WEEK THIRTY FOUR – SUNDAY SOLEMNITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING THE GOOD THIEF (LK 23:39-43)

(Luke 23:39-43)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Teach me to ask for heaven.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus crucified with two thieves)

Context:

Luke portrays this special moment of faith. A thief looks at the crucified Jesus and sees a king. He even believes he has a kingdom. Jesus rewards his faith. “Today” means “before the sun sets”. Originally, “paradise” meant a walled garden for exclusive use of the owner. Now, it is used for heaven.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

One of the crucified thieves blasphemed Jesus, saying “If you are the Christ, save yourself and us.” The other thief rebuked him. “Do you not fear God, for you are under the same condemnation? We suffer justly and receive the due reward for our deeds, but this man has done no evil.”

Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus said to him, “Amen, I say to you, this day you shall be with me in paradise.”

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

  1. The good thief sees the situation clearly.       He is guilty. Jesus is innocent.
  2. This humility leads to faith. He believes that Jesus is the king.
  3. His faith leads to hope. If Jesus is a king, then he must have a kingdom.
  4. Hope leads to a request, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
  5. A request leads to eternal salvation.       This very day, he will be with Jesus in the kingdom.
  6. The good thief offers hope to everyone.       The doors of Jesus’ kingdom remain open until the very last moment!

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

  1. O Jesus, you are the innocent lamb sacrificed for my sins.
  2. O Jesus, you were born for me. You died for me.
  3. You are a king and you have a kingdom.
  4. Fill my soul with hope.
  5. It is not too late. All my sins can be forgiven.
  6. Remember me, Jesus. Just remember me. That is enough.
  7. O Jesus, speak those words on my deathbed, “Today you will be with me.”

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

  1. This day, I will pray often, “Lord, remember me.”
  2. I will acknowledge my sins and seek forgiveness in the sacrament of confession.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

This day you shall be with me in paradise.

NOVEMBER 6, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY TWO – SUNDAY (C) – LIVING LIKE ANGELS

(Luke 20:27-38)

Prayer – O Lord, fill me with strong desires to live like the angels.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus in confrontation with the Sadducees.)

Context:

The Sadducees (unlike the Pharisees) did not believe in the immortality of the soul nor the resurrection of the dead. They present to Jesus what seems to us a foolish problem. A woman marries seven times, (after each previous husband dies). They want to know whose wife she will be in heaven. Jesus refutes their argument.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Some Sadducees (who do not believe in the resurrection), confronted Jesus. “If a woman married seven brothers, whose wife will she be at the resurrection?” Jesus said to them, “The children of this world marry and are given on marriage, but those judged worthy of a place in the age to come and of the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Nor can they die any more because they are like the angels and are the children of God, sons of the resurrection. Moses in the passage about the bush showed that the dead rise again when he called the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead but of the living. All are alive for him.

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

  1. The Sadducees could not conceive of a different bodily existence.
  2. They did not realize that God profoundly changes the glorified, risen body.
  3. Marriage is of earth. A person has a partner and brings forth children.
  4. Jesus sees the reality of heaven where God is the center. No one is lonely. All are united.
  5. The risen body cannot die. It enjoys the privileges of angels.
  6. This gift comes to “all judged worthy of the age to come”, the Kingdom which Jesus preaches.
  7. The person is totally changed into a son of the resurrection and a son of God.
  8. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have gained this kingdom. So will all who believe in Jesus.

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

  1. O Jesus, someday I will have a glorified, risen body.
  2. Lord, I will share in your resurrection.
  3. In heaven, my heart will be filled with you and with others.
  4. I will no longer suffer or die. I will live forever, with you, Jesus.
  5. Help me, Lord to be judged worthy of this “age to come”.
  6. Change me, Jesus into a son of glory and a son of the eternal Father.
  7. You will give me life in abundance. Let me not fail you.

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

  1. Today, I will think often of my heavenly home.
  2. I will think of what steps I can take to be found worthy.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

They cannot die because they live like the angels.

OCTOBER 2, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY SEVEN – SUNDAY (C) – THE HUMBLE SERVANT

(Luke 17:7-10)

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

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. This day, I will be faithful to all of God’s interests.
  2. At the end of the day, I will rightly call myself “an unprofitable servant.”

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

The servant, although totally faithful, did “only what was needed to be done.”

SEPTEMBER 25, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY SIX – SUNDAY (C) – THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS

(Luke 16:19-31)

Prayer – O Lord, awaken me by this warning.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus teaching the crowds.)

Context:

Judaism believed that riches showed God’s favor and that poverty showed sinfulness. Jesus reveals the true picture, which shocks his audience. The poor man, Lazarus, enjoys the highest honor of being at Abraham’s side. The rich man is buried in hell.

This sets the stage for this parable of the six brothers. The rich man sees clearly that his five brothers are in danger. However, his brothers are like foolish men with no thought of the impending judgment. They must listen to the Church and its preaching.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

A rich man feasts sumptuously every day. At his gates sat Lazarus, a beggar filled with sores. He desired only the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table but no one gave them.

It happened that the beggar died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried in hell. He lifted his eyes and saw Abraham afar off with Lazarus at his side.

He cried out, Father Abraham, “Let Lazarus come and refresh me with some water.” Abraham replied, “Remember that you received good things in life and Lazarus received evil things. Now he is comforted and you are tormented. Besides, there is a great abyss between us and no one can pass from one side to another.

The rich man said, “Then send Lazarus back to earth to preach to my five brothers, so they do not come to this place of torment. Abraham said, “Let them listen to Moses and the prophets.” The rich man said, “If someone risen from the dead told them, they would do penance. Abraham said, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not listen to one risen from the dead.”

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

  1. Lazarus highlights the problem of the rich man and his five brothers.
  2. All too late, the rich man realizes how important repentance is. Without penance, his five brothers will all join him in hell.
  3. The rich man realizes that they won’t use the normal means of Jewish religious teaching.
  4. He pleads for Lazarus to be a risen-from-the-dead preacher, to whom they will certainly listen.
  5. However, Jesus is already risen from the dead and most do not listen even now.
  6. The parable challenges us to respond to the gospel that is being preached to us.

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

  1. O Jesus, while I am here on earth, I am free to choose.
  2. When my life is over, I will have made my choice.
  3. Jesus, right now, I decide to repent, to change and to have you as my Lord.
  4. I do not need an extraordinary preacher. I need only your word.
  5. You are risen. You preach to me. You speak within. You call. You shout.
  6. I must hush all the other voices, so I can hear you.
  7. Someday, Jesus, I will be in heaven or in hell. Guide my free will.

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

  1. I will read God’s word with urgency.
  2. I will believe that God wants to welcome me into his Kingdom.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Lazarus was carried by the angels to the bosom of Abraham.

AUGUST 21, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-ONE – SUNDAY (C) – THE CLOSED DOOR

(Luke 13:24-30)

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

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

By these parables, Jesus confronts his hearers. They understand, (all too well), what He means. He comes to their villages, preaches in their streets and eats with them. Yet, they do not accept his claims. Others, (who never enjoyed Jesus’ nearness), enter the kingdom because they will use the narrow gate of discipleship

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

A man asked Jesus, “Are there few who will be saved?” In response, Jesus said, “Strive to enter by the narrow gate. Many will seek to enter, but will not be able.”

When the Master enters his house, he closes the door. Those outside knock at the door saying, “Lord, open for us.” The Master responds, “I do not know you, nor where you are from.” They will say “We ate and drank with you. You taught in our streets.” He will repeat, “I do not know you or where you are from. Depart from me, you workers of evil.”

There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God but you are thrown out. Many will come from East and West, North and South and sit down in the Kingdom of God. The last shall be first and the first will be last.

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

  1. The man has a good question about the number to be saved. Jesus responds that many will not enter the Kingdom (an answer which all need to hear.)
  2. In fact, once the door is closed no one else can enter.
  3. Those asking to get in had no significant relationship to Jesus.
  4. They just “ate and drank” with him and heard him “preach in their streets.”
  5. Jesus doesn’t even know them or where they are from.
  6. In contrast, many Gentiles from distant lands enter the Kingdom and join the Jewish Patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
  7. Those who should have been first became the last and are locked out.

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

  1. O Jesus, how important that I be saved.
  2. I will not stay outside Your Kingdom to enjoy false freedoms.
  3. I will choose to enter while the door is still open.
  4. I must be your disciple so you will know me.
  5. Your voice breaks through my deafness.       Your light enters my darkness.       You say, “Come and know me.”
  6. Someday! Someday, Jesus, I will dine with you forever.

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

  1. I will never take my salvation for granted.
  2. I will accept these warnings. They are needed helps for my salvation.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Many are in the Kingdom and I can be among them!

AUGUST 14, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY – SUNDAY (C) ENKINDLING A FIRE

(Luke 12:49-53)

Prayer: O Jesus, light your fire in my heart.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.)

Context:

This text contains two separate sayings of Jesus. The first shows his greatest desire – to cast the fire of the Holy Spirit upon all believers. The second speaks about the problems which will arise when people embrace Jesus’ Kingdom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to his disciples, “I have come to cast fire upon the earth. How I wish the blaze was ignited! I have a baptism by which I must be baptized. What anguish I feel until it is over.

Do you think that I have come to bring peace to this earth? The contrary is true. I have come for division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three. The father will be divided against his son and the son against his father. The daughter against the mother and the mother against the daughter. Mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.

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

  1. Jesus can no longer hold back. He speaks very personally of his deepest desires.
  2. He wants to cast a purifying fire upon the whole earth, making the disciples ready for the Kingdom.
  3. He will pay a heavy price for this gift. His baptism will be a bath of suffering.
  4. He even admits to his great anguish before it is accomplished.
  5. He also sees the sufferings of his disciples. They cannot have peace at any price.
  6. The disciples who are eager for the Kingdom will encounter family opposition.
  7. The opposition will arise from their closest relatives because they will not accept Jesus.

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

  1. O Jesus, your desires are so deep and so selfless.
  2. Send your fire. Purify me. Refine me. Prepare me for your Kingdom.
  3. What a price you paid! You were in anguish about your death on the cross.
  4. Should I not be eager for your Kingdom? Am I not your disciple?
  5. Let nothing hold me back from you, Jesus. What is the cost of being your disciple? I will pay it.

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

  1. Ask Jesus to place a divine fire in your heart.
  2. What obstacles hold you back from a total commitment?

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

I have come to cast fire on the earth.

AUGUST 7, 2016 – WEEK NINETEEN – SUNDAY (C) THE DOORKEEPER

(Luke 12:35-40)

Prayer: O Jesus, may you find me watching when you return.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

Jesus gives two crisis parables which emphasize the need for watchfulness. The master has many servants and all must keep watch. The second parable reverses the situation. The owner must keep watch to catch the thief.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Let your belts be fastened around your waists and your lamp burning ready. You must be like men waiting for their master’s return from the wedding, so when he comes and knocks, they open immediately.

Blessed are those servants whom the Lord when he returns finds watching. Amen, I say to you, he will put on an apron, make them sit down at table and will serve them.       If he comes in the second or third watch, those servants will be blessed.

But know this. If the owner of the house knew when the thief would come, he would surely watch and not allow his house to be broken into. You also must be ready because at an hour you least expect, the Son of Man will come.

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

  1. Belts buckled and lamps burning are symbols of great watchfulness.
  2. The Master expects a high level of service – no delay.
  3. Because the hour of return is uncertain, the demands are high.
  4. However, the reward is astounding. The Master does not eat. He will serve the servants.
  5. A thief also comes at an unknown hour. The owner must watch or lose his possessions.
  6. In both parables, the time is unknown, the demands are high, and much is at stake.

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

  1. O Jesus, how often I am not prepared for your coming.
  2. You expect much of me. Your demands are great.
  3. But how you reward me! You give me life without end.
  4. Jesus, I must watch every hour and every day.
  5. Jesus, how many thieves would rob me of eternal life.
  6. I will stand watch, avoiding all sin and occasions of sin.

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

  1. I will think of Jesus as a generous master.
  2. I will treasure my eternal life.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Blessed are those servants whom the master finds watching on his return.

JULY 17, 2016 – WEEK SIXTEEN – SUNDAY – C – MARY & MARTHA

(Luke 10:38-42)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Make Jesus the center of my attention.

Imagination: (Picture Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet.)

Context:

Luke places this story right after the Good Samaritan to emphasize that the disciple must first love Jesus. Serving others is important (like the Good Samaritan) but not enough to be a disciple.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

When Jesus entered a village, a woman named Martha invited him to come to her home. She had a sister named Mary, who delighted in sitting at the Lord’s feet and listening to him.

Martha was burdened with the task of serving. So, she stood and said, “Lord, are you not upset that my sister leaves me alone to do the serving. Tell her to help me.” Jesus replied, “Martha, Martha, you are troubled about many things. One thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

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

  1. Martha is filled with good will. She invites Jesus to her home and prepares the meal.
  2. Jesus accepts both Martha’s activity and Mary’s personal attention.
  3. Martha causes the problem. She cannot see the value of her sister just sitting with Jesus.
  4. At this point, Jesus is forced to defend Mary’s choice.
  5. Mary’s attention to Jesus is the disciple’s first obligation.       Martha’s activity is his second.
  6. Jesus, come into my life. Come into my home. I have already opened the door.
  7. Be the center of all my attention.
  8. Lord, absorb my faculties by your overwhelming presence.
  9. If I listen, then you can make me a disciple.
  10. Once I am your disciple, I will do my tasks in the Kingdom.

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

  1. Today, I will seek some quiet moments spent in Jesus’ presence.
  2. I will prize the interior life of prayer (which I so often neglect).

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Mary sat at his feet listening to him. She chose the better part.

JULY 10, 2016 – WEEK FIFTEEN – SUNDAY (C) – THE GOOD SAMARITAN

(Luke 10:25-37)

Prayer: O Jesus, you are my good Samaritan and I am wounded along the way.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus gathered with his disciples and teaching the lawyer.)

Context:

The lawyer asked a common question in Judaism, “How far must my charity extend? Who is within that circle?” Jesus uses the priest and the Levite who pass by to lead up to the Samaritan. The story’s impact comes from the identity of the caregiver, a Samaritan hated by the Jews. He is the model disciple because his love embraces the whole world.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

A lawyer asked Jesus, “What must I do to gain eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What is written in the law?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus said, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you shall live.” But, he, wishing to justify himself asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered, “A man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho fell among robbers who stripped him, wounded him and left him half dead.

A certain priest going the same way, saw him and passed by. Also, a Levite came near, saw him and passed by. However, a Samaritan on his journey came near, saw him and was moved with compassion. Approaching, he bound up his wounds, poured on oil and wine, put him on his beast, brought him to the inn and took care of him. The next day he gave the host two pence and said, “Take care of him and I will repay you on my return”.

Which of these, in your opinion, was neighbor to the man?” He replied, “The one who showed mercy”. Jesus said, “Go and do likewise”.

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

  1. The lawyer wanted to distance himself from those in need.
  2. In the parable, this “distancing” by the priest and Levite is unacceptable.
  3. The Samaritans received no love from the Israelites.       Therefore, this example is highly vivid.
  4. The highest love comes from someone who has been hated.
  5. A true disciple’s love is total, personal and with no reservations.
  6. This love embraces everyone – the poor, despised, helpless and even enemies.
  7. This love is practical. Jesus says, “Go and do likewise”.

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

  1. O Lord, flood my heart with the river of your love.
  2. Help me to draw close to everyone.
  3. Jesus, make my love for you and others limitless.
  4. Give me a heart that embraces everyone.
  5. O Jesus, change my heart. Change my heart. Change my heart.
  6. O Jesus, I will “go and do likewise”. Only practicing love makes me your disciple.

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

  1. I will see how limited is my present love.
  2. I will see Christ in all those who have needs.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

“Take care of him and I will repay you.”

JULY 3, 2016 – WEEK FOURTEEN – SUNDAY (C) – SEVENTY-TWO MORE MISSIONARIES

(Luke 10:1-12)

Prayer – O Lord, choose me and send me wherever your word needs to be preached.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus preparing seventy-two more disciples to go to the villages.)

Context:

Other gospels (Mark and Matthew) record Jesus sending the Twelve. Only Luke mentions this larger number of seventy-two. Obviously, the early Church communities sent out large numbers of missionaries. The instructions given for the seventy-two are almost identical to those already given to the Twelve.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The Lord appointed seventy-two and sent them two by two before him where he was to visit. He said, “The harvest is great but the laborers are few. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest. Behold I send you as lambs among wolves. Carry neither walking staff nor traveling bag. Greet no one along the way. Whatever house you enter say, “Peace be to this house.” If there is a peaceable man, your peace will rest upon him. If not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking what is put before you. The laborer is worthy of his hire. Do not move from house to house.

Heal the sick and say, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand.’ If the city does not receive you, then leave, saying ‘We shake the dust of this city from our feet as testimony against you.’ Yet, the Kingdom is at hand. I assure you, on that day, the fate of Sodom will not be as severe as for that town.”

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

  1. Jesus organizes. He plans. He wastes no time.
  2. These seventy-two will go to definite villages and Jesus will follow.
  3. They will face great hostilities – like lambs going among wolves.
  4. The task is very urgent. There is no time for greeting people and having a chat.
  5. The disciple is a missionary, a preacher with an important message.
  6. They must be disciplined, content with whatever food or housing is available.
  7. If they preach, the village must accept the message. Otherwise, Jesus will not come and they will lose the Kingdom.
  8. How dreadful will be their punishment on the day of Jesus’ Second Coming.

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

  1. O Jesus, you have a plan for me, a place in your Kingdom and a task to be accomplished.
  2. Give me courage against the hostility I will face.
  3. O Jesus, the whole world must hear and I must speak. How urgent is my task.
  4. O Lord, I will make any sacrifice and pay any price to bring your word.
  5. The people must listen. They must respond.
  6. O Jesus, I will do all I can. Give me your Holy Spirit.

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

  1. I will look for people who need my words about the Kingdom.
  2. I will seek out the right way to preach to them. I will see the urgency to spread Jesus’ word.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Say to them, “The reign of God is at hand.”

JUNE 19, 2016 – WEEK TWELVE – SUNDAY (C) – JESUS’ IDENTITY REVEALED

(Luke 9:18-22) 

Prayer: O Holy Spirit, open to my heart the mystery of Jesus Christ.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus with his disciples)

Context:

At the synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus proclaimed what he would accomplish for Israel. This gospel reveals even more. Jesus is Israel’s Messiah. At this point, only the disciples can know. The crowds would misinterpret this truth and make him a king. Jesus quickly explains that he will be a suffering Messiah.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

As Jesus was praying in seclusion, his disciples were with him. He asked them, “Whom do people say that I am. They answered, “Some say John the Baptist. Some say Elijah. Others say that one of the prophets has arisen.”

He said, “Whom do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “The Messiah of God”. He strictly commanded them not to tell anyone, saying “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and be put to death and rise on the third day.”

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

  1. The disciples are especially blessed when they join Jesus in prayer.
  2. The false opinions about Jesus show that the worldly person cannot comprehend the mysteries of God.
  3. Jesus’ direct question fills Simon Peter with faith and divine revelation.
  4. Jesus is the Messiah, sent by God to fulfill his divine plan.
  5. For now, that startling truth must not be preached.
  6. He will be a surprising Messiah. He will suffer, die, and rise. This is the Father’s plan.

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

  1. O Jesus, let me join you every day in prayer.
  2. All your blessings await me as I pray.
  3. Only faith, not human intelligence, can understand who you are.
  4. You are my Messiah, bringing all God’s favors.
  5. The Father has sent you to bless me.
  6. I will follow you into the great mystery of your death. I will die with you on Calvary, knowing that you will raise me from the dead.

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

  1. I will get to know Jesus Christ from daily mental prayer.
  2. I will accept the crosses in my life.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

You are the Messiah of God.

JUNE 5, 2016 – WEEK TEN – SUNDAY (C) – THE WIDOW OF NAIM

(Luke 7:11-17)

Prayer – Lord, in your compassion, give me life.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus standing with the widow by the funeral)

Context:

Naim is just 3 miles away from Nazareth. It still has a cemetery that has been used for centuries. Jesus stops death in its tracks and makes it retreat.   The story obviously looks forward to Jesus’ resurrection. Luke regularly stresses Jesus’ compassion and his care for women.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

When Jesus went with his disciples and a large crowd to Naim, he met a dead man being carried out, the only son of a widowed mother. A large crowd was with her.

When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity and said to her, “Weep not”. Then, he came near and touched the bier. Those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man I say to you arise”. The dead man sat up and began to speak. Jesus gave him to his mother.

A fear came upon all and they glorified God saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us” and “God has visited his people”. This report spread throughout Judea and all the countryside.

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

  1. Two large crowds meet. One is a crowd of death, on the way to a burial. The other is a crowd of life, on the way to Jesus’ resurrection.
  2. Jesus stops the burial procession in its tracks. It will go no farther.
  3. He is filled with pity. He sees in the widow a foreshadowing of his own mother’s sorrows.
  4. By touching a dead body, He contracts ritual impurity. But, his power overcomes death. All is clean.
  5. To many millions, Jesus will say “arise” on the last day.
  6. The results are clear. The young man speaks, and is totally restored.
  7. Faith spreads like wildfire. They see Jesus as their expected Messiah and realize that God has visited them.
  8. How fortunate that Jesus was there at the right time.

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

  1. O Jesus, without you I tend toward death. With you, I have fullness of life.
  2. Stop the forces of death in my heart and soul. Infuse your divine life.
  3. How great is your compassion. It flows out in my every need.
  4. Touch me, Jesus. Touch me and make me whole.
  5. If you speak that word, “Arise”, I will come back to divine life.
  6. O Jesus, you always come to me at the right time, when all else fails.

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

  1. I will bring my sins to Jesus. He will remove them.
  2. I will listen for Jesus’ word – “Arise”.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Jesus said to the widow, “Weep not”. He said to her son, “Arise”.

MAY 29, 2016 – WEEK NINE – SUNDAY (C) – A CENTURION WITH GREAT FAITH

(Luke 7:1-10) 

Prayer: O Jesus, fill me with faith in all that you can do.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with the Centurion.)

Context:

Since Christianity had spread to the Gentile world, Luke was extremely interested in Gentiles who experienced Jesus’ power. This Gentile centurion is a special person. He believed that Jesus could heal at a distance (unheard of in Judaism). Even Jesus proclaims his extraordinary faith.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him saying, “Lord, my servant is at home in bed paralyzed, suffering painfully. Jesus said, “I will come and heal him. The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but say but the word and my servant shall be healed.

I also am a man subject to authority, having soldiers under me. I say to this one, ‘Go’ and he goes. To another, ‘Come’ and he comes. To my servant ‘Do this’ and he does it.”

Hearing this, Jesus was amazed and said to the crowd who followed him. “Amen I say to you, I have not found such great faith in Israel.” When they returned home, they found the servant in perfect health.

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

  1. The centurion has complete and total faith in Jesus’ power to heal.
  2. Jesus also is aware of his power, proclaiming “I will come and heal him.”
  3. The extraordinary parts of this story are the centurion’s great humility (I am not worthy) and his faith that Jesus’ powers are not limited by distance (“say but the word”).
  4. Jesus highlights the centurion’s faith.       He has never seen Jewish people with that level of belief.
  5. The faith is rewarded. The servant is healed.

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

  1. O Jesus, I have total faith in your powers.
  2. You want me to come to you and plead for my loved ones.
  3. You claim all authority in heaven and on earth.
  4. I believe, Jesus, that you have all the power of the Father.
  5. Just speak your word, Jesus and all is made new.

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

  1. Every day, I will bring to Jesus all that needs to be healed – my body, my soul, my relationships, my memories.
  2. Today, I will live by faith in the power of Jesus.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The centurion knew that Jesus had done this. He and his whole household believed.

MAY 15, 2016 – PENTECOST SUNDAY (C) – JOHN’S PENTECOST

(John 20:19-23)

Prayer: Jesus, breathe upon me and send your Holy Spirit.

Imagination: (Picture the Risen Jesus appearing to the fearful disciples.)

Context:

Jesus comes to the frightened disciples on Easter Sunday night. This is “John’s Pentecost”, because Jesus bestows the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost, Luke speaks of the disciples praying in tongues. John’s gospel goes deeper. Having received the Spirit, the apostles will be able to forgive sins.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Late that same day, the first day of the week, when the disciples were gathered together, the doors were locked for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be to you.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Therefore, he said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, 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 retain, are retained.”

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

  1. Jesus will use these disciples as the church’s foundation.
  2. Filled with fear, they are not ready for the task.
  3. They lock the doors. How could they go out to all the world?
  4. How they need Jesus!
  5. Jesus’ body has new qualities. He now comes through locked doors.
  6. He is the same Jesus of Nazareth with wounds in his hands and side.
  7. Seeing Jesus has immediate effects. Joy replaces fear.
  8. Jesus’ words, “Peace be with you.” Reestablish a relationship broken by the apostles running away.
  9. He breathes on them (as God breathed life into Adam) and gives them God’s Holy Spirit.
  10. They share Jesus’ greatest power. They, too, can take away the sins of the world.

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

  1. O Jesus, please come. I am filled with so many fears.
  2. You are risen. You can come anywhere. Come, Lord Jesus.
  3. Jesus, say your special words in my heart, “Peace be with you.”
  4. Show me your wounds, and I will know it is you.
  5. Breathe on me, Jesus, and I will have eternal life.
  6. Send me. I will go to the whole world.
  7. Thank you for a Church which can forgive my sins, Jesus. They are so numerous.

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

  1. I will use the sacrament of Confession frequently.
  2. I will ask Jesus for his Holy Spirit.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

MAY 8, 2016 – SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (C) – JESUS’ PRAYER FOR FUTURE BELIEVERS

(John 17:20-23)

Prayer: O Jesus, restore our oneness in your glory.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with the apostles at the Last Supper)

Context: Jesus’ prayer is for us, the future believers. Two thousand years later, as the word reaches us, we receive the same glory given by the Father to Jesus, and from Jesus to his Church.

If Jesus’ word forges a unity, the world also, will believe in Jesus.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said, “I pray not only for them, but for all who will believe in me through their word. That they all may be one, as you Father are in me and I in you. That they, also, may be one in us, so that the world will believe that you have sent me.

I have given them the glory that you gave me, so they might be one as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they might be brought to perfection as one, and that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them as you loved me.”

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

  1. Jesus looks to the future. He sees the billions of people who will believe through the disciples’ preaching.
  2. Jesus wants all believers to enjoy the oneness that he enjoys with the Father.
  3. This unity of believers will be Jesus’ instrument to bring the whole world to faith in him.
  4. This oneness comes from Jesus giving all believers a share in his glory.
  5. By seeing his disciples united, the world (his persecutor) will see that the Father loves the world.
  6. This is Jesus’ only plan for the world’s salvation.
  7. His Church must be clothed in his glory and one with each other.

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

  1. O Jesus, you prayed for me, knowing that I would believe your word.
  2. Now, you want me to join with other believers.
  3. You share your glory with all of us.
  4. You make us one in this glory.
  5. By our oneness, others will believe in you.
  6. When the whole world believes, you will come again.

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

  1. I will thank God for my faith.
  2. I will seek other believers to share my devout life.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

“I pray that they may be one so the world believes.”

MAY 5, 2016 – ASCENSION THURSDAY (C) – THE ASCENSION VISION

(Luke 24:47, Acts 1:8-11)

Prayer: O Jesus, take my heart to heaven with you.

Imagination: (Picture the disciples watching Jesus ascend into heaven.)

Context:

Luke describes the Ascension in two places – at the end of his gospel and at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles. Here we use the account in the Acts which gives more details.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus led the disciples out to the Mount of Olives, telling them not to depart from Jerusalem but to await the promise of the Father, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the whole world.”

As they looked on, he was lifted up. They watched until a cloud took him from their sight. While they were still gazing upward, two men in white garments said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up to heaven. Jesus, who is taken from you, will come just as you saw him going to heaven.”

So, they returned to Jerusalem. They devoted themselves to prayer, together with some women and Mary, the mother of Jesus.

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

  1. Seeing Jesus ascend into heaven is the final piece of evidence that Jesus is God.
  2. Soon, the final age of the Spirit will begin.
  3. The apostles know what to do. They must return to Jerusalem and wait for the Spirit.
  4. However, they want to remain on this hillside because their hearts are empty.
  5. The angel has to promise them, “He will return just as you saw him.”
  6. Obediently, they return to Jerusalem, where the Spirit will fill them with his fire, plunge them into his presence and anoint them with his powers.
  7. What a journey for the apostles! Three years ago, they met a man named Jesus. Now, they know that He is God and will soon send them the Holy Spirit.
  8. All these gifts happen in the presence of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

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

  1. Jesus, you are my Lord and my God.
  2. You have gone ahead and prepared a place for me.
  3. Jesus, take my heart to heaven.
  4. I will obey you so your plans come true.
  5. Anoint me with your Spirit, and I will be your witness.
  6. O Lord, you will “return just as you ascended.” I await your coming.
  7. Mary, draw me close to yourself. The Spirit comes wherever you are present.

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

  1. Today, I will often say the words, “Come, Holy Spirit.”
  2. I will take some quiet moments to receive the Spirit.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

They gathered with Mary, the mother of Jesus.

MAY 1, 2016 – SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (C) – THE IMPORTANCE OF JESUS’ WORD

(John 14:23-29)

Prayer: O Jesus, I will abide in your word.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples at the Last Supper).

Context: This text focuses on Jesus’ teaching – which enjoys a surprising power. A disciple who lives this teaching will enjoy the presence of the Father and Jesus. Then, the Paraclete will amplify the teaching.

In the second part, Jesus, concerned about the effect of his going to the Father, promises his peace.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said, “If anyone loves me and keeps my Word, my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our dwelling in him. Whoever does not love me, does not keep my word.

The word which you have heard is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

I have spoken these things while I abide with you. The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and bring all things to your mind, whatever I have told you.

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give. Let not your heart be troubled or be afraid.

You have heard me say that I go away and I will come back to you. If you loved me, you would be glad because I go to the Father and the Father is greater than I. I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens, you might believe.

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

  1. The door to friendship with God is loving Jesus and being true to his word.
  2. If this happens, the Father and Jesus actually come to live within the disciple.
  3. Jesus’ time of teaching is ending. From now until the end of the world, the Holy Spirit is the teacher.
  4. The situation is changing. Jesus is returning to the Father. The disciples should rejoice.
  5. Instead, they grow fearful and need Jesus’ peace.
  6. Later, they will remember these words and will believe as they see them come true.

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

  1. O Jesus, you offer me life with your Father.
  2. Thank you for dwelling in my soul.
  3. O Holy Spirit, teach me the great mysteries of the Father.
  4. O Jesus, you have gone to the Father to prepare a place for me.
  5. I am so fearful. How I need your peace.
  6. Your words are the light for my path.
  7. O Jesus, you have provided everything for my salvation.

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

  1. I will treasure God’s presence in my soul.
  2. I will ask Jesus for his peace.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

My Father will love him and we will come to him.

APRIL 17, 2016 – FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (C) – SHEEP IN THE FATHER’S HANDS

(John 10:24-30)

Prayer: O Jesus, I will hear your voice and follow you to eternal life.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching in the Temple)

Context:   Even this image of shepherd gets drawn into controversy. Not being Jesus’ sheep, the hearers do not believe that Jesus can give everlasting life to those who follow him. Jesus explains that he holds every person in his hands, just as His Father does.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The Jews said to Jesus, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered, “I told you and you did not believe. The works I do in the Father’s name, testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep.

My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me. I give them everlasting life and they shall never perish. No one can pluck them out of my hand. My Father has given them to me and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.

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

  1. The Jews ask a question which seemingly deserves a plain answer.
  2. However, the question comes because they refuse to believe Jesus’ testimony.
  3. More words, even plainer words, will not help them.
  4. They need to make a decision. They must accept Jesus.
  5. Because the true sheep desire to live forever, they easily understand.
  6. Jesus holds these sheep and no one snatches them away.
  7. Jesus reveals his identity. He is one with the Father.

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

  1. Jesus, you have already given me enough words. Now, I must believe.
  2. I will give you my heart. Then, I will fully understand your words.
  3. Awaken in me immense desires for eternal life.
  4. O Jesus, I will share your relationship with the Father.
  5. Speak loudly in my soul, Jesus. Silence all other voices.
  6. Where else would I rather be than in your hands?

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

  1. I will listen today for Jesus’ voice.
  2. I will stay in Jesus’ hands. I am safe there.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

The Father has given these sheep to me and no one will snatch them from my hands.

APRIL 10, 2016 – THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER – (C) – VISION AT THE SEA OF GALILEE

(John 21:1-8)

Prayer: O Jesus, make me aware of your presence.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus standing on the shoe at the Sea of Galilee.)

Context:

Because Jesus promised to appear to his disciples in Galilee, the apostles return there and resume fishing. In John’s gospel, this is the third recorded vision to these disciples.

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, but 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 seven are blessed by going with him. The beloved disciple is one of the “two other disciples.”
  2. Their fishing experience and skill profit nothing. The nets are empty.
  3. Although they do not recognize this mysterious figure, they obey his words.
  4. The miracle reveals to the beloved disciple that “it is the Lord.”
  5. Peter believes his words and plunges into the sea.
  6. The others arrive in a more conventional way. Yet, all experience Jesus’ presence.

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

  1. O Jesus, keep me united with Peter and the Church. This is how I will be blessed.
  2. Make me of one mind and heart with other disciples who love you.
  3. Speak to me, Lord, and I will obey your word.
  4. Give me the beloved disciple’s sensitive faith, who first realizes that it is you.
  5. May I see your loving hand in all my blessings.
  6. May I always come to you, whether exuberantly (like Peter) or more calmly (like the others).
  7. Fill me with your presence.

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

  1. I will try to be united with others who search for Jesus.
  2. I will ask to experience Jesus’ presence.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

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

APRIL 3, 2016 – SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER – (C ) – PART ONE – JESUS BESTOWS THE SPIRIT

(John 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.)

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

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

  1. I will ask Jesus to send me His Spirit.
  2. I will seek forgiveness in the sacrament.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.