NOVEMBER 22, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-FOUR – TUESDAY – NOT YET THE END

(Luke 21:5-11) 

Prayer: O Jesus, let me persevere until the end.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples).

Context:

In teaching about his Second Coming, Jesus keeps putting it off, always speaking of events that must happen first. The “coming” is always “later”. He stresses perseverance so the disciple does not think that the road is short.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Some were speaking about the temple, which was adorned with precious stones and offerings. Jesus said, “These things which you see. The days will come when one stone will not be left upon another. All will be torn down. They asked him, “Master, when will this be?” and “What shall be the sign that it is going to happen?”

He said, “Be careful not to be led astray. Many will come in my name, saying, “I am he” and “the time is at hand” but do not follow them. When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be disturbed. These things must first happen but the end is not yet. Nations shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There shall be earthquakes, plagues and famines in various places. Even in the sky, there will be portents and signs.”

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

  1. Nothing seemed more lasting than the newly built temple.
  2. Forth years after Jesus died, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the temple (just as Jesus predicted).
  3. In asking for a sign, the disciples are misguided. Jesus’ word is the daily guide.
  4. Jesus lists so many happenings (wars, earthquakes, plagues and famines). Yet, none is a sign.
  5. Jesus wants the disciples to stay on his path (even if there are cosmic events).
  6. They have his true teaching. They must just be good disciples.

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

  1. Jesus, nothing remains. Only you are eternal.
  2. I need no sign, only your presence guiding me.
  3. Your teaching is in my heart. I will cling to that.
  4. I know you will come for me. I await you in faith.
  5. O Jesus, what a world! We live with wars and famines and earthquakes! Stay with me!
  6. Help me to stay on your path, Jesus. The end is not near. I have many miles to go.

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

  1. I will use Jesus’ words to guide my day.
  2. I will detach myself from material possessions by little sacrifices.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

These things will happen but the end will not follow immediately.

WEEK THIRTY FOUR – SUNDAY SOLEMNITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING THE GOOD THIEF (LK 23:39-43)

(Luke 23:39-43)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Teach me to ask for heaven.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus crucified with two thieves)

Context:

Luke portrays this special moment of faith. A thief looks at the crucified Jesus and sees a king. He even believes he has a kingdom. Jesus rewards his faith. “Today” means “before the sun sets”. Originally, “paradise” meant a walled garden for exclusive use of the owner. Now, it is used for heaven.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

One of the crucified thieves blasphemed Jesus, saying “If you are the Christ, save yourself and us.” The other thief rebuked him. “Do you not fear God, for you are under the same condemnation? We suffer justly and receive the due reward for our deeds, but this man has done no evil.”

Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus said to him, “Amen, I say to you, this day you shall be with me in paradise.”

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

  1. The good thief sees the situation clearly.       He is guilty. Jesus is innocent.
  2. This humility leads to faith. He believes that Jesus is the king.
  3. His faith leads to hope. If Jesus is a king, then he must have a kingdom.
  4. Hope leads to a request, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
  5. A request leads to eternal salvation.       This very day, he will be with Jesus in the kingdom.
  6. The good thief offers hope to everyone.       The doors of Jesus’ kingdom remain open until the very last moment!

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

  1. O Jesus, you are the innocent lamb sacrificed for my sins.
  2. O Jesus, you were born for me. You died for me.
  3. You are a king and you have a kingdom.
  4. Fill my soul with hope.
  5. It is not too late. All my sins can be forgiven.
  6. Remember me, Jesus. Just remember me. That is enough.
  7. O Jesus, speak those words on my deathbed, “Today you will be with me.”

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

  1. This day, I will pray often, “Lord, remember me.”
  2. I will acknowledge my sins and seek forgiveness in the sacrament of confession.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

This day you shall be with me in paradise.

NOVEMBER 19, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-THREE – SATURDAY – LIVING LIKE ANGELS

(Luke 20:34-38)

Prayer – O Lord, fill me with strong desires to live like the angels.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus in confrontation with the Sadducees.)

Context:

The Sadducees (unlike the Pharisees) did not believe in the immortality of the soul nor the resurrection of the dead. They bring to Jesus what seems to us like a foolish problem. A woman marries seven times, (after each previous husband dies). They want to know whose wife she will be in heaven. Jesus refutes their argument.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Some Sadducees confronted Jesus (the ones who do not believe in the resurrection). “If a woman married seven brothers, whose wife will she be at the resurrection?” Jesus said to them, “The children of this world marry and are given on marriage, but those judged worthy of a place in the age to come and of the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Nor can they die any more because they are like the angels and are the children of God, sons of the resurrection. Moses in the passage about the bush showed that the dead rise again when he called the Lord, the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead but of the living. All are alive for him.

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

  1. The Sadducees could not conceive of a different existence. They did not realize that God brings about the glorified, risen body.
  2. Marriage is of earth. A person has a partner and brings forth children.
  3. In heaven, Jesus is the Bridegroom and all are united in him.
  4. The risen body cannot die. It enjoys the privileges of angels.
  5. This gift comes to “all judged worthy of the age to come”. This is the Kingdom which Jesus preaches.
  6. The person is totally changed into a son of the resurrection and a son of God.
  7. Certainly, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have gained this status, as will all who believe in Jesus.

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

  1. Jesus, someday I hope to have a glorified, risen body, just like yours. This is your gift.
  2. In heaven, my heart will be united with you and with others. We will be one.
  3. I will no longer suffer or die. I will live forever, with you, Jesus.
  4. Help me, Lord to be judged worthy of this “age to come”.
  5. Change me, Jesus. I will be a son of glory and a son of the eternal Father.
  6. Give me life in abundance. Let me not fail you.

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

  1. Today, I will think often of my heavenly home.
  2. I will think of what steps I can take to be found worthy.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

They cannot die because they live like the angels.

NOVEMBER 18, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-THREE – FRIDAY – A CLEANSED BUT UNREPENTANT TEMPLE

(Luke 19:45-48)

Prayer: O Jesus, make me your purified disciple.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus cleansing the Temple)

Context:

In all four gospels, Jesus cleanses the temple. (Therefore, it is a very important event). Luke, in his gentle manner, omits many details known from the other gospels. He focuses on Jesus’ continued teaching and the leaders’ desires to kill him.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus entered the temple, he began to cast out the sellers, and the buyers saying, “It is written “My house is a house of prayer but you have made it a den of thieves”.

He was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the rulers of the people sought to destroy him but they had no idea of how to achieve it because all the people were listening to him, attentive to every word.

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

  1. Luke venerates the temple. He alone tells the Temple stories of Jesus’ parents presenting Jesus (at 40 days) and finding Jesus (at 12 years.
  2. He omits all the details of the buying and selling, merely mentioning “sellers and buyers”.
  3. Luke’s focus is always prayer. Jesus calls the temple “a house of prayer.”
  4. Man has changed God’s temple into a “den of thieves.”
  5. Jesus sanctifies the temple. Now, he can teach without distraction.
  6. Jesus has attacked the Temple’s financial interests. This is the final straw. He must be destroyed.
  7. The people are purified. They are free to listen and cling to his words, attentive to all his teachings.
  8. After the resurrection, the apostles will call them to repent.

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

  1. O Jesus, Your body is the new temple.       Your mystical body, the Church, is where you dwell.
  2. Cleanse me, Jesus. Purify me.
  3. Do not let me steal your glory and honor.
  4. Make my soul a “house of prayer” in which I proclaim you as Lord.
  5. If you purge me, sinful powers will not control me.
  6. Jesus, teach me and I will be attentive to your words.

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

  1. I will try to find a Church so I can pray.
  2. I will ask Jesus to purge my sinful desires.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

All the people were listening to him, attentive to his word.

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-THREE – THURSDAY – JESUS’ LAMENT OVER JERUSALEM

(Luke 19:41-44)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me know the time of your visitation.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus weeping over Jerusalem.)

Context:

As Jesus comes close to Jerusalem, he suddenly stops and weeps. He knows the future destruction of this city and describes it clearly. He pinpoints the cause of the failure. They did not recognize the importance of his coming.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

As Jesus drew near, he saw the city and wept over it saying, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days are coming when your enemies will raise a wall around you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and will kill your children within you, not leaving one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

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

  1. Jesus foresees perfectly the future destruction of Jerusalem.
  2. In 70 A.D. the Romans totally destroyed Jerusalem, killing all the children and not leaving “stone upon stone”.
  3. Having enemies on every side, Jerusalem should have depended upon God for its safety.
  4. Instead, Jerusalem kills Jesus and loses their only opportunity for peace.
  5. They do not see the “time of his visitation.”
  6. So Jesus weeps, unable to save his beloved city.

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

  1. O Jesus, how many times you have cried over me.
  2. You see my entire future.
  3. Save me from the destructive forces within me and around me.
  4. Speak to me so I find the path of peace.
  5. Let me know the time of your visitation. I will await you.

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

  1. I will be ready when Jesus visits me today.
  2. I will open my eyes to the destructive forces in my life.
  3. I will say often, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

You did not know the time of your visitation.

NOVEMBER 16, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-THREE – WEDNESDAY – THE SERVANTS ENTRUSTED WITH MONEY

(Luke 19:12-27)

Prayer: O Jesus, make me your faithful servant to whom you can entrust your blessings.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.)

Context

Jesus tells this parable to the disciples because they falsely believe that the reign of God is about to appear. The parable stresses the personal initiative of the disciple before Jesus returns in glory. These intervening years are not for laziness but for diligence in gaining new believers.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

As they neared Jerusalem, Jesus told the disciples a parable because they thought the reign of God was about to appear.

A man going to become king in a distant country called in ten servants, gave them money and said, “Invest this until I return.” When he returned, he sent for his servants. The first said, “Lord, your money has earned another ten.” “Good”, he said, “Since you were faithful in a small matter, I place you over ten villages. The second said, “Your investment has gained five more.” He said, “Take over give villages.”

The third said, “Here is your money. I had it for safekeeping. I was afraid because you are a hard man. You withdraw what you never deposit and reap what you never plant.” The king said, “You are worthless. Why did you not at least get interest on the money.” To others, he said, “Take what he has and give it to the man with ten. For, whoever has will receive more. Whoever has less will lose the little that he has.” Jesus then continued his ascent to Jerusalem.

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

  1. The disciples have the wrong idea. They will not see Jesus’ Kingdom in Jerusalem.
  2. Many years of hard work lie ahead.
  3. Although delayed, the day of accounting is inevitable.
  4. The diligent servants prepare for that day by working hard
  5. The third servant is lazy and has a false impression of the king.
  6. He loses everything, like a disciple who does not value the kingdom.
  7. Jesus continues to Jerusalem. He must fulfill his mission.

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

  1. O Jesus, I still have so far to go!
  2. Walk with me and I will persevere.
  3. Someday you will come for me. I will await you.
  4. Remove all my discouragement.
  5. O Jesus, your rewards are so great, more than I can receive.
  6. I will go with you, all the way to Jerusalem.

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

  1. I will ask for perseverance.
  2. I will think of Jesus’ great rewards.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

And Jesus continued up to Jerusalem.

NOVEMBER 15, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-THREE – TUESDAY – THE MAN UP IN THE TREE

(Luke 19:1-10)

Prayer: O Jesus, come and stay in my house this day.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus finding Zaccheus in a tree.)

Context:

Zaccheus is the second wealthy man to receive an invitation from Jesus. He accepts the gift and uses his wealth to restore justice. This story highlights Jesus as the saviour of all, even rich people and their families.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Upon entering Jericho, Jesus passed through the city. There lived a wealthy man named Zaccheus, the chief tax collector. He wanted to see Jesus but he could not, because of the crowd. So, he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree which was along Jesus’ route. When Jesus reached that place, he looked up and said, “Zaccheus, come down quickly, for today I must stay in your house.” He came down and received him with joy.

When this was seen, many complained, “Jesus is going to the house of a sinner.” Zaccheus stood his ground and said to the Lord. “I will give half of my belongings to the poor and if I have cheated anyone in the least I will return it four-fold.” Jesus said, “Today, salvation has come to this house, for this is what it means to be a son of Abraham. The Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”

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

  1. As a tax collector, Zaccheus works for Rome. However, his desires are for Jesus’ Kingdom.
  2. Zaccheus had only one chance, one moment. Jesus was just “passing by”.
  3. His limitations help him. God prompts Zaccheus to climb a tree where Jesus easily sees him.
  4. When Jesus says, “I must stay in your house”, Zaccheus understands the great gift.
  5. He holds his ground and does not allow the crowd to steal the Kingdom.
  6. Instead, he repents, “I give half my possessions to the poor and I will repay four times over any money I have extorted.” (Lk 19:8)
  7. His conversion is lasting. He joined the early church. That is how we have his name and his story.

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

  1. Jesus, today you will come.
  2. O Jesus, I will not miss my chance when you pass by today.
  3. You will see me and call my name.
  4. Lord, I am entangled, but you will set me free.
  5. Yes, Jesus, come and stay in my house.
  6. I will change whatever needs to be changed.
  7. Jesus, you will rejoice. I am lost and you have saved me.
  8. I will follow you all the way to Jerusalem.

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

  1. I will be alert for those moments when Jesus will “pass by today.”
  2. When Jesus says, “This day I shall stay in your house”, I will open my heart.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Zaccheus would not allow the crowd to rob him of the Kingdom.

NOVEMBER 14, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-THREE – MONDAY – THE BLIND BEGGAR

(Luke 18:35-43)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me cry out to you in great hope.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus and the crowd with a beggar by the roadside.)

Context:

This journey to Jerusalem began with Jesus healing a blind man and culminates with another healing of blindness. This contrasts with the disciples’ growing blindness about Jesus’ death in Jerusalem. They do not grasp his predictions of his passion. This blind man saw and followed Jesus to Jerusalem.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

As Jesus drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the wayside, begging. Hearing the crowd go by, the man asked, “What is that?” When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he cried out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me”. The crowd told him to be silent but he cried out even more, “Son of David, have mercy on me.”

Jesus halted and commanded that he be brought near. When he had come close, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see” said the blind man. Jesus said, “Receive your sight, your faith has healed you.” He saw immediately and followed Jesus on the way, giving God the glory. All the people saw this and they, too, gave glory to God.

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

  1. This beggar is at a severe disadvantage. He is blind, sits by the wayside, and does not even know what is happening.
  2. However, his blindness prepares him for this moment.
  3. He grasps quickly that Jesus is his only ray of hope.
  4. When Jesus summons him, the crowd changes its opinion. His crying out was the right thing to do.
  5. He knows the desire of his heart – to see again.
  6. With his sight restored, he sees the face of Jesus.
  7. His heart tells him to follow Jesus “up the road” to Jerusalem.
  8. What a day for the beggar! He becomes a disciple who gains the Kingdom.

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

  1. Jesus, my limitations are really favors. My heart stays with you.
  2. Lord, come close to me today.
  3. O Spirit of Jesus, whisper within my soul, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
  4. Fill me with hope and I will cry out to you, Lord.
  5. Jesus, You will hear and you will ask “What is it that I can do for you?”
  6. Everything, Lord! Bless me and I will “follow you on the way.”

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

  1. I will be attentive today to Jesus’ presence.
  2. I will have great hope that Jesus hears my every prayer.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

What do you want me to do for you?

NOVEMBER 13, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY THREE – SUNDAY (C) – NOT YET THE END

(Luke 21:5-19)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me persevere until the end.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples).

Context:

In teaching about his Second Coming, Jesus keeps putting it off, always speaking of events that must happen first. The “coming” is always “later”. He stresses perseverance. The disciple must not think that the road is short.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Some were speaking about the temple, which was adorned with precious stones and offerings. Jesus said, “These things which you see – the days will come when one stone will not be left upon another. All will be torn down. They asked him, “Master, when will this be?” and “What shall be the sign that it is going to happen?”

He said, “Be careful not to be led astray. Many will come in my name, saying, “I am he” and “the time is at hand” but do not follow them. And when you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be disturbed. These things must first happen but the end is not yet. Nations shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There shall be earthquakes, plagues and famines in various places. Even in the sky, there will be portents and signs.

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

  1. Nothing seemed more lasting than the newly built temple.
  2. Forty years after Jesus, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the temple (just as Jesus predicted).
  3. In asking for a sign, the disciples are misguided. Jesus’ word is their daily guide.
  4. Jesus lists so many happenings (wars, earthquakes, plagues and famines), yet none is a sign.
  5. Jesus wants the disciples to stay on course (even if there are cosmic events).
  6. They have his true teaching. They must just be good disciples.

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

  1. O Jesus, nothing remains. Only you are eternal.
  2. Lord, I need no sign, only your presence guiding me.
  3. Your teaching is in my heart. I will cling to that.
  4. I know you will come for me. I await you in faith.
  5. O Jesus, what a world! We live with wars and famines and earthquakes!       Stay with me!
  6. Help me to stay on course, Jesus. The end is not near. I have many miles to go.

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

  1. I will use Jesus’ words to guide my day.
  2. I will detach myself from material possessions by little sacrifices.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

These things will happen but the end will not follow immediately.

NOVEMBER 12, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-TWO – SATURDAY – THE UNJUST JUDGE

(Luke 18:2-8)

Prayer – O Jesus, let me cry out to you day and night.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples.)

Context:

The real focus in this parable is the unjust judge. Although he is a complete opposite of God, he still grants the widow’s request. In the middle of trials, the destitute must believe that God hears their prayers and will intervene for their deliverance. The final sentence about “finding faith on the earth” is very important. In trials, will we persevere in trusting God?

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity of praying always and not losing heart.

A judge in a certain city did not fear God or man. A widow in that city begged him “Give me a just decision against my adversary.” For a long time, he would not do so. However, he eventually thought, “I do not fear God or man. However, this widow bothers me. I will give her a just decision lest she wear me out.”

Jesus said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. Will not God vindicate his elect who cry out to him day and night, even if he seems slow to answer them” I say that he will avenge them unexpectedly. But, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

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

  1. The dishonest judge has every bad quality.       He has no fear of God, no fear of man and is totally corrupt.
  2. He is the total opposite of the compassionate Jesus who wept over human suffering. Yet, he grants the request.
  3. This parable describes the loving God who brings about a surprising reversal.
  4. The suffering and the persecuted must do one thing. They must “cry out to God day and night.”
  5. Their deliverance is assured. Justice will come quite unexpectedly.
  6. The question is, “Does the person persevere in trusting God even when the trial continues?”

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

  1. O Jesus, to whom else shall I go?
  2. Jesus, teach me to pray without ceasing.       Let me lift my heart to you “day and night.”
  3. You will come. You will not delay. You will give me “unexpected justice.”
  4. Let me gather with others. We will “cry out” together.
  5. O Jesus, even if you delay, I will persevere in faith.
  6. You will find me watching.

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

  1. Trials will not discourage me. They will cause me to cry out “day and night.”
  2. In faith, I will await God’s “surprising answer.”

Thought for the Day. (To recall your meditation)

Will God be slow to answer those who call out to him day and night?

NOVEMBER 11, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-TWO – FRIDAY – DAYS OF DECISION

(Luke 17:26-37)

Prayer – O Jesus, let me watch and be ready for your coming.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples about his Second Coming.)

Context:

Jesus gives two separate images, the biblical stories of Noah and Lot and the difficult decisions necessary in an emergency. In Palestine, the roofs were flat and people worked there. Every house had outside stairs directly to the street. A person going inside to save his possessions would be foolish.   Both images stress the unknown aspects of Jesus’ coming.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

As it was in the days of Noah, so it shall be in the days of the Son of Man. They ate and drank, married and gave in marriage until the day Noah entered into the Ark. The flood came and destroyed them all.

Likewise, in the days of Lot. They ate and drank, bought and sold, planted and built. When Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and brimstones and destroyed them all. So it will be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

In that hour, if a person is on the roof and his goods are in the house, let him not go in to get them. If someone is in the field, let him not return to the house. Remember Lot’s wife.

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

  1. Jesus uses Noah as an example. People were so busy with their lives, that they did not see the flood coming.
  2. Similarly, Sodom was threatened but only Lot and his family knew to escape.
  3. God saved both Noah and Lot by revealing the disaster to them.
  4. They heard God’s word and took appropriate steps. However, Lot’s wife disobeyed.
  5. These stories carry the same teaching.       God will warn us and save us.       We must listen and act.
  6. A person on the roof and a man in the field should just flee and not worry about their possessions.
  7. If they cling to material possessions, they will make the wrong decision.
  8. Whoever is alert to the Kingdom (like Noah and Lot) will be saved.

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

  1. Speak, Lord. Guide me. Show me the way.
  2. Save me from foolish decisions.
  3. I will not be caught up in buying or selling. Instead, I will await your coming.
  4. When I see you on the horizon, I will run to you.
  5. Awaken me. Alert me. Give me ears attentive to your voice within.
  6. O Jesus, all is urgent. Set my soul on your path.

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

  1. I will not allow earthly things to capture my attention.
  2. When I see God’s will today, I will act immediately.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

As it was in the days of Noah, so it shall be in the days of the Son of Man.

NOVEMBER 10, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-TWO – THURSDAY – WHEN THE KINGDOM COMES

(Luke 17:20-25)

Prayer – O Lord, prepare me for your coming.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus instructing his disciples).

Context:

The Pharisees want to know when the Kingdom would come. The question is futile because the Kingdom is already present as the Spirit dwells in the believer. A final and total coming of the Kingdom is still ahead.

In the second part, Jesus gives private teaching to his disciples. They won’t have to search. When the Second Coming arrives all will know. It will be like lightening in the sky – quick and evident.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The Pharisees asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come. He answered, “You cannot tell by careful watching when the Kingdom of God will come. Neither is it a matter of saying, it is “here” or “there”. The Kingdom of God is within you.

He said to his disciples “The days will come when you shall desire to see one day of the Son of Man and you shall not see it. They will say to you that he is here or he is there. Do not go and do not follow them. The Son of Man, in his day, will be like the lightening that flashes from one end of the sky to another. First, however, he must suffer much and be rejected by this present age.

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

  1. The Pharisees approach Jesus with curious minds, not sincere hearts.
  2. They want to know about his future coming when Jesus is already in their midst.
  3. No need for useless searching. God’s Kingdom dwells within.
  4. Jesus’ disciples are important in his plan.       He gives them special teaching.
  5. Jesus teaches two truths. First, running to special places is useless.
  6. Second, Jesus will return as the King. All will see him, like lightening in the sky.

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

  1. O Jesus, I will seek you in my heart. You always dwell there.
  2. You are with me. You are here. I must just be still.
  3. You dwell in my soul, and you want me to adore you there.
  4. Today, you will come. You will be in my midst.
  5. O Jesus, on a very special day, You will come as King.
  6. I will not wait. Right now, I make you my King.

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

  1. Today, I will be awakened to Jesus’ presence.
  2. Jesus will be my King for this day.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The reign of God is already in your midst.

NOVEMBER 9, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-TWO – WEDNESDAY – THE TEN LEPERS

(Luke 17:11-19)

Prayer – Come, Holy Spirit. Fill me with a spirit of thanksgiving.

Imagination: (Picture the one leper returning to give thanks)

Context:

This story is somewhat like a parable, ending with Jesus pronouncing the Samaritan’s saving faith. Obviously, the group consisted of nine Jewish lepers and one Samaritan. Their illness bonded them together and overcame their religious differences. The Samaritan emulates Naaman, a Syrian, who in the Old Testament returned to thank the prophet Elisha for healing him of leprosy. (2 Kg 5:15).

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

As Jesus was going to Jerusalem, he passed through Samaria and Galilee. In a certain town, ten lepers met him. Standing far away, they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, master, have pity on us.”

Upon seeing them, Jesus said, “Go and show yourselves to the priest.” As they went, they were cleansed. One, seeing he was cleansed, went back, glorifying God in a loud voice. Falling on his face, he gave thanks. He was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? Where are the other nine? Is there no one found to return and give thanks except this stranger?” Jesus said, “Get up and go your way. Your faith has made you whole.”

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

  1. All ten see their unique opportunity. Jesus has come to their village.
  2. United in prayer, all ten “lift up their voices” and ask for pity.
  3. All are obedient. All go to the priest. All are cleansed.
  4. Nine return home, thinking they have no further responsibility.
  5. Only one leper sees the need to return to Jesus. He alone receives total wholeness.
  6. Jesus is disappointed. He wants to give total wholeness, but the nine did not return.
  7. Only a stranger receives the full gift.

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

  1. Jesus, you will come to me today.
  2. I will grasp that special moment.
  3. My heart will call out to you.
  4. Cleanse me of the leprosy of my sins.
  5. Jesus, I will not forget you.
  6. I will return to give thanks and You will bless me even more.
  7. Do not let me disappoint you.

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

  1. I will thank those who have helped me in the past – parents, teachers, friends.
  2. All day long, I will give thanks for God’s blessings.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

“Go on your way, your faith has made you whole.”

NOVEMBER 8, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-TWO – TUESDAY – THE HUMBLE SERVANT

(Luke 17:7-10)

Prayer – O Jesus, let me serve you with a generous spirit and a humble heart.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus with his disciples.)

Context:

Jesus pierces deeper into his disciples’ hearts. He probes their inner thoughts and demands that they root out any self-righteousness.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

If a man has a servant who ploughs the field and herds the sheep, will he say to him when he comes in from the field, “Sit down immediately for your supper?” Will the owner not say, “Prepare my supper first. Serve me, while I eat and drink. Afterwards, you can eat and drink.”

Does he thank the servant for doing what is commanded? Not at all. So, when you do all these things that are commanded, just say “We are unprofitable servants. We just do that which has to be done.”

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

  1. The owner is not rich. He has just one servant who works both outside in the fields and in the house.
  2. This servant is totally faithful. He does all his work in both places.
  3. Jesus does not correct the disciple’s failure.       He explains Kingdom’s full challenge.
  4. The servant has two responsibilities.       He must complete all his tasks and consider himself “unprofitable”.
  5. This can happen only in the Kingdom. The greatest saints saw themselves as totally unworthy.
  6. The saints understood that God’s reward was so great and their labors were so small.

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

  1. Help me, O Lord, to be your servant.
  2. I will be faithful in the exterior tasks and in my interior prayer.
  3. Let me rejoice! To serve you is my greatest privilege.
  4. When all is done, let me honestly say that I am an unprofitable servant.
  5. My harvest is due more to your seeds than to my diligence.
  6. O Jesus, serving you is more a favor than a task.
  7. My work is so little and your rewards are so great!

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

  1. This day, I will be faithful to all that God desires of me.
  2. At the end of the day, I will rightly call myself “an unprofitable servant.”

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

We are unprofitable servants. We do what needs to be done.

NOVEMBER 7, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-TWO – MONDAY – COMMANDS FOR THE DISCIPLES

(Luke 17:1-6)

Prayer – O Jesus, make me your faithful disciple.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus instructing his disciples.)

Context:

This gospel contains three separate sayings of Jesus concerning discipleship. First, a disciple should never give scandal. Second, a disciple should correct another and forgive him whenever he is sorry. Third, the disciple must pray in faith.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said to his disciples, “It is inevitable that scandals will come but woe to those through whom they come. It would be better that he be thrown into the sea with a millstone around his neck than give scandal to one of these little ones.

Be on guard. If your brother sins against you, correct him and if he repents, then forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in one day and seven times he is sorry, forgive him.

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and transplanted into the sea” and it would obey”.

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

  1. In the gospels, Jesus takes time to form his disciples. They are very important to him.
  2. A “little one” is a beginner in the faith.       A disciple’s laxity will harm that new faith.
  3. The disciple must never give scandal, even allowing himself to be cast into the sea.
  4. Charity will correct another’s faults in the community.
  5. After repentance for wrongdoing, forgiveness must flow abundantly.
  6. What a perfect request! Lord, increase our faith.
  7. Faith is a tiny power which is released by even the smallest prayer.

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

  1. O Jesus, how much time you spend forming me into your disciple.
  2. Let me die rather than lead others astray into sin.
  3. Jesus, give me a spirit of forgiveness which sets aside all my grievances.
  4. Increase my faith, Jesus. Then I will be your disciple.
  5. What power you give me! My prayer can remove every obstacle.

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

  1. I will be careful of my words and actions, not wanting to lead anyone into sin.
  2. I will begin right now to pray with faith, asking for all I need to be Jesus’ disciple.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

If you had faith like a mustard seed, the mulberry tree would obey you.

NOVEMBER 6, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY TWO – SUNDAY (C) – LIVING LIKE ANGELS

(Luke 20:27-38)

Prayer – O Lord, fill me with strong desires to live like the angels.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus in confrontation with the Sadducees.)

Context:

The Sadducees (unlike the Pharisees) did not believe in the immortality of the soul nor the resurrection of the dead. They present to Jesus what seems to us a foolish problem. A woman marries seven times, (after each previous husband dies). They want to know whose wife she will be in heaven. Jesus refutes their argument.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Some Sadducees (who do not believe in the resurrection), confronted Jesus. “If a woman married seven brothers, whose wife will she be at the resurrection?” Jesus said to them, “The children of this world marry and are given on marriage, but those judged worthy of a place in the age to come and of the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Nor can they die any more because they are like the angels and are the children of God, sons of the resurrection. Moses in the passage about the bush showed that the dead rise again when he called the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead but of the living. All are alive for him.

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

  1. The Sadducees could not conceive of a different bodily existence.
  2. They did not realize that God profoundly changes the glorified, risen body.
  3. Marriage is of earth. A person has a partner and brings forth children.
  4. Jesus sees the reality of heaven where God is the center. No one is lonely. All are united.
  5. The risen body cannot die. It enjoys the privileges of angels.
  6. This gift comes to “all judged worthy of the age to come”, the Kingdom which Jesus preaches.
  7. The person is totally changed into a son of the resurrection and a son of God.
  8. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have gained this kingdom. So will all who believe in Jesus.

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

  1. O Jesus, someday I will have a glorified, risen body.
  2. Lord, I will share in your resurrection.
  3. In heaven, my heart will be filled with you and with others.
  4. I will no longer suffer or die. I will live forever, with you, Jesus.
  5. Help me, Lord to be judged worthy of this “age to come”.
  6. Change me, Jesus into a son of glory and a son of the eternal Father.
  7. You will give me life in abundance. Let me not fail you.

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

  1. Today, I will think often of my heavenly home.
  2. I will think of what steps I can take to be found worthy.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

They cannot die because they live like the angels.

NOVEMBER 5, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-ONE – SATURDAY – SERVING GOD OR MONEY?

(Luke 16:9-15)

Prayer: O Jesus, let my heart be totally set upon you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus instructing his disciples.)

Context:

Jesus has just told the parable of the dishonest steward. Now, he speaks of how a believer should use his money to gain God’s blessings. The second part contains a serious warning. No one can serve God and money.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

I say to you, “Make friends for yourselves through your use of this world’s goods, so that when they fail you, a lasting reception will be yours. If you can trust a man in little things, you can also trust him in greater. Anyone who is unjust in little things is also unjust in greater. If you have not been faithful with unjust wealth, who will trust you with what is true? If you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s money, who will give you your own?

No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be attentive to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. The Pharisees, who were avaricious, heard this and derided him. Jesus said, “You justify yourselves in the eyes of men but God reads your hearts. What man sees as important, God holds in contempt.

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

  1. Money always fails to secure true life. Disciples must use their money to gain eternal life.
  2. Jesus compares earthly money (little things) to heavenly riches (greater things). A person trustworthy with earthly money can be trusted with heavenly powers.
  3. This leads up to the great teaching “No man can serve two masters.”
  4. The human heart cannot go in two directions.       To love money is to turn away from God.
  5. These words cut the hearts of the Pharisees. They pretend to serve God but they really serve money.
  6. Jesus declares that God sees where their hearts are.

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

  1. O Jesus, all my money belongs to you.       I will use it to gain everlasting life.
  2. Make me faithful in the little things of earthly life.
  3. Trust me, Jesus, with heavenly powers and I will bring others to your Kingdom.
  4. Jesus, I renounce a divided heart that seeks anything else but you.
  5. Free me of greed, O Lord. Bestow upon me a generous spirit which blesses others.
  6. Search my heart, O God. Cleanse whatever must be purified.

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

  1. I will always use ten percent of my income for God.
  2. I will be consistently generous.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation).

You cannot serve two masters.

NOVEMBER 4, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-ONE – FRIDAY – THE UNJUST STEWARD

(Luke 16:1-8)

Prayer: O Jesus, wake me up to the imminence of the Kingdom, so I respond fully.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples)

Context:

The parable uses real-life details. Rich owners often lived at a distance and depended on stewards who held promissory oaths of debtors. The steward wants the changes put into the original handwriting of the debtors (so the deception goes undetected).

The master’s surprising praise of his unjust steward has puzzled many but Jesus uses the parable to shock us into action in our crisis of the imminent judgment. The unjust steward was caught in this personal crisis. He sized up the situation, came up with a solution and acted decisively. Jesus wants to shock us into decisive action concerning our personal salvation.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

A rich man had a steward who had wasted his goods. He said to him, “What is this I hear of you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can be steward no longer.”

The steward thought to himself, “What shall I do because my master will take away my stewardship. To dig, I am not able. To beg, I am ashamed. I know what I will do so that after I am removed from my stewardship, they might receive me into their houses.” He called in his master’s debtors. To the first he asked, “How much do you owe my master? He said, “A hundred barrels of oil”. The steward said, “Take your bill and quickly write fifty”. He said to another, “How much do you owe?” He replied, “A hundred bushels of wheat”. The steward said, “Take your bill and write eighty.”

The Lord commended the unjust steward for he had acted wisely. For the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.”

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

  1. The crux of the parable is that disaster is imminent. The Master will fire the steward.
  2. The steward knows he must act while he still has access to his master’s debtors.
  3. He acts quickly and effectively. He is able to ingratiate himself with those who have much money.
  4. By commending this action, Jesus says to the crowd, “You, also, are in imminent trouble. The judgment is at the door. Imitate the man’s quickness and cleverness.”
  5. The parable has a shock value. By the surprise ending, Jesus accuses the crowds of their failure to realize that the crisis of judgment is imminent.

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

  1. Let me not delay, O Lord. Losing my soul is an eternal disaster.
  2. Let me not say, “Tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow.” (St. Augustine)
  3. O Jesus, my obligations are serous. These are weighty matters.
  4. Let me move quickly. Let me take the steps.
  5. O Lord, the Kingdom is mine if I act. You will receive me into an eternal dwelling.
  6. Lord, if you need to shock me, you have my permission. Awaken me from my lethargy.

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

  1. I will examine my life to see my situation clearly and to do what is needed.
  2. I will act quickly and not delay.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Jesus commended the steward for acting wisely.

NOVEMBER 3, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-ONE – THURSDAY – THE LOST SHEEP AND THE LOST COIN

(Luke 15:1-10)

Prayer: O Jesus, show me how precious I am to you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

These twin parables are closely connected to the Prodigal Son parable. A hundred sheep was a medium sized flock. The shepherd must have been poor, unable to pay a helper. Luke’s gospel centers on God’s joy on the last day.

The parable of the lost coin has the same focus. The ten coins are the woman’s dowry, which she always carried in her headdress. She rejoices in the finding because each coin is so precious to her.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. At this, the Pharisees and scribes murmured, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So, Jesus told this parable. If a man with a hundred sheep loses one, does he not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and search for the lost until he finds it? When he does find it, he places it on his shoulder rejoicing. On coming home, he gathers his friends and neighbors and says to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my lost sheep.” I will tell you that, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need repentance.

Does not a woman having ten coins and losing one coin, light a candle, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? Then she calls her friends and neighbors and says, “Rejoice with me. I have found my lost coin.” In just the same way, I tell you that there will be more joy before the angels of God for one sinner doing penance.

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

  1. To leave ninety nine sheep in the desert is not a rational act. The shepherd thinks with his heart.
  2. The woman treasures this special coin. For years, she has carried this coin of her dowry in her headdress.
  3. Their joys cannot be contained. Friends and neighbors must share the abundance.
  4. This is not a temporary finding. The sheep and the coin are symbols of heaven and an eternal union.
  5. God’s joy overflows to the angels. The soul that was lost for a time is now found for an eternity.

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

  1. God, I am precious to you. Your love for me is totally beyond reason.
  2. Let me repent, so you and your angels can rejoice.
  3. Thank you, O Lord. You searched for me when I was lost.
  4. O God, your joy will not be complete until our union is forever.
  5. You give your angels charge over me. They, too, rejoice at my return.

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

  1. I will stop running from God. In this way, he can find me more quickly.
  2. I will recall those special moments when God found me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

There will be rejoicing among the angels.

NOVEMBER 2, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-ONE – WEDNESDAY – THE TOWER AND THE WAR

(Luke 14:28-32)

Prayer: O Jesus, help me to persevere until the finish line.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching the crowds.)

Context:

Jesus is dealing here with enthusiastic disciples who cannot see the tremendous hardships that lie ahead. So, Jesus gives two examples which entail great difficulties. A farmer needs a tower for his grain, but the extensive foundation is costly. A king must wage war but has fewer soldiers than the other king.

Because of difficulties, the disciple might turn away and lose the kingdom. Jesus wants his determination to be firm.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Which of you thinks of building a tower and does not sit down first and reckon the necessary costs to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, after laying the foundation, he cannot complete it and all laugh at him, saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.”

Or, what king about to go to war with another king, does not first sit down and think whether he is able, with ten thousand men, to meet with a king having twenty thousand? Otherwise, while he is still far off, he will send a delegation seeking the conditions of peace.

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

  1. Jesus says that both the farmer and the king must “sit down”. Their decision is momentous and they cannot rush in.
  2. Their present situation (outside of the Kingdom) is not good. However, their second state (abandoning discipleship) would be even worse.
  3. Jesus invites all to discipleship. He wants a mature decision that sees the costs.
  4. The farmer has to find more resources. The king must find more men.
  5. The disciples’ commitment must be complete, total, creative and persevering.
  6. More than any other, this parable unveils the cost and sacrifice of discipleship.

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

  1. Lord, I have been a superficial disciple, unaware of what is involved.
  2. Let me sit down and consider the depth of my commitment.
  3. No longer will I leave my spiritual tasks unfinished and my spiritual wars unfought.
  4. I will rise up from my table of prayer with renewed commitment.
  5. You will join me and say, “Let us begin again.”

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

  1. I will see clearly my failures in being a disciple.
  2. I will ask for unbounded hope that I can complete the tasks.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The farmer and the king had to sit down.