WEEK FOUR OF LENT – WEDNESDAY- (Part 1) – MARCH 29, 2017 THE SON AND THE FATHER (Jn 5-19-23)

Prayer: O Jesus, reveal the Father and Jesus to me.

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

Context: Jesus has just healed a man who lay ill for thirty-eight years. However, he healed him on the Sabbath, and “The Jews began to persecute Jesus”
(Jn 5:16) and even tried to kill Jesus because He made “himself equal to God”. (5:18).
Now, Jesus responds to their hostility.

Gospel text; (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said, “I say to you that a son cannot do anything by himself, but only what
he sees his father doing. Whatever he does, the son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself does, and he
will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed.

Just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also the Son will give life
to whomever he wishes. Nor does the Father judge anyone, but he gives all judgment
to his Son, so they may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father who sent him.

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

  1. Jesus reveals the source of his powers and deeds.
  2. He does only what he sees the Father doing.
  3. The Father loves Jesus and shows him everything. Nothing is held back.
  4. As the Father gives more power, Jesus does greater works. This causes even more wonder.
  5. Only God can give life and judge the world. Jesus shares even in these divine powers.

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

  1. Jesus, through you, I share in the Father’s life.
  2. Reveal your mysteries. I can do nothing on my own.
  3. I am amazed and filled with wonder as I see you work in me.
  4. O Jesus, you imitated the Father. Let me imitate you.
  5. You have all power over life and death. I entrust my soul to you.
  6. Only you are the Lord of heaven and earth.

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

  1. I will ask Jesus to show me what to do.
  2. I will trust him for all I need, both in life and in death.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he does.

WEEK FOUR OF LENT – TUESDAY – MARCH 28, 2017 THE NEW WATER OF LIFE (Jn 5:1-16)

Prayer: O Jesus, heal my body and remove my sins.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus speaking to the healed man.

Context:

John portrays Jesus as going to Jerusalem on feast days to show that
Jesus fulfills Jewish aspirations concerning the Messiah. This is the third sign of new life (preceded by Cana and healing the official’s son). The pool is clearly identified as the one near the sheep Gate.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus went up to Jerusalem on a feast day, going to a pool where many
sick waited for the waters to be stirred. A certain sick man had been there
for thirty eight years. Knowing that
he had been sick a long time, Jesus said, “Do you want to be healed?” He said, “Sir, I do not have anyone to plunge me into the pool once the water
has been stirred and someone gets in ahead of me.”

Jesus said, “Stand up. Pick up your mat and walk.” The man was immediately healed. He picked up his mat and walked. It was the Sabbath. The Jews said to him, “It is the Sabbath. It is not lawful for you to take up your mat.” He answered, “The one who made me whole told me, ‘Take up your mat and walk’”. They asked, “Who is the man?” The healed man did not know who it was. The crowd was so great that Jesus had slipped away.

Later, Jesus found him in the temple and said, “You are made whole. Sin no more so that something worse does not happen to you.” The man told the Jews that it was Jesus who made him whole. Therefore, the Jews persecuted Jesus because he did these things on the Sabbath.

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

  1. Jesus chooses to heal this man because he has been sick for so long.
  2. The pool was frequently stirred from below. The sick tried to enter the pool while the stirring was taking place.
  3. Since Jesus is the new healing water, the man needed only Jesus, not the pool.
  4. By placing Sabbath laws first, the Jews reject this new source of God’s grace.
  5. Although healed, the man can still lose eternal life. This is Jesus’ concern.
  6. In great simplicity, the man reports Jesus, totally unaware of the Jews’ desire to kill him.

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

  1. O Lord, how long I have been sick with my sins and imperfections.
  2. You look at me. You know my sorry state. You pick me out of the crowd.
  3. You say to me, “Stand up.” Suddenly, I have great strength.
  4. O Jesus, I will remain with you and you will give me eternal life.
  5. Why do people not love you? You bless everyone.

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

  1. I will live this day in hope that Jesus will choose me for his blessings.
  2. I will not listen to what others want me to do.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Jesus, knowing he had been sick, said, “Stand up.”

WEEK FOUR OF LENT – MONDAY – MARCH 27, 2017 BELIEVING THE WORD OF JESUS (JN 4:43-54)

Prayer: O Jesus, you can do all things. Help me to believe.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with the royal official pleading for his son.)

Context:

This is the second time in John’s gospel that Jesus reveals his power. This second miracle also takes place at Cana, and has some similar aspects. First, Jesus’ initial response seems like a refusal. Yet, the official
sees that it is not a definitive refusal. He grows in faith,
“believing in the word Jesus spoke to him.”

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Jesus went to Cana of Galilee where he made the water into wine. A certain royal official, whose son was sick at Capernaum, came to him
because he heard that Jesus had returned from Judea to Galilee. He asked Jesus to come down and to heal his son, who was at the point of death.

Jesus said, “Unless you see signs and wonders, you do not believe.” The official said to him, “Lord, come down before my son dies.” Jesus said,
“Go home. Your son lives.” The man believed the word which Jesus said and went home.

On his way home, his servants met him, bringing word that his son lived. He asked the hour when this happened. “Yesterday, at the seventh hour,
the fever left him.” The father knew that this was the same hour that Jesus said,
“Your son lives.” So he and his whole household believed.
This was the second miracle that Jesus did upon returning to Galilee.

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

  1. Jesus returned to Galilee, which was filled with faith. Jesus’ fame had spread everywhere.
  2. Having heard of Jesus’ miracles, the royal official comes with great faith.
  3. The son occupies first place in the man’s heart and he wants Jesus to heal.
  4. Jesus’ reply seems harsh, much like his answer to his mother at Cana.
  5. Even so, the man’s love for his son causes him to renew the request.
  6. Jesus acts at a distance, knowing that the son is healed.
  7. The official, also, is satisfied. He does not press Jesus to come with him.
  8. Without seeing, he “ believed in Jesus’ word.”
  9. When the servants brought the news, the official has no doubt that Jesus healed his son.
  10. His faith grows. All in the house believe.
  11. He became a Church member. That is how we have the story.

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

  1. O Jesus, how many requests I have in my heart right now.
  2. O Lord, I come before you with my heart filled with desires.
  3. I seek no sign, I believe you are the Christ, Son of the living God.
  4. I need not say “Come to my house.” You are already with me.
  5. Your power has no limit. Time and place present no obstacles.
  6. Let me see your power in every event of my life.
  7. O Jesus, we will believe in you, all my family, and my friends.

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

  1. I will ask Jesus for his help in every need.
  2. I will allow faith to grow within.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Go home. Your son lives. He and his whole household believed.

WEEK FOUR OF LENT – SUNDAY – A – MARCH 26, 2017 THE BLIND MAN (Jn 9:1-41)

Prayer: O Jesus, make me a faithful disciple, even amid persecutions.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus healing the blind man.)

Context:

John’s gospel is built around 3 main stories. The Samaritan woman represents a beginner who has accepted Jesus as Messiah. The blind man (in this gospel) is the disciple who is faithful during his lifetime. Lazarus is the believer on his death bed, trusting that Jesus will be his resurrection. Although the blind man faces many conflicts, he comes to full faith.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

As Jesus walked along he saw a man who was blind from birth. Jesus spat on the ground and made clay which he put to the blind man’s eyes.
“Go and wash in the pool of Siloam”. He washed and came back, able to see. His neighbors and those used to seeing him beg, asked, “Is this not the man who
used to sit and beg?” Some claimed it was. Others said that it was just someone
who looked like him. The man said, “I am the one.”

They took the man born blind to the Pharisees, who asked how he regained his sight. He said, “He put mud on my eyes. I washed it off and now I can see.” The Pharisees said, “This man cannot be from God because he does not keep the Sabbath.” Others asked, “If he is a sinner, how can he perform these signs?” They were divided. The Pharisees said to the blind man, “He opened your eyes.
What do you have to say?” He is a prophet”, he replied. They exclaimed, “You are steeped in sin from birth and you are giving us lectures?” With that, they threw him out bodily. Hearing of his expulsion, Jesus sought him and asked,
“Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “Who is he, sir, so that
I may believe in him?” Jesus replied,
“He is speaking to you now.” “I do believe”, he said and bowed down to worship him.

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

  1. Blind from birth, the man has never enjoyed sight. Now, he meets Jesus.
  2. The washing in Siloam is a symbol of Baptism, the source of inner enlightenment.
  3. His conversion is so great that he becomes an excellent witness for Jesus.
  4. Those with simple hearts accept the miracle as coming from God’s hands.
  5. The complicated religious leaders reject him.
  6. Jesus reveals his identity, like he did to the Samaritan woman at the well. (C4).
  7. What a journey! Through so many trials! From blindness to full faith.

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

  1. O Jesus, come to me this day.
  2. Open my eyes to the wonders of your Kingdom.
  3. I will tell the whole world what you did for me.
  4. Even if I am misunderstood and persecuted, I will tell of your blessings.
  5. Reveal yourself to me.
  6. Bring me through all my trials.
  7. Take me from darkness into light.

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

  1. I will ask Jesus to remove all my blindnesses.
  2. I will witness to others, telling what happened to me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Do you believe in the Son of Man? He is speaking to you now.

WEEK THREE OF LENT – SATURDAY – MARCH 25, 2017 SOLEMNITY OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD MARY’S QUESTIONING AND ACCEPTANCE (LK 1:26-38)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Help me to say “Yes” to God’s plan.

Imagination: (Picture Mary speaking with the Angel).

Context:
Luke records the greatest moment in human history, when God becomes flesh in Mary’s womb. This text highlights Mary’s struggle to understand the mystery. Once all is clear, she quickly consents.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin named Mary. The angel said, “Do not fear, Mary. You have found favor with God. You shall conceive and bear a son and give him the name Jesus. Great will be his dignity and he will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father. He will rule over the house of Jacob forever and his reign will be without end.
Mary said to the angel, “How can this be because I do not know man?” The angel explained, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you. The child will be called holy, the Son of God. Know that Elizabeth, your relative, has conceived a son in her old age. She who was called barren, is now in her sixth month because nothing is impossible to God.”
Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.” At this, the angel left her.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)
1. Mary knew that God called her to be a virgin. Now, the angel speaks of her becoming a mother.
2. The angel explains how both are true. The Holy Spirit will overshadow her, making her both mother and virgin.
3. This message overwhelms Mary.
4. Because Mary must accept her privilege, the angel describes God’s miracle in Elizabeth.
5. The angel concludes, “Nothing is impossible to God.”
6. Mary’s human mind quickly understands that God will do the impossible.
7. She surrenders completely, “Let it be done to me according to your word.”

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. O Father, what is your plan for me?
2. O Jesus, I cannot always understand your favors.
3. Mary, teach me how to search for answers.
4. O Spirit, reveal God’s mysteries in my life.
5. O God, nothing is impossible for you.
6. Mary, engrave your response on my heart, “Let I be done to me according to your word.”

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. This day, I will surrender to God’s plan.
2. I will believe that nothing is impossible for God.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
Let it be done to me according to your word.

WEEK THREE OF LENT – FRIDAY – MARCH 24, 2017 THE SCRIBE CLOSE TO THE KINGDOM (MK 12:28-34)

Prayer – O Jesus, I want to love you with all my heart and soul.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with the crowd while he speaks with this good-willed scribe.)

Context:

This scribe is not hostile. His question is sincere. In response, Jesus quotes the great prayer which the scribe himself recited each day.
His Jewish faith had brought him close to the Kingdom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

One of the scribes asked Jesus, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied: “This is the first: ‘Hear, O Israel. The Lord our
God is Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your whole heart and all your
whole soul and all your mind and all your strength. This is the first commandment.
The second is like to it. ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There are no other commandments greater than these.

The scribe said to Jesus, “Excellent teacher, you are right in saying,
‘He is one and there is no other than he. Yes, to love him with all our heart and all our mind and all our soul and
all our strength and to love our neighbor as ourself is worth more than any burnt
offering and sacrifice.’

Jesus approved his answer and told him, “You are not far from the reign of God”. And no one had the courage to ask him any more questions.

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

  1. This scribe comes with a docile spirit. His question is fair and he accepts Jesus answer.
  2. To emphasize the total consecration to God, the Jews use many images – heart, mind, will, strength.
  3. Jesus adds a second commandment, love for neighbor.
  4. In these two commandments, Jesus sums up his whole gospel.
  5. The scribe agrees that loving God and neighbor are more important than even temple sacrifices.
  6. The scribe is close to the Kingdom. Now, he needs to believe that Jesus is Messiah and Lord.

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

  1. Jesus, give me a docile spirit and a heart eager for your word.
  2. I consecrate myself to you – heart and mind, soul and strength. Anything less is unworthy of you.
  3. O Jesus, when you enter my heart, you bring my neighbor. I must love everyone.
  4. You preached love, even to your death on the cross.
  5. Let my love be a total immolation.
  6. O Jesus, I choose you. You are the bridegroom of my soul.

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

  1. I will set aside time today for God alone.
  2. I will love my neighbor in thought, word and deed.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Hear, O Israel. The Lord our God is Lord alone.

WEEK THREE OF LENT – THURSDAY – MARCH 23, 2017 CASTING OUT DEVILS BY GOD’S FINGER (LK 11:15-26)

Prayer – O Jesus, use your great power to bless ME.

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

Context:

In this text, Jesus meets two enemies. They agree that Jesus worked
these miracles and cast out Satan. Some question the source of his
power and others want a heavenly sign. Jesus destroys their arguments
and claims he is stronger than Satan.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

As Jesus was casting out a devil, some said, ‘It is by Beelzebub,
the prince of devils, that he casts out devils.’ Others tested Jesus
by wanting a sign from heaven.

Jesus said, “Every Kingdom divided against itself shall be brought to destruction. Any house torn by dissension shall fall. If Satan is divided against himself
how shall his Kingdom stand? You say
that I cast out devils by Beelzebub. By whom do your children cast them out?
Let them be your judges. But, if I cast out devils by the finger of God, then
the Kingdom of God has come upon you.

When a strong man fully armed guards his courtyard, his possessions go undisturbed. But if a stronger man than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he will take
away the arms on which he was relying and distribute his spoils.

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

  1. People use many excuses to reject Jesus. They question his powers or they demand signs.
  2. Jesus answers their question. To think that Satan casts out Satan is ridiculous. Satan is too intelligent to divide his house.
  3. What a powerful image! God only needs his finger to conquer Satan.
  4. If Jesus casts out Satan, then the entire Kingdom of God is present.
  5. Jesus describes the present situation. Satan is heavily armed and keeps secure possession of the whole world.
  6. Soon, however, all that will change. Jesus is stronger and better armed. Soon, he will over throw Satan and set us free.

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

  1. Jesus, your powers are true, able to save me and free me.
  2. O Jesus, cast out all that is dark and satanic in me.
  3. Let the finger of God come upon me.
  4. O Jesus, Satan binds all, and controls all. How I need you!
  5. You have all power. You are fully armed with the Holy Spirit.
  6. You break open and set free. Come, Jesus. I await you.

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

  1. Every day, I will ask Jesus to break the demonic powers that can bind me.
  2. I will avoid all occult involvement.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

If I cast out devils by the finger of God, then the Kingdom of God is upon you.

WEEK THREE OF LENT – WEDNESDAY – MARCH 22, 2017 THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS (MT 5:17-20)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Make me great in Jesus’ Kingdom.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples).

Context:

“Law and Prophets” means the whole Old Testament. Jesus wants his Church to retain these books and teach them to his disciples. At the same time, these books are not God’s final word or his greatest gift
because Jesus “fulfills” these laws and prophetic words.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to his disciples, “Do not think that I have come to destroy the
law or the prophets. I have not come to destroy, but to fulfill. Amen I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter,
not even the smallest part of the letter will pass away, until all is fulfilled.

Whoever shall break one of these least commandments and teach others to do so,
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever shall keep them and teach others to do so, shall be called great in the
Kingdom of heaven.

I tell you that unless your goodness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you shall not enter the Kingdom of heaven.

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

  1. After making us God’s children, Jesus describes how we must live.
  2. First, disciples must keep God’s word. Secondly, they must teach others to live by God’s word.
  3. Then, they will be great in the Kingdom. They will be both doers and teachers.
  4. isciples must go beyond the limited goodness of the scribes and Pharisees.
  5. These tasks are heavy but the reward is great. Disciples will live forever in the Kingdom of Heaven.

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

  1. Jesus, you have made me a child of the Father.
  2. Train me in your word, O Lord.
  3. O Jesus, plant your truth in my heart.
  4. Give me a zeal to instruct others in your word.
  5. May your power make me holy.
  6. You call me to be great in the Kingdom. I cherish your invitation.

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

  1. I will examine where I do not keep God’s law.
  2. I will read the Old Testament to see God’s words to Israel.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Whoever keeps these commandments and teaches others will be great in the Kingdom.

WEEK THREE OF LENT – TUESDAY – MARCH 21, 2017 THE UNMERCIFUL SERVANT (MT 18:23-35)

Prayer: O Jesus, fill my heart with the Holy Spirit of mercy towards others.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples.)

Context:

This parable about the Last Judgment highlights the deepest secret of discipleship.
They must learn how to forgive. The warning is serious. God, who has granted the disciple forgiveness will revoke that forgiveness
if the disciple does not forgive others. Everything is at stake.

The parable also offers a unique comfort. If we forgive others, then God’s mercy will extends to the Final Judgment.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

(Scene 1) The Kingdom of heaven is like a King who decided to settle all
his accounts. One servant owed him ten thousand talents. The King wanted his family and his goods sold so payment could be made. The servant said, “Have patience with me and I will pay everything.”
Moved with pity, the king forgave the debt.

(Scene 2) When this servant left, he found his fellow-servant who owed him
a hundred pence. Laying hands on him, he said, “Pay what you owe.” The fellow-servant, prostrating himself, said “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.”
However, he would not. Instead, he threw him into prison until the debt was paid.

(Scene 3) The other servants were very grieved and told the King what had happened. He called the servant and said, “Wicked servant, I forgave you the
entire debt when you asked me. Should you not, then, have compassion on
your fellow servant as I did on you? Filled with anger, he handed the servant over to the torturers until he paid all. So shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you do not forgive all your
brothers from your heart.

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

  1. This “accounting” represents the Final Judgment.For the forgiving disciple,
    this Final Judgment will be filled with mercy.
  2. The false disciple claims that he will repay the master. However, the amount he owes is so astounding that he will never be able to pay.
  3. He seeks only a reprieve, a postponement of the accounting. Instead, the King forgives the whole debt unconditionally.
  4. Although forgiven, the disciple does not imitate the King’s forgiving generosity.
  5. Jesus’ conclusion is clear.The Final Judgment will be a time of mercy only if
    “You forgive your brother from your heart.”

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

  1. Jesus, you have revealed how I can receive mercy on Judgment Day.
  2. Lord, may the moment of that judgment be always before my eyes.
  3. Lord, what I owe to you I can never repay.
  4. Teach me to forgive from my heart.
  5. O Jesus, You are always patient with me. Your compassion overflows.
  6. Jesus, let me hold no one in my debt. Then, I will also be set free.

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

  1. Today, I will thank God for his patience and mercy.
  2. I will show forgiveness to everyone.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Moved with compassion, the King forgave the whole debt.

WEEK THREE OF LENT – MONDAY – MARCH 20, 2017 Feast of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary REJECTION AT NAZARETH (LK 4:21-30)

Prayer – O Lord, never let me reject you.

Imagination- (Picture Jesus confronted by the angry citizens of Nazareth.)

Context:

The mood of the crowd changes suddenly from acceptance to rejection.
Jesus pinpoints the cause. They want to see miracles. Jesus recounts two stories in which the prophets worked miracles
for non-Jewish people. Their rejection turns to an angry attempt to kill Jesus.
However, it is not yet the time for his crucifixion.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

While preaching at the synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus said,
“Today this passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke favorably of him and marveled at the words which came from his mouth. Yet, they said, “Is this not the son of Joseph?” Jesus said, “You will say,
‘Physician, heal yourself. We have heard about the great things you have done
in Capernaum. Do them here in your own country.’”

He continued, “I say to you. A prophet is without honor only in his native place.
I say in truth. There were many widows in the days of Elijah in Israel, when the heavens were
closed for three years and six months and there was great famine on the earth. To none of these was Elijah sent except to the widow at Zarephath near Sidon. There were many lepers in the time of Elisha the prophet, but he cleansed none except Namaan,
the Syrian.”

When those in the synagogue heard these things they grew angry. They brought Jesus out of the city to the edge of a hill, so they could throw him down. But he passed through their midst and went his way.

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

  1. These people of Nazareth have an obstacle to accepting Jesus as a prophet. They knew him as a little boy, the son of Joseph.
  2. These memories close their minds to faith.
  3. Jesus pinpoints the problem. Prophets are accepted everywhere except where they grew up.
  4. The people feel that they have a right to Jesus’ miracles. After all, he grew up in Nazareth.
  5. Jesus cites Elijah and Elisha who worked miracles for foreigners but none for Israel.
  6. This rebuke stirs them to anger and to an attempt to kill Jesus. However,
    the Father wants Jesus to die in Jerusalem.
  7. Because of its lack of faith, Nazareth receives no blessing.

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

  1. Jesus, I have so many obstacles. Remove them all.
  2. I accept you, Jesus. I open my heart wide. I am yours.
  3. Lord, all that I have comes from you.
  4. Jesus, your favors are for everyone. You push no one aside. You look with love, even upon me.
  5. Poor Nazareth is deprived of your blessings. Woe is me if I reject you.
  6. O Jesus, teach me your ways.

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

  1. I will seek Jesus today with childlike faith.
  2. I will receive Jesus’ favors and I will use them well.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Jesus passed through their midst and went his way.

WEEK THREE OF LENT – SUNDAY – A (PART 2) – MARCH 19, 2017 HER FIVE HUSBANDS (Jn 4:16-26)

Prayer: O Jesus, open my eyes. Fill me with faith so I can see who you are.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus speaking with the Samaritan woman at the well.)

Context:

This is an astounding story. The first person to whom Jesus reveals that
he is the Messiah is a
Samaritan woman with five husbands. She fully responds, showing that God’s
choice was perfect.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, “Go, call your husband and come back.” She said,
“I do not have a husband.” Jesus said, “You are right because you have had five husbands,
and the one you have
now is not your husband.”

She said, “Sir, I see you are a prophet. I know that the Messiah is coming,
the One called the Anointed. When he comes, he will tell us everything.” Jesus said to her, “I am He, the One who is speaking with you.” The woman left her water jar and went into the town.

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

  1. The woman is an outcast. She must come to draw water at noon, when no one else is there.
  2. The reason is obvious. She had five previous husbands and now a live-in friend.
  3. Jesus interprets her dishonest reply in a kind way, saying “You are right.”
  4. She sees that he is a prophet, possibly “the coming Messiah who will tell us everything.”
  5. Jesus seizes the opportunity. For the first time, reveals his identity as Messiah. This to a woman with five ex-husbands and one lover!
  6. She grasps this revelation and quickly becomes an evangelist to the townspeople.

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

  1. Jesus, my past sins do not prevent me from receiving your gifts.
  2. You interpret kindly my dishonest words.
  3. In you, everything is changed.
  4. Jesus, you are God’s Anointed One.
  5. Lord, You are my Messiah and You are coming for me.
  6. You knock at my heart. Your voice shouts in my soul “I am He. The One Who is speaking with you.”

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

  1. I will fill this day with hope that Jesus will come to me.
  2. I will pause during the day so Jesus can speak within.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

“I am he, the One who is speaking with you.”

WEEK THREE OF LENT – SUNDAY -A (PART 1) – MARCH 19, 2017 THE SAMARITAN WOMAN (Jn 4:1-15)

Prayer: O Jesus, give me the living waters of the Kingdom.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus speaking to the woman by the well.)

Context:

John’s gospel has three central stories. The Woman at the Well represents a beginner. The healed blind man (C9) represents a disciple in the middle of trials
and Lazarus (C11) represents the disciple facing death. In this first part,
her conversion begins.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

A woman of Samaria came to draw water at the well. Jesus said to her,
“Give me to drink.” She said, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman,
for a drink?” Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you
“Give me a drink”, you would have asked him and he would give you living water.”

She asked, “Are you greater than Jacob who gave us this well?” Jesus answered,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the
water I shall give, will never thirst. It will be a spring of water welling up
to eternal life.” The woman said, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty,
or have to keep coming here to draw water.” (Jn 4:7-15)

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

  1. This meeting at the well seems like a chance occurrence. Really, God planned this “from the beginning.”
  2. Jesus humbles himself.He breaks all the social customs which divide a Jew
    from a Samaritan or a man from a woman.
  3. Both are deeply interested in water. The woman for natural water and Jesus for the “water welling up to eternal life.”
  4. Because of her thirst, she opens her heart. “Sir, give me this water.”
  5. She is prepared to receive, but some obstacles are present.

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

  1. O God, you meet me in the common events of my daily life.
  2. O Jesus, You come to me. You speak. You invite.
  3. As I respond you reveal yourself to me.
  4. Lord, I thirst for doors to your Kingdom.
  5. Give me your water and I will thirst even more.
  6. O Jesus, I am created for pure heavenly water.
  7. Help me to reject polluted earthly water.

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

  1. Today, I will see Jesus coming to me in ordinary events.
  2. I will ask for living water.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

“Whoever drinks the water that I will give, will never thirst.”

WEEK TWO OF LENT – SATURDAY – (PART 1) – MARCH 18, 2017 THE PRODIGAL SON (Lk: 15:11-32)

Prayer: O Heavenly Father, let me never leave your house.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

This is a “Parable of the Father’s Love” and is drawn from real life. Many young unmarried sons (under twenty) asked for their inheritance
to leave Palestine and better themselves. This son, however, loses his
money and returns home. The father’s response is not reasonable, but mirrors
the way God treats us.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

A man had two sons. The younger said, “Father, give me my inheritance.” After gathering his things, he went to a distant country. However, he wasted his
money by living recklessly. When he had lost everything, a famine broke out and
the son got a job feeding pigs. He would like to have filled his belly with their
food but no one gave him any.

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

  1. This scene happens so frequently. A young person grows dissatisfied and wants out.
  2. This desire destroys the family support which he/she still need.
  3. The son rejects the Father’s wisdom and soon his own wisdom fails him miserably.
  4. The destructive power of sin destroys all that he has.
  5. The result is total disaster. A privileged son has become a hungry swine herder. (The lowest of occupations).

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

  1. O God, how often my desire for liberty has led me to frightful decisions.
  2. Too often, O Lord, I have trusted my own wisdom.
  3. O Jesus, my unbridled passions have led me into problems.
  4. You allowed my situation to deteriorate.
  5. You abandoned me to my own whims, so I would face reality.
  6. Leaving your house, O Lord and choosing my own path have led me to the depths of
    darkness, even to depravity.

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

  1. I will recall all of my foolish decisions, taking full responsibility for what I have done.
  2. I will not blame God for my situation. I decided to leave his house.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

He got a job feeding the swine.

(To complete the parable, go to the next meditation.)

WEEK TWO OF LENT – FRIDAY – MARCH 17, 2017 TAKING AWAY THEIR VINEYARD (MT 21:33-43)

Prayer – O Lord, you have given me everything. Make me a faithful tenant.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus with his disciples and his opponents.)

Context:

Jesus spoke this parable in Jerusalem when the chief priests and elders
questioned his authority. The parable fitted their situation. The tenants are
the Jewish religious leaders. The vineyard is Israel. The servants already
rejected are the Old Testament prophets. The son, of course, is Jesus. By rejecting the son (killing him on the cross), the religious leaders will
lose their authority.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said, “There was a man who planted a vineyard, put a hedge, dug a vat
and erected a tower. He rented it to tenants and went on a journey. When the harvest came he sent his servants to the tenants to receive his share. The tenants beat one, killed another and stoned another. He sent more servants
and they did the same. Finally, he sent his son, thinking, “They will respect my son.”

Seeing the son, the tenants said, “This is the heir. Let us kill him and we shall own
the vineyard.” So they killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the Lord of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”

They answered, “He will bring those evil men to an evil end and will give the
vineyard to those who will give him grapes at vintage time.” Jesus said,
“For this reason I say that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from
you and will be given to a people who will yield a rich harvest.

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

  1. Notice the zeal and care of the owner for his vineyard. He plants a vineyard and builds a hedge, a vat and a tower.
  2. The owner only wanted his share of the grapes.
  3. The messengers just bring the owner’s words – to give them what is his due.
  4. The owner is patient, even when the tenants kill his servants.
  5. He gives them another chance, deciding to even risk his son to restore the right relationship.
  6. The tenants want the whole vineyard and are willing to kill the son to get it.
  7. Instead of gaining the vineyard, they are cast out.
  8. The vineyard is taken away and given to others.

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

  1. Jesus, you have done everything for me. You created me. You came to earth for me. You died for me.
  2. O Lord, you have a right to my praise, to my life, to everything. It is yours.
  3. O Lord, when you send your messengers, let me accept them. When you speak in my heart, let me listen.
  4. How patient you are, O Lord, waiting, always waiting until I turn to you.
  5. Father, you sent your only Son to me, even at the cost of his life.
  6. I give you everything. All that is yours is mine. You have done everything for me.

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

  1. I will give God every Sunday. The day belongs to him.
  2. I will listen to the church and to God’s voice within me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Finally, he sent his son, thinking, “Surely, they will respect my son.”

WEEK TWO OF LENT – THURSDAY – MARCH 16, 2017 The Rich Man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31)

Prayer – O Lord, awaken me by this warning. Do not let me be like the foolish brothers.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus teaching the crowds.)

Context:

Judaism believed that riches proved God’s favor and that poverty proved sinfulness. Jesus reveals the true picture, which shocks his audience.
The rich man goes to hell, while Lazarus enjoys the highest honor of being at
Abraham’s side.

This sets the stage for this parable of the six brothers (its real name). The rich man sees clearly that his five brothers are in danger. However, his brothers are like foolish men with no thought of the
impending judgment. They do not listen to the Church and its preaching.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

A rich man feasted sumptuously every day. At his gates sat Lazarus, a beggar
filled with sores. He desired only the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s
table but no one gave them. It happened that the beggar died and was carried by the
angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried in hell. He lifted his eyes and saw Abraham afar off with Lazarus at his side.

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

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

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

  1. Lazarus is used only to highlight the problem of the six brothers, one dead and five living.
  2. The dead brother realizes how important repentance is. Without penance, his five brothers will all join him in hell.
  3. They have the normal helps (the teachings of Moses and the prophets)
    but the rich man realizes that they won’t use those helps.
  4. He pleads for Lazarus to be a risen-from-the-dead preacher, to whom they will certainly listen.
  5. However, Jesus is already risen from the dead and most do not listen even now.
  6. The parable challenges us to respond to the gospel that is preached to us every day.

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

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

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

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

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

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

WEEK TWO OF LENT – WEDNESDAY – MARCH 15, 2017 AMBITIOUS JAMES AND JOHN (Mt. 20:17-28)

Prayer: Come Holy Spirit. Reveal the glory you have prepared.

Imagination: (Picture James and John seeking favors from Jesus.)

Context:

Jesus has just told the apostles that he would come in glory. With great ambition,
James and John want that glory. Before granting any glory, Jesus must enter into his Messianic glory by drinking the cup. This cup means both his suffering and the Eucharistic cup celebrated in Mark’s Church.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The mother of James and John came to Jesus, accompanied by her sons. Jesus asked
“What is it that you want?” She answered, “Promise me that these sons of mine will sit,
one on your right
hand and the other on your left hand in your Kingdom.” Jesus replied, “You do not know what
you are seeking. Can you drink of the chalice that I will drink?” They said, “We can.” Jesus said, “You shall indeed drink of the chalice that I drink of. However, to sit on my right hand or my left hand, is not mine to give you. It is for those for whom it has been reserved by my Father.”

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

  1. These apostles have no idea of the costs of the Kingdom’s glory.
  2. Jesus tells them that they seek what they do not understand.
  3. Even with this warning, they glibly say that they can drink the chalice.
  4. Jesus sees the future. After many failures, they will drink the chalice and will be martyred.
  5. The highest glory, however, is reserved for others.
  6. Such is the Kingdom!God has already prepared each one’s place
    and his decisions are beyond our comprehension.

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

  1. O Jesus, enlighten me about the greatness of your Kingdom.
  2. Pull me into the great mystery of your will.
  3. Help me to drink your chalice.
  4. O Jesus, You have prepared my place in glory.
  5. O Jesus, Your only desire is to share your glory with me.
  6. You have already made me so many promises.

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

  1. I will find time for mental prayer so God can reveal the Kingdom to me.
  2. I will cherish God’s will, both on earth and in heavenly glory.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The Father has already decided my place in heavenly glory.

WEEK TWO OF LENT – TUESDAY – MARCH 14, 2017 THE HYPOCRISY OF THE PHARISEES: (Mt: 23:1-12)

Prayer: O Jesus, give me the heart of a servant.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus instructing His disciples in humility.)

Context:

Jesus does not criticize the teaching of the scribes and Pharisees
(although he alludes to moral rigorism) but he condemns their practices
of seeking honor and gaining titles. Jesus wants his disciples to serve others
and to take the last place.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus told the crowds and his disciples, “The scribes and Pharisees sit on
the chair of Moses. Therefore, do all that they say but do not follow their example. For they bind heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they do not
lift a finger to help them.

They do all their works to be seen by men. They widen their phylacteries
and wear huge tassels. They love first places at feasts and first place in
the synagogues. They like to be greeted in the marketplace and be called “Rabbi”. You are to avoid the title “Rabbi”. Only one among you is the teacher.
The rest are learners.

Do not all call anyone on earth ‘Father’. Only one is your Father, the One in heaven.
Avoid being called ‘Teacher’. Only one is your teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you is the one who serves the rest. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”

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

  1. By hypocrisy, a person professes a belief that they do not live out.
  2. Jesus despises this false devotion and provides many concrete examples.
  3. The Pharisees place burdens on people and offer no help.
  4. They seek praise of others and places of honor.
  5. They seek titles and superiority.
  6. They distance themselves and refuse to serve.
  7. Only Jesus Christ is your master.

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

  1. O Jesus, I will live my devout life in truth.
  2. I will place everyone in my heart and be a servant to all.
  3. I will love the other disciples and we will be a true sign to the world.
  4. I will seek no worldly glory, especially in my devout community.
  5. You, alone, are my Christ, my Master, my Lord.
  6. Do not let me ruin your work.

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

  1. Today, I will serve others.
  2. I will avoid all ostentatious behavior so the gospel can spread.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The greatest among you must be the servant of all.

WEEK TWO OF LENT – MONDAY – MARCH 13, 2017 COMPASSIONATE AS THE FATHER (LK 6:36-38)

Prayer: Father, fill me with your compassion.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.)

Context:

After teaching about loving enemies, Jesus concludes with
“Be compassionate as the heavenly Father.” He then stresses the
need not to judge others. This will determine
what will be measured out to the disciples.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to his disciples, “Be merciful as your Father is merciful.
Do not judge and you shall not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. If you forgive, you will be forgiven.

Give and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down and shaken together,
flowing over into the fold of your garment. By the same measure that you measure,
it shall be measured out to you.”

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

  1. How merciful the Father is. That is how merciful the disciple must be.
  2. If we do not judge, God does not need to judge us.
  3. To be forgiven by God, we need only to forgive others.
  4. Jesus uses the example of buying grain at the marketplace.
  5. The seller fills the basket and presses down so he can give even more.
  6. Finally, he shakes the basket so every inch is filled with grain.
    This is how a disciple should give.
  7. People also carried grain in their apron. Jesus promises that
    his blessing will “flow over the fold of the garment.”

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

  1. O Jesus, I will approach every person with a merciful and compassionate heart.
  2. O Lord, you make so many promises and all of them are true
  3. If I forgive others, you will forgive me.
  4. Such a great reward for such a little effort!
  5. Fill me, Lord. Press your favors into my heart.
  6. Shake me so you can fill me even more.
  7. O Jesus, I give you little and you give me much.
  8. My heart overflows, incapable of receiving all you give.

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

  1. I will ask Jesus to make me a generous person.
  2. Today, I will see who needs my compassion and forgiveness.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation

Give and it will be given to you in full measure.

WEEK TWO OF LENT – SUNDAY – A – MARCH 12, 2017 (Mt: 17:1-9)

Prayer: Jesus, take me up the mountain of prayer.

Imagination (Picture Jesus in glory with his three apostles.)

Context:

Peter has just proclaimed by faith that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son
of the living God. Now, he and two others experience this truth as they
see Jesus in glory. Immediately, Jesus speaks of his death on the cross where
these same apostles
will have great difficulty in seeing him as the Messiah.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother John up a high mountain by themselves.
He was transfigured before them. His face shone as the sun and his garments
became white as snow. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and were talking with him. Peter said to Jesus, “It is good for us to be here. If you will, let us build three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.

As he was speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them. A voice out of the cloud said, “This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.
Listen to him”. The disciples fell on their face and were filled with fear. Jesus came, touched them and said, “Get up and do not fear.” Lifting up their
eyes they saw no one, only Jesus.

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

  1. The mountain is the perfect place for prayer, far away from worldly distractions.
  2. What a privilege, to have Jesus lead you away so you can be with him.
  3. The vision has a fullness. Even Jesus’ garments become like snow.
  4. Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus who is the central figure.
  5. Peter is right. It is very good to enjoy Jesus’ presence and see his glory.
  6. There is more to come. The heavenly Father takes control.
  7. The Father makes it clear that Jesus is his beloved son and we must listen.
  8. The experience overwhelms the apostles and they are unable to stand. Experiencing God will do that to you.
  9. When all is complete, they see only Jesus. They are changed forever.

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

  1. Jesus, take me with you to the mountain of prayer.
  2. Reveal your glory and capture my will.
  3. How good it is to enjoy your presence!
  4. Father, overshadow me and let me hear your voice.
  5. Seeing your glory, Lord, I fall on my face.
  6. Touch me. Tell me to rise. Come, I must walk with you.

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

  1. I will be faithful to daily mental prayer.
  2. I will obey the Father and listen to His Son.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Jesus took them up the mountain and was transfigured before them.

WEEK ONE OF LENT – SATURDAY – MARCH 11, 2017 LOVE YOUR ENEMIES (MT 5:43-48)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Make me perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect.

Imagination Picture Jesus asking the disciples to imitate the Father.

Context:

Jesus continually demands that his disciples show goodness towards enemies. They must act as children of a heavenly Father. At the end Jesus reveals his goal. He wants the disciples to be as perfect as the heavenly Father.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

You have heard it said, “You shall love your neighbor but hate your enemy.”
I say to you “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for those
who persecute you and insult you. In this way, you can be children of your heavenly Father. He makes the sun rise on the good and the bad. He makes the rain fall on the
just and the unjust.

If you love those who love you, what reward shall you have? Do not even sinners do this? If you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not even the pagans do that? You must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

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

  1. Jesus calls you to the height of holiness.
  2. He asks you to love everyone and to exclude all hatred.
  3. He offers you the highest reward. You will be a child of the heavenly Father.
  4. Look at how God acts. He sends his sun and his rain on everyone, good or bad.
  5. Jesus wants you to act in the same way.

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

  1. Jesus, lead me to your heights of holiness.
  2. O Jesus, give me a new way to live.
  3. Let your love cast out all my hatred.
  4. Make me a child of the heavenly Father.
  5. I will shower my love and my forgiveness upon everyone.
  6. You call me to be perfect as the Father. I will begin right now.

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

  1. I will let everyone into my heart this day.
  2. I will remove my hatred and critical spirit.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.