SATURDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY – MARCH 4, 2017 EATING WITH LEVI’S FRIENDS (LK 5:27-32)

Prayer: O Jesus, call me into your Kingdom because I am a sinner.

Imagination: Picture Jesus at table with Levi and his friends.

Context:

When these scribes and Pharisees complain about Jesus’ table companions,
Jesus announces that he is a physician whose ministry is to sinners. Jesus’ Kingdom changes social relationships and shatters the social conventions
that kept sinners at a distance.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus saw a tax collector names Levi, sitting at his custom’s post. He said, “Follow me.” Levi got up and followed him. After that, Levi gave a great reception for Jesus in his house. Many tax collectors and others joined him at dinner. The scribes and Pharisees asked his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax
collectors and sinners?” Jesus said, “Those who are healthy do not need a doctor,
but those who are sick do. I have not come to invite the righteous to a change of
heart, but sinners.”

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

  1. Levi performed a task which the Jews despised. However, his heart was open
    to Jesus’ invitation.
  2. Levi is a good evangelist, gathering his friends to meet Jesus.
  3. Jesus is quite at home with tax collectors and sinners. They are written on his heart.
  4. Eating with them shatters the usual procedures. Unfortunately, the scribes and Pharisees do not understand.
  5. Jesus must define his identity. He is a doctor.
  6. Logically, he spends time with the sick.
  7. His mission is to the sinners.

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

  1. Jesus, I will open my heart and be open to your call.
  2. I will be your evangelist, bringing others to you.
  3. O Jesus, I am a sinner. You are welcome at my table.
  4. O Jesus, You do not judge by appearances. You see my heart.
  5. You are the physician. I am the sick person. You have come for me.

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

  1. In every situation, I will listen for Jesus’ call.
  2. I will accept my own sinfulness and my need for Jesus’ forgiveness.

Thought: (To recall your meditation)

Only the sick need the doctor. I have come to call sinners.

FRIDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY – MARCH 3, 2017 TRUSTING THE FATHER (MT 9:14-17)

Prayer: Come, Holy Ghost. Help me to seek first the Kingdom of heaven.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching His disciples about the Father’s care for them.)

Context:

Jesus has been explaining the eight beatitudes and all that is demanded of a disciple. He ends his talk on a different note. Disciples must not worry, even about their daily needs. If they serve Jesus, the Father will provide.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

“Oh, you of little faith. Do not worry and say “What are we to eat?”
or “What are we to drink?” or “What are we to wear?” All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things
will be given you besides.

Do not worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for
each day is the evil thereof.

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

  1. To worry about food, drink and clothing is quite normal. Everyone does this, even pagans who have no faith.
  2. esus explains that the heavenly Father knows and cares about the disciples’ human needs.
  3. The disciple must have a total faith in God’s Providence.
  4. They need to do one thing, seek first the Kingdom. Then, they will have all the food, drink and clothing that they need.
  5. The disciple must not worry about a tomorrow (which never comes). The Father provides for each day’s challenges.

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

  1. Jesus, when I have little faith, I am anxious. When I have great faith, I am at peace.
  2. O Lord, calm my inner questions.
  3. O Father, why do I not trust you? Did you not create me? Will you not provide?
  4. Jesus, your command is clear. I must seek first your Kingdom.
  5. Jesus, make me a child. To trust. To live one day at a time. To believe that God will give me my daily bread.

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

  1. will examine my anxieties and why I grow fearful.
  2. I will place greater trust in my heavenly Father.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Your heavenly Father knows that you need all of these.

THURSDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY – MARCH 2, 2017 DON’T BE ASHAMED OF JESUS (LK 9:22-25)

Prayer – O Jesus, in time of trial, do not let me turn my back on you.

Imagination- (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.)

Context:

Having told the disciples that he will suffer, die and rise, Jesus gathers the
crowd and explains that they also will suffer if they follow him. He tells
them that they cannot be ashamed of him. Otherwise, Jesus must be ashamed of
them when He comes in glory.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Calling together both the crowd and his disciples, Jesus said,
‘If anyone wants to follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. Whoever saves his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for my sake
and the gospel, will save it. What does it profit a man to gain the whole
world and lose his soul? What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Whoever is ashamed of me and my teaching in this sinful and corrupt age, the Son
of Man will also be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of the Father
with all his holy angels.

Amen I say to you. There are some standing here who shall not taste death until they see the
Kingdom of God coming in power.

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

  1. Some people want to enjoy the privilege of following Jesus. First, they must deny themselves and take up their cross.
  2. Jesus explains the reason. People will persecute them. If they have not accepted the cross, they will deny Jesus.
  3. Jesus speaks of earthly life and heavenly life. Whoever saves his earthly life, will lose his heavenly glory.
  4. Jesus compares gaining the whole world (which none of us really has) with losing our soul. What profit is that?
  5. Jesus stresses If the disciples are ashamed of him during their lifetime,
    logically, he must be ashamed of them when he comes in glory.
  6. Some disciples will soon see this glory after Jesus rises from the dead.

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

  1. Jesus, I so much want to be your disciple.
  2. Whatever the cost, I will pay it.
  3. What is my earthly life worth when compared to heavenly glory?
  4. I’ll make you proud of me. With your help, I will stand firm in trials.
  5. When you come, you will clothe me in your glory.
  6. Yes, I will see your glory. You are faithful to your promises.

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

  1. I will see the passing nature of earthly life.
  2. I will meditate on the heavenly glory awaiting me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul.

ASH WEDNESDAY – MARCH 1, 2017 ACTING IN SECRET (MT 6:1-4)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Teach me to act in secret so I do not lose my reward.

Imagination (Picture Jesus teaching the disciples how to gain their reward.)

Context:

Jesus contrasts Christian goodness with the goodness of the Pharisees. He focuses on almsgiving, prayer and fasting. All of these should be done
secretly so the person is rewarded by God and not by others.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Do not perform good deeds before men so you can be seen by them. If so, you will receive no reward from your heavenly Father.

When you give an alms, do not blow a trumpet, as hypocrites do.
They already have their reward. Give your alms in secret. Then, your Father,
who sees in secret, will repay you.

When you pray, go to your room and pray in secret. Your Father who sees in secret, will repay you.

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

  1. The human heart is very twisted and often does good deeds to be seen by others.
  2. Acting in secret removes this evil and purifies the intention.
  3. If you act in secret, your heart belongs totally to the Father.
  4. You preserve the true goodness of your just deeds, your alms, and your prayer.
  5. In demanding secrecy, Jesus has one goal. He wants you to receive the heavenly Father’s reward.

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

  1. Lord, purify my inner self, which is filled with selfish motives.
  2. Jesus, many times I value men’s esteem more than the Father’s rewards.
  3. Let me hide myself from everyone but the Father.
  4. Where is my heart, O Lord? What do I seek? Earthly esteem or heavenly glory?
  5. Jesus, you emptied yourself so I could grasp heaven’s reward.
  6. Teach me to love spiritual hiding and holy secrecy.

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

  1. I will try to understand the inner movements of my heart.
  2. I will do all for the Father’s glory.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

The heavenly Father, who sees in secret, will repay you.

MARCH 23, 2016 – WEDNESDAY – HOLY WEEK – JESUS WASHES PETER’S FEET

(John 13:6-11)

(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.)

  1. O Lord, your goodness is too great for me.
  2. Your actions overwhelm me and your nearness causes me to fear.
  3. I run from you when I should just be still.
  4. I flee from you, but you chase after me.
  5. I put up walls but you go around them.
  6. I close doors, but you enter anyway.
  7. Bathe me, O Lord, from head to toe.
  8. Jesus, you say “You are clean” and my heart pounds.
  9. 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)

  1. Cleansed once in Baptism, I will seek the second cleansing of confession.
  2. 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.

FEBRUARY 13, 2016 – SATURDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY – EATING WITH LEVI’S FRIENDS

(Luke 5:27-32)

Prayer: O Jesus, call me into your Kingdom because I am a sinner.

Imagination: Picture Jesus at table with Levi and his friends.

Context:

When these scribes and Pharisees complain about Jesus’ table companions, Jesus announces that he is a physician whose ministry is to sinners. Jesus’ Kingdom changes social relationships and shatters the social conventions that kept sinners at a distance.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus saw a tax collector names Levi, sitting at his custom’s post. He said, “Follow me.” Levi got up and followed him. After that, Levi gave a great reception for Jesus in his house. Many tax collectors and others joined him at dinner. The scribes and Pharisees asked his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus said, “Those who are healthy do not need a doctor, but those who are sick do. I have not come to invite the righteous to a change of heart, but sinners.”

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

  1. Levi performed a task which the Jews despised. However, his heart was open to Jesus’ invitation.
  2. Levi is a good evangelist, gathering his friends to meet Jesus.
  3. Jesus is quite at home with tax collectors and sinners. They are written on his heart.
  4. Eating with them shatters the usual procedures. Unfortunately, the scribes and Pharisees do not understand.
  5. Jesus must define his identity. He is a doctor.
  6. Logically, he spends time with the sick.
  7. His mission is to the sinners.

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

  1. Jesus, I will open my heart and be open to your call.
  2. I will be your evangelist, bringing others to you.
  3. O Jesus, I am a sinner. You are welcome at my table.
  4. O Jesus, You do not judge by appearances. You see my heart.
  5. You are the physician. I am the sick person. You have come for me.

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

  1. In every situation, I will listen for Jesus’ call.
  2. I will accept my own sinfulness and my need for Jesus’ forgiveness.

Thought: (To recall your meditation)

Only the sick need the doctor. I have come to call sinners.

FEBRUARY 12, 2016 – FRIDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY – TRUSTING THE FATHER

(Matthew 9:14-17)

Prayer: Come, Holy Ghost. Help me to seek first the Kingdom of heaven.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching His disciples about the Father’s care for them.)

Context:

Jesus has been explaining the eight beatitudes and all that is demanded of a disciple. He ends his talk on a different note. Disciples must not worry, even about their daily needs. If they serve Jesus, the Father will provide.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

“Oh, you of little faith. Do not worry and say “What are we to eat?” or “What are we to drink?” or “What are we to wear?”   All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.

Do not worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for each day is the evil thereof.

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

  1. To worry about food, drink and clothing is quite normal. Everyone does this, even pagans who have no faith.
  2. Jesus explains that the heavenly Father knows and cares about the disciples’ human needs.
  3. The disciple must have a total faith in God’s Providence.
  4. They need to do one thing, seek first the Kingdom. Then, they will have all the food, drink and clothing that they need.
  5. The disciple must not worry about a tomorrow (which never comes). The Father provides for each day’s challenges.

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

  1. Jesus, when I have little faith, I am anxious. When I have great faith, I am at peace.
  2. O Lord, calm my inner questions.
  3. O Father, why do I not trust you? Did you not create me? Will you not provide?
  4. Jesus, your command is clear. I must seek first your Kingdom.
  5. Jesus, make me a child. To trust. To live one day at a time. To believe that God will give me my daily bread.

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

  1. I will examine my anxieties and why I grow fearful.
  2. I will place greater trust in my heavenly Father.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Your heavenly Father knows that you need all of these.

FEBRUARY 11, 2016 – THURSDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY – DON’T BE ASHAMED OF JESUS

(Luke 9:22-25)

Prayer – O Jesus, in time of trial, do not let me turn my back on you.

Imagination- (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.)

Context:

Having told the disciples that he will suffer, die and rise, Jesus gathers the crowd and explains that they also will suffer if they follow him. He tells them that they cannot be ashamed of him. Otherwise, Jesus must be ashamed of them when He comes in glory.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Calling together both the crowd and his disciples, Jesus said, ‘If anyone wants to follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. Whoever saves his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel, will save it. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Whoever is ashamed of me and my teaching in this sinful and corrupt age, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of the Father with all his holy angels.

Amen I say to you. There are some standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Kingdom of God coming in power.

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

  1. Some people want to enjoy the privilege of following Jesus. First, they must deny themselves and take up their cross.
  2. Jesus explains the reason. People will persecute them. If they have not accepted the cross, they will deny Jesus.
  3. Jesus speaks of earthly life and heavenly life. Whoever saves his earthly life, will lose his heavenly glory.
  4. Jesus compares gaining the whole world (which none of us really has) with losing our soul. What profit is that?
  5. Jesus stresses If the disciples are ashamed of him during their lifetime, logically, he must be ashamed of them when he comes in glory.
  6. Some disciples will soon see this glory after Jesus rises from the dead.

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

  1. Jesus, I so much want to be your disciple.
  2. Whatever the cost, I will pay it.
  3. What is my earthly life worth when compared to heavenly glory?
  4. I’ll make you proud of me. With your help, I will stand firm in trials.
  5. When you come, you will clothe me in your glory.
  6. Yes, I will see your glory. You are faithful to your promises.

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

  1. I will see the passing nature of earthly life.
  2. I will meditate on the heavenly glory awaiting me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul.

FEBRUARY 10, 2016 – ASH WEDNESDAY – ACTING IN SECRET

(Matthew 6:1-4)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Teach me to act in secret so I do not lose my reward.

Imagination (Picture Jesus teaching the disciples how to gain their reward.)

Context:

Jesus contrasts Christian goodness with the goodness of the Pharisees. He focuses on almsgiving, prayer and fasting. All of these should be done secretly so the person is rewarded by God and not by others.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Do not perform good deeds before men so you can be seen by them. If so, you will receive no reward from your heavenly Father.

When you give an alms, do not blow a trumpet, as hypocrites do. They already have their reward. Give your alms in secret. Then, your Father, who sees in secret, will repay you.

When you pray, go to your room and pray in secret. Your Father who sees in secret, will repay you.

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

  1. The human heart is very twisted and often does good deeds to be seen by others.
  2. Acting in secret removes this evil and purifies the intention.
  3. If you act in secret, your heart belongs totally to the Father.
  4. You preserve the true goodness of your just deeds, your alms, and your prayer.
  5. In demanding secrecy, Jesus has one goal. He wants you to receive the heavenly Father’s reward.

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

  1. Lord, purify my inner self, which is filled with selfish motives.
  2. Jesus, many times I value men’s esteem more than the Father’s rewards.
  3. Let me hide myself from everyone but the Father.
  4. Where is my heart, O Lord? What do I seek? Earthly esteem or heavenly glory?
  5. Jesus, you emptied yourself so I could grasp heaven’s reward.
  6. Teach me to love spiritual hiding and holy secrecy.

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

  1. I will try to understand the inner movements of my heart.
  2. I will do all for the Father’s glory.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

The heavenly Father, who sees in secret, will repay you.