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.

APRIL 1, 2016 – EASTER WEEK – FRIDAY – PART ONE – 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 shore at the Sea of Galilee.)

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

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

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

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

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

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

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

  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 your other disciples.
  3. Speak to me, Lord. Show me where to fish.
  4. You stand on the shore and get my attention. O Jesus, you see all my difficulties.
  5. Give me the sensitive faith of the Beloved Disciple.
  6. Fill me with the enthusiasm of Peter.
  7. May I always experience your presence.

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

  1. I will join with others who search for Jesus.
  2. I will listen to Jesus’ words.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

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

APRIL 1, 2016 – EASTER WEEK – FRIDAY – PART TWO – JESUS PREPARES A MEAL

(John 21:9-14)

Prayer: O Jesus, call me to your table.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples around the charcoal fire.)

Context:

In many Resurrection appearances, Jesus has a meal with his disciples. This helps them to believe that Jesus is truly risen and also teaches them the importance of the Eucharist.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

As soon as they came to land, they saw hot coals with fish and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring here the fishes that you have caught.” Simon Peter went to the boat and brought the net to shore, filled with 153 large fish. Although there were so many, the net was not broken.

Jesus said to them, “Come and eat.” None of those who ate dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus took bread and gave it to them. He also gave them fish, in like manner. This was the third time that Jesus manifested himself after he had risen from the dead.

 

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

  1. Their experience is totally real. They hear Jesus’ words and they catch the fish.
  2. They see him clearly and they eat with him. This is no ghost.
  3. Although Jesus has bread, charcoal fire and his own fish, he invites them to share their fish.
  4. The miraculous catch is so real, that they even counted the fish (153).
  5. They ask no questions. All eight disciples are certain that this is Jesus.
  6. They eat with Jesus. This is a symbol of the Eucharist.

 

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

  1. O Jesus, Your Kingdom is real and will never pass away.
  2. You multiply all the evidence. You break into my life and you fill my empty nets.
  3. O Jesus, You give me talents to use for your Kingdom.
  4. You give large fish in great quantities, abundant blessings of every kind.
  5. Reveal yourself. Your presence makes the meal unforgettable.

 

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

  1. I will receive Communion frequently. This is the meal that Jesus prepares.
  2. I will bring my talents to Jesus’ table.

 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

No one dared to ask “Who are you?”

MARCH 29, 2016 – EASTER WEEK – TUESDAY – MAGDALEN SEES JESUS

(John 20:11-18)

Prayer: Jesus, fill me with Magdalen’s love and devotion to you.

Imagination: (Picture Magdalen at the tomb with Jesus.)

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. I will ask Jesus for Magdalene’s generosity.
  2. I will listen for Jesus to call me by name.

Thought for Today: (To recall your meditation)

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

MARCH 27, 2016 – EASTER SUNDAY (C) – THE DISCIPLES AT THE TOMB

(John 20:1-8)

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

Imagination: Picture the disciples at the empty tomb.

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

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

Then, Peter and the other disciple went out to the tomb. They both ran together but the other disciple outran Peter and came first to the tomb. When he bent down, he saw the linen cloth lying there, but he did not go in. When Peter arrived, he went into the tomb and saw the linen clothes. The cloth that had been around his head was not lying with the linen clothes, but was wrapped together in another place. Then, the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in. He saw and believed. As yet they did not understand the scripture that he must rise from the dead. The disciples left and went home, but Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.

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

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

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

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

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

  1. I will renew my faith in the risen Jesus.
  2. I will study the scriptures

Thought for Today: (To recall your Meditation)

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

MARCH 25, 2016 – GOOD FRIDAY – PART 2 – PILATE’S FAILED COMPROMISE

(John 18:38-19:16)

Prayer: Jesus, help me to live in the truth.

Imagination: (Picture Pilate with Jesus and the crowds.)

Context:

Talking with Jesus had strengthened Pilate. However, his resolve is weak and talking again with the Jewish leaders sways him. He thinks he can get out of this without making a decision. Compromise with truth always ends in disaster. Pilate is the prime example.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Pilate had Jesus scourged and then showed him to the crowds saying, “Look at the man. I find no guilt in him.” Yet the chief priests and the guards cried out, “Crucify him. Crucify him.”          Pilate said, “I find no guilt in him.” They said, “He must die because he made himself the Son of God.”

Fearing even more, Pilate asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” Because Jesus did not answer, Pilate said, “Do you not know I have the power to crucify you or to release you?” Jesus said, “You would have no power at all if you did not receive it from above. Those who handed me over, have the greater sin.”

Pilate wanted to release Jesus. The Jews, however, cried out “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend.” Pilate brought Jesus out and said, “Behold your King.” They shouted, “Away with him. Crucify him.” Pilate asked, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So Pilate delivered Jesus over to be crucified.

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

  1. Pilate voices his inner conviction that Jesus is not guilty.       However, he does not act on his beliefs.
  2. Fears overcome him. His emotions lead him astray.
  3. Pilate’s fate is sealed because he has abandoned truth.
  4. These lies entrap everyone, – Pilate, the soldiers, the crowds and the chief priests (who hate Caesar, yet proclaim him as their king.)
  5. The blood-soaked Jesus has fulfilled Simeon’s prophecy. He is a sign of contradiction for many in Israel.

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

  1. O Jesus, you are my King.
  2. Help me to live in your truth.
  3. When the world pressures me, confuses me, and entangles me, I will stand firm as your disciple.
  4. Jesus, only you can save me from the powerful whirlpool of evil that surrounds me.
  5. You are soaked in blood, the price you paid to save me.       Thank you.

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

  1. I will keep the blood-soaked Jesus before my eyes today.
  2. With Jesus’ help, I will resist my fears to compromise.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Pilate wanted to release Jesus.

MARCH 25, 2016 – GOOD FRIDAY – PART ONE – JESUS WITNESSES TO PILATE

(John 18:28-38)

Prayer: Jesus, let your Kingdom claim my heart.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus standing before Pilate)

Context:

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

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. I will commit my life to living the truth.
  2. I will choose the right King – Jesus the Lord.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

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

MARCH 24, 2016 – HOLY THURSDAY – JESUS WASHES THE DISCIPLES’ FEET

(John 13:1-13)

Prayer: Jesus, wash me and cleanse. Me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus washing the Disciples’ feet.)

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. I will ask the Lord to cleanse me, again and again.
  2. From this day on, I will serve the needs of others.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Jesus rose from table and set aside his garments.

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.

MARCH 22, 2016 – TUESDAY – HOLY WEEK – JUDAS ISCARIOT

(John 13:36-38)

Prayer: Jesus, may I always be loyal to you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus at the Last Supper.)

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. I will value my friendship with Jesus above every other prize.
  2. I will be faithful to my friends.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

One of you will betray me.

MARCH 21, 2016 – MONDAY – HOLY WEEK – MARY’S ANNOINTING

(John 12:1-11)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me be generous in serving you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus at table with Martha, Mary and Lazarus.)

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Where should I be more generous with my possessions?
  2. I will try to serve the interests of Jesus.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

She has done this for my day of burial.

MARCH 19, 2016 – WEEK FIVE OF LENT – SATURDAY – PLOTTING TO KILL HIM

(John 11:45-57)

Prayer: Jesus, you died to save me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha.)

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. I will open my heart to all the signs of God’s power.
  2. I will be aware of the destructive power in my own heart.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

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

MARCH 18, 2016 – WEEK FIVE OF LENT – FRIDAY – MAKING HIMSELF GOD

(John 10:31-39)

Prayer: O Jesus, you are truly God and truly man.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching in the Temple)

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. I will ponder all that Jesus has done for me.
  2. I will meditate on Jesus making me a child of God.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

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

MARCH 17, 2016 – WEEK FIVE OF LENT – THURSDAY – GREATER THAN ABRAHAM

(John 8:51-59)

Prayer: Jesus, help me never to taste eternal death.

Imagination: Picture Jesus teaching in the Temple

Context:   Jesus makes even stronger claims. Not only is he greater than Abraham but Abraham “rejoiced to see my day.” On the natural level, this is impossible. Jesus is certainly less than fifty. However, he invites his listeners to the supernatural level where they will believe that Jesus always existed. He is I AM.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word he shall never see death. The Jews said, “Now we know you have a devil. Abraham is dead and the prophets are dead. Yet, you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word he will never taste death.’   Are you greater than Abraham who is dead? Or the prophets who are dead? Who do you make yourself out to be?”

Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is as nothing. It is the Father who glorifies me. Of him, you say, ‘He is our God.’ You have not known him, but I have known him. Abraham, your father, rejoiced to see my day. He saw it and was glad”

They said, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” Jesus said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.”

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

  1. The crowd turns hostile, claiming that Jesus has a devil.
  2. Jesus claims no glory for himself. All his glory comes from the Father.
  3. However, the crowd is ignorant of the Father (although he is their God) and cannot understand the Son.
  4. Only at the end does Jesus make his greatest revelation.
  5. When the crowd asks “Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus reveals his inmost secret.
  6. He is eternal. Before Abraham was even created, Jesus existed. “I AM”, he says.
  7. They shake their heads in disbelief.

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

  1. O Jesus, your works, your miracles, and your healings only hint at who you are.
  2. You existed forever and you freely chose to enter history. To help me!
  3. You were with the Father and you came down to earth. To save me!
  4. Filled with heavenly glory, you emptied yourself. To bless me!
  5. You were obedient unto death. To raise me up!
  6. My mind cannot grasp these truths. Your love overwhelms me.

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

  1. I will try to realize that the Father has loved me in Christ from all eternity.
  2. I will receive Communion often because I AM is my food and drink.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Abraham saw my day and was glad. You are not yet fifty years old.

MARCH 16, 2016 – WEEK FIVE OF LENT – WEDNESDAY – THE SON FREES YOU

(John 8:31-36)

Prayer: Jesus, set me free from the slavery of sin.

Imagination: Picture Jesus teaching in the Temple

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

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. I believe that Jesus is unique, the only Son of God.
  2. I will seek Jesus’ saving power in confession.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

If the Son frees you, you are free indeed.

MARCH 15, 2016 – WEEK FIVE OF LENT – TUESDAY – “I AM”

(John 8:21-30)

Prayer: O Jesus, enlighten me and reveal your fullness.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in the temple.)

Context:

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

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. I will live this day in the presence of Jesus, “I AM”.
  2. I will lift Jesus up in my own heart.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

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

MARCH 14, 2016 – WEEK FIVE OF LENT – MONDAY – THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

(John 8:12-20)

Prayer: O Jesus, flood me with divine light.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in the temple.)

Context:

After saving the woman caught in adultery from being stoned to death, Jesus calls himself “The light of the world”. He is challenged to produce witnesses. He claims that the Father is his witness, but the crowd knows neither the Father nor Jesus.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. The Pharisees said, “You testify on your own behalf.” Jesus said, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony can be verified because I know where I come from and where I am going. I testify on my behalf and so does the Father who sent me. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.

He said these words in the temple area. But no one arrested him because his hour had not yet come.

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

  1. John has already told us that Jesus “was the light of the human race” (1:3) and that the Baptist had come to testify to that light.
  2. Now, Jesus himself proclaims his prerogative, that he is the “light of the world.”
  3. The Pharisees challenge his claim, saying that he does not have the two witnesses demanded by the law.
  4. Jesus correctly states that if God is the witness, only one is needed.
  5. They, of course, are ignorant of the Father and of Jesus’ divine origins, even though he clearly says, “I am.”
  6. Knowing Jesus and knowing the Father go together. Ignorance of one causes ignorance of the other.

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

  1. Jesus, You are divine. You are God’s eternal Word. You are equal to the Father. You became flesh and lived among us.
  2. I know you, Jesus. I know you are the world’s only true light.
  3. Jesus, if you are my light, I will not walk in darkness.
  4. Jesus, I am a child of the light and a child of the promise.
  5. I will not choose the darkness or even the twilight. My inheritance is the fullness of light.

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

  1. I will leave behind all the darkness of my past life.
  2. I will live always in the light of truth.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me does not walk in darkness.

MARCH 13, 2016 – WEEK FIVE OF LENT – SUNDAY – C – THE WOMAN CAUGHT IN ADULTERY

(John 8:1-11)

Prayer: O Jesus, forgive me and set me free from all my accusers.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in the temple with the accused woman before him.)

Context:

This story fulfills Jesus’ statement “You judge by appearances, but I do not judge anyone.” (Jn 8:15) Jesus teaching in the temple and people getting up early to hear him is attested by Luke (21:38). This story follows the usual pattern of Jesus’ enemies trying to entrap him. Jesus extends God’s mercy so the woman can turn away from evil.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Early in the morning, Jesus came to the temple and all the people came to hear him. He sat down while he taught. The scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman caught in adultery and placed her in his presence. They said, “Master, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now, in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such a person. What do you say?” They said this to tempt him, so they might accuse him. But Jesus, bowing down, wrote on the ground with his finger.

As they continued to ask him, Jesus looked up and said, “Whoever is without sin, let him cast the first stone.” He, then, bent down and again wrote on the ground. Hearing this, they walked away, one by one, beginning with the elders.

Jesus was alone with the woman standing before him. Looking up, Jesus said, “Woman, where are those who accused you? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” Jesus said, “Neither will I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.”

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

  1. The people were so anxious to hear Jesus that they rose early in the morning.
  2. The Jewish leaders had no interest in Jesus’ teaching. They wanted only to entrap him.
  3. For these leaders, the adulterous woman is only an instrument they can use. For Jesus, she is a person whom he can forgive.
  4. As Jesus writes on the ground, the accusers recognize their sins.
  5. His challenge to be without sin is too great for them and they leave.
  6. The woman is relieved that these sinful accusers are gone.
  7. Jesus, the sinless one, refuses to condemn her. He invites her to become sinless, also.

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

  1. O Jesus, make me anxious to learn your word.
  2. O Jesus, to you I am a person, the most important person in your Kingdom.
  3. I have many sins but you are my Saviour.
  4. When I am in your presence, I am filled with peace.
  5. You never condemn me Jesus, unless I refuse to repent.
  6. Help me to sin no more.

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

  1. I will examine my own conscience and ask Jesus’ forgiveness.
  2. I will treat every person as Jesus treated this woman.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Has no one condemned you? Then, neither do I.

MARCH 12, 2016 – WEEK FOUR OF LENT – SATURDAY – THE GROWING OPPOSITION

(John 7:40-53)

Prayer: O Jesus, never let me oppose you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus preaching in the Temple.)

Context:

Jesus has divided the crowd. Some think he is the Messiah and others say the Messiah must come from Bethlehem, the City of David. (John’s community knew that Jesus was born in Bethlehem). The question is about Jesus’ divine origin and this text unfolds the great debate.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Some who heard Jesus’ words said, “This is indeed the prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” Some however, asked “Does the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the scripture say that the Christ is from the seed of David and from Bethlehem where David lived? So a dissension arose because of Jesus. Some would even have apprehended him but no one laid hands on him.

When the temple guards came in, the chief priests and the Pharisees asked them, “Why did you not bring him in?” They said, “Never has anyone spoken as he did”. The Pharisees asked, “Have you, also, been taken in?” Do you see any members of the Sanhedrin or of the Pharisees believing in him? Only this crowd which knows nothing about the law – and they are lost, anyway!”

Nicodemus, one of their own (who had spoken with Jesus) said, “Does our law judge a man without speaking with him and learning the facts?” They taunted him, “Are you also a Galilean? Search the scriptures. You will not find the prophet coming from Galilee.” Then, each went off to his own home.

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

  1. Some grasp the truth. Jesus is the prophet and the Messiah.
  2. Others find difficulties, as if Jesus does not fulfill the prophecies.
  3. Still others plot to kill Jesus.
  4. The guards are honest. Jesus’ words touched their hearts and they would not arrest him.
  5. Their refusal stiffens the resistance of the temple leadership.
  6. Nicodemus also speaks up but cannot pierce their darkness.
  7. Because their hearts are divided, they separate and go home.

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

  1. O Jesus, you are the prophet, the messiah, all that I could ever hope for.
  2. Without you, my whole life is divided.
  3. O Jesus, give me an honest heart to make the right decisions.
  4. Break down all my walls of resistance so I can follow you.
  5. Send your messengers to instruct me and to show me the true path.
  6. Pierce my heart, Jesus. Plant your word.
  7. I do not want to walk away and return to a life without any purpose.

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

  1. Today, in the quiet of my heart, I will proclaim Jesus as my Messiah.
  2. I will be aware of any hardness of my heart.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

No one has ever spoken like this before.

MARCH 11, 2016 – WEEK FOUR OF LENT – FRIDAY – IGNORANT OF JESUS’ ORIGINS

(John 7:25-30)

Prayer: O Jesus, I believe that you come from the Father.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching in the Temple.)

Context:

When Jesus is in Galilee, he works miracles and receives acclaim. When he goes to Jerusalem, he finds persecution because the leaders want to kill him. The controversy centers around his origins. Since Jesus comes from Galilee, the people of Jerusalem do not accept his Messiahship. Jesus says that they do not know his real origin – which is from God.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Some people in Jerusalem remarked, “Is this not the one whom they wanted to kill? Yet, he speaks openly and no one says anything. Have the authorities decided that this is the Messiah? Yet, we know where he comes from but when the Messiah comes, no one will know from where he comes.

Jesus, therefore, proclaimed in the temple, “You both know me and you know where I come from. But, I have not come on my own. He who sent me is true, but you do not know him. I know him because I come from him and he has sent me.

Because of this, they tried to apprehend him but no man could lay hands on him because his hour had not yet come.

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

  1. Jerusalem leaders opposed Jesus because they would lose their power.
  2. Blinded by their greed and social status, they reject Jesus as the Messiah.
  3. Even the people remain in darkness concerning Jesus’ divine nature.
  4. Jesus presses theis important question of his divine origin.
  5. He is from God, the son of the Eternal Father.
  6. The Father has sent Jesus and he knows the Father perfectly.
  7. They fail to kill Jesus.   God alone determines that hour.

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

  1. O Jesus, do not let me oppose your plans for my life.
  2. Remove my blindness and I will embrace you as my Messiah.
  3. Where do you come from, Jesus? Did not the Father send you?
  4. Jesus, you know the Father and you reveal him to me.
  5. Heavenly Father, only you will determine my hour of death. I will be ready.

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

  1. I will thank God that I know Jesus of Nazareth is my Saviour.
  2. In what parts of my life do I oppose God? I will answer that question.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

I have not come on my own. The Father has sent me.