AUGUST 15, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY – MONDAY – THE RICH YOUNG MAN

(Matthew 19:16-22)

Prayer – O Jesus, I will sacrifice everything to follow you.

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

Context:

The man’s “kneeling down” shows great piety and his question is excellent. He wants what Jesus offers, eternal life. In responding to his question, Jesus mentions only commandments which deal with other people. Jesus makes the goal more definite. Jesus invites him “to follow”. Because Jesus is on a journey to Jerusalem, worldly possessions are an obstacle. So, the man “must sell what you have.”

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 you 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. Jesus affirms his reply and 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. He will have treasure in heaven.
  5. Instead of following Jesus, he turns back. His possessions keep him a captive.
  6. We will all meet him at the Last Judgment and discover the end of the story.

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

  1. Jesus, what more do I need to do to gain eternal life?
  2. Jesus, you love me and want me to succeed.
  3. You invite me higher. You stir within and lead me further.
  4. O Jesus, what are my possessions compared to the treasure in heaven?
  5. All that I own is a small price to purchase the Kingdom.
  6. Turning away from you is emptiness. Following you is fullness.
  7. Wait for me, Jesus. I am coming right now.

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.

AUGUST 12, 2016 – WEEK NINETEEN – FRIDAY – LET NO MAN SEPARATE

(Matthew 19:3-12)

Prayer: O Jesus, restore creation as it was in the beginning.

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

Context:

Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God was at hand. Through the power of this Kingdom, all creation can be restored to God’s original plan. Jesus believes that his Kingdom can remove the evil of divorce. His critics cite Moses’ teaching about a decree of divorce. Moses’ decree was just an attempt to give some ordering to moral decay.

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, he 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 raises an important problem.
  2. Moses resolved the problem of divorce by a legal maneuver.
  3. Jesus faces the problem in its original cause.
  4. Jesus wants an ordered humanity, a world as it was at the beginning.
  5. In this new creation of the Kingdom, husband and wife cleave to each other in an ordered relationship.
  6. Even with a civil divorce, the union remains because God joined them.

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

  1. Lord, how confused and entangled human life has become.
  2. I seek you Lord. Only your grace can order my life.
  3. Your Kingdom is powerful, purifying my feelings and my decisions.
  4. Unite me to the Father and my life will be “as it was in the beginning.”
  5. With you, Jesus, all things are possible.
  6. Help me to live my life without compromise.

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.

AUGUST 11, 2016 – WEEK NINETEEN – THURSDAY – THE UNMERCIFUL SERVANT

(Matthew 18:21-19:1)

Prayer: O Jesus, fill my heart with the Holy Spirit.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples)

Context:

The parable is about the Last Judgment and highlights the greatest demand upon every disciple, learning how to forgive. The warning is serious. God, who has granted the disciple forgiveness, will revoke that forgiveness if he does not extend forgiveness. Here everything is at stake.

The parable offers a unique comfort. If we forgive others, then God’s mercy extends beyond this world to the Final Judgment.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

(Scene 1) The Kingdom of heaven is like a King who decided to settle all his accounts. One servant owed him ten thousand talents. The King wanted his family and his goods sold so payment could be made. The servant said, “Have patience with me and I will pay everything.” Moved with pity, the king forgave the debt.

(Scene 2) When this servant left, he found his fellow-servant who owed him a hundred pence. Laying hands on him, he said, “Pay what you owe.” The fellow-servant, prostrating himself, said “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” However, he would not. Instead, he threw him into prison until the debt was paid.

(Scene 3) The other servants were very grieved and told the King what had happened. He called the servant and said, “Wicked servant, I forgave you the entire debt when you asked me. Should you not, then, have compassion on your fellow servant as I did on you? Filled with anger, he handed the servant over to the torturers until he paid all. So shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you do not forgive all your brothers from your heart.

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

  1. An “accounting” always represents the Final Judgment.
  2. For the true disciple, this Final Judgment will be filled with mercy.
  3. The first servant claims that he will repay the debt. However, the amount he owes is astounding.
  4. So, the King forgives the whole debt unconditionally.
  5. Although forgiven, the disciple does not imitate the King’s forgiving generosity.
  6. The other servants (disciples) know that this violates the King’s desires.
  7. The King is forced to reverse his decision. Mercy turns into Judgment.

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

  1. O Jesus, how much I owe you! I can never repay it.
  2. Lord, may the moment of my judgment be always before my eyes.
  3. I will give mercy so I can receive mercy.
  4. O Jesus, you have revealed the great secret.
  5. Teach me to “forgive from my heart.”
  6. Open my eyes to see how great is your patience with me.
  7. Inebriated by your mercy, I will forgive all who harm me.

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

  1. Today, I will think only of God’s patience and mercy to me.
  2. I will show forgiveness to everyone.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Moved with compassion, the King forgave the whole debt.

AUGUST 10, 2016 – WEEK NINETEEN – WEDNESDAY – IMPORTANCE OF GATHERING

(Matthew 18:15-20)

Prayer: O Jesus, always join me with others so you will be in our midst.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus gathered with his disciples.)

Context:

Jesus has just spoken of the shepherd seeking out the wandering sheep. This sheep represents a disciple who has left the church and the Church must seek him out. In today’s text, the individual believer must also seek out anyone who has sinned and try to reconcile him. If unsuccessful, the Church must get involved. The final two verses stress the power of communal prayer and the real presence of Jesus in the Church assembly (two or three gathered).

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

If your brother offends you, go and point out his fault. This will be between you and him. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. If he does not listen, take one or two more, so that the word of two or three witnesses shall stand. If he does not listen, tell the Church. If he does not listen to the Church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.

I say to you. Whatever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven. Whatever you shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.

I say to you that if two or three of you join your voices about anything on earth, it shall be granted by my Father in heaven. Where two or three gather in my name, I am in their midst.

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

  1. Jesus wants his disciples gathered together. A lonely disciple will not persevere.
  2. If a disciple strays, another must go and point out his fault.
  3. If he listens, the disciple has regained his brother for the church.
  4. If the strayed disciple is unrepentant, the church must declare him an outsider, hoping that he sees and repents.
  5. The power of the church exists even in its smallest gathering (2 or 3).
  6. When gathered in Jesus’ name, these groups have all the powers of heaven.
  7. Even more, Jesus will be present in their midst.

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

  1. O Jesus, send me other disciples so I can be one with them.
  2. O Jesus, I will call back those who have lost interest.
  3. I will be like you, Jesus, a shepherd who seeks the strayed sheep.
  4. O Jesus, what powers you give us when we gather in your name
  5. I believe Jesus. Whatever I ask in your name will be given.
  6. You are with us. You abide in our midst. You stay. You bless us.
  7. Let me always gather with others. Do not let us scatter.

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

  1. I will commit myself to gather with others.
  2. I will try to seek out the strayed Catholic.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Where two or three gather, I am in their midst.

AUGUST 9, 2016 – WEEK NINETEEN – TUESDAY – THE LOST SHEEP

(Matthew 18:12-14)

Prayer: O Jesus, come and find me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

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

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

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

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

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

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

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

  1. O God, I am precious to you. Your saints called you “made”, in your unreasonable love for me.
  2. Let me repent, so you and your angels can rejoice.
  3. Thank you, O Lord, for coming in search for me when I was lost.
  4. O God, your joy will not be complete until our union is forever.
  5. You give your angels charge over me. They, too, rejoice at my return.

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

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

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

There will be rejoicing among the angels.

AUGUST 8, 2016 – WEEK NINETEEN – MONDAY – PAYING THE TEMPLE TAX

(Matthew 17:23-27)

Prayer: O Jesus, you have made me a child of God and a citizen of heaven.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples, privately in a house.)

Context:

This is a unique little story, whose meaning can easily be lost. In Jesus’ time, Roman citizens paid no taxes. Rome was supported by non-citizens paying taxes. Jesus, as a son of God, claims freedom from the taxes and extends that freedom even to his apostles. Because others do not yet understand this new freedom, Jesus has Peter pay the tax to avoid scandal.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

When they entered Capernaum, those who collected the temple tax came to Peter and said to him, “Does your Master pay the temple tax?” Peter replied, “Yes”.

When they got inside the house, without giving Peer time to speak, Jesus asked, “What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth receive taxes? From their own sons or from foreigners? Peter replied, “From foreigners”. Jesus said, “Then the sons are free.”

However, so we do not scandalize them, go to the sea, throw in a hook and take out the first fish you catch. Open its mouth. Inside you will discover a coin worth twice the temple tax. Take it and give it to them for both you and me.

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

  1. The story deals with Jesus being obedient to Jewish rules.
  2. Christians are true Jews, true sons of Abraham.
  3. However, they are not under Jewish laws (symbolized by the taxes).
  4. Jesus has made them children of God.
  5. They enjoy the “freedom of sons and daughters”.
  6. To avoid scandal, Jesus and Peter will pay the tax. However, the heavenly Father provides the coin.

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

  1. O Jesus, you will lead me out from unnecessary burdens.
  2. Heavenly Father, I am your child, called to live with you forever.
  3. O Jesus, I am free. You have made me a child of God.
  4. O Lord, never let me scandalize anyone.       Teach me to be sensitive to other’s beliefs.
  5. Father, you provide for all my needs.

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

  1. I will ponder the great freedom I enjoy in Christ.
  2. I will never misuse that freedom.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The sons are free. They need not pay the tax.

AUGUST 6, 2016 – WEEK EIGHTEEN – SATURDAY – THE BOY WITH A DEMON

(Matthew 17:14-20)

Prayer: O Jesus, set me free from the Evil One.

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

Context:

The disciples are regressing.   Formerly, they had great success in driving out demons. Now, they are total failures. Jesus gets exasperated at their lack of faith. The father is different. He 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. My son foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and faints. 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 and he rolled about, foaming at the mouth. The father said, if you can do anything, please have pity on us.” Jesus said, “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 how real and powerful is the demonic world.
  2. Jesus is puzzled. People do not fully believe in his powers.
  3. Slowly, Jesus brings the father to faith, “Help my unbelief.”
  4. Finally, Jesus drives out the demon. Although seemingly dead, the boy is really free.
  5. This story symbolizes our own resurrection. Jesus will take our hand and we will rise.

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

  1. Jesus, how slow I am to believe.
  2. Cast out my restlessness, my fears, and my uncontrolled passions.
  3. Cast them out, Jesus. Rebuke them and make them leave.
  4. Jesus, You can remove problems even if they are deeply buried.
  5. Take my hand! Lift me up!
  6. Even if I am dead in my sins, I will come to you. You will still say “Arise, and show yourself to the priest.”

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

  1. I will trust in Jesus’ power over the demonic.
  2. I will go to Confession, believing that all darkness and sin will be removed.
  3. I will stay away from the occult and from Eastern religions.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Everything is possible for him who believes.

AUGUST 5, 2016 – WEEK EIGHTEEN – FRIDAY – SAVING YOUR LIFE

(Matthew 16-24-28)

Prayer: Jesus, how greatly I desire eternal life.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples)

Context:

Jesus has just predicted his passion, death and rising. Now he extends this mystery to everyone. Every disciple can rise with Jesus. They need only to deliberately take the same path. The choice is extremely important. A person can lose or save their immortal soul.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. Whoever will save his life, will lose it. And whoever loses his life for my sake, will find it. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? What can a man give in exchange for his soul?

The Son of Man shall come with his angels in the glory of his Father and he will repay each man according to his deeds. Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”

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

  1. All are invited. Anyone can follow Jesus.
  2. The conditions are awesome, to deny selfish interests and to take up the cross.
  3. The choice has gigantic consequences – to lose your soul or to gain your soul.
  4. What does it profit me to gain everything and lose my soul?
  5. What can I exchange? What has a value equal to my soul?
  6. When Jesus comes in glory with his angels, he will repay me according to my deeds.
  7. I will actually see Jesus coming in his Kingdom. Overwhelming!

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

  1. O Jesus, I accept your invitation, no matter what the cost.
  2. When I take up my cross, you will walk ahead of me.
  3. You created my soul, Jesus. Nothing on earth can equal its value.
  4. Thank you for saving me from hell.
  5. Nothing can buy my soul. I am not for sale. You bought me.
  6. O Jesus, you will come with your angels. I will await you.
  7. What is it like to share in your glory?

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

  1. I will never sell my soul.
  2. I will think about Jesus coming in glory.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

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

AUGUST 3, 2016 – WEEK EIGHTEEN – WEDNESDAY – THE QUICK-WITTED MOTHER

(Matthew 15:21-28)

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 the Kingdom will break out of its Jewish beginnings and spread to the whole world. Jesus allows her to win the debate so he can free her daughter.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. A Caananite woman presented herself, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have pity on me! My daughter is terribly troubled by a demon.” He did not answer her. His disciples told him, “Send her away. She is always crying out.” Jesus answered, “I was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel.”

She came and adored him, “Lord, help me.” Jesus answered, “It is not good to give the children’s food to the dogs.” She replied, “Do not the dogs eat from the crumbs falling from the master’s table?”

Jesus answered, “O woman, great is your faith. Let it be done as you will.” Her daughter was cured at that hour.

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

  1. As Jesus comes to her distant village, the mother realizes her special opportunity.
  2. This is her moment. Jesus has come to her area.
  3. Jesus hesitates, saying that his ministry is meant for the Jewish people.
  4. She cleverly twists his words and touches the heart of Jesus.
  5. Even the Gentiles should share in the Jewish banquet.
  6. Jesus’ great powers drive out the demon from afar.
  7. When the woman discovers the healing, she believes in Jesus and tells her story. That is how we know it.

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

  1. Jesus, You are always near. I always have my special opportunity.
  2. I will look for you. When I find you, I will pour out my heart.
  3. How many needs I have! How many powers you have!
  4. All my words touch your heart. You hear every one of them.
  5. You delay only so I ask again.
  6. O Jesus, how great are your powers. You can change everything.

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)

Her daughter was cured at that hour.

AUGUST 2, 2016 – WEEK EIGHTEEN – TUESDAY

(Matthew 15:1 + 10-14)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me be planted by your heavenly Father

Imagination: (Picture Jesus preaching to the crowds.)

Context:

This gospel mentions two enemies of Jesus – the scribes from Jerusalem (fierce opponents) and Pharisees (misguided opponents). The scribes raise the question of purification of hands before eating. The Pharisees object to eating certain foods. Since they both deal with food, Matthew joins these two controversies.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The scribes from Jerusalem said to Jesus, ‘Why do your disciples transgress the traditions of the ancients? For example, they do not wash their hands before eating a meal.

Jesus summoned the crowd and said, “Hear and understand. It is not what goes into a man’s mouth that defiles him, but what comes out of his heart. This is what defiles a man.”

His disciples said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were scandalized when they heard these words. Jesus answered, “Every plant which my Father has not planted, shall be rooted up.

Let them alone. They are blind and are leaders of the blind. If the blind lead the blind they will both fall into the pit.”

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

  1. The scribes are not concerned about good health habits.       They are clinging to religious traditions, but not to the living God.
  2. Jesus rejected these practices because they did not change people’s hearts.
  3. The Pharisees stressed dietary laws so people would be holy.
  4. For Jesus, the food going into the stomach is not important.
  5. Good or evil depend on the desires coming from the heart.
  6. Jesus corrects the disciples’ awe toward the Pharisees.       Otherwise, they would follow their teaching.
  7. Only what the heavenly Father does in our hearts will not be uprooted.

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

  1. Jesus, I will keep my eyes on you and my heart upon your words.
  2. Change my heart, O Lord. Create a new spirit within me.
  3. Show me, O Lord, the inner workings of my own heart.
  4. Bring my hidden desires into the light.
  5. O Jesus, what I eat is not important. Being like you is very important.
  6. O Father, plant eternal life in my heart.

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

  1. I will be careful about whose advice I follow.
  2. I will guard my thoughts, words and deeds.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

What comes out of a man’s heart determines what he is.

AUGUST 1, 2016 – WEEK EIGHTEEN – MONDAY – FOOD IN A DESERTED PLACE

(Matthew 14:13-21)

Prayer: O Jesus, you feed me with the finest food.

Imagination:  Picture Jesus feeding the 5,000.)

Context:

When Jesus heard of John’s death (told immediately before this story) he crosses to the eastern bank of the Sea of Galilee (Gentile territory). Jesus was already known among the Gentiles for his healing powers and many villages surrounded the Sea of Galilee. So, the scene evolves with many people in a deserted place. Matthew highlights this miracle as a preview of the Eucharist.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Hearing of John’s death, Jesus went by boat to a deserted place. The crowd learned of this and came out of their cities by foot. When he saw the great multitude, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

At evening, the disciples said, “This is a deserted place and the hour is late. Send the crowd away so they can buy some food in the towns.” Jesus said, “They need not do that. You give them to eat.” They answered, “We have only five barley loaves and two fishes.” He said, “Bring them to me.” He ordered the people to sit down. Taking the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke and gave the loaves to his disciples and the disciples gave them to the crowd.

They all ate and were filled. They gathered up what remained, twelve baskets of fragments. Those who ate were five thousand men, not counting women and children.

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

  1. Jesus feels deeply the loss of John and withdraws from his ministry.
  2. However, he also feels deeply for the people who need healing and teaching. So, he reverses his decision.
  3. The disciples still lack faith, not even thinking that Jesus would provide.
  4. Jesus has the disciples bring the food that they do have.
  5. Jesus takes the food, looks to heaven, blesses it, breaks it and gives to the disciples. He will do the same actions at the Last Supper.
  6. All are filled. No one is sent away hungry.
  7. God’s miracle is clear from the twelve full baskets.

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

  1. Jesus, how deeply you feel about me.
  2. Lord, I am the object of your greatest compassion.
  3. You can do all things, Jesus. Why do I not believe?
  4. Jesus, I bring you what I have.
  5. Jesus, I will hunger for the Eucharistic bread which you bless each day.
  6. You never send me away hungry.
  7. God, your love is abundant, overflowing my needs.

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

  1. I will try to receive Holy Communion every day.
  2. I will thank God for caring for all my necessities

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

His heart was moved with pity.

JULY 30, 2016 – WEEK SEVENTEEN – SATURDAY – BEHEADING OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

(Mt 14:1-12)

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

Imagination (Picture Herod with his party guests)

Context:

Matthew shortens Mark’s long explanation of Herod’s party. He highlights what is familiar – the hatred of John by Herod’s wife and Herod’s foolish promise and killing of John.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Herod, the Tetrarch, heard of Jesus’ fame. He said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist risen from the dead. That is why he does mighty works.” Herod had put John in prison because of Herodias, his brother’s wife.

John had said, “It is not lawful for you to have her. Herod wanted to kill John, but he feared the people who esteemed him as a prophet.

On Herod’s birthday, Herodias’ daughter danced before his guests and pleased Herod. He then made a promise to give whatever she asked. Her mother said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”

The King was sad but because of his oath and his guests, he sent and had John beheaded. The head was given to the girl who gave it to her mother. His disciples buried the body and told Jesus.

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

  1. Everything in this story is distorted. It begins with Herod’s fears.
  2. He even believes that Jesus is John 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, and promises a dancing girl whatever she wants.
  5. His wife is filled with evil, always desiring 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. Jesus, you alone save me from superstition, absurdity and darkness.
  2. Cast out all my fears. Only by your power, I will live in light and peace.
  3. Quiet my passions. Cool my evil desires.
  4. Give me your Spirit, and I will practice self-control.
  5. O Jesus, how many blunders I have made. No more. I will walk in your light.
  6. Do not let evil grow. Let me repent quickly of all my sinful decisions.
  7. 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.

JULY 29, 2016 – WEEK SEVENTEEN – FRIDAY – THE DOUBTING HOME TOWN

(Matthew 13:54-58)

Prayer: O Jesus, I will believe and not doubt.

Imagination:   (Picture Jesus teaching in the synagogue at Nazareth)

Context:

The gospels record Jesus coming back to Nazareth and being met with a lack of faith. The people know about his miraculous powers but remain cynical. Their lack of faith limits the fruitfulness of Jesus’ powers.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus came to his own town and taught in their synagogue. Yet, they wondered and said, “How did he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary and his relatives, James and Joseph and Simon and Jude? Are not all his sisters with us? Where did he get all these powers? “ They were scandalized concerning him.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is without honor only in his own country and in his native place.” He did not work many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

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

  1. Jesus returns to Nazareth with high hopes. He has been so successful in other places.
  2. He follows his usual plan and goes to the synagogue to teach.
  3. The response here is different. The people question his powers and do not seek healings.
  4. Being too familiar with his family, they reject him.
  5. Jesus is saddened. He wanted so much to help those he grew up with.
  6. He has infinite power, but he cannot use it for people who do not believe.

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

  1. O Jesus, you have high hopes. You want to do great things for me.
  2. You come to me, just as you come to every person.
  3. You want to bless me and pour out your favors.
  4. I will not disappoint you. I will not reject you.
  5. Who are you and who am I? You are the Lord. I am the servant.
  6. O Jesus, my heart is empty and you will fill it.

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

  1. I will have great faith in Jesus’ care for me.
  2. I will ask him to come to my heart.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

He worked no miracles there.

JULY 28, 2016 – WEEK SEVENTEEN – THURSDAY – THE CONCLUDING PARABLE

(Matthew 13:47-53)

Prayer: O Jesus, help me to understand your Kingdom.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples)

Context:

After preaching many parables, Jesus concludes with this parable about the Final Judgment. When finished, he asks the disciples if they understand. Then describes what he has just done by bringing forth various kinds of teachings.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The Kingdom of heaven is like a net cast into the sea which gathers all kinds of fish. When it is filled, the men draw it out. Sitting on the shore, they place what was worthwhile in their baskets but the useless they throw out. So it shall be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out and separate the evil from among the just. They shall cast them into the furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

“Have you understood all these parables?” Jesus asked. ‘Yes”, they said. He said to them, “Every scribe instructed in the kingdom of Heaven is like the head of the house bringing forth from his treasuries, the old and the new.” When Jesus finished this parable, he moved on from that district.

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

  1. Jesus’ heart is totally on the Kingdom of God.
  2. He constantly uses fresh images to impress this Kingdom upon his disciples’ hearts.
  3. The Kingdom already exists on earth in the hearts of good people.
  4. The wicked and the good live in the same neighborhood, seemingly equal.
  5. The angels, however, know who is who. They separate out the wicked, who are cast into the fire.
  6. The parables are simple and the disciples easily understand.
  7. Jesus provides many treasures from his storeroom of knowledge.

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

  1. O Jesus, focus my heart on your Kingdom.
  2. Impress your Kingdom onto my mind and soul.
  3. O Jesus, I cannot fool your angels. They see my heart.
  4. I cannot sneak into heaven. My soul must be truly yours.
  5. O Jesus, teach me and I will understand.
  6. You explain all the mysteries. Everything is clear. I must respond.

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

  1. I will ask Jesus to show me the state of my soul.
  2. I will remember the moment of my Judgment.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Have you understood all this?

JULY 27, 2016 – WEEK SEVENTEEN – WEDNESDAY – TWO PARABLES OF JOY

(Matthew 13:44-46)

Prayer: O Jesus, I will purchase your Kingdom, no matter what the price.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples)

Context:

Jesus continues to give a picture of a true disciple. These parables highlight joy that leads to a decision. Because Israel was invaded so many times (from every direction), many people buried their valuables in the fields, hoping to reclaim them later. Finding a treasure in a field was common. In the second parable, pearls are both highly prized and very valuable.

In these two stories, Jesus stresses the overwhelming joy which seizes both men when they make their discovery. Upon discovering the kingdom, every true disciple experiences this overpowering joy.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man finds it, he hides it again. Because of his joy, he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Also, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for good pearls. When he has found one pearl of a great price, he goes his way, sells all he has and buys it.

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

  1. Both men are searching and their finding is a great surprise.
  2. When they realize the greatness of their discovery, joy overwhelms them.
  3. This joy penetrates them and carries them away.
  4. They see that nothing else in the whole world compares to their discovery.
  5. Selling everything is a joy. They will possess the priceless treasure.

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

  1. Lord, I will search and you will help me to find.
  2. Finding you is totally your gift.
  3. The treasure is not on the surface. I must go deep into prayer.
  4. When I find you, joy overwhelms me.
  5. Jesus, penetrate my being and carry me off in joy.
  6. I will sell all to gain your presence.
  7. Even in future trials, my initial joy will carry me through.

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

  1. I will recall my joy in finding the Kingdom.
  2. I will live in that joy this day.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Because of this joy, he sold all he had and bought that field.

JULY 26, 2016 – WEEK SEVENTEEN – TUESDAY – SENDING OUT HIS ANGELS

(Matthew 13:36-43)

Prayer: O Jesus, I await your coming with all your angels.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in a house, alone with his disciples)

Context:

Jesus has just told the parable of the owner who sowed good seed while his enemy sowed weeds. The owner does not allow his servants to rip out the weeds. He is willing to wait for the harvest (which is always a symbol for Jesus’ second Coming.) Now, Jesus explains each part of that story and applies it to the Final Judgment.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

After Jesus sent away the crowds, he came into the house. His disciples said, “Explain to us the parable about the weeds in the field.”

Jesus replied, “The one who sows the seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world. The good seed are the children of the Kingdom. The weeds are the followers of the Evil One. The enemy that sowed the weeds is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world. The reapers are the angels.

Just as the weeds are gathered up at the harvest and burned in fire, so it shall be at the end of the world. The Son of Man shall send his angels and they shall gather out of the world all who cause others to sin and all the evildoers. They shall cast them into the fire and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then, the just shall shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Let everyone heed what he hears.”

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

  1. The owner allowed the wheat and the weeds to grow alongside each other, as if they both were equal.
  2. “The field is the world”, says Jesus. In human life, the good and the bad are equal.
  3. People misjudge this situation. They think that good and bad are equal in God’s sight.
  4. The angels see people for what they are.   They easily detect the bad from the good.
  5. They gather those who did evil and deliver them to the fire of hell.
  6. They take the good into the Father’s house, where they shine like the stars.
  7. Everyone needs to grasp this lesson. “Let everyone heed.”

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

  1. O Jesus, I want to be your wheat. To be good, is my free choice.
  2. Your angels will gather me in. I will prepare for that day.
  3. You are so patient, giving me time to repent.
  4. You are the Son of Man who will come in glory.
  5. O Jesus, I love you and I will await you.
  6. Someday, Jesus, I will shine in your Father’s house.

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

  1. Because God is patient with me,
  2. I will use this time to get my life in order.
  3. I will persevere in doing good, because that I will live forever in the Father’s house.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

He will send out his angels.

JULY 25, 2016 – WEEK SEVENTEEN – MONDAY – THE MUSTARD SEED AND THE LEAVEN

(Matthew 13:31-35)

Prayer: O Jesus, Your Kingdom is hidden but powerful.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

These two parables express the power of the kingdom, by highlighting a beginning smallness and a final greatness. From insignificant beginnings of mustard seed and leaven, God creates a mighty Kingdom. What began as a small ministry of a Jewish prophet (Jesus of Nazareth) becomes the Final Age of all history.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said, “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God, to what can we compare it?” It is like a grain of mustard seed which a man planted in his field. It is the least of the seeds but when it is grown it becomes the largest of plants. It puts out its branches so that the birds of the air can dwell in its shade.”

Jesus proposed another parable, “The Kingdom is also like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour until the whole mass was leavened.” Jesus taught the crowds in parables to fulfill what the prophet said, “I will open my mouth in parables. I will announce what has been hidden since the creation of the world.”

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

  1. Although small, the mustard seed and the leaven are alive.       They contain God’s creative powers.
  2. They are effective only by being buried – the seed into the ground and the leaven into the flour.
  3. The leaven’s effects are seen quickly. The power of the mustard seeds comes forth more slowly.
  4. They bring great blessings. The birds gain shelter and human beings gain nourishment.
  5. Like the seed and the leaven, God’s Kingdom is hidden within us and often overlooked.
  6. Really, the kingdom is filled with power and able to transform any person or society.

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

  1. O Jesus, I will cherish the seeds of your Kingdom within me.
  2. Plant your leaven within me. It will transform me completely.
  3. Jesus, your power in me can do all things.
  4. Lord, I will live by faith in your Kingdom within me.
  5. Give me patient faith. Your kingdom does not blossom overnight.

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

  1. I will believe in the power of Jesus’ Kingdom.
  2. I will be patient, trusting God’s kingdom to transform me.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

To what can I compare the kingdom of God?

JULY 23, 2016 – WEEK SIXTEEN – SATURDAY – THE WHEAT AND THE WEEDS

(Matthew 13:24-30)

Prayer: O Jesus, I will use my life your Judgment.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

In Jesus time, three groups tried to form the perfect religious community of Israel – the Pharisees, the Essenes, and surprisingly, John the Baptist. All of Jesus’ actions went against this idea. For Jesus, God’s community on earth would be very mixed. Only at the end would God do two things. He would remove the sinful and glorify the just.

In this parable, the master has two reasons for the delay. First, the servants will make mistakes, not seeing what is weed and what is wheat. Secondly, the time for this separation is at the end. Until then, will the true community be revealed. There must be time for repentance.

The fishermen with their nets know to wait until the end. Certainly God waits patiently, but a time of judgment comes both for gathering the harvest and for pulling in the net.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The Kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. While his men were asleep, an enemy sowed weeds among the wheat. When the blade brought forth the wheat, the weeds also appeared.

His servants said to the man, “Sir, did you not sow good seed? Where did the weeds come from?” He said, “An enemy has done this. The servants asked, “Should we gather up the weeds?” “No”, he said. “Perhaps in gathering the weeds, you will also root up the wheat. Let both grow to harvest time. Then I will say to the reapers, “First gather the weeds for the fire. Then, gather the wheat into the barns.”

The Kingdom of heaven is like a net cast into the sea, which catches all kinds of fish. When it is full, the men set it on the shore. They place the good fish in their buckets. The bad they throw away. So it shall be at the end of the world. The angels shall separate the just from the unjust.

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

  1. The servants would purify the field immediately. This would destroy the harvest.
  2. The fishermen are much wiser.       They let the net catch all kinds of fish.
  3. Only when they have completed their work, do they reject the bad.
  4. This symbolizes the final purification of the Christian community. It is postponed, but inevitable.
  5. These parables describe God’s plan. Each person has time to be purified and be made ready for the final judgment.
  6. God alone has fixed the time for the end of your human life. He gives you time to get ready.

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

  1. Lord, you give me days and years of life.
  2. You are the patient farmer and the wise fisherman.
  3. You hold back your wrath.       You do not root me up. You give me time.
  4. When the day of your harvest comes, may I be wheat, and not weeds.
  5. When your net gathers me in, may you retain me for your Kingdom.
  6. So much is at stake when your angels separate the just and the unjust!
  7. I will prepare, Jesus.       I want to be with you.

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

  1. I will rejoice in God’s patience with me.
  2. I will use today for the Kingdom.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

At the end of the world, the angels will separate the just from the unjust.

JULY 22, 2016 – WEEK SIXTEEN – FRIDAY – THE SOWER PARABLE EXPLAINED

(Matthew 13:18-23)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Let your Kingdom bring forth a harvest.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus explaining the parable to his disciples.)

Context:

In this text, Jesus applies the parable. The original story highlighted the power of the Kingdom. This explanation highlights the ground’s ability to receive the seed and bring a harvest.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The disciples asked Jesus what was the meaning of the parable of the seeds. Jesus said:

“God is the sower and the seed is his word. The seed by the wayside is the one who hears the word without understanding it. Satan steals the word from their heart.

The seed on rocky ground is the one who receives the word with joy but has no roots. The word lasts only for a time. When persecution or trial comes, he abandons the word.

The seed among thorns is the one who receives the word, but worldly anxieties and the desire for riches and pleasures, choke the word and it brings forth no fruit.

The seed placed in good ground is the one who hears the word, understands it and bears fruit, thirty, sixty and a hundredfold.”

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

  1. This interpretation highlights your response to God’s word.
  2. If your heart is hard, (the path) you will easily lose the Kingdom.
  3. If your response is superficial (rocky ground), you will abandon the Kingdom during trials.
  4. If your heart is set on passing pleasures, (thorns), your worldly desires will choke the Kingdom.
  5. The conclusion is clear. To have an abundant harvest, you must give the very center of your inner life to God’s word.

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

  1. Lord, I will not let Your Kingdom be marginal and superficial.
  2. May your Kingdom sink its roots within me.
  3. Lord, remove my heart’s hardness which resists your intrusion.
  4. Remove all my sinful attachments which only choke your word.
  5. O God, totally control my heart so your word brings a harvest.

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

  1. During the day, I will examine my heart to see what forces are within me.
  2. I will be generous with God, believing that His word will bring about a harvest.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

If the seeds of God’s Kingdom do not grow within, my soul is a wasteland.

JULY 21, 2016 – WEEK SIXTEEN – THURSDAY – THE PURPOSE OF THE PARABLES

(Matthew 13:10-13)

Prayer: O Jesus, reveal to me the mysteries of the Kingdom.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus explaining to his disciples the mystery of parables.)

Context:

All the gospels speak of “insiders” (the disciples) and “outsiders” (those who have not yet accepted Jesus and his Kingdom). Jesus has offered to these outsiders, (called “Them”) the Kingdom but they have not received it. Therefore, they will not hold on to the little faith that they do have.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

His disciples asked Jesus, “Why do you speak to them in parables? Jesus answered, “Because to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but to them it has not been given. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich. From anyone who has not, even what they have will be taken away.

That is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but they do not see. They hear but they do not listen or understand.”

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

  1. The human mind cannot grasp the mysteries of the Kingdom.
  2. Only the human heart, by surrendering to God, can understand the Kingdom.
  3. The Disciples give their heart to the Kingdom.   They receive much and are able to receive more.
  4. The wise and the prudent hold on to their hearts.   They receive little and stand in danger of losing everything.
  5. The parables are perfectly clear to those who give their hearts.
  6. They cannot to be understood by those who refuse.

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

  1. O Jesus,   I will be your disciple, able to receive your revelation.
  2. Teach me abandonment. If I surrender, I will understand.
  3. O Jesus, reveal your love, your closeness and your care. These are the mysteries of your Kingdom.
  4. Let me grow rich in your Kingdom.
  5. O Jesus, if I close my heart to you, I will lose everything.
  6. O Jesus, in these parables I meet you, heart to heart.

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

  1. I will give my heart to Jesus.
  2. I will take each parable to heart, searching out its meaning.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

To anyone who has more, more will be given and he will grow rich.