DECEMBER 3, 2016 – WEEK ONE OF ADVENT – SATURDAY – THE GOOD NEWS OF GOD’S REIGN

(Matthew 9:35-10:8) Prayer: O Jesus, your goodness is everywhere. Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples, healing the crowds). Context: The advent gospels are filled with Jesus’ compassion and power. That compassion brings forth physical healings and makes Jesus a shepherd to the poor. Unable to do all by himself, he shares his powers with the …

DECEMBER 2, 2016 – WEEK ONE OF ADVENT – FRIDAY – HEALING THE BLIND

(Matthew 9:27-31) Prayer: O Jesus, make me confident that you can make me see. Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples.) Context: After raising the little girl to life, Jesus encounters two blind men. They give him the Messianic title, “Son of David” and proclaim that they have confidence that he can heal them Filled with …

DECEMBER 1, 2016 – WEEK ONE OF ADVENT – THURSDAY – THE PARABLE OF THE TWO HOUSES

(Matthew 7:24-27)  Prayer – O Jesus, I will put your word into practice so my house will always stand. Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.) Context: Jesus chooses an example from the people’s daily experiences. In Israel, the rains come suddenly. A dry canal becomes quickly a raging stream. This parable is an excellent example …

NOVEMBER 30, 2016 – WEEK ONE OF ADVENT – WEDNESDAY – MULTIPLIED BLESSINGS

(Matthew 15:29-37) Prayer: O Jesus, let me hunger for your food. Imagination: (Picture Jesus and his disciples with the hungry crowds.) Context: The multiplication of food is the only miracle told in all four gospels. It is preceded by multiple healings. These stories highlight the Advent season when we await the Lord who comes with …

NOVEMBER 28, 2016 – WEEK ONE OF ADVENT – MONDAY – A CENTURION WITH GREAT FAITH

(Matthew 8:5-11) Prayer: O Jesus, fill me with faith in your power. Imagination: (Picture Jesus with the Centurion.) Context: Advent is a time of faith and the church selects the Gentile centurion as the first model. He believed that Jesus could heal at a distance (unheard of in Judaism). Even Jesus proclaims his extraordinary faith. …

NOVEMBER 27, 2016 – WEEK ONE OF ADVENT – SUNDAY (A) – NOT PREPARED FOR THE COMING

(Matthew 24:36-41) Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, prepare for Jesus’ coming. Imagination: (Picture Jesus warning His disciples to be alert.) Context: Strangely enough, we begin the liturgical year with Jesus speaking about how to prepare for the end of the world. He uses Noah as an example. He prepared for the sudden flood, and we, too, …

WEEK TWENTY FIVE – WEDNESDAY September 21, 2016 Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle MATTHEW, THE TAX COLLECTOR (MT 9:9-13)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Let me respond quickly to Jesus’ call. Imagination: (Picture Jesus at table in Matthew’s house). Context: This text has 2 parts. First, Matthew responds to Jesus’ call and then he invites Jesus to his house. Since Matthew is a sinner (collecting taxes for Romans) his friends are also “sinners”, so the …

SEPTEMBER 19, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-FIVE – MONDAY – MATTHEW THE TAX COLLECTOR

(Matthew 9:9-13) Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Let me respond quickly to Jesus’ call. Imagination: (Picture Jesus at table in Matthew’s house). Context: This text has 2 parts. First, Matthew responds to Jesus’ call and then he invites Jesus to his house. Since Matthew is a sinner (collecting taxes for Romans) his friends are also “sinners”, …

SEPTEMBER 6, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-THREE – TUESDAY – NATIVITY OF OUR LADY

(Matthew 1:18-25) Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Give to me Joseph’s fidelity to God’s plan. Imagination: (Picture Joseph receiving the angel’s message). Context: Luke tells us about Mary accepting her role as Mother of God. In Matthew’s gospel, the infancy stories focus on Joseph’s dilemma. How does an upright Jewish man resolve the dilemma of a …

AUGUST 27, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-ONE – SATURDAY – THE SERVANTS ENTRUSTED WITH MONEY

(Matthew 25:14-30) Prayer: O Jesus, make me your faithful servant to whom you can entrust your blessings. Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching His disciples.) Context: This parable is directed to the scribes. Surprisingly, the emphasis is upon the third servant (a symbol of the scribes). He has received the word of God but has neglected the …

AUGUST 26, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-ONE – FRIDAY – THE TEN VIRGINS

(Matthew 25:1-13) Prayer: O Jesus, I will go out to meet you. Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.) Context: In Jesus’ time, because marriages were delayed for hours until all the arrangements were worked out. Therefore, there were many midnight processions by torchlight with the bridegroom arriving unexpectedly. In this parable, all ten virgin fall …

AUGUST 25, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-ONE – THURSDAY – NEED FOR WATCHFULNESS

(Matthew 24:42-51) Prayer: O Jesus, I will watch for your return. Imagination: (Picture Jesus in the Jerusalem Temple with his disciples.) Context: This text contains two parables. The first likens God to a thief who breaks in at an unexpected time. The second is a servant. He can be faithful to his work or he …

AUGUST 24, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-ONE – WEDNESDAY – THE CULTURAL EVIL

(Matthew 23:29-36) Prayer: O Jesus, free me from my blindness. Let me see the truth. Imagination: (Picture Jesus confronting his contemporaries.) Context: This is the longest of seven woes pronounced by Jesus. He prophesies his own death and the persecution of the Early Church. Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) Woe to you, scribes and …

AUGUST 23, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-ONE – TUESDAY – CLEANSING THE INSIDE

(Matthew 23:35-37) Prayer: O Jesus, send your Holy Spirit, the fire of true repentance. Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching inner holiness.) Context: Jesus continues to confront his opponents about their false teachings which lead many astray. “The cup and the dish” are people who follow the Pharisees. They are not taught to purify their hearts. In …

AUGUST 22, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-ONE – MONDAY – THE PHARISEES’ FALSE ZEAL

(Matthew 23:13-23) Prayer: O Jesus, enlighten my path and lead my steps. Imagination: (Picture Jesus denouncing hypocrisy.) Context: Jesus is preaching in the temple during Holy Week. There, he meets severe opposition and must denounce false religious practices (which only increases the crowd’s anger). Jesus had given Peter the keys to open the Kingdom. Jesus’ …

AUGUST 20, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY – SATURDAY – THE HYPOCRISY OF THE PHARISEES

(Matthew 23:1-12) Prayer: O Jesus, give me the heart of a servant. Imagination: (Picture Jesus instructing His disciples in humility.) Context: Jesus does not criticize the teaching of the scribes and Pharisees (although he alludes to moral rigorism). Instead, he attacks their practices of seeking honor and gaining title. This conflicts with Jesus’ teaching that …

AUGUST 19, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY – FRIDAY – THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT

(Matthew 22:34-40)  Prayer – O Holy Spirit, send your divine fire to help me love God and my neighbor. Imagination: (Pictures Jesus speaking to the Pharisees and the crowds.) Context: The Rabbis had 613 commandments, and a common question was, “Which is the greatest?” The Pharisees approach Jesus in a hostile way, testing him because …

AUGUST 18, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY – THURSDAY – THE INVITED GUESTS

(Matthew 22:1-14) Prayer – O Jesus, may I always respond to your invitations. Imagination – (Picture Jesus confronting his enemies.) Context: The time is Holy Week. In the days before his capture, Jesus confronts his opponents in Jerusalem. In this parable, the invited guests are the Jerusalem leaders who refuse to come, even when the …

AUGUST 17, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY – WEDNESDAY – THE GOOD EMPLOYER

(Matthew 20:1-16) Prayer: O Jesus, You are a generous employer. Let me serve you faithfully. Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples.) Context: This parable is about the Kingdom. As the day goes on, the men grow discouraged. They stop seeking work and “sit around idle.” The owner’s constant going to the marketplace shows the importance …

AUGUST 16, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY – TUESDAY – RECEIVING THE HUNDRED-FOLD

(Matthew 19:23-30) Prayer – O Jesus, teach me to set aside everything for love of you. Imagination: (Picture Jesus surrounded by his disciples.) Context: After the rich young man walked away, Jesus commented on the difficulty of the rich entering the Kingdom of God. In today’s text, Peter is a model disciple and Jesus spells …