the doubting Thomas. This is the third recorded vision in John’s gospel. Since Jesus had promised to appear also in Galilee, the apostles return there and resume fishing. John carefully records the seven apostles who see the risen Jesus.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Jesus showed himself again at the Sea of Galilee. Simon Peter said to Thomas, Nathanael of Cana, the sons of Zebedee and two others, “I am going fishing.” They replied “We will come with you.” However, all night they caught nothing. 

In the morning, Jesus stood on the shore. However, they did not recognize him. He called out to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” “No” they answered. “Throw your nets to the right side of the boat and you will find something.” When they did, they caught so many fish that they could not pull them in. 

The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When he heard it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment (he was lightly clad) and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the ship dragging the net with their fishes. 

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

  1. Peter is the leader. The other six are blessed by going with him. 
  2. The Beloved Disciple (who wrote this gospel), is a witness to this event. 
  3. Their natural knowledge and skill profit nothing. The nets are empty. 
  4. Although they do not recognize this mysterious figure on the shore, they obey his words. 
  5. This miracle reveals to the Beloved Disciple that “it is the Lord.” 
  6. Peter believes the Beloved Disciple and plunges into the sea. 
  7. Although the others arrive in a more conventional way, they, also experience Jesus’ third appearance. 

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

  • O Jesus, keep me united with Peter and the Church. This is how I will be blessed. 
  • Make me of one mind and heart with your other disciples. 
  • Speak to me, Lord. Show me where to fish. 
  • You stand on the shore and get my attention. O Jesus, you see all my difficulties. 
  • Give me the sensitive faith of the Beloved Disciple. 
  • Fill me with the enthusiasm of Peter. 
  • May I always experience your presence. 

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

+ I will join with others who search for Jesus. 

+ I will listen to Jesus’ words. 

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

“Have you caught anything to eat? Throw your nets to the right side.” 

EASTER WEEK – THURSDAY – APRIL 8, 2021 – JESUS IN THE UPPER ROOM (Lk 24:35-48)

Prayer:

O Jesus, flood my soul with faith. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus in the Upper Room with his disciples

Context:

The disciples have heard the news about Jesus’ rising, but when Jesus actually comes, they experience fear and even disbelief. Slowly, he proves to them that he is truly risen. The skepticism of the disciples in these resurrection stories shows that they needed proof to believe. This helps our own faith.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

While all the disciples were still speaking, Jesus appeared in their midst and said, “Peace be to you. It is I, do not be afraid.” However, they were troubled and fearful, thinking that they saw a ghost. 

He asked, “Why are you troubled and why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet. See that it is I myself. Touch and see. A ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” Saying this, he showed them his hands and feet. 

They were still incredulous because of joy and were amazed. He asked, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him some broiled fish which he ate in their midst. He said, “I told you, while I was with you, that everything written in the law of Moses, in the prophets and in the psalms concerning me had to be fulfilled.” He opened their minds to understand the scriptures. 

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

  1. The disciples take a step backward. Before Jesus appears, they were talking about his rising. Now, they grow fearful and troubled. 
  2. Jesus is patient and gives them signs. 
  3. He repeats his plea “See that it is I myself.” 
  4. This is too good to be true. Jesus has to show them his hands and his feet. 
  5. He eats food so they know he is not a ghost. 
  6. He reminds them of all the fulfilled prophecies. 
  7. Jesus battles for their minds and hearts. 
  8. He loves them and chose them to carry the message to the world. 

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

  • Jesus, you can come to me at anytime. 
  • You are so patient with my slowness to believe. 
  • Do not let anxieties destroy my faith. 
  • Your rising from the dead is no myth. You are flesh and blood. 
  • O Jesus, you are always concerned, always asking, “Why are you troubled?” 
  • Jesus, You are risen. Almost too good to be true! 

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

+ I will ponder the remarkable truth that Jesus of Nazareth has risen from the dead. 

+ I will believe that he will raise me up to glory. 

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

Why do questions arise in your heart? 

EASTER WEEK – WEDNESDAY – APRIL 7, 2021 – TWO DISCIPLES LEAVING JERUSALEM TO EMMAUS (Lk 24:13)

Prayer:

O Jesus, restore my hope. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with these two disciples. 

Context:

This is the longest story of any Easter vision and presents a model for Christian initiation. In this first part we see the disciples’ sadness and dejection. They are walking away from being disciples.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.

Two disciples left Jerusalem to go to Emmaus, discussing all that had happened. Jesus joined them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 

“What are you discussing?” Jesus asked. Cleopas responded, “Are you the only one in Jerusalem who does not know the things that happened?” “What things?” Jesus asked. 

“Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a prophet powerful in word and deed, before God and all the people. Our chief priests and rulers delivered him to death and crucified him. We were hoping that he would redeem all Israel. 

Also, this is the third day and some women of our group astounded us. Before dawn, they were at the tomb. They did not find the body but said they had seen angels who said he was alive. Some of our number went to the tomb. They found it just as the women said, but did not find him.” 

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

  1. Without God, our happiness depends upon events that are outside of our control. 
  2. These two disciples see only one choice. They leave Jerusalem and abandon their dream. 
  3. In their despair, they cannot recognize Jesus. They can only talk about these events. 
  4. Cleopas is even annoyed that this stranger doesn’t know what happened. 
  5. The whole story seemingly ends in confusion. The tomb is empty. Angels have spoken. Some have seen the empty tomb but no one has seen Jesus. 

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

  • O Jesus, do not let external events control my life. 
  • Jesus, if I lose you, I will lose my dream. 
  • Draw near, Lord Jesus. My life is in shambles and all is in confusion. 
  • Stay with me, even if I do not recognize you. 
  • When life crushes all my dreams, you are my only hope. 

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

+ I will place all my hope in the Risen Jesus. 

+ I will not abandon the dreams which Jesus has given me. 

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

We were hoping that he would redeem all Israel. 

EASTER WEEK – TUESDAY – APRIL 6, 2021 – MAGDALENE SEES JESUS (Jn 20:11-18)

Prayer:

Jesus, fill me with Magdalene’s love and devotion to you. 

Imagination:

Picture Magdalene at the tomb with Jesus.

Context:

This is a very rich text, containing many teachings for both devotion and doctrine. Magdalene stays at the empty tomb, thinking the body has been stolen. Jesus appears and reveals who he is. She grasps Jesus but Jesus tells her not to hold him because he is ascending to the Father. A new relationship now exists. Jesus is preparing the way to heaven. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.

After the disciples left, Magdalene remained at the tomb, weeping. When she looked into the tomb, she saw two angels dressed in white, one at the head and the other at the feet where the body of Jesus had been. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said, “Because they have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have placed him.” 

Turning around, she saw Jesus standing there, but did not know it was he. Jesus said, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have taken him, tell me where you have put him and I will take him away.” 

Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She replied, “Rabboni (meaning “Master”).” Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father. Go to my brothers and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God.” Mary went and told the disciples, “I have seen the Lord and these are the things he has told me.” 

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

  1. Magdalene’s love is greater than the two apostles. She alone stays at the tomb. 
  2. She listens to her heart, not to her head. 
  3. She acts quite irrationally. She sees angels but doesn’t question why they are standing in the tomb. 
  4. She sees a man and asks him to return the body (if he has stolen it). 
  5. Her physical eyes do not recognize Jesus because his glorified body has been transformed. 
  6. However, she recognizes his voice. Jesus, the good Shepherd, calls her by name. 
  7. She embraces Jesus as if nothing has changed, but he is ascending to the Father. 
  8. Everything is new. The disciples are now Jesus’ brothers and sisters, and God is their Father. 
  9. Magdalen becomes the Apostle to the Apostles – telling them that she had seen the Lord. 

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

  • Where are you, Lord? 
  • I am searching for you with all my heart. 
  • I embrace you, Jesus. 
  • You are ascending so that I can ascend with you. 
  • Let my tears prepare for your coming. 
  • Jesus, call me by name. 
  • O Jesus, you have made God my Father. 
  • Make me an apostle. I will tell all my friends about your rising. 

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

+ I will ask Jesus for Magdalene’s generosity. 

+ I will listen for Jesus to call me by name. 

Thought for Today: (To recall your meditation.

They have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have placed him. 

EASTER WEEK – MONDAY – APRIL 5, 2021 – THE GOOD NEWS (Mt 28:8-15)

Prayer:

O Jesus, I will carry the good news to the whole world. 

Imagination:

Picture the two women meeting Jesus. 

Context:

This gospel has two quite different scenes. The women meet Jesus and he tells them to bring the good news to his disciples. In the second scene, a cover-up takes place. Bribes are paid so this good news remains hidden from the people. This battle will go on until the end of time. Only then will all see that Jesus is truly risen from the dead. 

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

The women left the tomb quickly, filled with both fear and great joy, running to tell the disciples. Then, Jesus stood before them and said, “Peace.” They came up, took hold of his feet and adored him. Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers that they are to go to Galilee. There they shall see me.” 

As they were going, some of the guards came into the city and told the chief priests all that had happened. They assembled with the elders to decide what to do. They gave a great sum of money to the soldiers and said, “You are to say that the disciples came at night and stole the body while we were asleep. If the Procurator should hear of this, we will settle it and keep you out of trouble.” They took the money and did as they were told. This is the story that circulates among the Jews even to this day. 

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

  1. The women are overwhelmed with joy. 
  2. They see an angel and then they experience the Risen Jesus. 
  3. They are prepared to be messengers, the first to know and to tell the story. 
  4. Many more visions will follow. Jesus will appear for forty days to prepare the disciples. 
  5. The guards, too, had this experience. They could have become evangelists. 
  6. They sell out. They take the money and close the door to truth. 
  7. How many did they deprive of eternal life, themselves included? 
  8. Lies can blunt the power of the gospel. 

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

  • O Jesus, I experience great joy at this story. 
  • Prepare me to be your evangelist. Come to me often. 
  • Remove all fear so I can follow you. 
  • O Jesus, you called even the guards to preach you, but the soldiers lost their vocation. 
  • Do not let me sell you out, no matter what the cost. 
  • O Jesus, I will tell your story to everyone. 

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

+ I will try to find moments of quiet, so Jesus can come to me. 

+ I will be totally committed to the truth. 

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

They took the money and did as they were told. 

EASTER SUNDAY – APRIL 4, 2021 – THE DISCIPLES AT THE TOMB (Jn 20:1-8) – This meditation combines readings for Easter for Cycles A, B & C

Prayer:

Come, Holy Spirit. Give me the faith to seek the risen Christ. 

Imagination:

Picture the disciples at the empty tomb. 

Context:

If Jesus has risen from the dead, then his tomb must be empty. All four gospels begin their Easter stories with visits to the empty tomb and with descriptions of the disciples’ reactions.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

When it was still dark on the first day of the week, Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been taken away. She ran to Peter and to the disciple whom Jesus loved and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord from the tomb and we do not know where they have placed him.” 

Then, Peter and the other disciple went out to the tomb. They both ran together but the other disciple outran Peter and came first to the tomb. When he bent down, he saw the linen cloth lying there, but he did not go in. When Peter arrived, he went into the tomb and saw the linen clothes. The cloth that had been around his head was not lying with the linen clothes, but was wrapped together in another place. 

Then, the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in. He saw and believed. As yet they did not understand the scripture that he must rise from the dead. The disciples left and went home, but Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping. 

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

  1. The Beloved Disciple is the author of John’s gospel. All of the many details, (about the various linens, where they were placed, and who arrived first), are memories of his personal experiences. 
  2. Notice the readiness of these three disciples. Magdalene comes as early as possible, while Peter and the Beloved Disciple run to the tomb. 
  3. Although experiencing the empty tomb, the disciples still do not know that Jesus is risen. 
  4. Peter seems totally confused. The Beloved Disciple believes, but does not understand the full story. Magdalene is weeping. 
  5. This is God’s first stirring. The full gift will soon come. At least, they are searching. 
  6. The two disciples return home. Magdalene’s great love, however, takes her in a more important direction. She stays at the tomb. 

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

  • O Lord, thank you for these eyewitnesses. My faith in your resurrection is based on their witness. 
  • All this evidence captures my intellect. The stone is rolled away. The body is not there. The linens are in various places. 
  • My heart is ready to believe. 
  • Let me run. Let me hurry quickly. I must find you. 
  • Give me the heart of Magdalene. I don’t want to return home to the empty world. 

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

+ I will renew my faith in the risen Jesus. 

+ I will study the scriptures 

Thought for Today: (To recall your Meditation.) 

Magdalene ran to the apostles. Peter and the Beloved Disciple ran to the tomb. 

HOLY SATURDAY (VIGIL) – APRIL 3, 2021 AT THE TOMB (Mk 16:1-7 & Mt 28:1-10)

Prayer:

O Risen Jesus, show yourself to me in the quiet of this prayer. 

Imagination:

Picture the holy women meeting Jesus. 

Context:

The four gospels have different stories about the Resurrection and the church has not tried to harmonize these accounts, because the diverse stories witness to the reality of the resurrection, the most world-shattering event. These resurrection stories begin with the empty tomb.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalen and the other Mary came to inspect the tomb. Behold there was a great earthquake, as the angel of the Lord descended from heaven. He came, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. In appearance, he resembled a flash of lightening, while his garments were as white as snow. Out of fear, the guards were struck with terror and became as dead men. 

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid. I know that you seek Jesus, the crucified one. He is not here because he has risen as he said. Come and see the place where the Lord was laid. Then, go quickly and tell the disciples that he is risen and that he will go before you into Galilee. There you shall see him. This is my message to you.” 

They left the tomb quickly, with fear and great joy, running to tell the disciples. On their way, Jesus met them and said, “Peace.” They came up, took hold of his feet and adored him. Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers that they are to go to Galilee. There they shall see me.” 

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

  1. The women are observant Jews, faithfully keeping the Sabbath rest. 
  2. They are also Christian believers whose hearts lead them to Jesus’ tomb. 
  3. It was dawn, not just for them, but for the whole world. A new day had come. 
  4. What an experience, to see an angel roll back a stone and sit upon it. 
  5. The angel gives them a tour of the tomb. After all, they were going to be witnesses. 
  6. They do not need to see the Risen Jesus but they believe and are filled with joy. 
  7. They become the first evangelists and preach to the disciples. 
  8. Then comes the great favor. Jesus appears and allows them to touch him. 
  9. They know he is God and adore him. 

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

  • O Jesus, I will not wait. I will seek you today. 
  • You are the dawn. When you come, the night is over. 
  • O Jesus, you provide all the evidence. I need to believe that you are the Lord. 
  • I will tell others that you are risen. 
  • O risen Jesus, come to me whenever I lift my heart to you. 
  • Do not let me fear. With you, I can overcome all of life’s difficulties. 

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

+ I will ponder today the great gift of Jesus’ rising from the dead. 

+ I will study my faith and witness to others. 

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

They fell at his feet and adored him. 

GOOD FRIDAY – APRIL 2, 2021 JESUS WITNESSES TO PILATE (Jn 18:1-19:42)

Prayer:

Jesus, let your Kingdom claim my heart. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus standing before Pilate. 

Context:

John’s gospel presents a lengthy dialogue in which Jesus preaches to Pilate and offers him a chance to make a different decision. Pilate can even be a member of the Kingdom instead of an instrument used by the Jewish leaders. Unfortunately, he does not accept Jesus as King and turns his back on him.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus responded, “Do you say this by yourself, or have others told you?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and your chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” 

Jesus said, “My Kingdom is not of this world. If my Kingdom were of this world, my servants would certainly fight so I would not be handed over. But my Kingdom is not here.” 

Pilate said, “Then you are a King.” Jesus responded, “You say that I am a King. For this was I born. For this I came into the world. That I should testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth, hears my voice.” Pilate said, “What is truth.” Then he went out to the Jews and said, “I find no guilt in him.” 

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

  1. Jesus speaks the truth. His Kingdom is not of this world. 
  2. He is a unique king and those who belong to his kingdom recognize his voice. 
  3. Jesus spends time with Pilate and explains everything. 
  4. However, Pilate has no interest in truth and does not receive the Kingdom. 
  5. Pilate, however, cannot deny his own feelings. 
  6. He says honestly, “I find no guilt in him.” 
  7. What a hero Pilate would have been if he had acted on this belief. 

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

  • Jesus, You are my King. May you reign forever. 
  • Your Kingdom is in my heart. There, I hear your word. 
  • You call me to truth. You invite me into your light. 
  • Jesus, I will come quickly out of my darkness. 
  • To know you, to love you, and to serve you. For this I was born. For this I came into the world. 
  • I will proclaim to the whole world, “Jesus is my King.” 

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

+ I will commit my life to living the truth. 

+ I will choose the right King – Jesus the Lord. 

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

For this I was born. For this, I came into the world. To witness to the truth. 

HOLY THURSDAY – APRIL 1, 2021 JESUS WASHES THE DISCIPLES’ FEET (Jn 13:1-15)

Prayer:

Jesus, wash me and cleanse me. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus washing the Disciples’ feet. 

Context:

This gospel highlights the great contrast. Jesus has all power, yet he acts like a servant. He washes the disciples’ feet as if they were the master of the house. He explains the meaning of this symbolic act. These powerful apostles must act like servants.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Knowing that the Father had given everything into his hands and that he came from God and was returning to God, Jesus rose from the supper and laid aside his garments. Taking a towel, he girded himself. Then he put water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples and to wipe them with the towel around his waist. 

After washing their feet, Jesus said, “You call me Master and Lord, for that is what I am. If I, who am your Master and Lord, have washed your feet, then you also, should wash one another’s feet. I have given you an example. As I have done to you, so you also should do.” 

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

  1. Jesus is not powerless. He has come from the Father and will return to the Father. “Everything is in his hands.” 
  2. Yet, Jesus removes his garments (a symbol of power), and girds himself with a towel (a symbol of service). 
  3. He descends to the floor, and kneels before each apostle (even Judas). 
  4. Although He is “Lord” and “Master,” he sets aside those titles to act as a slave and servant. 
  5. “I have given you an example” is Jesus’ keynote speech at his finest hour. 
  6. The apostles do not understand. Only the cross will make everything clear. 

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

  • O Jesus, You knew who you were, where you came from and where you were going. 
  • O Lord, with all your greatness, you still choose to serve me. 
  • You kneel at my side and you wash my feet. How can I not love you? 
  • Your tenderness overwhelms me. Your actions touch me deeply. 
  • How can I respond to you? 
  • “Do the same for your friends,” You say. “I have given you an example.” 

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

+ I will ask the Lord to cleanse me, again and again. 

+ From this day on, I will serve the needs of others. 

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

Jesus rose from table and set aside his garments. 

WEDNESDAY –HOLY WEEK – MARCH 31, 2021 JUDAS ISCARIOT (MT 26:14-25)

Prayer:

Jesus, may I always be loyal to you. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus at the Last Supper. 

Context:

Jesus often spoke about his betrayal. Up to now however, Jesus never revealed his betrayer or said openly that he would come from the twelve. Now he must focus on this issue. So, Jesus reveals Judas as the one and determines the time by telling Judas to leave the Upper Room.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus grew troubled in spirit and said, “Amen, amen I say to you. One of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, puzzled as to whom he could mean. Now the disciple whom Jesus loved was leaning on his breast. Simon Peter beckoned to him and said, “Who is he speaking about?” The disciple asked, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “The one to whom I give some food after dipping it in the dish.” He dipped it and gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. 

After receiving the morsel, Satan entered into Judas. Jesus said, “What you have to do, do quickly.” The others at table did not know Jesus’ purpose. Having received the morsel, Judas went out immediately. It was night. 

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

  1. What a tragic story. Judas, called to be close to Jesus, becomes the knife in Jesus’ heart. 
  2. Jesus often spoke about this moment. Now, it could not be postponed. 
  3. Because of their simplicity, the other apostles worry if it could be themselves. 
  4. The Beloved Disciple is so close to Jesus’ heart that Jesus tell him who his betrayer is. 
  5. Jesus is still in control. He determines the time of the betrayal by telling Judas to act now. 
  6. “It was night” everywhere – in Judas’ soul, in Jesus’ broken heart and in world history. This was the darkest moment. 

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

  • O Jesus, by your grace, my life will not be a tragic story. 
  • You call me to greatness. You have prepared a place for me at your table. 
  • Give me the simplicity of the apostles who were loyal to you. 
  • I will place my head on your breast and experience the love in your Sacred Heart. 
  • O Jesus, to depart from you is the darkest night. Hold on to me. 

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

+ I will value my friendship with Jesus above every other prize. 

+ I will be faithful to my friends. 

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

One of you will betray me. 

TUESDAY – HOLY WEEK – MARCH 30, 2021 JESUS WASHES PETER’S FEET (Jn 13:21-33)

(Note: The gospel for today is so similar to yesterday’s that the following scene from the Last Supper is used.)

Prayer:

Jesus, bathe me in your cleansing waters. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus washing Peter’s feet. 

Context:

Peter is so special to Jesus that even in the washing of feet, there is a unique dialogue. The others accept this action (which a servant usually performs) without saying anything. Peter has two strong emotions – at first, refusing to be washed and then, enthusiastically asking to be totally washed.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing, you do not understand now but you will understand later.” Peter said, “Lord, you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “If I do not wash you, you shall have no inheritance with me.” Peter said to him, “Lord, wash not only my feet, but my hands and my head.” Jesus said, “To be fully clean, you need only wash your feet. You are clean, but not all” (He knew who would betray him.) 

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

  1. Peter resists this shift in his relationship to Jesus. His feelings cannot adjust to Jesus being a servant. 
  2. Jesus explains very little, saying only, “Later will you understand.” 
  3. Peter’s resistance heightens. His questioning becomes a refusal. 
  4. Jesus states the consequences “You will have no part with me.” 
  5. Peter’s heart is in the right place. He would never want to lose his relationship to Jesus. 
  6. Peter’s surrender is full – the feet, the hands, the head. Like walking on the water. 
  7. Peter hears those powerful words – “You are clean.” 
  8. Jesus grows sad because “not all are clean.” 

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

  • O Lord, your goodness is too great for me. 
  • Your actions overwhelm me and your nearness causes me to fear. 
  • I run from you when I should just be still. 
  • I flee from you, but you chase after me. 
  • I put up walls but you go around them. 
  • I close doors, but you enter anyway. 
  • Bathe me, O Lord, from head to toe. 
  • Jesus, you say “You are clean” and my heart pounds. 
  • You say “not all are clean” and I see the mystery of your care for me. 

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

+ Cleansed once in Baptism, I will seek the second cleansing of confession. 

+ I will ponder the following – “I cannot understand why Jesus loves me and cleanses me.” 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.

To be fully clean, you need only wash your soul. 

MONDAY – HOLY WEEK – MARCH 29, 2021 MARY’S ANNOINTING (Jn 12:1-11)

Prayer:

O Jesus, let me be generous in serving you. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus at table with Martha, Mary and Lazarus. 

Context:

Lazarus has just been raised from the dead. This scene continues the death to life theme, but now it focuses on Jesus, not Lazarus. Martha and Mary play their familiar roles. Martha serves and Mary anoints Jesus’ feet.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead. They made a supper. Martha served and Lazarus was at table. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made from genuine aromatic nard with which she anointed Jesus’ feet and wiped the feet with her hair. The odor of the ointment filled the house. 

Then, Judas Iscariot, who was about to betray Jesus, asked, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred silver pieces and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he loved the poor, but because he was a thief and controlled the purse. Jesus said, “Let her alone. She has done this for my day of burial. The poor you always have with you but me you do not always have.” 

A great crowd of Jews knew that Jesus was there. They came, not just to see Jesus but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. The chief priests planned to kill Lazarus, too, because many Jews were going over to Jesus, believing in him on account of Lazarus. 

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

  1. What an experience – to sit at table with the Saviour of the world and with a man who had been dead four days. 
  2. Martha and Mary use their personal talents. Martha serves the meal. Mary anoints Jesus. 
  3. Mary has total generosity. She buys the costliest perfume. 
  4. Judas reveals his heart. His eyes are on the money, not upon Jesus’ glory. 
  5. Mary’s perfume fills the whole house just as the Spirit filled the temple. 
  6. The perfume prefigures the glory of Jesus’ body after rising from the dead. 
  7. Lazarus is a witness to Jesus’ power and leads others to believe. 
  8. How many signs do the chief priests need to have their hearts touched? 

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

  • I will be generous, Jesus, giving to you my most costly treasures. 
  • O Jesus, I will use my talents for you and your Kingdom. 
  • Let your glory and your blessings fill my whole house, my whole life. 
  • What love Martha and Mary had for you! 
  • Do not let money dominate my life. I could become a Judas. 
  • Your body is in heaven and you want my body to be there with you. 
  • How many signs you have given to me. Increase my faith. 

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

+ Where should I be more generous with my possessions? 

+ I will try to serve the interests of Jesus. 

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

She has done this for my day of burial. 

PALM SUNDAY – B – MARCH 28, 2021 THE PALM SUNDAY PROCESSION (Mk 11:1-10)

Prayer:

Jesus, I place my garments at your feet. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus riding upon a donkey with the great crowd. 

Context:

This special procession is Messianic. It openly fulfills prophecies and says to the crowd that Jesus is their Messiah. Jesus proclaims himself a very surprising Messiah. He does not ride a horse and proclaim himself a general who will lead an army. He rides a donkey as a man of peace who will lead Israel to peace (if they follow).

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Jesus said to two of his disciples, “Go into the village. You will find a colt, which is tied and upon which no man has ever sat. Untie him and bring him. If anyone asks, “What are you doing? just say that the Lord has need of it and he will send it back at once.”

They went and found the colt. As they untied it, the bystanders asked, “What are you doing by untying the colt?” They answered just as Jesus said and they let the colt go with them.

They brought the colt to Jesus. When they placed their garments on the colt, Jesus sat upon it. Many spread their garments and others cut down branches from the trees and placed them in his way. Those that went before and those that followed cried out: “Hosannah! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed be the reign of our father David to come! God save him from on high!”

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

  1. The disciples are successful in their task because they obey Jesus’ directions. 
  2. The owner cooperates. How blessed he is. He sacrifices the donkey because “The Lord has need.” 
  3. Jesus knows exactly what to do. He must ride a donkey into Jerusalem to fulfill the prophecy about the Messiah. 
  4. The donkey symbolizes Jesus a Messiah of peace, not of war. 
  5. The crowds respond immediately to Jesus’ Messianic entry. 
  6. They proclaim the event clearly. Jesus is coming “In the name of the Lord.” 
  7. He will fulfill their centuries-long hopes for the blessings of David. 

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

  • O Jesus, teach me to obey your every directive. 
  • You know every detail of the Father’s plan. 
  • O Jesus, what were your feelings on this special day of arriving in Jerusalem? 
  • O Jesus, you sought only to do the Father’s will. 
  • You are a Messiah of peace. Fill my heart with your peace. 
  • You are a man of peace, not a man of the sword. 
  • I, too, say “Blessed are you, Jesus.” The Father sent you. 
  • O Jesus, fulfill all my hopes. 

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

+ I will consider how blessed I am because Jesus became a man. 

+ I will try to appreciate the burden that Jesus assumed. 

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

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. 

WEEK FIVE OF LENT – SATURDAY – MARCH 27, 2021 PLOTTING TO KILL HIM (Jn 11:45-57)

Prayer:

Jesus, you died to save me. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha.

Context:

Jesus has just raised Lazarus from the dead. By giving Lazarus new life, Jesus seals his own death. Raising Lazarus leads the Sanhedrin to decide to kill Jesus, no matter what the repercussions.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Many of the Jews, who had come to visit Mary, saw what Jesus did and put their faith in him. Some, however, went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. The chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and asked, “What are we to do because this man works many miracles? If we let him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away our temple and our nation.” 

One of them named Caiaphas, the high priest of that year, said, “You know nothing. Nor do you see that it is expedient that one man should die for the people, so the whole nation does not perish.” (He did not say this by himself but he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation, not only for the nation, but to gather together the dispersed children of God.) 

From that day on, they were determined to put him to death. So, Jesus did not walk openly among them. 

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

  1. After seeing this miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus, the people begin to believe. 
  2. The chief priests and Pharisees agree that Jesus is performing miracles, and that the whole world will believe. Yet, they do not believe. 
  3. Having opposed Jesus from the beginning, all of his miracles mean nothing. Their hearts are hardened. 
  4. They fear that their temple and nation will be destroyed (exactly what happened because they did not believe). 
  5. Caiaphas even prophesies that “one man should die for the good of the nation.” This is exactly what Jesus did. 
  6. Their hatred limits Jesus. He cannot teach openly and the people are deprived of his words. 

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

  • O Jesus, I will always respond to you. 
  • Jesus, how can you perform miracles and people not believe? 
  • How much evil happens because people do not believe in your teachings! 
  • O Lord, how many blessings I lose when I do not believe. 
  • O Jesus, You have died for the whole world and for me. 
  • Jesus, do not hide yourself from me. 

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

+ I will open my heart to all the signs of God’s power. 

+ I will be aware of the destructive power in my own heart. 

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

Many saw what Jesus did and placed their faith in him. 

 

WEEK FIVE OF LENT – FRIDAY – MARCH 26, 2021 MAKING HIMSELF GOD (JN 10:31-42)

Prayer:

O Jesus, you are truly God and truly man. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching in the Temple. 

Context:

The Jews understand clearly that Jesus is making himself equal to God. So they try to stone Jesus, claiming that he commits blasphemy. When Jesus preaches, the Jews do not understand because they refuse to believe that he came from the Father. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

The Jews picked up rocks to stone him. Jesus asked, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?” The Jews replied, “We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God.” Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, You are gods’? If scripture calls those gods to whom the word of God came, can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God?’

If I do not perform the Father’s works, then do not believe me. However, if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works. In this way, you may realize that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” They tried again to arrest him, but he escaped from their power. 

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

  1. The story begins and ends with attempted violence against Jesus. His preaching has no effect upon the listeners. 
  2. Jesus constantly stresses the central point. His works show that he is one with the Father. 
  3. Jesus reveals new truths. If all who receive God’s words are, in some sense called gods, then he who was consecrated by the Father certainly has the right to call himself “Son of God.” 
  4. Jesus presents an “either-or.” If he performs the Father’s works, they should believe. If he does not, then they do not need to believe. 
  5. Jesus always points to the same truth. “The Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 

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

  • O Jesus, let your words change me. 
  • You always say to me, “Trust me, I am one with the Father”. 
  • How great are your works in me! How many changes come about when I open my heart to you. 
  • Thank you for making me a child of God. 
  • You are consecrated to the Father. Consecrate me, Jesus. I am Yours. 

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

+ I will ponder all that Jesus has done for me. 

+ I will meditate on Jesus making me a child of God. 

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

The Father is in me and I am in the Father. 

WEEK FIVE OF LENT – THURSDAY – MARCH 25, 2021 SOLEMNITY OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD – MARY’S QUESTIONING AND ACCEPTANCE (LK 1:26-38)

Prayer:  

Come, Holy Spirit. Help me to say “Yes” to God’s plan. 

Imagination:

Picture Mary speaking with the Angel.

Context:

Luke records the greatest moment in human history, when God becomes flesh in Mary’s womb. This text highlights Mary’s struggle to understand the mystery. Once all is clear, she quickly consents.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin named Mary. The angel said, “Do not fear, Mary. You have found favor with God. You shall conceive and bear a son and give him the name Jesus. Great will be his dignity and he will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father. He will rule over the house of Jacob forever and his reign will be without end.” 

Mary said to the angel, “How can this be because I do not know man?” The angel explained, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you. The child will be called holy, the Son of God. Know that Elizabeth, your relative, has conceived a son in her old age. She who was called barren, is now in her sixth month because nothing is impossible to God.” 

Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.” At this, the angel left her. 

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

  1. Mary knew that God called her to be a virgin. Now, the angel speaks of her becoming a mother. 
  2. The angel explains how both are true. The Holy Spirit will overshadow her, making her both mother and virgin. 
  3. This message overwhelms Mary. 
  4. Because Mary must accept her privilege, the angel describes God’s miracle in Elizabeth. 
  5. The angel concludes, “Nothing is impossible to God.” 
  6. Mary’s human mind quickly understands that God will do the impossible. 
  7. She surrenders completely, “Let it be done to me according to your word.” 

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

  • O Father, what is your plan for me? 
  • O Jesus, I cannot always understand your favors. 
  • Mary, teach me how to search for answers. 
  • O Spirit, reveal God’s mysteries in my life. 
  • O God, nothing is impossible for you. 
  • Mary, engrave your response on my heart, “Let it be done to me according to your word.” 

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

+ This day, I will surrender to God’s plan. 

+ I will believe that nothing is impossible for God. 

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

Let it be done to me according to your word. 

WEEK FIVE OF LENT – WEDNESDAY – MARCH 24, 2021 THE SON FREES YOU (JN 8:31-42)

Prayer:

Jesus, set me free from the slavery of sin.

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching in the Temple

Context:

Jesus speaks to “the Jews who believed in him” (8:31). Although they believe, their faith is too limited. They consider Abraham greater than Jesus. They want to make Jesus part of the Jewish religion instead of its fullness. Jesus stresses that he is not God’s servant but his Son.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said to the Jews who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are descendents of Abraham and we have never been slaves to anyone. How can you say that you will set us free?”

Jesus answered, “Amen, Amen I say to you. Whoever commits sin is the slave of sin. A slave does not stay in the house forever but the son always remains. Therefore, if the son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.”

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

  1. These Jewish believers have limited faith and Jesus must challenge them.
  2. They still cling to Abraham and are not certain about Jesus.
  3. Abraham could not forgive sins or bestow eternal life.
  4. Without Jesus, they remain slaves and will be ejected from the Kingdom.
  5. By believing in Jesus, they themselves can become sons of God.
  6. They will have the right to live forever in God’s house.

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

  • O Jesus, do I truly believe? Is my faith full and deep?
  • To be God’s child, I must abide in your word and walk on your path.
  • O Jesus, without you, I am a slave, a slave to sin and a slave to death.
  • Change me, Jesus. Change me from slave to son.
  • You call me to live forever in your Father’s house.

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

+ I believe that Jesus is unique, the only Son of God.

+ I will seek Jesus’ saving power in confession.

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

If the Son frees you, you are free indeed.

WEEK FIVE OF LENT – TUESDAY – MARCH 23, 2021 “I AM” (Jn 8:21-30)

Prayer:

O Jesus, enlighten me and reveal your fullness. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus in the temple.

Context:

In this text, Jesus does not say “I am the light of the world” but simply “I AM.” In fact, he says it twice. By using these words, he claims equality with the Father, who said ‘I AM” when speaking to Moses at the burning bush. 

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Jesus said, “I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. You belong to what is below. I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins. 

When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own. I say only what the Father has taught me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him.” Because Jesus spoke this way, many came to believe in him. 

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

  1. The Father calls himself “I AM” to Moses at the burning bush. Jesus uses the same words to identify himself. 
  2. The people reject this truth. They refuse to believe that Jesus is God, sent by the Father and equal to the Father. 
  3. Rejecting this truth means that they will die in their sins. 
  4. When Jesus was lifted up on the cross, the Father revealed Jesus’ divinity. 
  5. The Father did not “leave him alone.” He raised Jesus from the dead, so all would realize that Jesus is “I AM.” 

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

  • O Jesus, I worship you. You are truly God. 
  • I adore you. You always existed from the beginning. 
  • When You were lifted up, stretched out on the cross between earth and heaven, the Father revealed you. 
  • He did not leave you alone. He raised you up. 
  • You are the source of my everlasting life. 
  • Jesus, you will not let me die in my sins. You will come for me. 
  • You are “I AM.” You lack nothing. All power and glory is yours. 

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

+ I will live this day in the presence of Jesus, “I AM.” 

+ I will lift Jesus up in my own heart. 

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation.) 

When you lift me up you will realize that I AM.