WEEK EIGHTEEN – THURSDAY – AUGUST 5, 2021 – PETER’S REVELATION (Mt 16:13-20)

Prayer:

O Jesus, You are the Messiah, the Son of God. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with Peter and the apostles.

Context:

Who is Jesus Christ? Many people still do not know. Peter, by a divine revelation of the Father, answers that question. Jesus calls him “Peter” (meaning rock) and makes him the foundation of his Church. This part of Matthew’s gospel focuses on Jesus forming his Church.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Jesus asked the apostles, “Who do people say I am?” They responded, “some say John the Baptist. Others say Elijah. Others say Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He then asked, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter said, “you are the Christ, Son of the Living God.” 

Jesus exclaimed, “Blessed are you, Simon, son of John, because flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. I say to you, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 

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

  1. Jesus wants to reveal his identity. So He begins the questioning. 
  2. Peter has the right answer and can think of nothing else to say. 
  3. By the light of a heavenly revelation, Peter says words far beyond his own understanding. 
  4. Peter can now receive a greater power – the Keys of the Kingdom. 
  5. Jesus will build his Church and uses Peter as his foundation. 
  6. The Church on earth has all the powers of heaven. 

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

  • O Lord, you ask me the same question, “Who do you say I am?” 
  • “You are the Christ.” I exclaim and you call me “blessed.”
  • O Jesus, may your Spirit reveal the Kingdom. 
  • Give me your power, and I will serve others. 
  • Enlighten me by inner revelation. Show me the Kingdom’s mysteries. 
  • With your powers, I can touch even heaven. 

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

+ I will seek to know Jesus. 

+ I will ask God to reveal my task in his Church. 

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

And you, who do you say I am? You are the Christ, Son of the living God.

WEEK EIGHTEEN – WEDNESDAY – AUGUST 4, 2021 – THE QUICK-WITTED MOTHER (MT 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.)

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

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

+ I will see the closeness of Jesus. 

+ I will believe in his powers. 

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

Her daughter was cured at that hour.

WEEK EIGHTEEN – TUESDAY – AUGUST 3, 2021 – A CLEAN HEART (MT 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.)

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

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

+ I will be careful about whose advice I follow. 

+ 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.

WEEK EIGHTEEN – MONDAY – AUGUST 2, 2021 – FOOD IN A DESERTED PLACE (Mt 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.)

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

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

+ I will try to receive Holy Communion every day. 

+ I will thank God for caring for all my necessities 

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

His heart was moved with pity. 

WEEK EIGHTEEN – SUNDAY B – AUGUST 1, 2021 – THE FOOD THAT DOES NOT PERISH (Jn 6:24-35)

Prayer:

O Jesus, help me to seek the imperishable food. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching the crowd. 

Context:

After Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes, he prays alone on the mountain. Meanwhile, his disciples cross the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum. When the sea grows turbulent, Jesus walks on the water to rescue them. The crowd finds him at Capernaum, obviously wanting Jesus to multiply food again. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

The crowds searched for Jesus and when they found him, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you. You do not seek me because you see miracles but because you have eaten and been filled with the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life. This food the Son of Man will give you. For on him, the Father has set his seal.”

They asked, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” Jesus answered, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom God has sent.” 

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

  1. The crowds make extraordinary efforts to be with Jesus. 
  2. However, they are seeking him to enjoy his miracles. 
  3. These miracles are signs of the Kingdom. 
  4. Jesus wants them to seek the Kingdom not the food. 
  5. Jesus has another food which they should seek because it will give eternal life. 
  6. The crowds have an excellent question, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” 
  7. Jesus gives a direct answer. The “work of God” is to believe in him. 

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

  • Jesus, I will do everything possible to find you. 
  • O Jesus, you rejoice that I seek you out. 
  • However, I should search for your spiritual gifts. 
  • You are the food that gives eternal life. 
  • With all my heart I ask, ‘What works can I do for you, Jesus?” 
  • “Just believe in me,” you reply. 

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

+ Today, I will seek Jesus with all my heart. 

+ I will allow faith to guide my every step. 

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

The crowds searched for Jesus and found him. 

WEEK SEVENTEEN – SATURDAY – JULY 31, 2021 – 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.)

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

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

+ I will examine the disorders in my life. What actions should I take? 

+ 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. 

WEEK SEVENTEEN – FRIDAY – JULY 30, 2021 –THE DOUBTING HOME TOWN (Mt 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.)

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

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

+ I will have great faith in Jesus’ care for me. 

+ I will ask him to come to my heart. 

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

He worked no miracles there. 

WEEK SEVENTEEN – THURSDAY – JULY 29, 2021 – Feast of St. Martha – MARY & MARTHA (LK. 10:38-42)

Prayer:

Come, Holy Spirit. Make Jesus the center of my attention. 

Imagination:

Picture Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet. 

Context:

Luke places this story right after the Good Samaritan to emphasize that the disciple must first love Jesus. Serving others is important (like the Good Samaritan) but not enough to be a disciple. Personal love is the first quality.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

When Jesus entered a village, a woman named Martha invited him to come to her home. She had a sister named Mary, who delighted in sitting at the Lord’s feet and listening to him. 

Martha was burdened with the task of serving. So, she stood and said, “Lord, are you not upset that my sister leaves me alone to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” Jesus replied, “Martha, Martha, you are troubled about many things. One thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” 

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

  1. Martha is filled with good will. She invites Jesus to her home and prepares the meal. 
  2. Jesus accepts both Martha’s activity and Mary’s personal attention. 
  3. Martha causes the problem. She cannot see the value of her sister just sitting with Jesus. 
  4. At this point, Jesus is forced to defend Mary’s choice. 
  5. Mary’s attention to Jesus is the disciple’s first obligation. Martha’s activity is his second. 

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

  • Jesus, come into my life. Come into my home. My door is wide open. 
  • Be the center of all my attention. 
  • Speak, Lord. I will listen. 
  • Lord, absorb my faculties by your overwhelming presence. 
  • You will make me a disciple and I will act to serve you. 
  • O Jesus, I will embrace my tasks in the Kingdom. 

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

+ Today, I will seek some quiet moments to spend in Jesus’ presence. 

+ I will prize the interior life of prayer (which I so often neglect). 

Thought for Today: (To recall your meditation.) 

Mary sat at his feet listening to him. She chose the better part. 

WEEK SEVENTEEN – WEDNESDAY – JULY 28, 2021 – TWO PARABLES OF JOY (Mt 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.)

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

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

+ I will recall my joy in finding the Kingdom. 

+ 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. 

WEEK SEVENTEEN – TUESDAY – JULY 27, 2021 – SENDING OUT HIS ANGELS (Mt 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.)

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

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

+ Because God is patient with me, I will use this time to get my life in order. 

+ I will persevere in doing good, because that way I will live forever in the Father’s house. 

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

He will send out his angels. 

WEEK SEVENTEEN – MONDAY – JULY 26, 2021 – THE MUSTARD SEED AND THE LEAVEN (Mt 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.)

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

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

+ I will believe in the power of Jesus’ Kingdom. 

+ 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? 

WEEK SEVENTEEN – SUNDAY – B – JULY 25, 2021 – FEEDING THE FIVE THOUSAND (Jn 6:1-15)

Prayer:

Come, Holy Spirit. Multiply your gifts within me. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus feeding the crowds.

Context:

The story of Jesus’ multiplying the loaves and fishes is in all four gospels. John, however, adds some details. First, Jesus tests the apostles. Secondly, he has to flee because the crowds would make him king.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus saw a great crowd coming to him, he asked Philip “Where can we buy bread so that they can eat?” He said this to try him because he knew what he would do. Philip answered, “Two hundred days’ wages is not enough, even for them to have a little.” 

Andrew, brother to Simon Peter, said “A boy here has five barley loaves and two fishes, but what are these among so many?” Jesus said, “Make them sit down.” There were about five thousand men and they all sat down. 

Jesus took the loaves, and when he gave thanks, he distributed them. He did the same with the fish. When all were filled, he told his disciples, “Gather up what remains so nothing is lost.” They filled twelve baskets with the loaves which remained after all had eaten. 

When the crowd saw the miracle which Jesus performed, they said, “This is truly the prophet who is to come into the world.” When he knew that they would come to take him by force and make him king, he fled again into the mountains alone. 

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

  1. The crowds follow Jesus because he has healed so many. 
  2. Jesus allows the apostles to be perplexed, while he already knows exactly what he will do. 
  3. His taking and blessing prefigures his same actions at the Last Supper. 
  4. He feeds all and sees that all is gathered up so none is lost. 
  5. The crowds realize the truth. Jesus is the prophet. 
  6. Their actions are of earth. When they try to make Jesus an earthly king, they do not act from faith. 
  7. Jesus flees. He knows that his Kingdom is not of this world. 

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

  • O Jesus, I follow you. I have seen your power. 
  • You know all things. You are totally in command. 
  • You multiply your divine Presence so I can receive you in Communion. 
  • O Jesus, you are careful so I am not lost. 
  • You are more than a prophet. You are my Lord and God. 
  • Be my King, Jesus. 
  • Do not flee from me. I want you to reign in my heart. 

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

+ I will have a special love for Holy Communion. 

+ I will make Jesus the King of my heart. 

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

Gather up what remains so nothing is lost. 

WEEK SIXTEEN – SATURDAY – JULY 24, 2021 – THE WHEAT AND THE WEEDS (MT 13:24-30)

Prayer:

O Jesus, I will use my life for 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.)

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

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

+ I will rejoice in God’s patience with me. 

+ 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. 

WEEK SIXTEEN – FRIDAY – JULY 23, 2021 – THE SOWER PARABLE EXPLAINED (MT 13:18-23)

Prayer:

O Jesus, let your kingdom bring forth a harvest in my life. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus explaining the parable of the seeds to his disciples. 

Context:

Jesus has just told the crowds the parable of the farmer who scatters seeds in four areas: By the wayside, on rocky ground, among thorns and on good soil. Since the disciples do not grasp the parable, Jesus explains the meaning. The first three types of ground represent obstacles to the seed growing. The good ground is the faithful disciple who hears and acts on the word. 

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 person who hears the word without understanding it. Satan steals the word from their heart. 

The seed on rocky ground is the person 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 person 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 person 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 the word of God. 
  2. If your heart is hard, (the path) you will easily lose the Kingdom. 
  3. If your response is superficial (rocky ground), you will give up the Kingdom during trials. 
  4. If your heart is set on passing pleasures (thorns), your worldly desires will choke the Kingdom. 
  5. To have an abundant harvest, you must give your heart to God’s word. 

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

  • O Lord, I will not let Your Kingdom be marginal and superficial. 
  • May your Kingdom sink its roots within me. 
  • Lord, I will not resist your coming into my life. My heart is wide open. 
  • Jesus, remove all my sinful attachments which only choke your word. 
  • O God, I give you my whole heart so your word brings a harvest. 

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

+ I will examine my heart to see what blocks God’s word. 

+ 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. 

WEEK SIXTEEN – THURSDAY – JULY 22, 2021 – Feast of St. Mary Magdalene – MAGDALENE SEES JESUS (Jn 20:1 – 11-18)

Prayer:

Jesus, fill me with Magdalene’s love and devotion to you. 

Imagination:

Picture Magdalene at the tomb with Jesus. 

Context:

This is a very rich text, containing many teachings for both devotion and doctrine. Magdalene stays at the empty tomb thinking the body has been stolen. Jesus appears and reveals who he is. She grasps Jesus but Jesus tells her not to hold him because he is ascending to the Father. A new relationship now exists. Jesus is preparing the way to heaven. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

After the disciples left, Magdalene remained at the tomb, weeping. When she looked into the tomb, she saw two angels dressed in white, one at the head and the other at the feet where the body of Jesus had been. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said, “Because they have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have placed him.” 

Turning around, she saw Jesus standing there, but did not know it was he. Jesus said, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for? Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have taken him, tell me where you have put him and I will take him away.” 

Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She replied, “Rabboni (meaning “Master”). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God.'” Mary went and told the disciples, “I have seen the Lord and these are the things he has told me.” 

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

  1. Magdalene’s love is greater than the two apostles. She alone stays at the tomb. 
  2. She listens to her heart not to her head. 
  3. She acts quite irrationally. She sees angels but doesn’t question why they are standing in the tomb. 
  4. She sees a man and asks him to return the body (if he has stolen it). 
  5. Her physical eyes do not recognize Jesus because his glorified body has been transformed. 
  6. However, she recognizes his voice. Jesus, the good Shepherd, calls her by name. 
  7. She embraces Jesus as if nothing has changed, but he is ascending to the Father. 
  8. Everything is new. The disciples are now Jesus’ brothers and sisters and God is their Father. 
  9. Magdalen becomes the Apostle to the Apostles – telling them that she had seen the Lord. 

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

  • Where are you, Lord? 
  • I am searching for you with all my heart. 
  • I embrace you, Jesus. 
  • You are ascending so that I can ascend with you. 
  • Let my tears prepare for your coming. 
  • Jesus, call me by name. 
  • O Jesus, you have made God my Father. 
  • Make me an apostle. I will tell all my friends about your rising. 

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

+ I will ask Jesus for Magdalene’s generosity. 

+ I will listen for Jesus to call me by name. 

Thought for Today: (To recall your meditation.) 

They have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have placed him. 

WEEK SIXTEEN – WEDNESDAY – JULY 21, 2021 – THE SOWER (MT 13:1-9)

Prayer:

Jesus, plant the powerful seed of your Kingdom in my heart.

Imagination:

Picture Jesus preaching to the crowds.

Context:

This parable contrasts the difficult beginning of the seeds and the glorious fulfillment of the harvest. The beginning has multiple frustrations. The end has gigantic results.

Jesus’ ministry is experiencing many obstacles. The disciples see failures, desertions and hostility. Jesus sees that God’s work is doing quite well.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

“A farmer went out to plant seeds. Some seed fell by the wayside and the birds of the air ate it. Some seed fell on rocky ground and grew quickly because the soil was not deep.

When the sun rose, it was scorched for lack of roots.

Some fell among thorns. The thorns grew and choked it and it did not yield grain.

Some fell upon good ground and brought forth abundant fruit that yielded thirty, sixty or a hundred fold. He who has ears, let him hear.”

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

  1. The seeds represent the power of God’s Kingdom.
  2. God scatters these seeds abundantly in your heart.
  3. You do not accept some seeds. These invitations fall “by the wayside.”
  4. By the hardness of your heart, you resist other seeds. They do not take root.
  5. You mix some seeds with your worldly preoccupations. These never produce any worthwhile fruit.
  6. You receive some seeds without compromise and give them your heart.
  7. These produce abundant fruit and you rejoice.

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

  • O Lord, sow your seeds abundantly in my heart.
  • I will cherish these seeds of the kingdom and of eternal life.
  • O God, at times you placed seeds in me, but I was not receptive.
  • Jesus, why do I resist your kingdom? Why is my heart like rocky ground?
  • O Lord, how often I make your seeds share my heart with other desires. This is not what you want.
  • Even though I have wasted everything, Your seeds can still bring an abundant harvest. Jesus, my life can still be glorious.

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

+ I will believe that the seeds of God’s Kingdom are abundant and powerful within me.

+ I will purify the soil, so the seeds can grow.

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

The harvest was thirty, sixty and a hundredfold.

WEEK SIXTEEN – TUESDAY – JULY 20, 2021 – HAVING A NEW FAMILY (MT 12:46-50)

Prayer:

O Jesus, I will be your brother (sister). 

Imagination:

Picture yourself in the crowd with Jesus saying “These are my brother and sister. 

Context:

Often, Mark begins a story, tells another story and then completes the first story. In this text, Mark concludes the story of Jesus’ family. Mark uses the key words, “outside” (to refer to the family) and “inside” (to refer to those who do God’s will). Don’t get upset by this story. It doesn’t mean that Mary complains. (Mark never uses Mary’s name. She is entirely absent in his gospel.) He wants to say that the disciples is Jesus’ mother, or brother or sister.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus was speaking to the crowds when his mother and his brothers came. They stood outside and sent someone to say, “Your mother and your brothers are outside and they wish to speak with you.”

Jesus responded, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers”? Extending his hand to those seated around him, Jesus said, “These are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does the will of my heavenly father is brother and sister and mother to me.”

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

  1. People can be related to Jesus by nature and not by faith. 
  2. They are still outside the Kingdom. 
  3. Jesus uses this occasion to announce a new truth. He is forming a new family of God. 
  4. His disciples have the unique opportunity of belonging to Jesus’ family. 
  5. If they just do God’s will, they will be a brother or a sister, or even a mother to Jesus. 

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

  • Jesus, to know you is not enough. I must see you with the eyes of faith. 
  • I will place no obstacle to your work. 
  • Form me into your family. 
  • Oh, to be a child of God! Nothing, nothing is a greater blessing. 
  • Jesus, your invitation overwhelms me. I can be your brother or sister. 
  • Whose heart could imagine such a blessing? 
  • Jesus, I will always do God’s will. Then, I will remain in your family forever. 

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

+ I will ponder the great privilege of being a child of God. 

+ I will seek God’s will at every moment. 

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

Whoever does the will of God is brother, sister and mother to me. 

WEEK SIXTEEN – MONDAY – JULY 19, 2021 – A GREATER THAN JONAH OR SOLOMON (MT 12:38-42)

Prayer:

O Lord, I seek no sign or wonder. I seek only you. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus speaking to the crowds.

Context:

Jesus’ enemies ask for a sign but Jesus addresses this teaching to the crowds. He cites two Old Testament examples of foreigners having a change of heart. When Jonah preached in Nineveh (a perennial enemy of Israel) the people repented. When the Queen of Ethiopia came to see Solomon, she was totally impressed with his wisdom and the glory of the temple.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Jesus said to the crowd, “This is a wicked generation because it looks for a sign. No sign shall be given except the sign of Jonah, the prophet. As Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so shall the Son of Man be to this generation. 

The Queen of the South shall rise in judgment against the men of this generation and shall condemn them because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Behold, a greater than Solomon is here. 

At judgment the citizens of Nineveh will rise in judgment against this generation and shall condemn it. They did penance at the preaching of Jonah and a greater than Jonah is here.” 

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

  1. People want signs to satisfy their intellect. Really they should be surrendering their heart. 
  2. A sign does not bring repentance, just curiosity. 
  3. Jesus gives the whole world the sign of his rising from the dead. Like Jonah, Jesus will be three days in the belly of the tomb. 
  4. Jesus cites the change of heart of the Queen of Sheba. She repented just by hearing Solomon speak. 
  5. What is Solomon’s wisdom compared with Jesus’. 
  6. The hated Ninevites repented when Jonah spoke. Who is Jonah compared to Jesus? 
  7. Jesus speaks about that important moment when every person in history will come before him in judgment. 
  8. On that day, the Queen and the Ninevites (both non-Jewish) will condemn those Jews (and us) who did not repent. 

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

  • O Jesus, give me no sign. Just give me yourself. 
  • You are risen from the dead and I will rise with you. Alleluia! 
  • Change my heart, Jesus. Turn me totally to Your way of life. 
  • If they repented when Jonah preached, can I not repent at your word? 
  • If the Queen believed in Solomon, should I not believe in you? 
  • The only unchangeable moment, Jesus, is when I come before you. 
  • I will be your friend and no one will condemn me. 

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

+ I will think today about this Sign of Jonah – the miracle of Jesus’ rising. 

+ I will ponder Jesus’ greatness. 

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

A greater than Jonah or Solomon is here. 

WEEK SIXTEEN – SUNDAY (B) – JULY 18, 2021 – 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 decides to put of all his teaching of the crowds because they need a deeper relationship. 
  3. 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 of himself to the crowds. 

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

  • Jesus, keep me close to yourself. Always draw me back when I leave you. 
  • You give yourself totally to me. You reveal your thoughts and desires. You offer me all of your time. 
  • Let my desires drive me on. I will seek you and find you. 
  • You see me, Jesus. You see that I wander. Be a shepherd to me. 
  • You give yourself to everyone – to saint and to sinner, even to me. 

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

+ Today, I will seek Jesus at every moment. 

+ 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 FIFTEEN – SATURDAY – JULY 17, 2021 – THE ANOINTED AND CHOSEN SERVANT (MT 12:14-21)

Prayer:

O Jesus, anoint me with your Holy Spirit. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with the crowds swarming around him. 

Context:

More than any other gospel, Matthew quotes fulfilled prophecies to show the Jewish members of his community that their faith in Jesus is solidly founded. He also wants his Gentile members to be familiar with the Old Testament. Here, Matthew summarizes Jesus’ accomplishments to show that Jesus is the Suffering servant prophesied by Isaiah. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

The Pharisees began to plot against Jesus so they could destroy him. Therefore, Jesus withdrew from that place. Many followed him and he healed them, but he warned them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what had been said through the prophet Isaiah: 

“Behold my servant whom I have chosen 

My beloved in whom I am well pleased. 

I will put my spirit upon him and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. 

He will not contend or cry out 

Nor will his voice be heard in the streets. 

The bruised reed he will not break 

And the smoldering wick he will not extinguish 

Until judgment is made victorious. 

In his name, the Gentiles will hope.” 

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

  1. Jesus has two very diverse audiences. The Pharisees plot to destroy him. The crowds want to follow him. 
  2. Jesus words and miracles fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy. 
  3. Jesus is God’s chosen one enjoying the fullness of the Holy Spirit. 
  4. He will be gentle and His voice will be soft. 
  5. He will be very conscious of people’s weaknesses yet he will win the great victory. 
  6. All can find hope in him. 

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

  • I will be like the crowds and follow only you. 
  • Jesus, you are God’s chosen one, anointed with the Spirit. 
  • Jesus, your voice is soft. You invite. You encourage. You say “Come to me.” 
  • You do not crush me. You do not quench my spirit. You are the most gentle of all. 
  • You win the victory. You never fail. You are never defeated. 
  • All the world should hope in you. 

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

+ Today, I will ask Jesus to share his Holy Spirit with me. 

+ I will ponder the gentleness and softness of Jesus. 

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

In his name, all the nations will find hope.