WEEK THREE OF LENT – SUNDAY – B – MARCH 7, 2021 THE CLEANSING IN THE TEMPLE (JN 2:13-25)

Prayer:

O Jesus, I will put no obstacles to your purifying action. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with his whip confronting the temple leaders. 

Context:

All four gospels speak of this cleansing (therefore, it is an important event). John places it at the very beginning of Jesus’ public ministry and adds the important teaching that Jesus’ body is a temple which will be destroyed and rebuilt in three days.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Since the Jewish Passover was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple, he found those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, together with the money-changers. He made a whip and drove out the sheep and the oxen. He overturned the tables of the money-changers. 

He told those selling doves, “Take these away and do not make my Father’s house into a marketplace.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house consumes me.” 

The Jews asked him, “What sign can you show us that authorizes you to do these things? Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple and in three days, I will raise it up.” The Jews said, “This temple took forty years to build, and you will raise it up in three days?” Actually, he was talking about his body. When he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered his words. They came to believe the scripture and the word that he spoke. 

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

  1. Jesus’ heart is sensitive to evil. 
  2. Seeing the buying and selling fills Him with anger. 
  3. Because of these deep feelings, He takes immediate action. 
  4. He thinks only of His Heavenly Father, giving no notice to how others might feel. 
  5. Overturning the tables and scattering the money symbolizes God destroying evildoers. 
  6. When Jesus is challenged, He prophecies His own resurrection. This supplies all the authority He needs. 
  7. These words mean so much to the disciples. By the Resurrection, they believe that Jesus is the Son of God. 

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

  • O Jesus, give me a sensitive heart. 
  • Heavenly Father, awaken me to your desires. 
  • Jesus, destroy all evil in the temple of my heart. 
  • Make me a holy, purified temple. 
  • Jesus, your rising from the dead gives you all authority. 
  • You are Lord. You are Saviour. You are the only-begotten Son of God. 

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

+ I will allow Jesus to cast out all evil – in my thoughts, words and deeds. 

+ I will proclaim the risen Jesus as Lord of my life. 

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

Destroy this temple and in three days, I will raise it up. 

WEEK TWO OF LENT – SATURDAY – MARCH 6, 2021 THE PRODIGAL SON (Lk: 15:1-3, 11-32)

Prayer:

O Heavenly Father, let me never leave your house. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with His disciples. 

Context:

This is a “Parable of the Father’s Love” and is drawn from real life. Many young unmarried sons (under twenty) asked for their inheritance to leave Palestine and better themselves. This son, however, loses his money and returns home. The father’s response is not reasonable, but mirrors the way God treats us.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

A man had two sons. The younger said, “Father, give me my inheritance.” After gathering his things, he went to a distant country. However, he wasted his money by living recklessly. When he had lost everything, a famine broke out and the son got a job feeding pigs. He would like to have filled his belly with their food but no one gave him any. 

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

  1. This scene happens so frequently. A young person grows dissatisfied and wants out. 
  2. This desire destroys the family support which he/she still need. 
  3. The son rejects the Father’s wisdom and soon his own wisdom fails him miserably. 
  4. The destructive power of sin destroys all that he has. 
  5. The result is total disaster. A privileged son has become a hungry swine herder. (The lowest of occupations). 

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

  • O God, how often my desire for liberty has led me to frightful decisions. 
  • Too often, O Lord, I have trusted my own wisdom. 
  • O Jesus, my unbridled passions have led me into problems. 
  • You allowed my situation to deteriorate. 
  • You abandoned me to my own whims, so I would face reality. 
  • Leaving your house, O Lord and choosing my own path have led me to the depths of darkness, even to depravity. 

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

+ I will recall all of my foolish decisions, taking full responsibility for what I have done. 

+ I will not blame God for my situation. I decided to leave his house. 

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

He got a job feeding the swine. 

WEEK TWO OF LENT – FRIDAY – MARCH 5, 2021 TAKING AWAY THEIR VINEYARD (MT 21:33-43)

Prayer:

O Lord, you have given me everything. Make me a faithful tenant. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with his disciples and his opponents. 

Context:

Jesus spoke this parable in Jerusalem when the chief priests and elders questioned his authority. The parable fitted their situation. The tenants are the Jewish religious leaders. The vineyard is Israel. The servants already rejected are the Old Testament prophets. The son, of course, is Jesus. By rejecting the son (killing him on the cross), the religious leaders will lose their authority.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Jesus said, “There was a man who planted a vineyard, put a hedge, dug a vat and erected a tower. He rented it to tenants and went on a journey. When the harvest came he sent his servants to the tenants to receive his share. The tenants beat one, killed another and stoned another. He sent more servants and they did the same. Finally, he sent his son, thinking, “They will respect my son.” 

Seeing the son, the tenants said, “This is the heir. Let us kill him and we shall own the vineyard.” So they killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the Lord of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?” 

They answered, “He will bring those evil men to an evil end and will give the vineyard to those who will give him grapes at vintage time.” Jesus said, “For this reason I say that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and will be given to a people who will yield a rich harvest. 

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

  1. Notice the zeal and care of the owner for his vineyard. He plants a vineyard and builds a hedge, a vat and a tower. 
  2. The owner only wanted his share of the grapes. 
  3. The messengers just bring the owner’s words – to give them what is his due. 
  4. The owner is patient even when the tenants kill his servants. 
  5. He gives them another chance deciding to even risk his son to restore the right relationship. 
  6. The tenants want the whole vineyard and are willing to kill the son to get it. 
  7. Instead of gaining the vineyard, they are cast out. 
  8. The vineyard is taken away and given to others. 

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

  • Jesus, you have done everything for me. You created me. You came to earth for me. You died for me. 
  • O Lord, you have a right to my praise, to my life, to everything. It is yours. 
  • O Lord, when you send your messengers, let me accept them. When you speak in my heart, let me listen. 
  • How patient you are, O Lord, waiting, always waiting until I turn to you. 
  • Father, you sent your only Son to me, even at the cost of His life. 
  • I give you everything. All that is yours is mine. You have done everything for me. 

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

+ I will give God every Sunday. The day belongs to him. 

+ I will listen to the church and to God’s voice within me. 

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

Finally, He sent his son, thinking, “Surely, they will respect my son.” 

WEEK TWO OF LENT – THURSDAY – MARCH 4, 2021 The Rich Man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31)

Prayer:

O Lord, awaken me by this warning. Do not let me be like the foolish brothers. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching the crowds. 

Context:

Judaism believed that riches proved God’s favor and that poverty proved sinfulness. Jesus reveals the true picture which shocks his audience. The rich man goes to hell while Lazarus enjoys the highest honor of being at Abraham’s side. 

This sets the stage for this parable of the six brothers (its real name). The rich man sees clearly that his five brothers are in danger. However, his brothers are like foolish men with no thought of the impending judgment. They do not listen to the Church and its preaching.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

A rich man feasted sumptuously every day. At his gates sat Lazarus, a beggar filled with sores. He desired only the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table but no one gave them. It happened that the beggar died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried in hell. He lifted his eyes and saw Abraham afar off with Lazarus at his side. 

He cried out, Father Abraham, “Let Lazarus come and refresh me with some water.” Abraham replied, “Remember that you received good things in life and Lazarus received evil things. Now he is comforted and you are tormented. Besides, there is a great abyss between us and no one can pass from one side to another.” 

The rich man said, “Then send Lazarus back to earth to preach to my five brothers, so they do not come to this place of torment.” Abraham said, “Let them listen to Moses and the prophets.” The rich man said, “If someone risen from the dead told them, they would do penance.” Abraham said, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not listen to one risen from the dead.” 

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

  1. Lazarus is used only to highlight the problem of the six brothers, one dead and five living. 
  2. The dead brother realizes how important repentance is. Without penance, his five brothers will all join him in hell. 
  3. They have the normal helps (the teachings of Moses and the prophets) but the rich man realizes that they won’t use those helps. 
  4. He pleads for Lazarus to be a risen-from-the-dead preacher, to whom they will certainly listen. 
  5. However, Jesus is already risen from the dead and most do not listen even now. 
  6. The parable challenges us to respond to the Gospel that is preached to us every day. 

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

  • Jesus, while I am here on earth, I am free to choose. 
  • When my life is over, I will have made my choice. 
  • Right now, I decide to repent, to change and to have you as my Lord. 
  • I do not need an extraordinary preacher. I need only your word. 
  • You are risen. You preach to me. You speak within. You call. You shout. I must hush all the other voices so I can hear you. 
  • Someday, Jesus, I will be in heaven or in hell. Guide my free will. 

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

+ I will read God’s word with urgency. 

+ I will believe that God wants to welcome me into his Kingdom. 

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation.) 

Lazarus was carried by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. 

WEEK TWO OF LENT – WEDNESDAY – MARCH 3, 2021 AMBITIOUS JAMES AND JOHN (Mt. 20:17-28)

Prayer:

Come Holy Spirit. Reveal the glory you have prepared. 

Imagination:

Picture James and John seeking favors from Jesus.

Context:

Jesus has just told the apostles that He would come in glory. With great ambition, James and John want that glory. Before granting any glory, Jesus must enter into His Messianic glory by drinking the cup. This cup means both His suffering and the Eucharistic cup celebrated in Mark’s Church. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

The mother of James and John came to Jesus, accompanied by her sons. Jesus asked “What is it that you want?” She answered, “Promise me that these sons of mine will sit, one on your right hand and the other on your left hand in your Kingdom.” Jesus replied, “You do not know what you are seeking. Can you drink of the chalice that I will drink?” They said, “We can.” Jesus said, “You shall indeed drink of the chalice that I drink of. However, to sit on my right hand or my left hand, is not mine to give you. It is for those for whom it has been reserved by my Father.” 

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

  1. These apostles have no idea of the costs of the Kingdom’s glory. 
  2. Jesus tells them that they seek what they do not understand. 
  3. Even with this warning, they glibly say that they can drink the chalice. 
  4. Jesus sees the future. After many failures, they will drink the chalice and will be martyred. 
  5. The highest glory, however, is reserved for others. 
  6. Such is the Kingdom! God has already prepared each one’s place and His decisions are beyond our comprehension. 

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

  • O Jesus, enlighten me about the greatness of your Kingdom. 
  • Pull me into the great mystery of your will. 
  • Help me to drink your chalice. 
  • O Jesus, You have prepared my place in glory. 
  • O Jesus, Your only desire is to share your glory with me. 
  • You have already made me so many promises. 

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

+ I will find time for mental prayer so God can reveal the Kingdom to me. 

+ I will cherish God’s will, both on earth and in heavenly glory. 

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

The Father has already decided my place in heavenly glory. 

WEEK TWO OF LENT – TUESDAY – MARCH 2, 2021 THE HYPOCRISY OF THE PHARISEES: (Mt: 23:1-12)

Prayer:

O Jesus, give me the heart of a servant. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus instructing His disciples in humility. 

Context:

Jesus does not criticize the teaching of the scribes and Pharisees (although he alludes to moral rigorism) but he condemns their practices of seeking honor and gaining titles. Jesus wants his disciples to serve others and to take the last place.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus told the crowds and his disciples, “The scribes and Pharisees sit on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do all that they say but do not follow their example. For they bind heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they do not lift a finger to help them. 

They do all their works to be seen by men. They widen their phylacteries and wear huge tassels. They love first places at feasts and first place in the synagogues. They like to be greeted in the marketplace and be called ‘Rabbi.’ You are to avoid the title ‘Rabbi.’ Only one among you is the teacher. The rest are learners. 

Do not all call anyone on earth ‘Father.’ Only one is your Father, the One in heaven. Avoid being called ‘Teacher.’ Only one is your teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you is the one who serves the rest. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” 

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

  1. By hypocrisy, a person professes a belief that they do not live out. 
  2. Jesus despises this false devotion and provides many concrete examples. 
  3. The Pharisees place burdens on people and offer no help. 
  4. They seek praise of others and places of honor. 
  5. They seek titles and superiority. 
  6. They distance themselves and refuse to serve. 
  7. Only Jesus Christ is your master. 

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

  • O Jesus, I will live my devout life in truth. 
  • I will place everyone in my heart and be a servant to all. 
  • I will love the other disciples and we will be a true sign to the world. 
  • I will seek no worldly glory, especially in my devout community. 
  • You, alone, are my Christ, my Master, my Lord. 
  • Do not let me ruin your work. 

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

+ Today, I will serve others. 

+ I will avoid all ostentatious behavior so the Gospel can spread. 

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

The greatest among you must be the servant of all. 

WEEK TWO OF LENT – MONDAY – MARCH 1, 2021 COMPASSIONATE AS THE FATHER (LK 6:36-38)

Prayer:

Father, fill me with your compassion. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.

Context:

After teaching about loving enemies, Jesus concludes with “Be compassionate as the heavenly Father.” He then stresses the need not to judge others. This will determine what will be measured out to the disciples.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Jesus said to his disciples, “Be merciful as your Father is merciful. Do not judge and you shall not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. If you forgive, you will be forgiven. 

Give and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down and shaken together, flowing over into the fold of your garment. By the same measure that you measure, it shall be measured out to you.” 

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

  1. How merciful the Father is. That is how merciful the disciple must be. 
  2. If we do not judge, God does not need to judge us. 
  3. To be forgiven by God, we need only to forgive others. 
  4. Jesus uses the example of buying grain at the marketplace. 
  5. The seller fills the basket and presses down so he can give even more. 
  6. Finally, he shakes the basket so every inch is filled with grain. This is how a disciple should give. 
  7. People also carried grain in their apron. Jesus promises that his blessing will “flow over the fold of the garment.” 

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

  • O Jesus, I will approach every person with a merciful and compassionate heart. 
  • O Lord, you make so many promises and all of them are true. 
  • If I forgive others, you will forgive me. 
  • Such a great reward for such a little effort! 
  • Fill me, Lord. Press your favors into my heart. 
  • Shake me so you can fill me even more. 
  • O Jesus, I give you little and you give me much. 
  • My heart overflows, incapable of receiving all you give. 

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

+ I will ask Jesus to make me a generous person. 

+ Today, I will see who needs my compassion and forgiveness. 

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

Give and it will be given to you in full measure. 

WEEK TWO OF LENT SUNDAY – B – FEBRUARY 28, 2021 THE TRANSFIGURATION (Mk 9:2-10)

Prayer:

O Jesus, take me up the mountain of your glory. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus on the mountain with his three apostles. 

Context:

Peter has just proclaimed in faith “You are the Messiah.” In this text, he and two other apostles have an experience which verifies that truth. They see Jesus, changed in appearance, clothed in heavenly glory. The Father speaks, just as he did at Jesus’ Baptism. These three disciples will be closest to Jesus in the Garden prayer.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

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

A cloud overshadowed them and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them, only Jesus. 

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

  1. To bestow this overwhelming experience, Jesus leads the apostles to the mountain’s solitude. 
  2. When they see Jesus’ heavenly glory, they cannot function normally. 
  3. Jesus is the central figure. Moses and Elijah are at his side. 
  4. The events overwhelm Peter. He rightly exclaims, “It is good to be here.” 
  5. The cloud paralyzes them. They are completely attentive to the Father’s words, “This is my Beloved Son. Listen to him.” 
  6. When the vision is over, they see only Jesus. All blessings are placed in him. 

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

  • O Lord, invite me to the mountain of prayer. 
  • O Jesus, Your glory overwhelms my poor faculties. They cannot grasp your light. 
  • You, O Lord, are the center of all history. 
  • Burn your Father’s words into my soul. “This is my Beloved Son. Listen to Him.” 
  • Jesus, I will see you in heaven. 

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

+ I will find a moment today to climb the mountain of prayer. 

+ I will value the riches which Christ offers to me. 

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

Jesus took them up the mountain so he could reveal his glory. 

LENT – SATURDAY – FEBRUARY 27, 2021 LOVE YOUR ENEMIES (MT 5:43-48)

Prayer:

Come, Holy Spirit. Make me perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus asking the disciples to imitate the Father. 

Context:

Jesus continually demands that his disciples show goodness towards enemies. They must act as children of a heavenly Father. At the end Jesus reveals his goal. He wants the disciples to be as perfect as the heavenly Father.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

You have heard it said, “You shall love your neighbor but hate your enemy.” I say to you “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for those who persecute you and insult you. In this way, you can be children of your heavenly Father. He makes the sun rise on the good and the bad. He makes the rain fall on the just and the unjust. 

If you love those who love you, what reward shall you have? Do not even sinners do this? If you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not even the pagans do that? You must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

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

  1. Jesus calls you to the height of holiness. 
  2. He asks you to love everyone and to exclude all hatred. 
  3. He offers you the highest reward. You will be a child of the heavenly Father. 
  4. Look at how God acts. He sends his sun and his rain on everyone, good or bad. 
  5. Jesus wants you to act in the same way. 

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

  • Jesus, lead me to your heights of holiness. 
  • O Jesus, give me a new way to live. 
  • Let your love cast out all my hatred. 
  • Make me a child of the heavenly Father. 
  • I will shower my love and my forgiveness upon everyone. 
  • You call me to be perfect as the Father. I will begin right now. 

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

+ I will let everyone into my heart this day. 

+ I will remove my hatred and critical spirit. 

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

Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. 

LENT – FRIDAY – FEBRUARY 26, 2021 ANGER (MT. 5:20-26)

Prayer:

Come, Holy Spirit. Let your gentleness overcome my anger. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching his disciples to reconcile.

Context:

Jesus teaches a “greater goodness” which is demanded by the holiness of this new Kingdom. In this gospel, he compares the Old Testament teaching on anger and his new teaching. The disciples maintain unity by forgiving each other.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Jesus taught the disciples about anger, saying, “You have heard it said, ‘You shall not kill’ and ‘Whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of judgment. Whoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raqa’ shall be in danger of the council. Whoever shall say ‘You fool’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 

If you come to the altar to offer your gift and remember that your brother has anything against you, leave your offering before the altar and go first to be reconciled to your brother. Then come and offer your gift.” 

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

  1. Jesus invites his disciples to live at a new level of goodness. 
  2. The law commanded external compliance. Jesus goes much deeper, into the disciples’ hearts. 
  3. His disciples must remove their inner anger. Then, discord will cease. 
  4. He forbids angry words, so that hatred gains no foothold. 
  5. Even the temple sacrifices must be delayed until the disciples reconcile. 

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

  • Jesus, make me gentle. 
  • Save me, O Lord, from the violent waters of anger. 
  • On the cross, you spoke no angry word. You were silent as a lamb going to the slaughter. 
  • Release a river of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation within me. 
  • Reconcile me to all of my family and friends. 
  • O Jesus, I will drink deeply of your forgiveness. 

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

+ Today, I will forgive everyone who hurts me. 

+ I will reconcile with my enemies wherever possible. 

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

Leave your gift at the altar and go to be reconciled with your brother. 

LENT – THURSDAY – FEBRUARY 25, 2021 CONFIDENCE IN PRAYER (MT 7:7-12)

Prayer:

O Jesus, teach me to ask and to seek and to knock

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching His disciples to have confidence in prayer.

Context:

God wants to bless you. First, he wants you to seek his blessings (so when you receive them you will thank God and grow in faith). Jesus uses three images (ask-receive; seek-find; knock-be opened) to assure you that God wants you to ask.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

“Ask and it will be given you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened to you. Whoever asks, will receive. Whoever seeks, will find. To whomever knocks, it shall be opened. 

What man among you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or, if he seeks fish, will give him a serpent? If you who are evil, give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give good things to those who ask?” 

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

  1. To encourage you to ask, Jesus teaches that the Father always hears you. 
  2. You need not compete for God’s prizes. He provides gifts for all his children. 
  3. Everyone who seeks, will find something. 
  4. This teaching seems too good to be true. So Jesus uses human examples. 
  5. What earthly father would hand his child a stone or a serpent? 
  6. Certainly, the heavenly Father will never withhold good things from you. 

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

  • You encourage me, Jesus. You urge me to ask. 
  • O God, all your gifts are mine. I just need to ask and seek. 
  • O heavenly Father, would you give me useless things, like a stone or a serpent? 
  • Father, you hear me as if I were your only child. 
  • O Father, You gave me Jesus. Will you withhold other blessings? 
  • O Father, lavish your good things upon me. 

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

+ I will fill this day with requests to my heavenly Father. 

+ I will think about the Father’s love for me. 

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

How much more will the heavenly Father give you good things. 

LENT – WEDNESDAY – FEBRUARY 24, 2021 A GREATER THAN JONAH OR SOLOMON (LK 11:29-32)

Prayer:

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

Imagination:

Picture Jesus speaking to the crowds. 

Context:

Although Jesus’ enemies asked for the sign, 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 upon 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 the judgment, the citizens of Nineveh will rise along with this generation and shall condemn it. At the preaching of Jonah they did penance, but you have something greater than Jonah 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 satisfies curiosity. It does not get people to repent. 
  3. Jesus gives the whole world the greatest sign, his rising from the dead. 
  4. Jesus cites the Queen’s change of heart. She repented just by hearing Solomon speak. What is Solomon compared with Jesus? 
  5. The hated Ninevites repented when Jonah spoke. Who is Jonah compared to Jesus? 
  6. Jesus speaks about the most important moment of all. Every person in history will come before him in judgment. 
  7. On that day, the Queen and the Ninevites (both non-Jewish) will condemn those who did not repent. 

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

  • 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. 
  • They repented when Jonah preached. I will repent at your word. 
  • Send me your Spirit of repentance. 
  • Only the moment of judgment is unchangeable. When I come to you after my death, let me be your friend. 

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’ claim that he is greater than all other teachers. 

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

Something greater than Jonah or Solomon is here. 

LENT – TUESDAY – FEBRUARY 23, 2021 HOW TO PRAY (MT. 6:7-15)

Prayer:

O Jesus, teach me to pray as you prayed. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching His disciples the Our Father.

Context:

The Lord’s prayer has seven petitions. The first three – “hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done” are really the same, asking Jesus to return in glory. The last four petitions focus on what you need to gain the Kingdom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

When you pray do not use many words, for the heavenly Father knows what you need before you ask. When you pray, say: 

“Our Father, who are in heaven. Hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” 

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

  1. In the Our Father, Jesus shows you what you should desire. 
  2. The Heavenly Father and His Kingdom must come first. 
  3. You must seek the Father’s will in all situations. 
  4. You must receive the daily bread of the Eucharist. 
  5. You need your sins forgiven to gain the Kingdom. 
  6. You must forgive all who have hurt you. 
  7. You must persevere in all trials and temptations. 
  8. The saints said this prayer slowly and devoutly. 

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

  • O Jesus, focus all my desires upon your Kingdom. 
  • O Father, I will live for your glory. 
  • Lord, let your Kingdom break into my life. 
  • Jesus, reveal the Father’s will. I will do it always. 
  • Give me a hunger for daily Eucharist. 
  • I forgive everyone, Lord. Everyone! 
  • O Jesus, help me in my temptations. 
  • Lessen the trials so I persevere. 

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

+ I will make the Our Father my daily prayer. 

+ I will make Holy Communion my daily food. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

When you pray, do not use many words. 

MONDAY WEEK ONE OF LENT – FEBRUARY 22, 2021 Feast of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle 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 ONE OF LENT – SUNDAY – B – FEBRUARY 21, 2021 THE CLASH AND THE PROCLAMATION (MK 1:12-15)

Prayer:

O Jesus, help me to vanquish Satan so I can proclaim your gospel. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus preaching to the crowds for the first time. 

Context:

These important verses record two things – Jesus’ initial victory over Satan and the four basic points of Jesus’ preaching. Later, Jesus will often cast out Satan.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Immediately (after his Baptism) the Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert. He was in the desert for forty days and forty nights, and was tempted by Satan. He was with beasts, and angels ministered to him. 

After John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, saying, “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.” 

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

  1. Anointed with the Spirit, Jesus’ first task is to defeat Satan. 
  2. Jesus spends the full forty days but Satan cannot conquer him. 
  3. Jesus experiences both the hardships of trials and the angels of consolation. 
  4. When John the Baptist is taken off the scene, Jesus begins his preaching. 
  5. Jesus declares a “time of fulfillment.”
  6. The Kingdom is about to break into human history. 
  7. To receive the Kingdom, man must repent and believe. 

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

  • Holy Spirit, drive me into solitude. 
  • O Jesus, give me strength in my trials 
  • Jesus, your angels surround me all day. 
  • O Lord, now is a time of fulfillment. 
  • O Jesus, Your Kingdom is at hand. 
  • Empty my heart by true repentance. 
  • I believe the good news that you will save me. 

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

+ I will ask the Spirit to anoint me. 

+ I will be sorry for my sins, so I can receive God’s forgiveness. 

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the Kingdom of God. 

SATURDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY –FEBRUARY 20, 2021 EATING WITH LEVI’S FRIENDS (LK 5:27-32)

Prayer:

O Jesus, call me into your Kingdom because I am a sinner. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus at table with Levi and his friends

Context:

When these scribes and Pharisees complain about Jesus’ table companions, Jesus announces that he is a physician whose ministry is to sinners. Jesus’ Kingdom changes social relationships and shatters the social conventions that kept sinners at a distance.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at his custom’s post. He said, “Follow me.” Levi got up and followed him. After that, Levi gave a great reception for Jesus in his house. Many tax collectors and others joined him at dinner. The scribes and Pharisees asked his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus said, “Those who are healthy do not need a doctor, but those who are sick do. I have not come to invite the righteous to a change of heart, but sinners.” 

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

  1. Levi performed a task which the Jews despised. However, his heart was open to Jesus’ invitation. 
  2. Levi is a good evangelist, gathering his friends to meet Jesus. 
  3. Jesus is quite at home with tax collectors and sinners. They are written on his heart. 
  4. Eating with them shatters the usual procedures. Unfortunately, the scribes and Pharisees do not understand. 
  5. Jesus must define his identity. He is a doctor. 
  6. Logically, he spends time with the sick. 
  7. His mission is to the sinners. 

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

  • Jesus, I will open my heart and be open to your call. 
  • I will be your evangelist, bringing others to you. 
  • O Jesus, I am a sinner. You are welcome at my table. 
  • O Jesus, You do not judge by appearances. You see my heart. 
  • You are the physician. I am the sick person. You have come for me. 

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

+ In every situation, I will listen for Jesus’ call. 

+ I will accept my own sinfulness and my need for Jesus’ forgiveness. 

Thought: (To recall your meditation.) 

Only the sick need the doctor. I have come to call sinners. 

FRIDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY – FEBRUARY 19, 2021 TRUSTING THE FATHER (MT 9:14-17)

Prayer:

Come, Holy Ghost. Help me to seek first the Kingdom of heaven. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching His disciples about the Father’s care for them.

Context:

Jesus has been explaining the eight beatitudes and all that is demanded of a disciple. He ends his talk on a different note. Disciples must not worry, even about their daily needs. If they serve Jesus, the Father will provide.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

“Oh, you of little faith. Do not worry and say “What are we to eat?” or “What are we to drink?” or “What are we to wear?” All these things the pagans seek. Your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. 

Do not worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for each day is the evil thereof.” 

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

  1. To worry about food, drink and clothing is quite normal. Everyone does this, even pagans who have no faith. 
  2. Jesus explains that the Heavenly Father knows and cares about the disciples’ human needs. 
  3. The disciple must have a total faith in God’s Providence. 
  4. They need to do one thing, seek first the Kingdom. Then, they will have all the food, drink and clothing that they need. 
  5. The disciple must not worry about a tomorrow (which never comes). The Father provides for each day’s challenges. 

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

  • Jesus, when I have little faith, I am anxious. When I have great faith, I am at peace. 
  • O Lord, calm my inner questions. 
  • O Father, why do I not trust you? Did you not create me? Will you not provide? 
  • Jesus, your command is clear. I must seek first your Kingdom. 
  • Jesus, make me a child. To trust. To live one day at a time. To believe that God will give me my daily bread. 

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

+ I will examine my anxieties and why I grow fearful. 

+ I will place greater trust in my heavenly Father. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Your Heavenly Father knows that you need all of these. 

THURSDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY – FEBRUARY 18, 2021 – DON’T BE ASHAMED OF JESUS (LK 9:22-25)

Prayer:

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

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching his disciples. 

Context:

Having told the disciples that he will suffer, die and rise, Jesus gathers the crowd and explains that they also will suffer if they follow him. He tells them that they cannot be ashamed of him. Otherwise, Jesus must be ashamed of them when He comes in glory.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Calling together both the crowd and his disciples, Jesus said, “If anyone wants to follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. Whoever saves his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel, will save it. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? What shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 

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

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

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

  1. Some people want to enjoy the privilege of following Jesus. First, they must deny themselves and take up their cross. 
  2. Jesus explains the reason. People will persecute them. If they have not accepted the cross, they will deny Jesus. 
  3. Jesus speaks of earthly life and heavenly life. Whoever saves his earthly life, will lose his heavenly glory. 
  4. Jesus compares gaining the whole world (which none of us really has) with losing our soul. What profit is that? 
  5. Jesus stresses shame. If the disciples are ashamed of him during their lifetime, logically, he must be ashamed of them when he comes in glory. 
  6. Some disciples will soon see this glory after Jesus rises from the dead. 

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

  • Jesus, I so much want to be your disciple. 
  • Whatever the cost, I will pay it. 
  • What is my earthly life worth when compared to heavenly glory? 
  • I’ll make you proud of me. With your help, I will stand firm in trials. 
  • When you come, you will clothe me in your glory. 
  • Yes, I will see your glory. You are faithful to your promises. 

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

+ I will see the passing nature of earthly life. 

+ I will meditate on the heavenly glory awaiting me. 

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

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

WEDNESDAY – FEBRUARY 17, 2021 – ASH WEDNESDAY ACTING IN SECRET (MT 6:1-6)

Prayer:

Come, Holy Spirit. Teach me to act in secret so I do not lose my reward.

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching the disciples how to gain their reward.

Context:

Jesus contrasts Christian goodness with the goodness of the Pharisees. He focuses on almsgiving, prayer and fasting. All of these should be done secretly so the person is rewarded by God and not by others.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Do not perform good deeds before men so you can be seen by them. If so, you will receive no reward from your Heavenly Father.

When you give an alms, do not blow a trumpet, as hypocrites do. They already have their reward. Give your alms in secret. Then, your Father, who sees in secret, will repay you.

When you pray, go to your room and pray in secret. Your Father who sees in secret, will repay you.

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

  1. The human heart is very twisted and often does good deeds to be seen by others.
  2. Acting in secret removes this evil and purifies the intention.
  3. If you act in secret, your heart belongs totally to the Father.
  4. You preserve the true goodness of your just deeds, your alms, and your prayer.
  5. In demanding secrecy, Jesus has one goal. He wants you to receive the Heavenly Father’s reward.

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

  • Lord, purify my inner self, which is filled with selfish motives.
  • Jesus, many times I value men’s esteem more than the Father’s rewards.
  • Let me hide myself from everyone but the Father.
  • Where is my heart, O Lord? What do I seek? Earthly esteem or heavenly glory?
  • Jesus, you emptied yourself so I could grasp heaven’s reward.
  • Teach me to love spiritual hiding and holy secrecy.

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

+ I will try to understand the inner movements of my heart.

+ I will do all for the Father’s glory.

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

The Heavenly Father, who sees in secret, will repay you.

WEEK SIX – TUESDAY – FEBRUARY 16, 2021 DISCIPLES WHO DO NOT UNDERSTAND (MK 8:14-21)

Prayer:

O Jesus, do not let my heart be hardened. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus in the boat with the Twelve.

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

+ I will ponder for a moment all that God has provided for me. 

+ I will set aside lukewarm faith. I will ask Jesus for a living, vibrant faith that always moves ahead. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

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