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

(Mark 1:7-11)

Prayer: O Holy Spirit, fall upon me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus coming out of the Jordan)

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The Spirit descended and remained on him.

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

(Matthew 3:13-17)

Prayer: O Spirit of God, descend upon me.

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

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

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

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

(Luke 4:14-30)

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

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching in the synagogue.)

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

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

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

(Mark 6:34-44)

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

Imagination: (Picture Jesus feeding the crowds.)

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

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

JANUARY 3, 2016 – EPIPHANY – THE MAGI

(Matthew 2:1-12)

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

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

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

They rejoiced to see the star again.