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.

WEEK ONE OF LENT – FRIDAY – MARCH 10, 2017 ANGER (MT. 5:20-26)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Let your gentleness overcome my anger.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples to reconcile.)

Context:

Jesus teaches a “greater goodness” which is demanded by the holiness
of this new Kingdom. In this gospel, he compares the Old Testament teaching
on anger and his new teaching. The disciples maintain unity by forgiving each other.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus taught the disciples about anger, saying, “You have heard it said,
‘You shall not kill’ and ‘Whoever kills shall be liable to judgment’. But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of judgment. Whoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raqa’ shall be in danger of the council. Whoever shall say ‘You fool’ shall be in danger of hell fire.

If you come to the altar to offer your gift and remember that your brother has
anything against you, leave your offering before the altar and go first to be
reconciled to your brother. Then come and offer your gift.”

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

  1. Jesus invites his disciples to live at a new level of goodness.
  2. The law commanded external compliance. Jesus goes much deeper, into the disciples’ hearts.
  3. His disciples must remove their inner anger. Then, discord will cease.
  4. He forbids angry words, so that hatred gains no foothold.
  5. Even the temple sacrifices must be delayed until the disciples reconcile.

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

  1. Jesus, make me gentle.
  2. Save me, O Lord, from the violent waters of anger.
  3. On the cross, you spoke no angry word. You were silent as a lamb going to the slaughter.
  4. Release a river of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation within me.
  5. Reconcile me to all of my family and friends.
  6. O Jesus, I will drink deeply of your forgiveness.

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

  1. Today, I will forgive everyone who hurts me.
  2. I will reconcile with my enemies wherever possible.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Leave your gift at the altar and go to be reconciled with your brother.

WEEK ONE OF LENT – THURSDAY – MARCH 9, 2017 CONFIDENCE IN PRAYER (MT 7:7-12)

Prayer: O Jesus, teach me to ask and to seek and to knock.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching His disciples to have confidence in prayer.)

Context:

God wants to bless you. First, he wants you to seek his blessings
(so when you receive them you will thank God and grow in faith).
Jesus uses three images (ask-receive; seek-find; knock-be opened) to assure you
that God wants you to ask.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Ask and it will be given you. Seek and you shall find.
Knock and it shall be opened to you. Whoever asks, will receive.
Whoever seeks, will find. To whomever knocks, it shall be opened.

What man among you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or, if he seeks fish, will give him a serpent? If you who are evil, give good gifts to your children, how much more will the
heavenly Father give good things to those who ask?”

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

  1. To encourage you to ask, Jesus teaches that the Father always hears you.
  2. You need not compete for God’s prizes. He provides gifts for all his children.
  3. Everyone who seeks, will find something.
  4. This teaching seems too good to be true. So Jesus uses human examples.
  5. What earthly father would hand his child a stone or a serpent?
  6. Certainly, the heavenly Father will never withhold good things from you.

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

  1. You encourage me, Jesus. You urge me to ask.
  2. O God, all your gifts are mine. I just need to ask and seek.
  3. O heavenly Father, would you give me useless things, like a stone or a serpent?
  4. Father, you hear me as if I were your only child.
  5. O Father, You gave me Jesus. Will you withhold other blessings?
  6. O Father, lavish your good things upon me.

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

  1. I will fill this day with requests to my heavenly Father.
  2. I will think about the Father’s love for me.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

How much more will the heavenly Father give you good things.

WEEK ONE OF LENT – WEDNESDAY – MARCH 8, 2017 A GREATER THAN JONAH OR SOLOMON (LK 11:29-32)

Prayer – O Lord, I seek no sign or wonder. I seek only you.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus speaking to the crowds.)

Context:

Although Jesus’ enemies asked for a sign, Jesus addresses his
teaching to the crowds. He cites two Old Testament examples of foreigners
having a change of heart. When Jonah preached in Nineveh (a perennial enemy of Israel)
the people repented. When the Queen of Ethiopia came to see Solomon,
she was totally impressed
with his wisdom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to the crowd, “This is a wicked generation because it looks for a sign. No sign shall be given except the sign of Jonah, the prophet. As Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so shall the Son of Man be to this generation.

The Queen of the South shall rise in judgment upon the men of this generation and
shall condemn them because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the
wisdom of Solomon. Behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

At the judgment, the citizens of Nineveh will rise along with this
generation and shall condemn it. At the preaching of Jonah they did penance,
but you have a greater than Jonah here.”

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

  1. People want signs to satisfy their intellect, when really they should be surrendering their heart.
  2. A sign does not get people to repent. It only satisfies curiosity.
  3. Jesus gives the whole world the greatest sign, his rising from the dead.
  4. The Queen believed just by hearing Solomon speak. What is Solomon compared with Jesus?
  5. The hated Ninevites repented when Jonah spoke. Who is Jonah compared to Jesus?
  6. Every person in history will come before Jesus in judgment.
  7. On that day, the Queen and the Ninevites will condemn those who did not repent.

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

  1. Jesus, give me no sign. Just give me yourself.
  2. You are risen from the dead and I will rise with you. Alleluia!
  3. Change my heart, Jesus. Turn me totally to Your way of life.
  4. They repented when Jonah preached. I will repent at your word.
  5. Send me your Holy Spirit of repentance. All can be changed.
  6. When I come to you after my death, let me be your friend.

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

  1. I will think today about the miracle of Jesus’ rising.
  2. I will ponder Jesus’ claim that he is greater than all other teachers.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

A greater than Jonah or Solomon is here.

WEEK ONE OF LENT – TUESDAY – MARCH 7, 2017 HOW TO PRAY (MT: 6:7-13)

Prayer: O Jesus, teach me to pray as you prayed.

Imagination (Picture Jesus teaching His disciples the Our Father.)

Context:

The Lord’s prayer has seven petitions. The first three – “hallowed be your name.
Your Kingdom come. Your will be done” are really the same, showing a desire for
Jesus to return in glory. The last four petitions focus on what the disciple needs
to gain the Kingdom.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When you pray do not use many words, for the heavenly Father knows what you
need before you ask. When you pray, say:

“Our Father, who are in heaven. Hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not
into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

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

  1. In the Our Father, Jesus explains what the disciple should desire.
  2. The Heavenly Father and His Kingdom must come first.
  3. In all things, the disciple must accomplish the Father’s will.
  4. The disciple must receive the daily bread of the Eucharist.
  5. The disciple’s sins must be forgiven to gain the Kingdom.
  6. The disciple must forgive all who have inflicted injuries.
  7. The disciple must persevere in all trials and temptations.
  8. The saints said this prayer slowly and devoutly.

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

  1. Jesus, show me what I should desire.
  2. Focus all my desires upon your Kingdom.
  3. O Father, I will live for your glory.
  4. Let your Kingdom break into my life.
  5. Jesus, reveal the Father’s will. I will do it always.
  6. Give me a hunger for daily Eucharist.
  7. I forgive everyone, Lord. Everyone.
  8. O Jesus, help me in my temptations and to persevere.

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

  1. I will make the Our Father my daily prayer.
  2. I will make Holy Communion my daily food.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

When you pray, do not use many words.

WEEK ONE OF LENT – MONDAY – MARCH 6, 2017 THE LAST JUDGMENT (MT 25:31-46)

Prayer: O Jesus, You are the King who is to come.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

Some people never heard Jesus’ gospel. In this parable, Jesus confronts the question
of how they will be judged. Although they do not know Jesus (Lord, when did we see you?),
they still can gain his
Kingdom by serving him in the needy.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The King shall say to the just, “Come, blessed of my Father, possess the Kingdom
prepared for you from the beginning of the world. For I was hungry, thirsty, lost, naked, sick and in prison and you helped me.” The just will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry, thirsty, lost, naked,
sick and in prison?” “Amen, I say that as long as you did it to one of my least brothers,
you did it to me.”

Then he will say to the unjust, “Depart from me, you accursed into the everlasting fire
prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, thirsty, lost, naked, sick and in prison and you did not help me.” They shall answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry, thirsty, lost, naked, sick and
in prison and did not help you?” He shall answer, saying, “As long as you did not do
it to one of these least,
neither did you do it for me.”

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

  1. The parable shows the cosmic Christ.All the nations
    (believes and non-believers) are forced to come before him.
  2. These people are surprised to discover that they have served or not served this King. They have never heard about Jesus.
  3. Jesus explains that he identifies with every needy and suffering person in the whole world.
  4. The parable shows the eternal Christ. The Kingdom “was prepared from the world’s beginning.”
  5. The lesson for the disciple is this. Christ’s Kingdom is eternal. Salvation or damnationconcerns every human being (those who heard and those who have not heard the gospel).

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

  1. Lord, before I existed you prepared the kingdom for me.
  2. O Jesus, your Kingdom will remain forever. List me among its members.
  3. The just served you when they didn’t even know you. Should I not serve you better, since I do know you?
  4. I have heard your gospel. What great responsibilities I have.
  5. Every needy person I meet today is a door into your Kingdom. Let my eyes be open.

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

  1. Today, I will thank God for my faith in Jesus Christ.
  2. I will think of my inevitable meeting with the King. What will he say to me?

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

“All the nations will be gathered before him.”

WEEK ONE OF LENT – SUNDAY – A – MARCH 5, 2017 THE THREE TEMPTATIONS (MT 4:1-11)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me triumph as you did.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus overcoming Satan’s temptations)

Context:

Mark just says that Jesus was tempted by the devil. Matthew gives three definite temptations, sensuality (the bread) misuse of
miraculous powers
(asking angels to protect and using political power to establish the Kingdom. Jesus uses God’s word to conquer Satan.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
The tempter said to him, “If you are the Son of God,
command that these stones become bread”. Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘Not by bread alone does man live but by every word
that comes from the mouth of God.’”

The devil took him to the holy city and set him upon the pinnacle of the temple and said,
“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down because it is written,
“He has given his angels charge concerning you. In their hands they will lift you up so that you do not dash your foot against the stone.” Jesus said, “It is also written – You shall not tempt the Lord your God.

The devil took him up a very high mountain and showed him all the Kingdoms of the
world and all their glory. He said, “I will give you all of these if you
fall down and adore me.” Jesus said, “Begone Satan. It is written, ‘The Lord your God shall you adore and him alone shall you serve.’”
The devil left him and the angels came to minister to him.

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

  1. After anointing Jesus at Baptism, the Holy Spirit immediately sends him into combat against Satan.
  2. Jesus prepares for spiritual warfare by forty days of fasting.
  3. Knowing his hunger, Satan tempts him with bread.
  4. Jesus knows that God’s word is more important than bread.
  5. Satan tempts Jesus to attract people into his kingdom by an extraordinary outward sign.
  6. This would test God, as the Jews did in the desert.
  7. Satan invites Jesus to be satisfied to rule this world, by abandoning the Father’s Kingdom.
  8. By using biblical words, Jesus wins a complete victory. Satan leaves and angels come.

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

  1. Holy Spirit, come upon me. Anoint me with Your power.
  2. Move me wherever you want. I will follow your guidance.
  3. Jesus, teach me to fast so I can conquer my appetites.
  4. Give me a hunger for God’s word. This will protect me.
  5. Father, you will take care of me. Your angels always surround me.
  6. Remove all worldly ambitions. To be in your Kingdom is my only hope.
  7. Give me the victory, Jesus. The angels will rejoice with me.

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

  1. I will not enter the places of temptations.
  2. I will set aside every ambition except to be with Jesus.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The devil left him and angels came to minister to him.

FEBRUARY 10, 2016 – ASH WEDNESDAY – ACTING IN SECRET

(Matthew 6:1-4)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Teach me to act in secret so I do not lose my reward.

Imagination (Picture Jesus teaching the disciples how to gain their reward.)

Context:

Jesus contrasts Christian goodness with the goodness of the Pharisees. He focuses on almsgiving, prayer and fasting. All of these should be done secretly so the person is rewarded by God and not by others.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Do not perform good deeds before men so you can be seen by them. If so, you will receive no reward from your heavenly Father.

When you give an alms, do not blow a trumpet, as hypocrites do. They already have their reward. Give your alms in secret. Then, your Father, who sees in secret, will repay you.

When you pray, go to your room and pray in secret. Your Father who sees in secret, will repay you.

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

  1. The human heart is very twisted and often does good deeds to be seen by others.
  2. Acting in secret removes this evil and purifies the intention.
  3. If you act in secret, your heart belongs totally to the Father.
  4. You preserve the true goodness of your just deeds, your alms, and your prayer.
  5. In demanding secrecy, Jesus has one goal. He wants you to receive the heavenly Father’s reward.

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

  1. Lord, purify my inner self, which is filled with selfish motives.
  2. Jesus, many times I value men’s esteem more than the Father’s rewards.
  3. Let me hide myself from everyone but the Father.
  4. Where is my heart, O Lord? What do I seek? Earthly esteem or heavenly glory?
  5. Jesus, you emptied yourself so I could grasp heaven’s reward.
  6. Teach me to love spiritual hiding and holy secrecy.

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

  1. I will try to understand the inner movements of my heart.
  2. I will do all for the Father’s glory.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

The heavenly Father, who sees in secret, will repay you.