WEEK EIGHT – TUESDAY – FEBRUARY 28, 2017 RECEIVING THE HUNDRED-FOLD (MK 10:28-31)

Prayer – O Jesus, teach me to set aside everything for love of you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus instructing his apostles.)

Context:

A young man has walked away from Jesus because he was rich. In contrast,
Peter is a model
disciple who has set all aside. Jesus spells out the rewards,
in this life and in eternity.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Peter said to Jesus, “Behold, we have left all things to follow you.” Jesus responded, “Amen I say to you, that there is no one who has
left brothers or sisters,
or fathers or mothers or children or lands for my sake and the gospel
who will not receive
in this age a hundred times as many homes, brothers and sisters, mothers,
children and property – and persecution besides – and in the age to come,
everlasting life.

Many who are first shall be last and the last shall come first.

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

  1. Peter says that he and the other apostles have left everything behind.
  2. Jesus accepts Peter’s claim as true and spells out the great rewards.
  3. The early Christians were already experiencing this hundredfold. The people who had
    joined the Church shared all their possessions.
  4. By sharing their properties, people really had access to a hundred homes.
  5. Mark slips in a warning. The disciples will be persecuted (which they already were experiencing).
  6. The greatest rewards will be “in the age to come”, everlasting
    life with Jesus, and a sharing in his resurrection.

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

  1. O Jesus, teach me how to leave everything behind and follow you.
  2. O Jesus, how great are your rewards, even in this life.
  3. You give peace of soul and freedom from sins.
  4. You give me others as my brothers and sisters. This is the great blessing of devout communities.
  5. Teach me to be a brother and sister to others by sharing my life and my goods.
  6. Jesus, persecutions will come. Be with me in my trials.
  7. What will my life be “in the age to come?” What is everlasting life? What is it like to live with you forever? Don’t let me miss out.

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

  1. I will make a sincere effort to detach myself today from some material goods.
  2. I will think about Jesus’ promises. He always keeps his word.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

And in the age to come, everlasting life.

WEEK EIGHT – MONDAY – FEBRUARY 27, 2017 THE RICH YOUNG MAN (MK 10:17 – 27)

Prayer – Come, Holy Spirit. Let me sacrifice everything to follow Jesus.

Imagination: (Picture the young man asking Jesus about eternal life.)

Context:

The gospel begins “As Jesus set out”. This sets the scene. Jesus is on a journey and the young man will be invited to come along. The man’s “kneeling down” shows great piety. His question is excellent.
He wants what Jesus offers, eternal life. Jesus loves him and
invites him “to follow”. Worldly possessions are his obstacle.
With so many possessions,
he could not travel with Jesus.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

A certain man ran up, knelt before Jesus and asked him, “Good Master, what shall I
do to gain everlasting life?” Jesus answered, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good except God alone.” You know the commandments, “Do not commit adultery.
Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Do not defraud.
Honor your father and your mother.” He answered, “Master, I have observed
all these things since my youth.”

Jesus, looking on him, loved him and said, “One thing is lacking to you. Go, sell whatever your have and give to the poor and you shall have treasure in heaven.
Then, come follow me.” Upon hearing this, the man grew sad and went away sorrowful,
for he had great possessions.

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

  1. The story begins with great hope.The man asks a fervent question,
    recounts a history of good moral behavior and seeks eternal life.
  2. Knowing all this is true, Jesus looks upon him with love.
  3. Jesus goes further and offers his greatest gift. He invites the man to follow.
  4. Jesus even motivates the man. There will be treasure for him in heaven.
  5. Instead of following Jesus, he turns back. His possessions are walls he cannot escape from.
  6. We will all meet him at the Last Judgment and discover the end of his story.

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

  1. Jesus, I have kept the commandments, what more must I do to gain eternal life?
  2. You invite me to follow you. You stir within and lead me further.
  3. Jesus, you do not want me to fail. You want me close to yourself.
  4. O Jesus, what are my possessions compared to the treasures in heaven? Are they not a small price to purchase the Kingdom?
  5. Turning away from you is emptiness. Following you is fullness. I will leave everything to follow you.

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

  1. Today, I will ask Jesus, ‘Lord, what must I do to gain eternal life?”
  2. I will help the poor.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Sell all and give to the poor. Your treasure in heaven will be great.

WEEK SEVEN – SATURDAY – FEBRUARY 25, 2017 THE LITTLE CHILDREN (MK 10:13-16)

Prayer: O Jesus, I will accept your Kingdom like a little child.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus surrounded by children and the disciples.)

Context:

Right after Jesus’ teaching on the permanence of marriage, Mark places this story
of children (the fruit of marriage). Earlier, Jesus spoke of not scandalizing the little ones. Now, he sees the disciples “hindering” them from coming close.
(Possibly a Baptismal question in Mark’s Church). Jesus’ anger shows that only he decides who are worthy of the Kingdom. No one else must judge.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

People were bringing children to Jesus so he might touch them but the disciples
scolded them for doing this. Jesus became indignant and said,
“Let the little children come
to me and do not forbid them. For such is the Kingdom of God.

Amen I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a
little child shall not enter it.” Then he embraced them and blessed them,
laying his hands upon them.

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

  1. The people see Jesus’ blessings and want these for their children.
  2. The disciples are misled. They miss the point. They are limiting the Kingdom.
  3. Jesus wants all to enter the Kingdom. This is his constant concern.
  4. He speaks from his heart, “Let the little children come to me”. This is your invitation. Jesus is speaking to you.
  5. Set aside your adult sophistication. You need a heavenly Father, just like everyone else.
  6. Go to Jesus. He will embrace you (with arms stretched out on a cross)
    and you will be blessed as never before.

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

  1. O Jesus, your blessings flow freely. They are so easily received.
  2. O Lord, let nothing hinder me. Sweep away all obstacles that stand between you and me.
  3. I hear you speak. You say “Let them come”. You are like a king who wants his people to enter his courts.
  4. O Jesus, I need you. I need your presence. I need your help.
  5. Take me in your arms. Your hands are wounded and your arms are bloody – all for love of me.

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

  1. Today, I will hear Jesus say “Let them come.”
  2. I will examine the obstacles that keep me from Jesus.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Do not forbid the children. Of such is the Kingdom of God.

WEEK SEVEN – FRIDAY – FEBRUARY 24, 2017 LET NO MAN SEPARATE (MK 10:1-12)

Prayer: O Jesus, you have come to restore creation as it was in the beginning.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus explaining his ideals to his disciples.)

Context:

Jesus believes that through the power of the Kingdom of God,
all creation can be restored to God’s original plan.
His critics cites Moses’ teaching about a decree of divorce,
(an attempt to give some ordering to moral decay).
Jesus believes his Kingdom can remove divorce itself.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Some Pharisees came to test Jesus. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife?” Jesus replied, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a bill of divorce and put her away.” Jesus answered, “He gave this command because of the hardness of your heart. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason, a man shall leave his mother and father and shall cleave to his wife.
The two shall be one flesh. They are no longer two, but one flesh. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”

Later, Jesus said to his disciples. “Whoever puts away his wife
and marries another commits adultery against her. If the wife puts away her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

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

  1. The Pharisees’ question is not sincere, yet it opens up a very important topic.
  2. Jesus reveals his vision of God’s Kingdom on earth.
  3. Moses was shortsighted. He tried to resolve the problem by a legal maneuver of a written paper.
  4. Jesus sees the whole picture. Divorce is a distortion that results from man’s sinfulness.
  5. Jesus wants to restore the whole world to what was at the beginning – an ordered humanity.
  6. In the Kingdom, God and man are joined again. In this way,
    husband and wife can have an ordered relationship.
  7. Even with a civil divorce, the union remains and marrying another is adultery.

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

  1. O Lord, how confused human life has become. Only your grace can untangle my life.
  2. Your Kingdom is powerful. It touches my feelings and my decisions.
  3. Unite me to the Father. Let my life be “as it was in the beginning.”
  4. With you, Jesus, all things are possible.
  5. Help me to live my life without compromise.
  6. Help my marriage and bless my spouse.

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

  1. I will be faithful to the Lord in all pre-marital and marital relationships.
  2. I will ask the Holy Spirit to help me live purely.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.

WEEK SEVEN – THURSDAY – FEBRUARY 23, 2017 RESPONSIBILITIES OF A DISCIPLE (MK 9:41-50)

Prayer: O Jesus, help me to live according to your highest ideals.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus explaining his ideals to his disciples.)

Context:

These teachings deal with moral life in the Christian community. First, disciples must give good example to the “little ones” (the newer members). Secondly, they must make radical sacrifices to avoid Gehenna. (Gehenna was a place south of Jerusalem where rubbish was always burning,
a clear symbol for hell). When Jesus talks about cutting off a hand or foot,
and plucking out an eye,
he does not want us to harm ourselves but not to use that faculty for evil.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

If anyone scandalizes a little one who believes in me, it would be better for
him if a millstone were tied about his neck and he was cast into the sea.

If your hand scandalizes you, cut it off. It is better to enter life maimed than to keep both hands and enter into Gehenna
with its unquenchable fires.

If your foot scandalizes you, cut it off. It is better to enter everlasting life with one foot, than to have two feet
and be cast into unquenchable fire.

If your eye is your downfall, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the Kingdom of God with one eye than to be cast
into hell’s fire which never end.

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

  1. The disciple’s personal conduct should not scandalize other believers.
  2. Each disciple must be a model. This requires personal sacrifice.
  3. The hand often reaches for the money and the goods of others. This must stop.
  4. The eye looks lustfully and sees opportunities for personal satisfaction. This must stop.
  5. The foot takes the believer into temptations and occasions of sin. This must stop.
  6. All of these faculties must be curbed and limited. Jesus’ road is narrow and straight.

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

  1. I will be your disciple, Jesus, no matter what you demand of me.
  2. Make me a model to others, keeping them away from sin.
  3. Jesus, curb my greed. Limit my desires for money.
  4. Purify my eyes so I can one day see your glory.
  5. Make my feet take only your path, the straight and the narrow.

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

  1. I will face honestly what needs to be removed from my lifestyle.
  2. I will ask Jesus to guide me onto his road.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

If your hand or eye or foot scandalizes you, then cut them off.

WEEK SEVEN – TUESDAY – FEBRUARY 21, 2017 THE EXTRA MILE (MK 9: 30-37)

Prayer: Jesus, teach me to be a little one, living in the simplicity of a child.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus, with his arms around a child, teaching his disciples.)

Context:

The disciples have just failed to drive out a demon. Now,
they do not understand Jesus’ teaching about suffering. Worst of all,
they argue about who is the most important. They neither think nor act as disciples.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus and his disciples began a journey through Galilee, but he did not
want anyone to know about it. Jesus taught his disciples, “The Son of Man will be betrayed into the
hands of men and they will kill him. After his death, he will rise on the third day.
“They, however, did not understand and were afraid to ask him.

When they entered the house, Jesus asked them, “What were you discussing on the way? They fell silent because they were disputing about who was the most important. Sitting down, Jesus taught the Twelve, “If anyone wants to be first he must be the
last and the servant of all.”

Taking a child, he put him in their midst. Placing his arm around him, Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes such a child for my sake,
shall welcome me, and not just me, but him who sent me.”

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

  1. Jesus is now “on his way” to Jerusalem. The disciples should be “on the way” to understanding. However, they are going backwards.
  2. For the first time, Jesus predicts three important facts. He will be betrayed, killed and rise from the dead.
  3. The disciples do not understand and are afraid to ask.
  4. Instead of learning these mysteries about Jesus, they concentrate on their own importance.
  5. When confronted, they have no answer. They have violated Jesus’ basic teaching of serving others.
  6. Jesus reiterates this teaching. They should serve the new believers who need so much help. This is the task of the disciple.

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

  1. O Lord, I will walk with you. I will take your road and go your way.
  2. O Jesus, I know what is ahead – hardship and suffering. To follow you is worth any cost.
  3. Enlighten me, Jesus. Teach me your mysteries and your ways.
  4. Take my eyes off of myself. Take my heart away from my selfish interests.
  5. I will serve, Jesus. I will serve your people. Give me a task. What a privilege!

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

  1. I will make sacrifices today to serve others.
  2. I will ask for light to understand the mysteries of the Kingdom.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

If anyone wishes to be first, he must be the servant of all.

WEEK SEVEN – MONDAY – FEBRUARY 20, 2017 THE BOY WITH A DEMON (MK 9:14)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Set me free from the Evil One.

Imagination: (Picture the boy’s father pleading with Jesus.)

Context:

The disciples are going backward. Earlier, they had great success in driving out demons. Now, they are total failures. Jesus gets exasperated.
The difficulty is their lack of faith. The boy’s father knows his faith is weak and says,
“Help my unbelief.” That is enough for Jesus to act.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus came down from the mountain, a man said,
“Master, I have brought my son to you.
He has a mute spirit who seizes him and throws him down. My son foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to cast him out but they could not.” Jesus said, “O unbelieving generation, how long must I be with you?
How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to me.”

When the mute spirit saw Jesus, he threw the boy on the ground.
He rolled about, and was foaming at the mouth.

The father said, “If you can do anything, please have pity on us.” Jesus said, “If you can! Everything is possible to him who believes”. With tears, the father cried out, “I do believe Lord, help my unbelief.”

Seeing the crowd gathering, Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit saying,
“Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you to leave him and never to enter him again.” Crying out, the spirit convulsed him and left. The boy became as one dead,
but Jesus, taking him by the hand,
lifted him up and he arose.

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

  1. The lengthy details show the reality and the power of the demonic world.
  2. Having tried everything without success, the father comes to Jesus.
  3. Jesus is upset that the apostles failed to drive out the demon.
  4. Jesus is also puzzled by the father not yet fully believing in his powers.
  5. Slowly, Jesus brings the father to full faith, “Help my unbelief.”
  6. Finally, Jesus drives out the demon who must surrender and leave. Although seemingly dead, the boy has been freed.
  7. This story symbolizes our own resurrection. Jesus will take our hand we will rise.

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

  1. O Jesus, I have many problems, so I come to you.
  2. Jesus, how slow I am to believe.
  3. My restlessness, my fears, my fruitless labors and my passions control me. I am not free.
  4. Cast them out, O Jesus. Rebuke them and make them leave.
  5. Jesus, even if I have experienced problems for years, you can overcome them.
  6. Take my hand! Lift me up! Even if I am dead, you will still say, “Arise.”

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

  1. I will trust in Jesus’ power over the demonic, especially in Confession and Communion.
  2. Today, I will have the faith of the boy’s father.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

I do believe, Help my unbelief. Everything is possible for him who believes.

WEEK SIX – SATURDAY – FEBRUARY 18, 2017 TRANSFIGURED ON THE MOUNTAIN (MK 9:2-13)

Prayer – O Jesus, reveal to me your heavenly glory.

Imagination- (Picture Peter, James and John witnessing the glory of Christ.)

Context:

These three apostles witness both Jesus’ glory on the mountain
and his agony in the Garden. Mark always links Jesus’ suffering with his glory,
telling his persecuted
Christians to persevere in their sufferings because their reward is great.
The vision also includes Moses and Elijah, the two great Old Testament personalities.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Six days later, Jesus took Peter, James and John up a high mountain by themselves. He was transfigured before them and his clothes became dazzlingly white. Elijah appeared to them along with Moses and they spoke with Jesus. Peter said,
“It is good for us to be here. Let us make three tents, one for you,
one for Elijah and one for Moses.” However, he did not really know what
to say for he was filled with awe.

A cloud overshadowed them and a voice from the cloud said,
“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Looking up, they saw no one.
Only Jesus was with them.

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

  1. To bestow the experience, Jesus must withdraw the apostles to the mountain’s solitude.
  2. When they see Jesus’ heavenly glory, they are overwhelmed.
  3. Jesus is the central figure. Moses and Elijah are at his side.
  4. The events overwhelm the usually talkative Peter. He can only exclaim, “It is good to be here.”
  5. The cloud paralyzes them, making them completely attentive to the Father’s words,
    “This is my Beloved Son. Listen to him.”
  6. When the vision is over, they see only Jesus. He is the beginning and the end of all creation.

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

  1. O Lord, invite me to your mountain of prayer. I will leave behind this valley of darkness.
  2. O Jesus, Your glory is great. My poor faculties cannot grasp your light.
  3. Let your divine cloud descend over me.
  4. You, O Lord, are the center of all history. In you, I discover who I am.
  5. Jesus, you are “the Beloved Son”. I will listen to you.
  6. I will keep my eyes only for you, Jesus.

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

  1. Many times today, I will find a moment to climb the mountain of prayer.
  2. I will value the riches which Christ offers to me.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Looking up they saw Jesus in all his glory.

WEEK SIX – FRIDAY – FEBRUARY 17, 2017 DON’T BE ASHAMED OF JESUS (MK 8:34-9:1)

Prayer – O Jesus, in time of trial, do not let me turn my back on you.

Imagination- (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.)

Context:

Having told the disciples that he will suffer, die and rise, Jesus gathers the crowd.
He explains that if they become his disciples, sufferings will also be in their lives.
If they are ashamed of Jesus in persecutions, Jesus must be ashamed of them when
He comes in glory.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Calling together both the crowd and his disciples, Jesus said,
‘If anyone wants to follow me,
let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.
Whoever saves his life will lose it and whoever
loses his life for my sake and the gospel,
will save it.

What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Whoever is ashamed of me and my teaching in this sinful and corrupt age, the Son of Man will
also be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of the Father with all his holy angels.

Amen, I say to you. There are some standing here who shall not taste death until
they see the Kingdom of God coming in power.

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

  1. Before becoming a disciple, people must understand the need
    to deny themselves and take up their cross.
  2. Jesus explains the reason. Others will persecute them. If they have not accepted the cross, they will fail the test.
  3. Jesus speaks of earthly life and heavenly life. Whoever saves his earthly life, will lose his heavenly glory. Whoever loses his earthly life,
    saves his heavenly glory.
  4. esus compares gaining the whole world with losing our soul. What profit is that?
  5. Jesus stresses If the disciples are ashamed of him during their lifetime,
    then he must be ashamed of them when he comes in glory.
  6. Some will soon see this glory. This is the next scene, Jesus’ Transfiguration.

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

  1. Jesus, I so much want to be your disciple. Whatever the cost, I will pay it.
  2. O Jesus, What is time compared to eternity?
  3. What is my earthly life compared to your heavenly glory.
  4. Jesus, I never want you to be ashamed of me.
  5. If I am faithful, you will come and clothe me in your glory.
  6. Yes, I will see your glory. You have promised me.

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

  1. I will see earthly life as passing away.
  2. I will meditate on the heavenly glory awaiting me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?

WEEK SIX – THURSDAY – FEBRUARY 16, 2017 THE RISE AND FALL OF PETER (MK 8:27-33)

Prayer – Lord Jesus, lift me up and I will be secure in your arms.

Imagination- (Picture Jesus with his apostles.)

Context:

This text is central to Mark’s gospel (exactly the midpoint) and contains the
two themes of the gospel. For many chapters, the people have been wondering,
“Who is this Jesus”. Peter answers that Jesus is the Messiah (Theme one). Then Jesus predicts his suffering and shows that he will be a suffering
Messiah (Theme two). Later, Peter uses his human intellect and fails miserably.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus and his disciples set out for Caesarea Philippi. On the way, he asked them,
“Whom do people say I am?” They answered, “Some say John the Baptist; others,
Elijah; still others,
one of the prophets.”

He said to them, “Whom do you say that I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Christ”. Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone.

He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things,
be rejected by the elders,
the high priests and the scribes and be killed. After three days,
he would rise again.

Peter took Jesus aside and disagreed with him. Jesus turned back to the disciples and rebuked Peter, “Get out of my sight, Satan.
You are not judging by God’s standards but by man’s.”

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

  1. The people’s opinions about Jesus are confused. They are the same ideas which King Herod had.
  2. Jesus asks for the disciples’ opinion.
  3. Peter’s response is true. He has seen clearly that Jesus is the Messiah.
  4. Quickly, Jesus tells his disciples that he will be a suffering Messiah.
  5. Peter responds in an all too human way. He refuses to accept a Messiah who must suffer.
  6. He has become a Satan, an obstacle, a stumbling block to the others.
  7. So Jesus must publicly reprimand him for using his limited intellect to grasp God’s plan.

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

  1. O Jesus, the world is so confused and refuses to acknowledge you.
  2. You are deeply interested in what I think about you.
  3. You are deeply interested in my opinion about you.
  4. For me, You are the messiah, the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer.
  5. You are a suffering Messiah and I need faith to follow you.
  6. Shatter my human thinking. Destroy the limits that I would put upon you.
  7. “Come” you say. “Let us walk together to Calvary”. I am coming, Jesus.

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

  1. Today, I will pray often, “Jesus, you are my Messiah.”
  2. I will ponder this mystery.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Peter replied, “You are the Christ” (the anointed one).

WEEK SIX – WEDNESDAY – FEBRUARY 15, 2017 A TWO PART HEALING (MK 8:22-26)

Prayer – Jesus, lead me out of darkness into the full light of day.

Imagination- (Picture Jesus laying his hands on the blind man’s eyes.)

Context:

This section of Mark’s gospel begins and ends with Jesus healing blind men. In many of his stories, Mark deliberately contrasts new sight given to blind people with the growing blindness of Jesus’ own disciples. When Matthew and Luke tell these same stories, they soften them, finding some excuse for the disciples.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

When Jesus came to Bethsaida, they brought a blind man to him and asked that he would touch him. Taking the blind man by the hand, he led him out of the town. Spitting upon his eyes, he laid his hands on him and asked if he could see. Looking up, he said, “I see men walking around like trees.”

Jesus again laid hands on his eyes. He began to see. His sight was restored and he saw all things clearly. Jesus sent him home with the warning, “Do not even return to the village.”

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

  1. The people have great faith. They bring the man and ask Jesus to lay hands, believing that he will see.
  2. Jesus takes him by the hand, a sign of his helping power.
  3. Outside of the town, the man can be alone with Jesus without any obstacles to God’s power.
  4. Immediately, the man beginsto be healed. This represents beginning faith.
  5. As Jesus continues to lay his hands, the man comes to full sight. Now he sees Jesus plainly (full faith).
  6. Jesus tells the man to avoid others. He needs time to ponder this gift before returning to society.

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

  1. O Jesus, let the faith of others help me to believe.
  2. Take my hand. Lead me into a quiet place.
  3. When I am alone, you can heal me.
  4. Begin now, Jesus. Your gift is like a quiet growth.
  5. Bring me to full faith. Then I will see your purpose in every event.
  6. I will come away from other so I can ponder your blessings.

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

  1. Today, I will ask for Jesus’ healing hand upon my life.
  2. I will await God’s blessings with confidence.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

His sight was restored and he saw all things clearly.

WEEK SIX – TUESDAY – FEBRUARY 14, 2017 DISCIPLES WHO DO NOT UNDERSTAND (MK 8:14-21)

Prayer – O Jesus, do not let my heart be hardened.

Imagination- (Picture Jesus in the boat with the Twelve.)

Context:

Certainly, the Pharisees have hardened hearts, but this text shows that the disciples’ hearts are hardening, also. The multiplication of the loaves has not increased their faith. They have received a sign and still do not believe.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

The disciples had forgotten to take bread and had but one loaf in the boat. Jesus instructed them, “Keep your eyes open. Be careful of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”

They concluded among themselves that was because they had no bread. Jesus knew this and said, “Why do you think it is because you have no bread? Do you not know or understand? Are your hearts still blind?

Do you have eyes and not see? Do you have ears and not hear? Do you not remember when I broke five loaves for the five thousand? How many baskets did you gather up? They said “twelve”. When I broke seven loaves for the four thousand, how many baskets of fragments did you gather up? They said, “Seven” He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

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

  1. The disciples bring one loaf. This represents Jesus. He is sufficient. That is the theme of this passage.
  2. These disciples had witnessed Jesus multiplying bread on two occasions, but do not grow in faith.
  3. They share the leaven of disbelief, a corrupting influence which is hardening their hearts.
  4. Jesus, seeing their lack of faith, berates them with seven questions, and equates them with the blind Pharisees.
  5. In spite of all the divine signs, they are going backward in their faith.

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

  1. O Jesus, you have given me so many signs.
  2. You are the one loaf. You are all I need. I will bring you into my boat.
  3. Remove my unbelief. Take away my worldly spirit.
  4. Fill me with faith. Let me see and hear and understand and embrace you forever.
  5. Jesus, increase my confidence in you.
  6. Jesus, when I see, help me to understand. When I hear, help me to believe.

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

  1. I will ponder for a moment all that God has provided for me.
  2. I will set aside lukewarm faith. I will ask Jesus for a living, vibrant faith that always moves ahead.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Do you have eyes and yet not see? Do you have ears and yet not hear?

WEEK SIX – MONDAY – FEBRUARY 13, 2017 THE SIGN SEEKERS (MK 8:11-13)

Prayer – O Jesus, I will trust you completely with the faith of a little child.

Imagination- (Picture the Pharisees confronting Jesus and his disciples.)

Context:

In this story, the Pharisees do not understand. Like the crowds, they have
witnessed Jesus teaching and healing. Unlike the crowds, they do not come to faith. They stand back, withhold their consent and seek yet another sign.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

The Pharisees came to Jesus and began to question him. They tempted Jesus by asking him for a sign from heaven. Jesus sighed
deeply in his spirit
and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign. I tell you that no sign will be
given to this generation.”

Jesus left them, got into the boat and went to the other side of the water.

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

  1. The Pharisees have witnessed all that Jesus did and taught. Yet they hold back. They refuse to move forward in faith.
  2. Instead, they ask for a sign from heaven. Jesus’ normal miracles are not enough for them. They expect portents in the sky.
  3. They are tempting Jesus. Their request is not a sincere searching.
  4. Jesus sighs. He has endured enough, working so hard and gaining no results from the Pharisees.
  5. He calls them “this generation.” They refuse to become the first generation of his Kingdom.
  6. He closes the door. Getting into the boat ends all discussion. The Pharisees are left without Jesus.

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

  1. O Jesus, I will cherish the little signs that you give me.
  2. I will not tempt you, Jesus. You lavish your gifts upon me.
  3. Jesus, you are so patient. Even when I sin, you give me time to repent.
  4. Formerly, I was a “this generation” person. Now, I am a first generation person,
    belonging to your new Kingdom.
  5. Jesus, never close the door on me. Never turn your back. Never walk away.
  6. Jesus, you are all I have and all I want. Let me get into the boat with you.

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

  1. I will follow Jesus and not ask for any signs.
  2. I will belong totally to him.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Jesus got into the boat and left them behind.

WEEK FIVE – SATURDAY – FEBRUARY 11, 2017 FEEDING THE FOUR THOUSAND (MK 8:1-10)

Prayer – O Jesus, feed me with Your Body and Blood, the Bread of Life.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus blessing the bread in the sight of the crowds.)

Context:

Earlier (Mk 6:34), Jesus multiplied bread and fish for a Jewish crowd. Now, He repeats the miracle for Gentiles. Some changes occur. Jesus is more active and the disciples are less involved. The focus in on the bread (the fish come later). Jesus’ actions prefigure what
he will do at the Last Supper – giving thanks, breaking, giving and distributing. Mark makes this miracle a promise of the Eucharist.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Because there was a great crowd with nothing to eat, Jesus summoned his disciples,
“I have compassion on the crowd. They have been with me three days with nothing to eat. If I send them away fasting, they will faint on the way because many have come from afar.”

His disciples responded, “How can anyone fill them with bread in the wilderness?” Jesus asked, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven”, they replied. Taking these seven loaves, he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to
his disciples to distribute. And they set them before the people.

They also had a few small fish. He blessed them and commanded
the disciples to give them to the people. All ate and were filled. Seven baskets of fragments were gathered up. After the four thousand
had eaten, he sent them away.

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

  1. This story continually stresses that they have nothing to eat and are hungry.
  2. To “faint along the way” means a Christian who tires of his journey in following Christ.
  3. The scene is clearly the same as the Last Supper. Jesus takes bread, breaks it and gives it to his disciples.
  4. The banquet is complete. The hunger is taken away. The people are filled with God’s blessing.
  5. Now, they can be sent away to live devoutly, just as the priest dismisses
    the people at the end of Mass.

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

  1. Jesus, I hunger for you. I follow you for days and days, seeking only to be in your presence.
  2. You do not neglect me. You take care of my needs.
  3. Without Holy Communion, I will faint along the way.
  4. If you feed me, I will follow you on your journey to Calvary.
  5. You multiply your presence. At every Mass, you are the living bread. What more can you do? What more can I ask for?
  6. After feeding me, you ask me to be a true disciple.

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

  1. I will receive Holy Communion at every possible opportunity.
  2. I will have a total trust in Jesus. He knows all I need.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

If I send them away fasting, they will faint on the way.

WEEK FIVE – FRIDAY – FEBRUARY 10, 2017 THE ENTHUSIASTIC CROWD (MK 7:31-37)

Prayer – O Jesus, open my ears to hear your gospel, and my tongue to speak your word.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus healing the deaf and dumb man.)

Context:

The geography shows that Jesus has become a preacher to the Gentiles. Because the Gentile crowd might not understand, he takes the man aside and
performs a healing ritual (almost like a sacrament.) As usual,
the people disobey Jesus’ command and they tell everyone.
So many are in awe.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus came into the district of the Ten Cities, they brought to him a man
who was deaf and dumb,
and asked him to lay hands on the man.

Taking him apart from the crowd, he put his fingers into his ears, and spitting,
he touched his tongue. Looking up to heaven, he sighed and said, “Be thou open.”
Immediately his ears were opened. His tongue was loosed and he spoke.

Jesus told them that they should tell no one. But the more he told them, so much more
did they proclaim it. And they were in great wonder, “He has done all things well. He has made the deaf hear and the dumb to speak.”

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

  1. The crowd initiates this healing. They bring the man to Jesus.
  2. They believe that Jesus can heal by the laying on of hands.
  3. The man himself is passive, so Jesus needs to take him away from the crowd.
  4. Jesus’ power comes through two actions. Placing his hands in his ears and spittle on his tongue.
  5. The results are full and immediate. There is no doubt that all this power comes from Jesus.
  6. The wonderful crowd sees their faith in Jesus fulfilled, and tells everyone.
  7. They have the highest esteem for Jesus. He does all things well.

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

  1. O Jesus, I come to you in faith. Lay your hands of power upon me.
  2. Take me aside. Teach me. Instruct me. Work your wonders in me.
  3. Let me receive your sacraments often. These contain all your power.
  4. Open my ears. Let me hear your words. Let me understand your mysteries.
  5. Loose my tongue. I will proclaim your mighty deeds.
  6. You do all things well, Jesus. Your actions are perfect.

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

  1. Today, I will have great faith in what Jesus will do for me.
  2. I will speak of Jesus to my friends. They, too, can receive.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Immediately his ears were opened and he began to speak.

WEEK FIVE – THURSDAY – FEBRUARY 9, 2017 THE QUICK-WITTED MOTHER (MK 7:24-30)

Prayer – O Jesus, let me persevere in seeking your blessings.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus confronted by this mother.)

Context:

This story occurs in Gentile territory with a Gentile mother and shows that Jesus’
Kingdom will spread beyond Palestine. Mark gives a developed portrait of this mother’s intense desires and ingenuity. She is the only person who ever wins a debate with Jesus.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus went to Tyre and Sidon, and entered a house so he could be hidden.
There was a woman who had a daughter with an unclean spirit.
As soon as she heard, she came
in and fell at his feet.

She was a Gentile, a Syro-Phoenician, and she asked Jesus to cast the devil out of
her daughter.

Jesus replied, “Let the sons of the house (Jews) satisfy themselves at table. It is not right to take the food of children and throw it to the dogs.” (Gentiles). But she answered, “Lord, do not the dogs under the table eat the
crumbs of the children?” Jesus replied, “Because of your reply, go your way.
The devil has left your daughter.”

When she came home, she found her daughter lying on the bed and the devil gone.

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

  1. Jesus is seeking solitude from the crowds – going to a distant place and staying in a house.
  2. The mother realizes her special opportunity. Jesus has come to her village.
  3. She boldly enters the house and goes right to Jesus.
  4. Even when Jesus puts her off, she does not give up.
  5. Like only a mother could do, she comes up with a reply that touches the heart of Jesus.
  6. His powers are so great, that he drives out the demon from afar and knows that it happened.
  7. On returning home, the woman sees the miracle. She believes and tells the story. That is how Mark knows about it.

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

  1. O Jesus, You are always near. I always have a special opportunity.
  2. But you are hidden in my heart. I must look for you.
  3. Jesus, I have all my needs and you have all your power.
  4. You encourage me to ask. You want me to seek.
  5. Help me to persevere in my prayer.
  6. How great are your powers. You can change everything at any time.

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

  1. I will see the closeness of Jesus.
  2. I will believe in his powers.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Because of your words, the devil has left your daughter.

WEEK FIVE – WEDNESDAY – FEBRUARY 8, 2017 ONLY WHAT ENTERS THE HEART (MK 7:14-23)

Prayer: O Jesus, let no evil designs enter my heart.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus summoning the crowd.)

Context:

After his conflict with the Pharisees, Jesus summons the crowd to give his own teaching. His declares that all foods are clean. This is a gigantic help in freeing Gentile Christians
from Jewish dietary laws. Then Jesus teaches the importance of inner desires.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus called the crowd to himself, saying, “Listen and understand. Nothing entering a man from without can make him evil. Only what comes out of a man defiles him. Whoever has ears let him hear.”

When he entered the house, his disciples asked him about this teaching. He replied, “Are you, also, without understanding? Whatever enters a man cannot defile him because it does not enter his heart but his stomach
and is soon passed out.” In this way, he made all foods clean.

“It is what comes out of man which defiles him. From the deep recesses of his heart
come wicked designs, acts of fornication, murder, adultery, greed, maliciousness,
theft, deceit, sensuality, envy, blasphemy, arrogance and an obtuse spirit. All these evils come from within and they
defile a man.

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

  1. Whenever Jesus wants a fair audience, he calls the crowd.
  2. His teaching is sound. Food does not defile. Words and deeds coming from our hearts certainly can.
  3. The disciples are slow to understand. So, Jesus devotes more time to them.
  4. The list of evils is overwhelming. Yet, it is true. All of these come from the human heart.
  5. Jesus makes us look intently at our own hearts and what comes forth.
  6. What comes out of your heart?

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

  1. O Jesus, I will take your words into my heart and they will make me holy.
  2. How many evil words and deeds come from my heart! Let me gain control.
  3. Teach me, Jesus. Teach me time and again. I am a slow learner.
  4. O Jesus, evils come forth from my unpurified heart. Cleanse the stream of my desires.
  5. Jesus, I am willing. You have permission to purify my heart.

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

  1. I will examine the evils in my heart.
  2. I will purify my heart by the sacrament of confession.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

It is what comes forth from his heart that defiles a man.

WEEK FIVE – TUESDAY – FEBRUARY 7, 2017 SETTING ASIDE GOD’S COMMANDMENTS (MK 7:1-8)

Prayer – O Jesus, let my heart be set only on the heavenly father’s will.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus in this controversy with the Pharisees).

Context:

Jesus rejects the piety of the Pharisees, who have gone off course. This gospel contains two stories, washing of hands and declaring things sacred. Each story contains a pronouncement. The critics come from Jerusalem, and Mark has to explain the Jerusalem customs for
his readers in Rome.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The Pharisees and some scribes from Jerusalem came to Jesus. They found fault with some who ate bread with unwashed hands. The Pharisees, indeed all Jews, do not eat without washing their hands according to the
tradition of the elders. Also, they never eat anything from the marketplace without
sprinkling it. They also observe many other customs, for example, washing cups and
jugs and kettles.

Therefore, the Pharisees and the scribes questioned Jesus, “Why do your disciples not follow
the traditions of the Ancestors but they eat bread without washing their hands.

Jesus answered, “Well did Isaiah prophecy about you hypocrites when he wrote, “This people
honor me with their lips but their heart is far from me. In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines what are merely human precepts.”
You disregard God’s commandment and you cling to human tradition.

You even set aside God’s commandments. For example, Moses said,
“Honor your father and your mother”,
but you declare to your parents,
“Any support you had from me is dedicated to God (Korban)”. Then, you do nothing for your
father and mother. You nullify God’s words.

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

  1. These Pharisees and scribes ignore Jesus’ great powers.
    They concern themselves with the disciples not washing their hands.
  2. They have a whole list of rules which they call “the tradition of the elders.”
  3. They attack Jesus based upon their views of religious practice.
  4. Jesus sees their misguided piety. Isaiah has already confronted this problem.
  5. They give their lips to God but not their hearts.
  6. They nullify God’s laws and teach as divine what are merely human laws.

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

  1. O Jesus, you are the center of my devotion. My eyes are always upon you.
  2. What others do is not important. My heart is only upon you.
  3. Let my heart remain simple, and my piety centered on you.
  4. O Mary, save me from misguided piety.
  5. Jesus, I will obey your divine commands – to forgive, to help, and to bless everyone. Your commands are in my heart.
  6. Teach me your ways, O Jesus, and I will follow.

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

  1. I will not judge others by my standards.
  2. I will give my heart to God’s important demands.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

WEEK FOUR – SATURDAY – FEBRUARY 4, 2017 SHEEP WITHOUT A SHEPHERD (MK 6:30-34)

Prayer: O Lord, pour out your mercy and draw me close to your heart.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus surrounded by the apostles and the crowds.)

Context:

For a brief moment, Jesus wants to be alone with his disciples. This foreshadows the second half of the gospel where Jesus spends much time
teaching the disciples. However, his plans are disrupted and, like a true shepherd,
he changes his schedule.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When the apostles returned to Jesus, they told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away into a quiet place and rest a while.” There had been so much coming and going, that they did not have time to eat. So, they got into the boat and went by themselves to a deserted place.

The people, however, saw this and knew where they were going. So, they went on foot from all the cities and arrived there before them.
When Jesus got out of the boat,
he saw the great crowd and he felt pity for them because
they were like sheep without a shepherd. So, he began to teach them many things.

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

  1. Notice how Jesus always keeps his apostles close to himself, making them return immediately after
    they complete their tasks.
  2. They must know Jesus’ thoughts and desires. Jesus puts off his teaching of the crowds
    because the disciples need a deeper relationship.
  3. However, the people have extraordinary desires to be with Jesus and travel on foot to be with him.
  4. He views their situation with great compassion. They are wandering sheep who need their shepherd.
  5. So, instead of teaching the apostles, he gives himself to the crowds.

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

  1. O Jesus, keep me close to yourself. Always draw me back to you when I wander away.
  2. You give yourself totally to me. You reveal your thoughts and desires.
    You offer me all of your time.
  3. Increase my desires for you. I will seek you and find you.
  4. You see me, Jesus. You see that I wander. Be a shepherd to me.
  5. You give yourself to everyone – to saint and to sinner – even to me.

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

  1. Today, I will seek Jesus at every moment.
  2. I will let Jesus teach me.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Come aside to a quiet place and rest a while.

WEEK FOUR – FRIDAY – FEBRUARY 3, 2017 MK 6:14-29

Prayer – Lord Jesus, let me not be swerved by the opinions of others.

Imagination – (Picture Herod with his party guests)

Context:

This section is an interlude, which Mark inserts between the sending of the Twelve
and their return. It is the only story that does not focus on Jesus and his disciples and is written to
complete the story of John the Baptist. The text will shorten the lengthy reading.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus’ reputation grew and people were saying that John the Baptist has been
raised fromthe dead. Others said that he is Elijah or a prophet equal to any of the prophets. Herod thought he was John the Baptist, whom he killed, raised from the dead.

Herod had John imprisoned because he said, “It is not right for you to live with your
brother’s wife”. Herodias harbored a grudge and wanted to kill John but was unable to do so.

Herodias had her chance when Herod held a birthday dinner for his court officers,
military officers and leading
menof Galilee. Herodias’ daughter did a dance which pleased the King so much that he told the girl,
“Ask for anything you want,
even to half of my kingdom, and I will give it to you.” Herodias told
her to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter.

The King regretted his offer but due to the presence of his guests, he sent an
executioner to bring back the Baptist’s head. When John’s disciples heard of his death, they buried his body in a tomb.

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

  1. Everything in this story is distorted, and out of kilter. The three opinions about Jesus have no basis in
    reality.
  2. Herod is filled with fears and believes John has been raised from the dead.
  3. His passions are out of order, both in his marriage and at this birthday party.
  4. He makes terrible blunders, promising a dancing girl whatever she wanted.
  5. His wife is also filled with evil, always trying to kill John the Baptist.
  6. These evils accumulate and result in an unthought-of event. John is beheaded.
  7. Only his disciples act with thoughtfulness and dignity.

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

  1. O Jesus, you alone save me from superstition, absurdity and darkness.
  2. Cast out all my fears. By your power, I can live in light and peace.
  3. Quiet my passions. Cool my evil desires. By your Spirit, I will practice self-control.
  4. O Jesus, how many blunders I have made. No more. I will walk in your light.
  5. Do not let evil grow. Let me repent quickly of all my sinful decisions. You will make me firm again.
  6. I will be your disciple, with a life full of good deeds and kindly acts.

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

  1. I will examine the disorders in my life. What actions should I take?
  2. I will quickly repent of every sinful action.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The king regretted his offer but he was fearful about what his guests would think.