NOVEMBER 1, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-ONE – TUESDAY – THE GREAT SUPPER

(Luke 14:15-24)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me respond now to your banquet invitation.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

In Jesus’ time, a popular, story told about a tax collector who decided to invite all the prominent people to a banquet. Naturally, these prominent people did not want to attend. The tax-collector then decided to fill his house with the poor. When the house is filled, he makes certain that those originally invited will never get in.   Jesus applies this story to the Kingdom. Some things are out of God’s control. God prepares the Kingdom and sends the messengers. Yet, each person is free. No matter what God does, some will never taste “the bread of the Kingdom.”

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

A man who heard the parable of inviting the poor to supper said to Jesus, “Blessed is the man who shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God”. Jesus told him this parable.

A man had a great supper and invited many. He sent his servant at the hour of the supper to say to those who were invited that they should come because everything was ready. They began all at once to make excuses. The first said, “I have bought a farm and must go to see it.” The second said, “I have bought four yoke of oxen and I want to try them. Please hold me excused.” The third said, “I have married a wife and cannot come.”

When the servant told his master these things, he grew angry and said, “Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor, the sick, the blind, and the lame. The servant returned and said, “Lord, it is done as you commanded and still there is room. The master said, “Go into the highways and the byways and compel them to come in, so my house shall be filled. But, I say to you, “None that were invited, shall taste of my supper.”

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

  1. The parable presents a great warning. Many people have heard the gospel but reject Jesus.
  2. They even group together and support each other in their rejection.
  3. They have more important tasks than to respond to the kingdom.
  4. The host reacts with anger, sending his servant to invite the marginal people.
  5. These do not need two invitations.
  6. They feel unworthy and must be taken by the hand to accept.
  7. There is no last minute reprieve. The house has no room left for those invited first.
  8. Some will never taste “the bread of the Kingdom.”

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

  1. O God, you call. You invite. But, I must say “yes”.
  2. O Jesus, no tasks are more important than accepting your kingdom.
  3. O Lord, I see all who are entering the banquet. Why should I remain outside?
  4. It’s not too late. Your parable warns me to accept now.
  5. You will not reject me. I can still eat the bread of the Kingdom.

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

  1. I will treasure Jesus’ invitation to the banquet more than anything else in the world.
  2. I will thirst for the bread of the Kingdom.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

“None of those invited shall taste of my supper.”

OCTOBER 30, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY ONE – SUNDAY (C) 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 receives 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 of rich people and their families.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Upon entering Jericho, Jesus passed through the city. There lived a wealthy man there named Zaccheus, the chief tax collector. He wanted to see Jesus but being small of stature, 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, “He 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 small stature helps him. Zaccheus climbs 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.”
  7. His conversion is lasting. He joined the early church. We know his name and his story.

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

  1. O Jesus, today you will come.
  2. Lord, I am entangled, but I want to be set free.
  3. O Jesus, when you pass by today I will not miss my chance.
  4. You will see me and call my name.
  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 will save me.

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, “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.

OCTOBER 29, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY – SATURDAY – THE PLACES AT TABLE

(Luke 14:7-11)

Prayer: Dear Jesus, let me see suffering as a part of your saving plan for me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus trying to explain his future suffering to his disciples.)

Context:

Peter has just proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah. Because of his faith, Jesus has given to Peter the keys of the Kingdom of God. Now, Jesus explains that he will be a suffering Messiah. Peter cannot accept this. Jesus rebukes him for his all-too-human thinking.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

From that time on, Jesus began to show the disciples that he must go to Jerusalem, to suffer many things from the elders, the scribes, the chief priests and to be put to death and raised up on the third day.

Peter, taking him aside, began to rebuke him, saying, “Lord, no such thing will ever happen to you.” Turning to Peter, Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan, you are a scandal to me. You are not thinking as God does, but as human beings do.”

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

  1. Having revealed his identity as the Messiah, Jesus must also reveal his sufferings.
  2. None of the disciples believe that Jesus will suffer.
  3. Peter goes even further, claiming that these events just won’t happen. He even rebukes Jesus.
  4. Peter does not grasp the Kingdom. He becomes a scandal and an obstacle.
  5. Peter totally overlooks Jesus’ promise that he would be raised on the third day.
  6. Jesus wanted his disciples “to think as God does”. They all fail this test.

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

  1. Jesus, you want to reveal everything to me, even the secrets of your heart.
  2. I claim to be your disciple, but I reject suffering, the cross and persecution.
  3. I grasp so little. Help me to understand.
  4. Prepare me, Jesus. Teach me the mystery of suffering for you.
  5. I will accept the cross. In this way, I will rise with you.
  6. Open my eyes. Even your crosses are blessings planned for me.

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

  1. I will try to think as God does.
  2. I will unite today’s hardships with Jesus’ sufferings.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Jesus showed the disciples that he must suffer many things.

OCTOBER 28, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY – FRIDAY – ANOTHER SABBATH HEALING

(Luke 14: 1-6)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, heal my infirmities.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus at table with the Pharisees.)

Context:

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus spends much time at table. Usually, controversy erupts. Here, Jesus heals a man and the story focuses more on the controversy than on the healing.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus entered a house of one of the leading Pharisees to eat a meal on the Sabbath, they watched him closely. Right in front of him was a man with dropsy. Jesus asked the lawyers and the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day? But they were silent. He took the man, healed him and sent him off.

Then, he spoke to them, “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit and will not immediately rescue it on the Sabbath?” This they could not answer.

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

  1. Jesus enters the house in good will. Others came to attack him.
  2. Suddenly, an invalid has need of his healing powers.
  3. Jesus thinks of the others at table and invites them to share in this moment of healing.
  4. Their hearts are closed and they refuse to participate in this mighty work of God.
  5. Jesus moves ahead without them. He will not hold back the power of God.
  6. After healing the man, he confronts their closed hearts.
  7. Wouldn’t they open their hearts to an animal on the Sabbath?
  8. Jesus’ logic makes them fall silent.

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

  1. O Jesus, enter my house and bring all your powers.
  2. I come before you, sick and sinful.
  3. Heal me on any day and at any time!
  4. O Jesus, in you is the fullness of God’s powers.  Let all be released!
  5. I am silent before you. I am unworthy and sinful.
  6. O Jesus, I will never leave your presence.

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

  1. I will remain in Jesus’ presence today.
  2. I will give Jesus permission to do whatever he wants.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Right in front of Jesus was a man with dropsy.

OCTOBER 27, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY – THURSDAY – JESUS AND JERUSALEM

(Luke 13:31-35)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me follow you to Jerusalem.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus with his disciples and the Pharisees.)

Context:

Seemingly, the Pharisees are warning Jesus to leave Herod’s territory. Really, they want him to go to Jerusalem where they have more power. Jesus knows their plans and says that he will arrive in Jerusalem in time for his death.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

That same day, some Pharisees came and said to Jesus, “Depart from this place because Herod is thinking about killing you. Jesus replied, “Go and tell that fox that I cast out devils and heal today and tomorrow, and on the third day my purpose is accomplished.” Nevertheless, I must proceed on course, today and tomorrow and the following day, because no prophet can be allowed to die anywhere except in Jerusalem.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you. How often I would have gathered your children as a mother bird collects her young under her wing, and you refused me!

Your temple will be left abandoned and I say that you shall not see me until the time comes when you say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

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

  1. Jesus, the man of peace, experiences hostility from every side
  2. Jesus fears no one. He will continue his ministry until it is complete. Then he will leave.
  3. He knows the Father’s plan. He can only die in Jerusalem.
  4. Jesus loves Jerusalem. He weeps over the city. Shedding his blood will have little effect. Many will not believe.
  5. He would save Jerusalem from the Roman destruction.       Instead, their temple will be destroyed.
  6. He will come again when Israel will believe in him as Lord.

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

  1. O Jesus, in the middle of my turmoil, fill me with your peace.
  2. Let me be faithful to the work your Father has given to me.
  3. O Jesus, you know the place and time of my death. Be with me in that moment.
  4. You shed your blood for me. I will not let your sacrifice be in vain.
  5. You would gather me in and protect me in your arms. Hold me, Jesus.
  6. You are the King and you are coming again. I will await you.

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

  1. I will fulfill the task God gives me today.
  2. I will ask Jesus to pour his blood upon me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Jerusalem, Jerusalem. How I wanted to gather you like a mother hen gathers her young.

OCTOBER 26, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY – WEDNESDAY – THE CLOSED DOOR

(Luke 13:24-30)

Prayer – O Jesus, you are my Lord and Saviour

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

By this parable, Jesus confronts his hearers. They understand, all too well, what He means. He comes to their villages, preaches in their streets and eats with them. Yet, they do not accept his claims and cannot enter the Kingdom. Others, who never enjoyed the privilege of being near Jesus, will come from afar and enter the kingdom.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

A man asked Jesus, “Are there few who will be saved?” In response, Jesus said, “Strive to enter by the narrow gate. Many will seek to enter, but will not be able.”

When the master enters his house, he closes the door. Those outside knock at the door saying, “Lord, open for us.” The Master responds, “I do not know you nor where you are from.” They will say “We ate and drank with you. You taught in our streets.” He will repeat, “I do not know you or where you are from. Depart from me, you workers of evil.”

There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God but you are thrown out. They will come from East and West, North and South and sit down in the Kingdom of God. The last shall be first and the first will be last.

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

  1. The man has a serious question about the number to be saved.
  2. Jesus responds that the gate is narrow and many will not be able to enter the Kingdom (an answer which all need to hear).
  3. In fact, once the door is closed, no one can enter.
  4. The people who were locked out had no significant relationship to the master.
  5. They only “ate and drank” with Jesus and heard him “preach in their streets.”
  6. They are strangers. The master doesn’t even know where they are from.
  7. The consequences are stark. They are locked out while many from distant lands are inside.
  8. They missed what they could have had so easily.

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

  1. O Jesus, I so much want to be saved.
  2. Jesus, I will enter while the door is still open.
  3. I will not stay outside, enjoying my false freedoms.
  4. Jesus, my superficial religious practices are not enough.
  5. Conform me to your image. Then, you will know me.
  6. Your voice breaks through my deafness. Your light enters my darkness. You say,

“Come and know me.”

  1. Someday, someday, Jesus, I will dine with you forever.

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

  1. I will never take my salvation for granted.
  2. I will accept these warnings. They are needed helps for my salvation.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

They will come from East and West and North and South and sit down in the Kingdom.

OCTOBER 25, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY – TUESDAY – THE SMALL BEGINNINGS

(Luke 13:18-21)

Prayer – O Jesus, plant your powerful Kingdom in my heart.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus preaching to the crowds)

Context:

These two little parables are excellent images of the reign of God. The mustard seed and the leaven are both small but powerful. As they are planted, people learn how forceful they are.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus asked, “What is the Kingdom of God like? What does it resemble?

It is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a great tree, so the birds of the air lodged in its branches.

Again he said, “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God? It is like yeast which a woman took and placed in three measures of flour until the whole mass of dough began to rise.”

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

  1. These excellent images make the Kingdom of God easy to understand.
  2. God places the Kingdom in the baptized like a farmer places the mustard seed in the ground.
  3. The gigantic tree represents a symbol of the mature Christian.
  4. The woman also knows the power of the yeast. She places it in the flour.
  5. The whole mass of dough is expanded. The yeast changes everything. That is what the Kingdom does.
  6. Jesus’ Kingdom seems so small, yet it totally changes people’s lives.

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

  1. Jesus, place your Kingdom in my heart.
  2. Nothing is more real than your Kingdom. Thy Kingdom come!
  3. What power your Kingdom has. It bestows eternal life!
  4. O Jesus, Your Kingdom will change everything.
  5. I will seek first the Kingdom of God.
  6. By the power of your Kingdom, Jesus, all things are possible.

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

  1. I will place great faith in the power of God’s Kingdom.
  2. I will allow God’s power to act within my heart.

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

What does the Kingdom of God resemble? To what can I compare it?

It is like a mustard seed or like yeast.

OCTOBER 24, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY – MONDAY – THE DAUGHTER OF ABRAHAM

(Luke 13: 10-17)

Prayer – O Jesus, stretch out your hand. With your power set me free.

Imagination 🙁Picture Jesus in the synagogue.)

Context:

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus is about to proclaim that God’s Kingdom is open to all. He starts with the most humble, curing a stooped woman in a synagogue. The controversy that follows shows Jesus’ great regard for her. She is a daughter of Abraham.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus was teaching in their synagogue on a sabbath. There was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years. She was stooped and incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called her to himself and said, “Woman, you are free from your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her. She stood straight up and began thanking God.

The ruler of the synagogue, being angry that Jesus healed on the sabbath, said to the crowds, “There are six days for you to work. On those days, come to be healed but not on the sabbath.”

The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites, does not every one of you on the Sabbath day loose his ox or his ass from the manger and lead them to water? Ought not this daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this illness on the sabbath day?” When he said this, all his adversaries grew ashamed and all the people rejoiced.

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

  1. Our needs get Jesus’ attention. Our afflictions call him close.
  2. Jesus is sure of his powers. He performs this total and immediate healing in everyone’s sight.
  3. The ruler does not confront Jesus. Instead, he turns to the crowd to support his position.
  4. Jesus reveals his feelings. This woman has a special dignity. She is a daughter of Abraham.
  5. Comparing the woman to an ox or an ass destroys the ruler’s reasoning.
  6. The crowd decides the winner. Jesus has won their hearts and their minds. They all rejoice.

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

  1. O Jesus, I present to you all my needs.
  2. You call me. You say, “Come here, close by me.”
  3. You stretch out your hand. You touch me.
  4. Your gift is immediate. You do not wait. You do not put me off.
  5. Even on the sabbath, you heal. You set aside everything for my benefit.
  6. O Jesus, I too am a child of Abraham, the dignity of my Baptism.
  7. I am precious to you. When I am with you, I rejoice.

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

  1. I will see my illnesses as doors to Jesus’ help.
  2. I will ponder this question, “How does Jesus see me?”

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Ought not this daughter of Abraham be loosed from her illness?

OCTOBER 23, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY – SUNDAY (C) – THE PHARISEE AND THE TAX COLLECTOR

(Luke 18:9-14)

Prayer – O Lord, fill me with light that I would see my sinfulness.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples)

Context:

The two men both arrive at the hour of prayer (either 9:00AM or 3:00PM). Three aspects mark the Pharisee – his prominent position, the sins he has avoided and his good deeds which go beyond what is prescribed.

In contrast, the tax collector stands at a distance, is considered a robber (by respectable people) and recounts no good deeds. He strikes his heart (the source of all sin). His prayers and actions actually show a total helplessness of ever correcting his life. The parable is spoken to the religiously self-confident.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus spoke to those who trusted in themselves and despised others.

A Pharisee and a tax collector went up to the temple to pray. Standing, the Pharisee prayed, “I thank you, God, that I am not like the rest of men – greedy, dishonest and adulterers – as is this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give tithes on all that I possess.”

The tax collector stood afar off, not even raising his eyes to heaven. He struck his breast while saying, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”

I say to you that this tax collector returned to his home justified rather than the other.

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

  1. The parable has two scenes – one in the temple and one in heaven.
  2. The temple scene is familiar, two men praying.
  3. What happens in heaven, however, shocks his listeners. The tax collector is justified.
  4. The Pharisee sets the stage for the tax collector. He is the one who has the correct attitude and prayer.
  5. The tax collector is in total despair, locked into a disreputable lifestyle and, seemingly, has no ability to change.
  6. Seemingly, he has no good resolutions.
  7. However, he experiences the beginning step of conversion – a broken and contrite spirit.

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

  1. O God, I have absolutely nothing to offer you.
  2. I have no spiritual strength, no good deeds and no resolutions.
  3. Yet, I dare to enter your temple of prayer.
  4. I offer you only one gift – an empty heart and a broken spirit.
  5. But you accept this as the first steps on my new journey.
  6. Your words encourage me, “This man went home justified.”
  7. Your mercy is everywhere. Even I can hope.

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

  1. Even in my most sinful moments, I will turn to God for mercy.
  2. I will never allow the candle of my hope to go out.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

This man went home justified, but the other did not.

OCTOBER 22, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-NINE – SATURDAY – THE FIG TREE

(Luke 13:6-9)

Prayer – O Lord Jesus, let me use my time to repent and receive the Kingdom.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus speaking to the crowds.)

Context:

Although the judgment is inevitable, God marvelously extends the time for repentance. This is the gift of the Fig Tree Parable. In Palestine, the first three years of a fig tree’s growth were allowed to elapse without the owner seeking fruit. In the parable, another three years has passed, a total of six years.

The fig tree absorbs large amounts of nourishment, thus depriving surrounding vines of their needed sustenance. Fertilizing a fig tree is highly unusual. This tree, therefore, will receive special, unmerited care.

The owner’s patience is past its limits, yet his mercy grants a stay of execution. When this extra year is over, no human power can prolong the time of salvation.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

A man planted a fig tree in his vineyard and came to gather its fruit. He said to the gardener, “For three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and have found none. So, cut it down. Why should it continue to exhaust the soil?”

The gardener answered him, “Lord, let it alone for one year more. I will dig around it and put manure on it. Hopefully, it will bear fruit. If not, then you can cut it down.”

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

  1. The vineyard represents all of creation. The fig tree is each person.
  2. Three years represents a fullness of time, certainly enough for the fig tree to blossom.
  3. The owner’s expectations are reasonable. A fig tree should produce figs. His decision is just. He has sought fruit for three years.
  4. Even so, the tree will be given more time. It will even receive the special care of fertilizer to nourish it.
  5. However, the farmer’s mercy cannot totally excuse the fig tree.       It must respond to all these helps and produce life.

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

  1. O God, you have given me so much, for such a long time.
  2. You ask only that I produce virtues according to my state in life.
  3. Jesus, how patient you have been with me. Year after year you came looking for virtues.
  4. You even use your choicest graces, surrounding me with every possible help.
  5. Jesus, I will delay no longer. I will choose a devout life and bring forth virtues.
  6. When you come next year, I will have fruit for you.

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

  1. I will look at my whole life and see all that God has provided.
  2. I will no longer delay. I will no longer put off my decision. I know what God is calling me to do.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

“Lord, give it another year. If it bears no fruit, then cut it down.”

OCTOBER 21, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-NINE – FRIDAY – INTERPRETING THE URGENCY

(Luke 12:54-59)

Prayer – O Lord, do not let me lose the Kingdom.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus teaching the crowds.)

Context:

This text has two parts. First, people should be able to see that the Kingdom is at hand. Second, the disciple must act now and accept the Kingdom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say that rain is coming and so it does. When you see the south wind blow you say that it will be hot and so it is. You, hypocrites, you know how to interpret the portents of earth and sky, why can you not discern this present time?

Tell me, why do you not judge for yourselves what is just. When you go with your opponent to the magistrate, try to settle with him on the way, lest he turn you over to the judge and the judge give you to the jailer and the jailer put you in jail. You will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

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

  1. Jesus wants the crowds to become his disciples.
  2. However, they see his miracles but hold back their decision. So Jesus uses an example.
  3. Jesus talks about the western clouds and the southern winds.       Seeing these, people understand that rain or heat is coming.
  4. So, they are hypocrites. They see Jesus’ miracles but they refuse to see that the Kingdom is coming.
  5. Jesus uses a more urgent example. Someone on his way to the courtroom knows he is going to jail.       What does he do? He settles immediately, before he arrives.
  6. Jesus is calling the crowds (and you) to a quick and total commitment to be a disciple.

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

  1. Jesus, You want me to be your disciple. I will put this off no longer.
  2. Your Kingdom is at hand. I will no longer stand outside.
  3. I see your love for me. I see your hand in my life. How can I not choose you as King?
  4. How urgent this is, Jesus. Not much time is left. I must get this settled.
  5. If I act quickly, I will avoid eternal death. I will be saved from the prison of hell.

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

  1. I will not postpone the decision I need to make.
  2. I will not just be a member of the crowd. I will join Jesus as his disciple.

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

Why can you not discern the present time?

OCTOBER 20, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-NINE – THURSDAY – ENKINDLING A FIRE

(Luke 12:49-53)

Prayer – O Jesus, light your fire in my heart.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.)

Context:

This text contains two separate sayings of Jesus. The first shows his greatest desire – to cast the fire of the Holy Spirit upon all believers. The second speaks about the problems which will arise when people embrace Jesus’ Kingdom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to his disciples, “I have come to cast fire upon the earth. How I wish the blaze was ignited! I have a baptism by which I must be baptized. What anguish I feel until it is over.

Do you think that I have come to bring peace to this earth? The contrary is true. I have come for division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three. The father will be divided against his son and the son against his father. The daughter against the mother and the mother against the daughter. Mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.

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

  1. Jesus suddenly stops his teaching and speaks very personally of his deepest desires.
  2. He can no longer hold back his great anguish.
  3. He wants to cast a purifying fire upon the whole earth, making the disciples ready for the Kingdom.
  4. He will pay a heavy price for this gift. His baptism will be a bath of suffering.
  5. He admits to his great anguish before it is accomplished.
  6. He sees the sufferings of his disciples, which they cannot avoid.
  7. They cannot have peace at any price. The disciples will encounter family opposition.
  8. The opposition arises from their closest relatives who will not accept Jesus.

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

  1. O Jesus, what a deep love you have for me.
  2. Send your fire. Purify me. Refine me. Prepare me for your Kingdom.
  3. What a price you paid! You were in anguish about your death on the cross.
  4. You even worry about my suffering.
  5. Should I not be eager for your Kingdom? Am I not your disciple?
  6. Let nothing hold me back from you, Jesus. What is the cost of being your disciple? I will pay it.

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

  1. Ask Jesus to place a divine fire in your heart.
  2. What obstacles hold you back from a total commitment?

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

I have come to cast fire on the earth.

OCTOBER 19, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-NINE – WEDNESDAY – THE TWO SERVANTS

(Luke 12:41 – 48)

Prayer – O Jesus, make me your faithful servant.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus teaching Peter and the others.)

Context:

This parable deals with handling responsibility, with being a good servant, whether in the Church or in daily life. The owner is extremely fair and generous but he demands high standards. Jesus describes two kinds of servants, faithful and unfaithful.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Peter said, “Lord, does this teaching refer to us or to all?” The Lord said, “Whom do you think is the faithful and far sighted servant whom the Lord sets over his household to dispense their ration of grain in due time? Blessed is that servant whom, when the Lord comes, he shall find busy. He will put him in charge of all his property.

However, if that servant says in his heart, ‘My Lord is delayed in coming’ and he begins to beat the housemen and the servant girls, to eat and to drink and get drunk, will not the Lord come on a day which he does not expect and at an unknown hour. He will punish him severely and count him among the untrustworthy.

When much has been given to a man, much will be expected. More will be asked of a man to whom more has been entrusted.”

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

  1. Throughout the parable, the Lord of the house is more than fair.       He balances both the reward and the punishment.
  2. Jesus wants the disciples’ hearts. They must care for his Church.
  3. He will bless them beyond their wildest imagination, putting them in charge of everything.
  4. Sometimes, the servant believes the delay is too long. He can enjoy selfish behavior.
  5. The owner suddenly returns. The actions are revealed. The servant is banished.
  6. Those servants who have received much will be held to a higher standard. More will be asked of them and their reward will be greater.

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

  1. O Jesus, how fair you are. More than fair, you are merciful and generous.
  2. Entrust me with your tasks. Where do you want me to serve?
  3. Who else will reward me as you do? Who else can fulfill all my desires? Who else can give me eternal life?
  4. Do not let me take advantage of your patience. Even if you delay, I will watch.
  5. O Lord, how surprisingly you will return. I will be ready, a faithful servant.
  6. Jesus, you expect much. I will give you everything.

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

  1. I will examine my talents. Which ones am I not using for the Lord?
  2. I will think of the joy of being with Jesus in the heavenly banquet.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Blessed is that servant whom the Lord finds busy when he comes.

OCTOBER 18, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-NINE – TUESDAY – THE WIDE AWAKE SERVANTS

(Luke 12:35-38)

Prayer – O Jesus, I will be your vigilant servant.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus with his disciples.)

Context:

Jesus describes the perfect disciples. The robe gathered in by a belt shows a man at work. The burning lamps show that the servants are awake. The Master even proceeds to wait on them, (a reversal of roles which happens in the Kingdom). Jesus spells out his expectations. The disciples must be ready even if he comes at midnight or before sunrise.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to his disciples, “Let your belts be fastened around your waists and your lamps be burning ready. You are like men who are waiting for their Lord to return from the wedding so that when he comes and knocks, you can open immediately.

Blessed are those servants whom the Lord finds watching when he comes. Amen I say to you, he will put on an apron and make them sit down at table while he proceeds to wait on them.

Whether he comes at midnight or before sunrise should he find them ready, it will go well with them.

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

  1. Jesus tells this parable to his disciples. This is what he expects of those dedicated to the Kingdom.
  2. They work hard, with their robes fastened by a belt. At the same time, they are ready to welcome him with their burning lamps.
  3. They toil on earth but they always have their hearts in heaven, a difficult assignment.
  4. There must be no delay, no fumbling for the lamp when the Master comes. This demands a total, single-hearted commitment to the Master.
  5. The reward is great. The master himself prepares the best of meals.
  6. The commitment is open ended. There are no office hours. Even if it is midnight or before sunrise, the disciples will be ready.

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

  1. O Jesus, you have high expectancies of me. I will live up to them.
  2. Teach me to live in two worlds, doing my work on earth but always keeping my heart for heaven.
  3. I will always be ready, devoted and single-minded. Only your Kingdom is important.
  4. What a great eternal reward! I will sit with you in the heavenly banquet. This is your firm promise.
  5. My commitment has no limit. I do not watch the clock. I watch for you. Come, Lord Jesus.

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

  1. Where do I fall short of Jesus’ expectations.
  2. I will rejoice today because I am called to the heavenly banquet.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Blessed are those servants whom the Master finds watching when he comes.

WEEK TWENTY NINE – MONDAY October 17, 2016 THE RICH FOOL (LK 12:16-20)

Prayer – O Lord, do not allow my material possessions to ruin my faith.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:
A person asked Jesus to gain him his rightful inheritance. Jesus refuses to accept this task. Jesus wants people to avoid greed. Owning property is irrelevant in the new Age. This parable explains why Jesus sees earthly wealth as unimportant.
Because of his gigantic harvest, the farmer need not fear if future years bring bad crops. His security makes him into a fool (in the biblical sense). He does not need God and does not realize God’s impending judgment.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)
Jesus said to the crowd, “Avoid greed in all its forms. A man may be wealthy but his possessions do not guarantee him life.” He told them a parable:
“A rich man had land which produced a gigantic harvest. He thought within himself, “What shall I do? I have no room for this harvest. This is what I will do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones. I will store all my grain and all my goods. I will say to myself, I have enough grain for many years to come. I will eat, drink and make merry.”
But God said to him, “You fool. This night your soul is required of you. Who will inherit all that you have stored up?”
Thus it will be for one who stores up treasures for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
1. Greed tries to guarantee an abundant future.
2. Jesus’ future goal is heavenly life, not earthly abundance.
3. The great harvest gets the farmer thinking.
4. His riches make him into a “biblical fool”, blinding him to spiritual realities.
5. The barns filled with grain make him forgot God’s coming judgment.
6. His vision is false. His soul will be judged this very night.
7. Jesus warns that nothing can put off the judgment.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. Jesus, help me to avoid greed.
2. I entrust my future into your hands.
3. Your judgments are inevitable, Jesus. Nothing can postpone them.
4. Give me a repentant heart. In this way, I am prepared.
5. Remove all my foolish reasoning. Destroy all my illusions.
6. Come close to me, O Lord. You alone are my security.
7. Soon, so very soon, the whole cosmos will fold up. History will be over. In that moment, I will be with you.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own)
1. I will live today as if I will come before God this night.
2. I will honestly face my own “foolishness”, my pushing God to the background.

OCTOBER 16, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-NINE – MONDAY – THE RICH FOOL

(Luke 12:16-20)

Prayer – O Lord, do not allow my material possessions to ruin my faith.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

A person asked Jesus to gain him his rightful inheritance. Jesus refuses to accept this task.   Jesus wants people to avoid greed. Owning property is irrelevant in the new Age. This parable explains why Jesus sees earthly wealth as unimportant.

Because of his gigantic harvest, the farmer need not fear if future years bring bad crops. His security makes him into a fool (in the biblical sense). He does not need God and does not realize God’s impending judgment.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to the crowd, “Avoid greed in all its forms. A man may be wealthy but his possessions do not guarantee him life.” He told them a parable:

“A rich man had land which produced a gigantic harvest. He thought within himself, “What shall I do? I have no room for this harvest. This is what I will do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones. I will store all my grain and all my goods. I will say to myself, I have enough grain for many years to come. I will eat, drink and make merry.”

But God said to him, “You fool. This night your soul is required of you. Who will inherit all that you have stored up?”

Thus it will be for one who stores up treasures for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.

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

  1. Greed tries to guarantee an abundant future.
  2. Jesus’ future goal is heavenly life, not earthly abundance.
  3. The great harvest gets the farmer thinking.
  4. His riches make him into a “biblical fool”, blinding him to spiritual realities.
  5. The barns filled with grain make him forgot God’s coming judgment.
  6. His vision is false. His soul will be judged this very night.
  7. Jesus warns that nothing can put off the judgment.

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

  1. Jesus, help me to avoid greed.
  2. I entrust my future into your hands.
  3. Your judgments are inevitable, Jesus. Nothing can postpone them.
  4. Give me a repentant heart. In this way, I am prepared.
  5. Remove all my foolish reasoning. Destroy all my illusions.
  6. Come close to me, O Lord. You alone are my security.
  7. Soon, so very soon, the whole cosmos will fold up. History will be over. In that moment, I will be with you.

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

  1. I will live today as if I will come before God this night.
  2. I will honestly face my own “foolishness”, my pushing God to the background.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

You fool! Tonight your soul is required of you.

OCTOBER 15, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-EIGHT – SATURDAY – ACKNOWLEDGING JESUS

(Luke 12:8-12)

Prayer: O Jesus, You are my Lord.

Imagination: – (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples).

Context
            This text has three separate teachings. If the disciple acknowledges Jesus, Jesus will acknowledge him before the Father. If not, then Jesus cannot acknowledge him. The second teaching speaks of people who rejected Jesus in his earthly ministry. They will be given a second chance. This happened to the crowd at Pentecost. (Blaspheming against the Holy Spirit means ascribing Jesus’ powers to the demons). The final scene is the disciple being helped by the Holy Spirit to defend himself in court.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever denies me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.

Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man shall be forgiven but whoever blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

When they bring you into synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not be anxious about what you are to say because the Holy Spirit will each you in that hour what to say.

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

  1. Jesus wants you to always think of the moment when you will come before him.
  2. That is the all-important moment. All that you have done will be manifested.
  3. This is fair. If you told others that Jesus was your friend, Jesus will tell the Father that you are his friend.
  4. If you have failed to do this, how can Jesus honestly say that you are his friend?
  5. You can always change. God gives you another chance to be Jesus’ friend.
  6. The gospel describes an earthly court room, a disciple on trial for his faith.
  7. How do you speak the truth in that difficult situation? Don’t worry. The Spirit of Jesus will do the talking.

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

  1. Jesus, lift my heart to heaven.
  2. O Jesus, after death, I will come before you. Prepare me for that eternal moment.
  3. Tell the Father that I am your friend. This is my life’s goal.
  4. If I have rejected you, I repent and choose you as my Lord.
  5. O Spirit of truth. Help me to speak the truth always. Sanctify my lips. Purify my desires.
  6. Come, Lord Jesus. I will await you.

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

  1. I will make my friendship with Jesus known to others.
  2. When confronted, I will ask the Spirit to put words in my heart.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.

OCTOBER 14, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-EIGHT – FRIDAY – JESUS’ WARNING

(Luke 12: 1-7)

Prayer – O Lord, you care for the sparrows. You will care also for me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching the dense crowds.)

Context:

This text has 2 parts. Having denounced the Pharisees to their face, Jesus is surrounded by crowds. However, he speaks to his disciples. He calls the Pharisee teaching, hypocrisy, and speaks of the Final Judgment when all will be revealed.

Then, he prophesies that his friends will be threatened and even killed. They are not to fear.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The great crowds around Jesus were so dense that they tread on one another. He said to say to his disciples, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy. Nothing is hidden which will not be revealed. Nothing secret which will not become known.

Whatever you speak in darkness, shall be said in the light. What you have whispered in back rooms will be proclaimed on the rooftops.

I say to you my friends. ‘Do not be afraid of those that kill the body and can do no more. Fear him who, after he has killed, has the power to cast into Gehenna. Yes, fear him.

Are not five sparrows sold for a few pennies? Yet, not one of them is neglected by God. Fear nothing then. You are worth more than a flock of sparrows.’

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

  1. Although surrounded by these dense crowds, Jesus instructs his disciples because they are so important.
  2. He points out a false road. They must not follow the Pharisees’ teaching.
  3. This teaching is superficial, and cannot prepare for the Kingdom.
  4. Then, Jesus turns to a more serious topic. His friends will face death.
  5. The person who kills the body need not be feared. The person who endangers their soul must be feared.
  6. God loves even the sparrows who are sold for sacrifice. He does not abandon them in death.

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

  1. O Jesus, you take time with me. You teach me. I am important to you.
  2. Let me see what is true, what endures, what is worth sacrificing for.
  3. Point out the false roads. Save me from fruitless efforts.
  4. Never let me take the wrong paths.
  5. I am your friend, Jesus. You have won my heart. I give you my life.
  6. Remove any fear of death. Be with me so I persevere.

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

  1. During the day, I will renew my consecration to Jesus Christ.
  2. I will not let any threats make me deny what I believe.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Fear nothing. You are worth more than a flock of sparrows.

OCTOBER 13, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-EIGHT – THURSDAY – BLAMING THE FOREFATHERS

(Luke 11:47-54)

Prayer – O Jesus, fill me with a true piety which knows and loves God.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus denouncing the Pharisees)

Context:

The Jews blame their forefathers for being mistaken and killing the prophets. However, they will do the same thing in killing Jesus. Jesus recounts human history. Abel was the first one killed in the bible and Zechariah was the last prophet killed (2 Chr 24:20). Jesus’ accusations are proven true by the final sentences.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The Lord said, “Woe to you who build the tombs of the prophets but it was your fathers who killed them. You show that you stand behind the deeds of your fathers. They killed the prophets and you build their tombs. That is why the wisdom of God says, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles. Some of them they will kill and persecute.’ So, this generation will have to account for the blood of all the martyrs shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who died between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you. This generation must account for it.

Woe to you lawyers. You have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not gained access, yet you have stopped those who wish to enter.”

After he had left this gathering, the scribes and Pharisees began to show fierce hostility to him and tried to catch him in his speech on many occasions.

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

  1. The leaders are ignorant that they are caught up in a history of violence.
  2. They accept violence as a legitimate means of silencing the voices of the prophets.
  3. They refuse to accept the responsibility, even though their guilt stretches for centuries.
  4. Jesus offers them a new stream, a redemption from their past violence.
  5. Unfortunately, the leaders even block people who would want to follow Jesus. They have taken away the Key of Knowledge.
  6. They try to capture Jesus in his speech. What fools! They battle divine Wisdom Himself.
  7. They do not repent. They do not change. Their hostility grows.

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

  1. O Jesus, what are my sins? And the sins of my family? Let me repent.
  2. Jesus, you offer me a pure stream, a future history purified of the past.
  3. Redeem me, Jesus, from my culture.
  4. Open the door. Give me the Key to Divine Wisdom. I will walk in your paths.
  5. Jesus, change me. Forgive me. My past will no longer burden me.
  6. You are truth. You are life. You save. You redeem. You open holy roads to those who will follow.

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

  1. I will see clearly the sins of my culture and reject them.
  2. I will be a prophet who speaks out against what is not right.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

I will send to them prophets and apostles.

OCTOBER 12, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-EIGHT – WEDNESDAY – SO MANY WOES

(Luke 11:42-46)

Prayer – O Jesus, cleanse me so you cannot condemn me.

Imagination – (Imagine Jesus at table with the Pharisees and lawyers.)

Context:

Jesus is familiar with the Pharisees’ teaching. They are confused. They put the wrong obligations first, and cause many religious problems. Jesus must clear away all this confusion.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Woe to you, Pharisees because you tithe on mint and rue and every herb, yet overlook the justice and love of God. You should do these things, but not overlook the other.

Woe to you Pharisees. You love the best seats at the synagogue and greetings in the marketplaces.           Woe to you! You are like hidden tombs over which men walk unaware.

In reply, a lawyer said, “Teacher, in speaking this way, you insult us, too”. Jesus answered, “Woe to you lawyers, also! You lay impossible burdens on men but will not lift a finger to lighten them.”

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

  1. Mint, rue, and herbs were so small that they should have been overlooked. Yet, they are the focus of religious activity.
  2. Justice to others and love for God are the important issues. These should take center stage.
  3. The Pharisees want to be recognized as holy and be acclaimed by others.
  4. However, their hearts are far from God. It is all show!
  5. People just trample such teaching under their feet and religion comes into disrepute.
  6. Many Pharisees enjoy burdening the consciences of others.
  7. Jesus comes to remove burdens so we can live like God’s children. This is freedom.

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

  1. O Jesus, loving you with all my heart – that is my goal.
  2. Jesus, give me a just and forgiving heart.
  3. Lord, I will hide my piety from the eyes of others and even from my own eyes.
  4. O Jesus, you do not burden me. Your laws set me free.
  5. Jesus, I will lift burdens from others, and help them to gain eternal life.

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

  1. I will be just to everyone I meet today.
  2. I will humble myself in my own eyes.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

You overlook justice and the love of God.