LENT – THURSDAY – FEBRUARY 27, 2020 DON’T BE ASHAMED OF JESUS (LK 9:22-25)

Prayer – O Jesus, in time of trial, do not let me turn my back on you.
Imagination- (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.)
Context:
Having told the disciples that he will suffer, die and rise, Jesus gathers the crowd and explains that they also will suffer if they follow him. He tells them that they cannot be ashamed of him. Otherwise, Jesus must be ashamed of them when He comes in glory.
Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)
Calling together both the crowd and his disciples, Jesus said, “If anyone wants to follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. Whoever saves his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel, will save it. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Whoever is ashamed of me and my teaching in this sinful and corrupt age, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of the Father with all his holy angels.
Amen I say to you. There are some standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Kingdom of God coming in power.”
Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
1. Some people want to enjoy the privilege of following Jesus. First, they must deny themselves and take up their cross.
2. Jesus explains the reason. People will persecute them. If they have not accepted the cross, they will deny Jesus.
3. Jesus speaks of earthly life and heavenly life. Whoever saves his earthly life, will lose his heavenly glory.
4. Jesus compares gaining the whole world (which none of us really has) with losing our soul. What profit is that?
5. Jesus stresses shame. If the disciples are ashamed of him during their lifetime, logically, he must be ashamed of them when he comes in glory.
6. Some disciples will soon see this glory after Jesus rises from the dead.
Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. Jesus, I so much want to be your disciple.
2. Whatever the cost, I will pay it.
3. What is my earthly life worth when compared to heavenly glory?
4. I’ll make you proud of me. With your help, I will stand firm in trials.
5. When you come, you will clothe me in your glory.
6. Yes, I will see your glory. You are faithful to your promises.
Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. I will see the passing nature of earthly life.
2. I will meditate on the heavenly glory awaiting me.
Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul.

GOOD FRIDAY – PART 1 – APRIL 14, 2017 JESUS WITNESSES TO PILATE (Jn 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.

HOLY THURSDAY – APRIL 13, 2017 JESUS WASHES THE DISCIPLES’ FEET (Jn 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.

WEDNESDAY –HOLY WEEK – APRIL 12, 2017 JUDAS ISCARIOT (MT 26:14-25)

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.

TUESDAY – HOLY WEEK – APRIL 11, 2017 JESUS WASHES PETER’S FEET (Jn 13:21-33)

(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.

MONDAY – HOLY WEEK – APRIL 10, 2017 MARY’S ANNOINTING (Jn 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.

PALM SUNDAY A- APRIL 9, 2017 THE PALM SUNDAY CROWD (Mt 21:1-11)

Prayer: Jesus, I spread my cloak before you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey)

Context:

This ride into Jerusalem is a Messianic procession. Jesus fulfills the prophecy of Zechariah (9:9) that the Messiah 
would come as a messenger of peace, sitting on a donkey. The false Jewish belief was that the Messiah would come as a conquering general, 
astride a horse.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

As Jesus sat on a donkey, many people spread their cloaks on the road. 
Others cut down branches from the trees, placing them before him and crying out, 
“Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the kingdom of our father David, which is to come. Hosanna in the highest.”

When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was shaken. People asked, “Who is this?” The crowds replied, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee. Some of the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He replied, “I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out.”

This happened so the prophecy could be fulfilled, “Tell the daughter of Zion, 
‘Your King comes to you, sitting upon an ass, the foal of a beast of burden.”

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

  1. Jesus is a lonely prophet, entering Jerusalem on a donkey.
  2. He does not rise a powerful horse and he has no mighty army. Yet “all Jerusalem is shaken.”
  3. Some accept him with joy. Others protest. But all are aware.
  4. The people understand Jesus’ importance. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the Kingdom of our father, David.”
  5. The Pharisees refuse to accept this truth and want the voices quieted.
  6. The people are correct again, “This is Jesus, the prophet.” Too bad that the leaders did not listen.

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

  1. Jesus, you come to me as a messenger of peace.
  2. Even so, my soul is shaken.
  3. I cut down all my desires and place them at your feet.
  4. I will not be silent. I will tell the whole world who you are.
  5. You come only to bless me.
  6. You are the prophet. I thirst for your words.

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

  1. Today Jesus will come to me. I will welcome him.
  2. This day, I will study Jesus’ words in the gospels.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was shaken.

WEEK FIVE OF LENT – SATURDAY – APRIL 8, 2017 PLOTTING TO KILL HIM (Jn 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.

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WEEK FIVE OF LENT – FRIDAY – APRIL 7, 2017 MAKING HIMSELF GOD (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.

WEEK FIVE OF LENT – THURSDAY – APRIL 6, 2017 GREATER THAN ABRAHAM (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.

WEEK FIVE OF LENT – WEDNESDAY – APRIL 5, 2017 THE SON FREES YOU (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.

WEEK FIVE OF LENT – TUESDAY – APRIL 4, 2017 “I AM” (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.

WEEK FIVE OF LENT – MONDAY – APRIL 3, 2017 THE WOMAN CAUGHT IN ADULTERY (Jn 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.

WEEK FIVE OF LENT – SUNDAY – A (Part 2) – APRIL 2, 2017 JESUS COMES TO THEIR VILLAGE (Jn 11:17-32)

Prayer: O Jesus, help me to believe that you are the resurrection and the life.

Imagination: (Picture Martha and Mary speaking with Jesus.)

Context:

Jesus speaks individually with Martha and Mary. In this way, each could express their faith that Lazarus would not have died, 
if Jesus had been there. Martha also expresses her faith that Lazarus would 
rise on the last day.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

When Jesus came to their village, Lazarus was already dead for four days. Martha went out to greet him. “If you had been here my brother would not have died. Even now, I know that whatever you ask, God will give you.” Jesus said, 
‘Your brother will rise again.” Martha replied, “I know he will rise again, 
in the resurrection on the last day.”

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, 
even if he die, shall live. Whoever lives and believes in me, shall never die.
Do you believe this?” “Yes Lord, I have believed that you are the Christ, 
the Son of the Living God, 
who has come into the world.”

Martha said to Mary, “The teacher is here and is asking for you”. When she heard this, 
she rose immediately and went to Jesus. She, too, said “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

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

  1. This scene is drastically different from the message. Lazarus is not sick but dead.
  2. Martha manifests great faith. Jesus would have healed her brother.
  3. She already has Easter faith, a full belief in the Resurrection of body and soul.
  4. Her faith is directed to Jesus. He is the Messiah, come into the world.
  5. Mary has the same faith that Jesus could have healed her brother.

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

  1. O Jesus, your power is unlimited.
  2. I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
  3. O Jesus, You bring resurrection and life, blessings and favors.
  4. You give me eternal life. Your glory lives within me.
  5. Jesus, you always ask the same question, “Do you believe?”
  6. When you arrive, your power goes forth.

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

  1. I will not limit God’s power to help me.
  2. Since my faith is weak, I will borrow the Virgin Mary’s faith.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

I believe you are the Christ, Son of the living God.

WEEK FIVE OF LENT – SUNDAY – A – (Part 1) – APRIL 2, 2017 THEIR MESSAGE ABOUT LAZARUS (Jn 11:1-16)

Prayer: O Jesus, fill me with faith in your love for me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his apostles.)

Context:

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus visits Martha and Mary to have a meal. In this text of John’s gospel, we discover that they have a sick brother. After he is raised from the dead, they will serve Jesus a dinner. And Mary
will anoint Jesus for his burial. Their home in Bethany is about 90 miles 
south of Galilee. To arrive in time, Jesus would have had to leave immediately.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Because Lazarus, their brother, was sick, Mary and Martha sent a message to Jesus. They said, “Lord, the one whom you love is sick.” Jesus said to the apostles, “This sickness is not to death but it is for the 
glory of God, so that the Son of God will be glorified.”

Now Jesus loved Martha, her sister, Mary, and Lazarus. However, he did nothing for two days. Then he told the disciples, “Lazarus is dead. I am glad for your sakes that I was not there so that you may believe. Let us go to him.”

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

  1. Mary and Martha have no doubt that Jesus loves Lazarus.
  2. They make no specific request. They trust that Jesus will know what to do.
  3. By supernatural knowledge, Jesus knows that Lazarus will die and that he will raise Lazarus from the dead.
  4. Jesus deliberately delays, so that his disciples will see him raise Lazarus. Then, they will believe in him.
  5. In both delaying and in going, Jesus loves Martha, Mary, Lazarus, the apostles and the many friends who will witness the miracle.

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

  1. O Lord, you love me just as you loved Mary and Martha.
  2. O Jesus, give me the confidence that Mary and Martha had in you.
  3. Give me stillness amid all my anxieties.
  4. I know you will never forget me.
  5. Jesus, you know exactly what to do.
  6. When you help me, I come to believe even more.
  7. O God, you hide so much from me.
  8. Jesus, I place my life in your hands.

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

  1. Today, I will trust God’s ways and God’s purposes.
  2. I will try to experience Christ’s overwhelming love for me.

Thought for the day: (To recall your Meditation)

“This sickness is not to death but that the glory of God can be manifested.”

WEEK FOUR OF LENT – SATURDAY – APRIL 1, 2017 THE GROWING OPPOSITION (Jn 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.

WEEK FOUR OF LENT – FRIDAY – MARCH 31, 2017 IGNORANT OF JESUS’ ORIGINS (Jn 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 their 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.

WEEK FOUR OF LENT – THURSDAY – (PART 2) – MARCH 30, 2017 SEEKING HUMAN PRAISE (Jn 5:41-47)

Prayer: O Jesus, I accept you as my Lord and Saviour.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching the crowds.)

Context: In this final part of the conflict, Jesus pinpoints the problem. His hearers listen to each other and praise one another. They do not open
their ears to God. Moses did not act this way. He pointed to Jesus. If they believed Moses, they should believe in Jesus.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

I do not receive glory from men. Also, I know you and you do not have
the love of God in you. I have come in the name of my Father and you do not
receive me. Yet, if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe when you receive glory from each other and you do not seek the glory
that comes from God alone?

Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father. The one to accuse you is Moses
whom you accept. If you believed Moses, perhaps you would also believe me because
he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?

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

  1. The Jews have formed an inner circle of approved teachers who resist Jesus
    because he is the outsider.
  2. Because they do not seek to praise God, their hearts are closed to Jesus.
  3. They seek their own glory and set aside God’s glory.
  4. Moses, not Jesus, will accuse them before the Father.
  5. The Christian community has discovered many sayings of Moses that point to Jesus. If they honestly searched Moses’ words, they, too would come to faith.
  6. They will not accept Jesus, even though Moses prophesied his coming.

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

  1. Jesus, to you I give all praise and honor.
  2. I believe that you come in the father’s name.
  3. In all my decisions, I will seek only your approval.
  4. O Jesus, your new voice resounds in my heart.
  5. I will seek your word in daily bible reading.

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

  1. I will not value human praise. It is so fickle.
  2. I will cherish God’s words, “You are my beloved.”

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

I do not receive glory from men.

WEEK FOUR OF LENT – THURSDAY – (PART 1) – MARCH 30, 2017 THE FATHER’S TESTIMONY (Jn 5:31-40)

Prayer: O Jesus, help me to believe your testimony.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching in the Temple.)

Context: Jesus explains his purpose in healing the man. By this miraculous deed, the Father testifies about Jesus’ divine mission. Before this, John the Baptist testified about Jesus. However, the Jews
accept neither testimony.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

If I testify of myself, my testimony is not verified. However, another testifies about me and I know his testimony is true. This testimony is the works which the Father has given me to do. These testify
that the Father has sent me. You sent emissaries to John and he testified to the truth. But I have testimony greater than John’s, the works that the Father gave me to accomplish.

The Father himself testifies about me, but you do not have his word because you
do not believe in the one whom he has sent. You search the scriptures and even
these testify on my behalf. However, you do not want to come to me to have life.

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

  1. Jesus has worked many miracles by which the Father testifies to his divine mission.
  2. These miracles speak loudly, proclaiming that the Father has sent Jesus.
  3. When the Jews still do not believe, Jesus identifies the obstacle.
  4. They want the Father but not the Father’s messenger, the Beloved Son.
  5. They are blind even to the scriptural prophecies that foretold Jesus.
  6. They cannot pass from death to life because they reject Jesus, the only bridge to the Father.

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

  1. Jesus, your miracles invite me to believe in you.
  2. You are Jesus of Nazareth. You come from the Father. You are his Divine Son.
  3. O Jesus, remove my obstacles to faith. Make me a child of light.
  4. Every page of Scripture testifies to you. You wrote it that I would believe.
  5. One truth is certain. When I come to you, I will gain eternal life.

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

  1. I will study the miracles (both in the Scriptures and in Church history). Their abundance will support my weak faith.
  2. I will remove my critical spirit, which often refuses to accept God’s signs.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

The Father himself testifies about me and his testimony is true.

WEEK FOUR OF LENT – WEDNESDAY –(Part 2) – MARCH 29, 2017 HONORING THE SON (Jn 5:23-26)

Prayer: O Jesus, help me to value eternal life.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples in the Temple.)

Context: Jesus continues to defend his ministry as He focuses on God’s power to judge,
to raise from the dead and to grant eternal life. The Father, (who obviously has these powers) has given them to Jesus, who is
“The Son of Man”, (a title of great authority.)

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Whoever does not honor the Son, does not honor the Father who sent him.
Amen, Amen, I say to you. Whoever hears my word and believes in him who sent me,
has eternal
life and will not come to condemnation. He has passed from death to life.
Amen, Amen I say to you. The hour is coming and is already here, when the
dead will hear the voice
of the Son of God.
Those who hear, shall live.

Just as the Father has life in himself, so he has given to the Son the
possession of life in himself. And he gave him power to exercise judgment,
because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed. The hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out. Those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life. Those who have done evil deeds to the resurrection of condemnation.

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

  1. When Jesus says “Amen, Amen”, his teaching is very important.
  2. The stakes are very high – eternal life or eternal death.
  3. To enjoy eternal life, you must hear his voice and honor the Son.
  4. His voice is so powerful that even the dead hear it.
  5. Jesus has the power to judge all mankind and he wants you to share his glory.
  6. The decision is yours. You can rise to new life.

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

  1. O Jesus, Your words are so important.
  2. You alone, O Jesus, have full and everlasting life.
  3. Through you, I can rise from my grave.
  4. All life dwells in you. You are the Father’s new blessing.
  5. You will call me forth and give me eternal life.
  6. O Jesus, I make the choice.
  7. I choose you. I choose your glory and your life.

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

  1. I will seek a personal relationship with Jesus.
  2. For my eternal salvation, I will trust only Jesus.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The hour is coming and is already here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of Man.