APRIL 30, 2016 – FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER – SATURDAY – THE WORLD’S HATRED

(John 15:18-21)

Prayer: O Jesus, help me to be a servant who is just like his master.

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

Context: Jesus begins a long teaching about how this unity between the disciples and himself will arouse the world’s hatred. The world has hated Jesus and will hate his chosen disciples. In this text, Jesus makes a very sharp distinction between his disciples and the world.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own. You are not of the world but I have chosen you out of the world. Therefore, the world hates you.

Remember my word. The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you also. Yet, all these things they will do to you for my name’s sake, because they did not know him who sent me.”

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

  1. When they preach the gospel, the disciples will be hated by the world.
  2. The world will persecute them because they do not belong to the world any longer.
  3. Being aligned with Jesus, the disciples are unacceptable to the world.
  4. How blessed are the disciples. Jesus has chosen them out of the world.
  5. Persecution is such a small price to pay to be Jesus’ disciple.
  6. The world is consistent in its hatred. Having persecuted Jesus, it will persecute his disciples.
  7. All this hatred happens because the world does not know the Father Who sent Jesus. 

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

  1. O Jesus, if I love you, the world will not love me. What a small price!
  2. What more could I ask? A servant wants to be treated like the Master.
  3. You have chosen me, and taken me away from the world.
  4. I have said my “Goodbyes.” I have parted company. I am with you forever.
  5. Being persecuted for your name is greater than any worldly honor.
  6. Jesus, the one who sent you is now my Father. You have made me his child.

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

  1. Today, I will rejoice to think, “Jesus has chosen me out of the world.”
  2. If people do not understand me, I will think of how the world misunderstood Jesus.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

If you were of the world, the world would love its own.

APRIL 29, 2016 – FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER – FRIDAY – NOW CALLED FRIENDS

(John 15:12-16)

Prayer: O Jesus, I seek only to be your friend.

Imagination (Picture Jesus teaching at the Last Supper)

Context:   After showering his own love upon the disciples, Jesus asks that they love one another. Before asking for this love, he has made them his friends and has chosen them for an important task.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love than this no man has, that a man lay down his life for his friend. You are my friends, if you do what I command you.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know what his lord does. I have called you friends because I have made known to you all that I have heard from the Father.

You have not chosen me. I have chosen you and have appointed you to go and bring forth abiding fruit, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.

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

  1. Loving others as you love yourself is no longer enough. Jesus gives a new commandment.
  2. You must love others as Jesus loves you.
  3. In his total love, Jesus is willing to lay down his life.
  4. Jesus has raised you to a new level. You are no longer his servant. You are his friend.
  5. You are his friend simply because he chose you.
  6. Because you are his friend, he reveals all his mysteries.
  7. You have one task – to fulfill God’s purpose in your life.

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

  1. Jesus, you loved me before I loved you.
  2. Help me to love others even before they love me.
  3. O Jesus, “I will lay down my life for you”. (Jn 13:37)
  4. What a gift – to be your friend!
  5. Reveal all your secrets to me, Jesus.   I will be attentive and listen closely.
  6. O Jesus, you have a task for me. Speak, Lord, I am listening.

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

  1. I will value my new status of being a friend of Jesus.
  2. Being Jesus’ friend, I will seek to know what he wants of me.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

I no longer call you servants, because I have revealed my mysteries to you. I call you friends.

APRIL 28, 2016 – FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER – THURSDAY – REMAINING IN THE VINE

(John 15:6-11)

Prayer: O Jesus, stay with me, and my life will produce good fruit.

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

Context: Jesus’ first priority is his unity with his disciples. From this oneness comes all blessings, both for the disciples and for the world. The disciples must make a choice to stay with Jesus. This decision is filled with frightening consequences. They will either be cast out into the fire or bear fruit.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

If anyone does not remain in me, he will be cast out and become a withered branch. They shall gather him up and cast him into the burning fire.

If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask whatever you want and it shall be done for you. In this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

As the Father has loved me, I also have loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love, as I have kept the Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.

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

  1. Jesus highlights the disciple’s decision. Although chosen by Jesus, the disciple must freely decide to remain in him.
  2. The wrong choice is devastating. Like everyone else, they will be cast out into the fire of hell.
  3. Making the right choice merits the greatest blessings – complete access to God.
  4. The Father himself initiates their union with Jesus. He loves Jesus and Jesus loves the disciple.
  5. The union is completed by the disciple keeping the Father’s commandments.
  6. Abiding in Jesus brings an indescribable joy.

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

  1. O Jesus, I give you my consent. Claim me for yourself.
  2. Losing you, Jesus is an unthinkable disaster. Never let it happen.
  3. You attract me. You entice me. You call me to yourself.
  4. You offer me the Father’s love and say, “This is yours if you want it.”
  5. O Jesus, place your commands in my heart. They are the doors to the Father.
  6. You pour out your joy – complete and total – earthly and heavenly – for now and forever.

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

  1. I will recall that the Father’s love for Jesus can be mine, also.
  2. I will struggle to keep the commandments, never growing discouraged by my sins.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

“That my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”

APRIL 27, 2016 – FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER – WEDNESDAY – THE VINE AND THE BRANCHES

(John 15:1-5)

Prayer:   Bring forth your fruits in me.

Imagination   (Picture Jesus at the Last Supper)

Context: Jesus begins a long discourse, which the apostles do not interrupt by any questions. In this text, Jesus uses the imagery of vine and branches, highlighting the necessity of the disciples being one with Jesus.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

            I am the true vine. My Father is the vinedresser. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit. A branch that bears fruit, he will prune, so that it bears more fruit. You are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.

Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine. You are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him bears much fruit. Without me you can do nothing.

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

  1. Jesus seeks the fruit of a devout life that brings forth prayer and virtues.
  2. If a soul brings forth good works the Father prunes it.
  3. The Father (the vinedresser) does everything to gain more fruit from the vine.
  4. Every branch must “abide”. A cut-off branch can bring forth no fruit.
  5. Jesus says it perfectly, “I am the vine. You are the branches.”
  6. His conclusion is self-evident. “Whoever abides in me brings forth much fruit.”

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

  1. Jesus, you alone are the vine that gives life. I will abide in you.
  2. I once was a dead branch, but you have grafted me onto yourself. Now, I bear fruit.
  3. Father, prune away all that is lifeless in me.
  4. Jesus, I want to bring forth greater virtues, pleasing to you.
  5. Jesus, I only need to abide in you. You do the rest.
  6. With you, all things are possible. This is the secret of staying with you.

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

  1. I will abide with Jesus by thinking of him often today.
  2. I will dedicate this whole day to Jesus.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Whoever abides in me and I in him bears much fruit.

APRIL 26, 2016 – FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER – TUESDAY – JESUS’ FAREWELL GIFT

(John 14:27-31)

Prayer: O Jesus, fill me with your total peace.

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

Context:

This gospel concludes Jesus’ teaching at the Last Supper. He tries to prepare the apostles in two ways. First, he promises to place a lasting peace in their hearts. Second, he explains that his death results from his battle with Satan, the prince of this world. Jesus suffers because he is obedient to the Father.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘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 to you, I go away and I come back to you. If you loved me you indeed would be glad, because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

I have told you this before it happens, so that when it does happen, you will believe. I will not go on saying many things. For the prince of this world comes and he has no hold on me. However, the world must know that I love the Father and I do as the Father commanded.

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

  1. The heart of Jesus is broken. Obeying the Father entails leaving the apostles in great distress.
  2. He tries to soften this hardship by filling their hearts with peace.
  3. His “going away” is just for “a little while”, the three days in the tomb.
  4. He will come back. Only Jesus could do that.
  5. They must try to enter into Jesus’ joy. He will be returning to the Father.
  6. He prophesies all these events, so that they believe.
  7. He must stop speaking. The battle is at hand, the eternal combat between Jesus and Satan.
  8. His death on the cross will prove to the whole world that he loves the Father.

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

  1. O Jesus, your heart is always broken for me in all my trials.
  2. Fill me with your peace.
  3. O Jesus, for a little while you have “gone away”.
  4. Come back, Jesus. Return soon.
  5. By your words, I know you live within me.
  6. O Jesus, all your words have proven true. I believe.
  7. I see your arms, extended on the cross, in obedience to your Father.
  8. You have destroyed my adversary, Satan. You have won the victory for me.

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

  1. I will try to understand Jesus’ infinite love for me.
  2. I will seek his peace so I can serve him.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The Prince of this world has no control over me.

APRIL 25, 2016 – FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER – MONDAY – REVEALED TO THE DISCIPLES

(John 14:21-26)

Prayer: O Jesus, send me the Holy Spirit who will teach me all things.

Imagination (Picture Jesus at the Last Supper with his apostles.)

Context:

Jesus has promised that the apostles would see him. In this text, he explains that this seeing will not be an external manifestation, but an internal, religious experience. These gifts are new and the Spirit will explain them. For now, they must be at peace.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Judas (not the Iscariot) said, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus answered, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word and my Father will love him. We will come to him and make our abode with him.

These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he 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. Let not your heart be troubled or be afraid.”

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

  1. This is an important question, “Why does not the whole world see Jesus? Why does Jesus reveal himself only to these disciples?”
  2. Jesus and the Father are revealed internally. Only a disciple who loves God can receive this revelation.
  3. Keeping the commandments prepares the disciple’s heart to be God’s dwelling place.
  4. After coming to the disciple, Jesus will send the “Paraclete”, the Holy Spirit.
  5. This Spirit will teach and remind the disciples of Jesus’ teaching.
  6. The final result is a peace, which removes all fear from their hearts.

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

  1. O Jesus, what a great mystery! You manifest yourself to me but not to the world.
  2. If I love you, you and the Father will come and abide with me.
  3. O Jesus, send your Spirit into my heart. He will teach me.
  4. O Jesus, let your peace burst forth and flood my whole being.
  5. O Holy Spirit, how can I grow troubled when you abide with me?

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

  1. I will treasure the presence of Father, Son and Spirit in my soul.
  2. I will seek quiet moments, so the Spirit can teach me.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

My Father and I will come and abide with him.

APRIL 24, 2016 – SUNDAY – FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER (C) – JUDAS ISCARIOT

(John 13:31-35)

Prayer:  O Jesus, I will glorify you by my love for others.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus at the Last Supper.)

Context:

Judas has just left the Last Supper. Only the eleven apostles remain. Jesus speaks of two great realities – he will glorify God by his obedient death and the apostles must love one another so all the world sees that they belong to Jesus.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

After Judas had left the Upper Room, Jesus said, “Now is the son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorifies in him, God also will glorify him in himself and immediately he will glorify him.

Little children, I will not be with you much longer. A new commandment I give to you. That you love one another. As I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love for one another.”

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

  1. When Judas left to betray him, Jesus knew that his death was inevitable.
  2. His obedient death is the way he will give glory to the Father.
  3. The Father will reciprocate. He will glorify Jesus in the resurrection.
  4. While all these events are happening, the disciples will feel abandoned.
  5. For a “little while” Jesus will be taken from them. He cannot do anything to avoid that suffering.
  6. They are ready for the greatest commandment, far beyond loving each other as they love themselves.
  7. They must love as Jesus loved them.
  8. This is the great sign to the whole world.

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

  1. Jesus, teach me obedience to the Father.
  2. O Father, I, too, will glorify you and you will glorify me.
  3. O Jesus, how dark it is when you are absent.
  4. Let it be “just a little while”. Come back soon!
  5. Jesus, give me your Holy Spirit so I can love as you loved.
  6. Your love can change me and the whole world.

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

  1. I will imitate Jesus’ obedience to the Father.
  2. I will love everyone with Jesus’ love.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

I will not be with you much longer.