FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT – (C) – NOVEMBER 28, 2021 – THE SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH (LK 21:25-28)

Prayer:

O Jesus, help me to be ready to recognize the signs of your triumphant return.

Imagination:  

Picture the signs in the moon and the stars and what they tell us.

Context:

As in prior readings during this time of the Liturgical year, we listen to the prophecies and the inevitable return of Jesus Christ. Jesus points out the massive changes in our sun, moon, stars and earth, and warns us of the fear that will come to unprepared hearts. He tells us to be courageous, humble and grateful for His triumphant return.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.  At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

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

  1. Jesus describes the events that will occur at the end of this age and the tribulation experienced by humankind at the signs. 
  2. Jesus will return. That is His word and His promise.
  3. Jesus will come with power and glory.  
  4. His coming ends the present world and begins the new one.

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

  • Jesus, I want to see you coming with power and great glory!
  • I will stand tall, lift up my head and acknowledge you as King and Lord.
  • O Jesus, help me to live now – in the present – as you want to find me upon your return.

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

+ O Jesus, I will not be afraid of your coming.

+ I will wait, pray and watch for the signs of your glorious return.

+  O Jesus, I will trust in your promises and love.

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

Watch and Pray. Jesus’ final Triumph is near at hand.

WEEK THIRTY FOUR – SATURDAY – NOVEMBER 27, 2021 – FINAL WORDS OF ADVICE (LK 21:34-36)

Prayer:

O Jesus, teach me to watch and to pray constantly.

Imagination:

Picture Jesus in the temple teaching his disciples.

Context:

Jesus is worried. He will not be returning to earth soon and the disciples will wonder why he delays. So, he exhorts them not to grow indulgent, not to give up prayer or their high moral standards. These final words before the Last Supper are an important reminder. Whether it is sooner or later, all the world will stand before him.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said to his disciples, “Be on guard, lest your spirits become bloated with indulgence and drunkenness and worldly cares, and that day come upon you suddenly, like a trap. That day will come upon the whole earth.

Watch, therefore. Pray at all times, so you may have the strength to escape what will happen and to stand secure before the Son of Man.”

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

  1. “That day” means the moment when all will be judged by Jesus.
  2. Because Jesus’ Second Coming didn’t happen right away, some disciples abandoned their devout life and their watchfulness.
  3. They became indifferent, drunk and involved with worldly cares.
  4. They fell into a trap which entangles everyone who abandons Jesus’ Kingdom. Inevitably they will be trapped by something.
  5. Jesus explains the remedy. They must watch their conduct and pray constantly.
  6. Jesus’ coming is inevitable. History will end in this way. All must seek one thing – to stand secure before the Son of Man.
  7. These are Jesus’ final words. Remember them.

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

  • O Jesus, what a day that will be, when every human person will stand before you.
  • O Lord, how quickly my life will pass. Do not let me fall into indulgence or give my heart to worldly cares.
  • I will watch with you. That is what you ask of me.
  • Teach me to pray. Teach me to pray constantly.
  • How will I be secure on that day, Jesus? I know. I will live always in your hands.

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

+ When am I indulgent and entangled in worldly cares? I will take action.

+ I will pray mentally every day.

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

Pray constantly for the strength to stand before the Son of Man.

WEEK THIRTY FOUR – FRIDAY – NOVEMBER 26, 2021 – THE EVENTS ARE NEAR (LK 21:29-33)

Prayer:

O Jesus, help me to act now. So much is about to happen

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching his disciples

Context:

Jesus has just predicted the fall of Jerusalem and declared that, at a given moment, he will come on clouds of glory. Because people think that this cosmic event is far off, they push the warning aside. So, Jesus must add this image of the fig tree which says that summer is near.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus told his disciples a parable, “Look at the fig tree and all the other trees. When you see them sending forth their shoots, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things happen, know that the Kingdom of God is at hand. Amen I say to you, the present generation will not pass away until all these things take place. The heavens and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” 

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

  1. Jesus knows that delay wears down his disciples. His words lose their effectiveness. 
  2. The fig tree is a perfect example. In winter, no tree looks more dead. Yet, so quickly, it comes alive surprising everyone. 
  3. No one needs special knowledge. When trees blossom, everyone knows that summer is close. 
  4. Jesus has an important conclusion. When persecution comes and when the Kingdom seems to have lost its power, that is the moment of closeness. 
  5. The Kingdom is always near. God’s reign is always at hand. Suddenly and surprisingly, the moment of Jesus’ presence comes upon those gathered in faith. 
  6. Someday the whole world will disappear but Jesus’ words will never lose their power. 

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

  • O Jesus, when I grow tired, weary and discouraged, give me new life. 
  • Let your Spirit breathe upon me and his fire leap up. 
  • You are always coming to me. Your Kingdom is always at hand. 
  • Just when I am losing life, you surprise me. Your Spirit suddenly stirs within. 
  • You whisper to me, “I am never far away. I am always near.” 
  • You are my hope. You will never pass away. Never fail me. Never abandon me. 

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

+ I will live in great hope today that the Kingdom is at hand. 

+ I will recall my favorite words of Jesus. 

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

Know that the Kingdom of God is at hand.

WEEK THIRTY FOUR – THURSDAY – NOVEMBER 25, 2021 – THE JERUSALEM DESTRUCTION (LK 21:20-28)

Prayer:

O Jesus, be with us in times of disasters

Imagination:

Picture Jesus explaining to his disciples the fall of Jerusalem. 

Context:

Jesus prophesied that the Romans would destroy Jerusalem, which they did in 70 A.D. Luke wrote his gospel fifteen years after this destruction. However, these words were very important to the earlier believers. They heeded Jesus’ advice to “flee to the mountains” and were saved from death. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said to his disciples, “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by an army, then know that the desolation is near. Those in Judea should flee to the mountains. Those in the middle of the city must escape. Those in the country must not return. These are the days of vengeance when all that is written will be fulfilled. 

Woe to the women who are with child or are nursing at the breast. There will be great distress in the land and great wrath upon the people. People will fall beneath the sword and they will be led captive to the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles, until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled. 

There will be signs in the sun, the moon and the stars. On the earth, nature will be in anguish due to the roaring of the waves and the sea. Men will die of fear in anticipation of what is coming upon the earth, for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 

Then, men will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud, with great power and majesty. When these things begin to happen, look up. Lift up your heads because your redemption is near at hand.” 

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

  1. What powerful verses and gigantic prophecies! Jesus prophesies of two different events: the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and his Second Coming at the end of the world. 
  2. The believers could escape Jerusalem if they knew, believed and acted on Jesus’ words. Thousands did just that. 
  3. Jesus’ words were totally fulfilled. People either died by the sword or were taken into captivity. Only the believers were saved. 
  4. The Second Coming is different. No one can escape. However, those without Jesus will die of fright. 
  5. Those with Jesus will rejoice. 
  6. They will see Jesus coming, the One whom they preached and suffered for. 

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

  • O Jesus, how important are your words. Place them in my heart. 
  • O Jesus, save me from the disasters and catastrophes. Otherwise, I will be overwhelmed. 
  • Jesus, without you I would die by the sword of afflictions. 
  • Some day soon, you will come for me. 
  • Come, Lord Jesus. I will lift up my head and welcome you. 
  • For you I live. For you I will toil until you come. 

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

+ In all my difficulties, I will listen for Jesus’ advice. 

+ Each day, I will prepare for the moment of my death. 

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

Lift up your heads. Your redemption is near at hand.

WEEK THIRTY FOUR – WEDNESDAY – NOVEMBER 24, 2021 – THE TRIALS OF A DISCIPLE (LK 21:12-19)

Prayer:

O Jesus, help me in the moments of my trials

Imagination:

Picture Jesus explaining to the disciples their future difficulties.

Context:

After discussing all the wars and famines and earthquakes that will occur, Jesus turns to two other difficulties. The disciples will find themselves hauled into court. Also, their family and friends will turn on them. Only patient endurance will win the victory.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said to his disciples, “Before all these things happen, they will lay hands on you. They will persecute you, bringing you to synagogues and prisons, dragging you before kings and governors for my name’s sake. You will be brought there so you can give witness. 

Do not think ahead of time what you are to say for I will give you words and a wisdom which your adversaries cannot resist or refute. 

You will be betrayed by your parents and your brothers, relatives and friends. Some of you will be put to death and you shall be hated by all for my name’s sake. By patient endurance you shall save your lives.” 

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

  1. The problems will begin when the disciples witness to Jesus. 
  2. The synagogue will reject them and this will lead to prison. 
  3. They will be brought before the highest authorities – governors and kings. 
  4. These arrests serve God’s purpose. The disciples will speak of Jesus to all who attend their trial. 
  5. Jesus, himself, promises to be there prompting them what to say. 
  6. Even family members will not want the disciple to join this new Jesus Movement. 
  7. The consequence will be dire. Some will die. Jesus will not miraculously save them. 
  8. By dying, they will “save their life,” their eternal life that really matters. 

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

  • Jesus, to be persecuted for you is my greatest privilege. 
  • I will not be silent. I will speak about your name. 
  • Many need to hear the gospel. At least, some will listen. 
  • Kings and governors have limited power. You, Jesus, and your disciples hold all authority. 
  • You will be there. You will give me the words. You will be my lawyer. 
  • No one will intimidate me or change my decision. You are my king and my governor. 
  • Jesus, give me patient endurance. 

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

+ I will ask for the gift of Fortitude. 

+ I will not let hatred and anger of others to silence me. 

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

By patient endurance, you will save your lives.

WEEK THIRTY FOUR – TUESDAY – NOVEMBER 23, 2021 – NOT YET THE END (LK 21:5-11)

Prayer:

O Jesus, let me persevere until the end

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching his disciples

Context:

In teaching about his Second Coming, Jesus keeps putting it off, always speaking of events that must happen first. The “coming” is always “later.” He stresses perseverance so the disciple does not think that the road is short. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.

Some were speaking about the temple, which was adorned with precious stones and offerings. Jesus said, “These things which you see. The days will come when one stone will not be left upon another. All will be torn down. They asked him, “Master, when will this be, and what shall be the sign that it is going to happen?” 

He said, “Be careful not to be led astray. Many will come in my name, saying, “I am he” and “the time is at hand” but do not follow them. When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be disturbed. These things must first happen but the end is not yet. Nations shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There shall be earthquakes, plagues and famines in various places. Even in the sky, there will be portents and signs.” 

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

  1. Nothing seemed more lasting than the newly built temple. 
  2. Forth years after Jesus died, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the temple (just as Jesus predicted). 
  3. In asking for a sign, the disciples are misguided. Jesus’ word is the daily guide. 
  4. Jesus lists so many happenings (wars, earthquakes, plagues and famines). Yet, none is a sign. 
  5. Jesus wants the disciples to stay on his path (even if there are cosmic events). 
  6. They have his true teaching. They must just be good disciples. 

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

  • Jesus, nothing remains. Only you are eternal. 
  • I need no sign, only your presence guiding me. 
  • Your teaching is in my heart. I will cling to that. 
  • I know you will come for me. I await you in faith. 
  • O Jesus, what a world! We live with wars and famines and earthquakes! Stay with me! 
  • Help me to stay on your path, Jesus. The end is not near. I have many miles to go. 

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

+ I will use Jesus’ words to guide my day. 

+ I will detach myself from material possessions by little sacrifices. 

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

These things will happen but the end will not follow immediately.

WEEK THIRTY FOUR – MONDAY – NOVEMBER 22, 2021 – THE WIDOW’S MITE (LK 21:1-4) 

Prayer:

O Jesus, to you I give all I have

Imagination:

Picture Jesus in the temple with his disciples. 

Context:

This gospel joins two different people linked by the word widow. The scribes want everyone to see their goodness while secretly they steal widow’s money. The widow, on the contrary, gives her money in secret. She is the saving hope of Israel. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Looking up, Jesus saw rich men putting their gifts into the treasury. He also saw a poor widow putting in two coins. He said, “Truly, I tell you that this widow has put in more than all the others. The others have given from their abundance but she has given all that she had to live on.” 

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

  1. Jesus sees deeper than the surface actions. 
  2. He knows what happens in each one’s heart. 
  3. The rich give from abundance. Their hearts are still attached to their wealth. 
  4. The widow is different. She is attached only to God. She empties herself and trusts in God. 
  5. She is an image of Jesus. In a few days, he will lay down his life for the world. 

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

  • Jesus, do not let my heart grow hardened. 
  • Do not allow money to rob me of your Kingdom. 
  • Remove my hypocrisy. Purify my inmost desires. 
  • Give me an inner truth always loyal and generous to you. 
  • Detach me from my wealth. Let me not cling to my possessions. Empty me. 
  • I give you everything. Nothing will come between us. 

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

+ I will examine my use of money. 

+ I will be totally honest and sincere in all my financial dealings. 

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

She has given from her need. All she had to live on.

WEEK THIRTY FOUR – SUNDAY – B– NOVEMBER 21, 2021 – JESUS’ TESTIMONY BEFORE PILATE (JN 18:33b-37)

Prayer:

Come, Holy Spirit. Make Jesus the king of my heart

Imagination:

Picture Jesus standing before Pilate. 

Context:

Pilate has inquired from the Jews about the charges against Jesus. They said that he claims to be King of the Jews. In conducting his investigation he allows Jesus to explain his Kingship and his Kingdom. Pilate represents the whole world and Jesus is a witness to the truth.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would certainly be fighting that I not be handed over to the Jews. However, my kingdom is not of this world.” 

Pilate asked “Are you a king?” Jesus said, “You say that I am a king. For this was I born and for this I came into the world, that I should give testimony to the truth. Whoever belongs to the truth, hears my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” and he went out. 

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

  1. Pilate approaches the mystery of Jesus with a worldly mentality. Someone who is a king is important to him. 
  2. Jesus speaks of a kingdom beyond this world. 
  3. Not being an earthly King, Jesus does not expect his disciples to fight for his freedom. 
  4. Pilate does not understand and wants to talk about Jesus being a king. 
  5. Jesus has a higher goal and a greater power. His disciples gather in a Kingdom of truth. 
  6. Not having any interest in truth, Pilate walks away. 

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

  • Jesus, take me beyond my earthly life. Give me your heavenly kingdom. 
  • Yes, you are a king, a very special king and I am your disciple. 
  • Your kingdom always existed and you came into the world for me. 
  • Your kingdom is greater than earth and your goal is eternal life. 
  • You live forever and I will live with you. 
  • Jesus, you are the truth and your truth makes me free. 

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

+ I will choose Jesus as my king. 

+ I will not serve a passing world. 

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

My kingdom is not of this world.

WEEK THIRTY THREE – SATURDAY – NOVEMBER 20, 2021 – LIVING LIKE ANGELS (LK 20:27-40)

Prayer:

O Lord, fill me with strong desires to live like the angels

Imagination:

Picture Jesus in confrontation with the Sadducees. 

Context:

The Sadducees (unlike the Pharisees) did not believe in the immortality of the soul nor the resurrection of the dead. They bring to Jesus what seems to us like a foolish problem. A woman marries seven times (after each previous husband dies). They want to know whose wife she will be in heaven. Jesus refutes their argument. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Some Sadducees confronted Jesus (the ones who do not believe in the resurrection). “If a woman married seven brothers, whose wife will she be at the resurrection?” Jesus said to them, “The children of this world marry and are given on marriage, but those judged worthy of a place in the age to come and of the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Nor can they die any more because they are like the angels and are the children of God, sons of the resurrection. Moses in the passage about the bush showed that the dead rise again when he called the Lord, the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead but of the living. All are alive for him.” 

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

  1. The Sadducees could not conceive of a different existence. They did not realize that God brings about the glorified, risen body. 
  2. Marriage is of earth. A person has a partner and brings forth children. 
  3. In heaven, Jesus is the Bridegroom and all are united in him. 
  4. The risen body cannot die. It enjoys the privileges of angels. 
  5. This gift comes to “all judged worthy of the age to come.” This is the Kingdom which Jesus preaches. 
  6. The person is totally changed into a son of the resurrection and a son of God. 
  7. Certainly, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have gained this status as will all who believe in Jesus. 

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

  • Jesus, someday I hope to have a glorified, risen body, just like yours. This is your gift. 
  • In heaven, my heart will be united with you and with others. We will be one. 
  • I will no longer suffer or die. I will live forever with you, Jesus. 
  • Help me, Lord to be judged worthy of this “age to come.” 
  • Change me, Jesus. I will be a son of glory and a son of the Eternal Father. 
  • Give me life in abundance. Let me not fail you. 

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

+ Today, I will think often of my heavenly home. 

+ I will think of what steps I can take to be found worthy. 

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

They cannot die because they live like the angels.

WEEK THIRTY THREE – FRIDAY – NOVEMBER 19, 2021 – A CLEANSED BUT UNREPENTANT TEMPLE (LK 19:45-48)

Prayer:

O Jesus, make me your purified disciple

Imagination:

Picture Jesus cleansing the Temple

Context:

In all four gospels, Jesus cleanses the temple. (Therefore, it is a very important event). Luke, in his gentle manner, omits many details known from the other gospels. He focuses on Jesus’ continued teaching and the desires of the leaders to kill him. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

When Jesus entered the temple, he began to cast out the sellers, and the buyers saying, “It is written: My house is a house of prayer but you have made it a den of thieves.” 

He was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the rulers of the people sought to destroy him but they had no idea of how to achieve it because all the people were listening to him, attentive to every word. 

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

  1. Luke venerates the temple. He alone tells the Temple stories of Jesus’ parents presenting Jesus (at 40 days) and finding Jesus (at 12 years). 
  2. He omits all the details of the buying and selling, merely mentioning “sellers and buyers.” 
  3. Luke’s focus is always prayer. Jesus calls the temple “a house of prayer.” 
  4. Man has changed God’s temple into a “den of thieves.” 
  5. Jesus sanctifies the temple. Now, he can teach without distraction. 
  6. Jesus has attacked the Temple’s financial interests. This is the final straw. He must be destroyed. 
  7. The people are purified. They are free to listen and cling to his words, attentive to all his teachings. 
  8. After the resurrection, the apostles will call them to repent. 

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

  • O Jesus, Your body is the new temple. Your mystical body, the Church, is where you dwell. 
  • Cleanse me, Jesus. Purify me. 
  • Do not let me steal your glory and honor. 
  • Make my soul a “house of prayer” in which I proclaim you as Lord. 
  • If you purge me, sinful powers will not control me. 
  • Jesus, teach me and I will be attentive to your words. 

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

+ I will try to find a Church so I can pray. 

+ I will ask Jesus to purge my sinful desires. 

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

All the people were listening to him, attentive to his word.

WEEK THIRTY THREE – THURSDAY – NOVEMBER 18, 2021 – JESUS’ LAMENT OVER JERUSALEM (LK 19:41-44)

Prayer:

O Jesus, let me know the time of your visitation

Imagination:

Picture Jesus weeping over Jerusalem.

Context:

As Jesus comes close to Jerusalem, he suddenly stops and weeps. He knows the future destruction of this city and describes it clearly. He pinpoints the cause of the failure. They did not recognize the importance of his coming.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

As Jesus drew near, he saw the city and wept over it saying, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days are coming when your enemies will raise a wall around you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and will kill your children within you, not leaving one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” 

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

  1. Jesus foresees perfectly the future destruction of Jerusalem. 
  2. In 70 A.D. the Romans totally destroyed Jerusalem killing all the children and not leaving “stone upon stone.” 
  3. Having enemies on every side, Jerusalem should have depended upon God for its safety. 
  4. Instead, Jerusalem kills Jesus and loses their only opportunity for peace. 
  5. They do not see the “time of his visitation.” 
  6. So Jesus weeps unable to save his beloved city. 

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

  • O Jesus, how many times you have cried over me. 
  • You see my entire future. 
  • Save me from the destructive forces within me and around me. 
  • Speak to me so I find the path of peace. 
  • Let me know the time of your visitation. I will await you. 

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

+ I will be ready when Jesus visits me today. 

+ I will open my eyes to the destructive forces in my life. 

+ I will say often, “Come, Lord Jesus.” 

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

You did not know the time of your visitation.

WEEK THIRTY THREE – WEDNESDAY – NOVEMBER 17, 2021 – THE SERVANTS ENTRUSTED WITH MONEY (LK 19:11-28)

Prayer:

O Jesus, make me your faithful servant to whom you can entrust your blessings. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching his disciples. 

Context

Jesus tells this parable to the disciples because they falsely believe that the reign of God is about to appear. The parable stresses the personal initiative of the disciple before Jesus returns in glory. These intervening years are not for laziness but for diligence in gaining new believers.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

As they neared Jerusalem, Jesus told the disciples a parable because they thought the reign of God was about to appear. 

A man going to become king in a distant country called in ten servants, gave them money and said, “Invest this until I return.” When he returned, he sent for his servants. The first said, “Lord, your money has earned another ten.” “Good,” he said, “Since you were faithful in a small matter, I place you over ten villages. The second said, “Your investment has gained five more.” He said, “Take over five villages.” 

The third said, “Here is your money. I had it for safekeeping. I was afraid because you are a hard man. You withdraw what you never deposit and reap what you never plant.” The king said, “You are worthless. Why did you not at least get interest on the money.” To others, he said, “Take what he has and give it to the man with ten. For, whoever has will receive more. Whoever has less will lose the little that he has.” Jesus then continued his ascent to Jerusalem. 

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

  1. The disciples have the wrong idea. They will not see Jesus’ Kingdom in Jerusalem. 
  2. Many years of hard work lie ahead. 
  3. Although delayed, the day of accounting is inevitable. 
  4. The diligent servants prepare for that day by working hard. 
  5. The third servant is lazy and has a false impression of the king. 
  6. He loses everything like a disciple who does not value the kingdom. 
  7. Jesus continues to Jerusalem. He must fulfill his mission.

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

  • O Jesus, I still have so far to go! 
  • Walk with me and I will persevere. 
  • Someday you will come for me. I will await you. 
  • Remove all my discouragement. 
  • O Jesus, your rewards are so great, more than I can receive. 
  • I will go with you all the way to Jerusalem. 

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

+ I will ask for perseverance. 

+ I will think of Jesus’ great rewards. 

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

And Jesus continued up to Jerusalem.

WEEK THIRTY THREE – TUESDAY – NOVEMBER 16, 2021 – THE MAN UP IN THE TREE (LK 19:1-10)

Prayer:

O Jesus, come and stay in my house this day

Imagination:

Picture Jesus finding Zaccheus in a tree. 

Context:

Zaccheus is the second wealthy man to receive an invitation from Jesus. He accepts the gift and uses his wealth to restore justice. This story highlights Jesus as the saviour of all, even rich people and their families. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Upon entering Jericho, Jesus passed through the city. There lived a wealthy man named Zaccheus, the chief tax collector. He wanted to see Jesus but he could not, because of the crowd. So, he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree which was along Jesus’ route. When Jesus reached that place, he looked up and said, “Zaccheus, come down quickly, for today I must stay in your house.” He came down and received him with joy. 

When this was seen, many complained, “Jesus is going to the house of a sinner.” Zaccheus stood his ground and said to the Lord. “I will give half of my belongings to the poor and if I have cheated anyone in the least I will return it four-fold.” Jesus said, “Today, salvation has come to this house, for this is what it means to be a son of Abraham. The Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.” 

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

  1. As a tax collector, Zaccheus works for Rome. However, his desires are for Jesus’ Kingdom. 
  2. Zaccheus had only one chance, one moment. Jesus was just “passing by”. 
  3. His limitations help him. God prompts Zaccheus to climb a tree where Jesus easily sees him. 
  4. When Jesus says, “I must stay in your house,” Zaccheus understands the great gift. 
  5. He holds his ground and does not allow the crowd to steal the Kingdom. 
  6. Instead, he repents, “I give half my possessions to the poor and I will repay four times over any money I have extorted.” (Lk 19:8) 
  7. His conversion is lasting. He joined the early church. That is how we have his name and his story. 

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

  • Jesus, today you will come. 
  • O Jesus, I will not miss my chance when you pass by today. 
  • You will see me and call my name. 
  • Lord, I am entangled but you will set me free. 
  • Yes, Jesus, come and stay in my house. 
  • I will change whatever needs to be changed. 
  • Jesus, you will rejoice. I am lost and you have saved me. 
  • I will follow you all the way to Jerusalem. 

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

+ I will be alert for those moments when Jesus will “pass by today.” 

+ When Jesus says, “This day I shall stay in your house”, I will open my heart. 

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

Zaccheus would not allow the crowd to rob him of the Kingdom.

WEEK THIRTY THREE – MONDAY – NOVEMBER 15, 2021 – THE BLIND BEGGAR (LK 18:35-43)

Prayer:

O Jesus, let me cry out to you in great hope

Imagination:

Picture Jesus and the crowd with a beggar by the roadside. 

Context:

This journey to Jerusalem began with Jesus healing a blind man and culminates with another healing of blindness. This contrasts with the disciples’ growing blindness about Jesus’ death in Jerusalem. They do not grasp his predictions of his passion. This blind man saw and followed Jesus to Jerusalem.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

As Jesus drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the wayside, begging. Hearing the crowd go by, the man asked, “What is that?” When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” The crowd told him to be silent but he cried out even more, “Son of David, have mercy on me.” 

Jesus halted and commanded that he be brought near. When he had come close, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see” said the blind man. Jesus said, “Receive your sight, your faith has healed you.” He saw immediately and followed Jesus on the way, giving God the glory. All the people saw this and they, too, gave glory to God. 

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

  1. This beggar is at a severe disadvantage. He is blind, sits by the wayside and does not even know what is happening. 
  2. However, his blindness prepares him for this moment. 
  3. He grasps quickly that Jesus is his only ray of hope. 
  4. When Jesus summons him, the crowd changes its opinion. His crying out was the right thing to do. 
  5. He knows the desire of his heart – to see again. 
  6. With his sight restored, he sees the face of Jesus. 
  7. His heart tells him to follow Jesus “up the road” to Jerusalem. 
  8. What a day for the beggar! He becomes a disciple who gains the Kingdom. 

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

  • Jesus, my limitations are really favors. My heart stays with you. 
  • Lord, come close to me today. 
  • O Spirit of Jesus, whisper within my soul, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 
  • Fill me with hope and I will cry out to you, Lord. 
  • Jesus, You will hear and you will ask “What is it that I can do for you?” 
  • Everything, Lord! Bless me and I will “follow you on the way.” 

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

+ I will be attentive today to Jesus’ presence. 

+ I will have great hope that Jesus hears my every prayer. 

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

What do you want me to do for you?

WEEK THIRTY THREE – SUNDAY (B) – NOVEMBER 14, 2021 – ALERT TO HIS COMING (MK 13:24-32)

Prayer:

O Jesus, prepare me for your coming. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching his disciples

Context:

As we arrive at the end of the Church’s liturgical year, the gospels turn to Jesus’ Second Coming. The first part of this text describes the cosmic signs that will accompany Jesus’ coming at the end of the world. The second part shows Jesus preparing the disciples for that event. Their value is perennial. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said to his disciples, “In those days, after the tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. The stars of heaven will fall and the heavenly powers will be shaken. Then, men will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. He shall send his angels and they shall gather his elect from the farthest ends of the sea and sky. 

Now learn from the fig tree. When the branch is tender and the leaves come forth, you know that summer is near. So, when you see these things happen, you know that he is near, even at the door. Amen, I say to you. This generation shall not pass away until all these things are accomplished. Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away.”

As to the exact day and hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son. Only the Father. 

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

  1. Jesus describes the great tribulation. After that happens, Jesus will return. 
  2. His coming ends the world. The sun, moon and stars no longer function. Their tasks are over. 
  3. People will see Jesus, the Son of Man, coming toward the earth. The angels will gather the elect. 
  4. Jesus has given many hints and signs. He even draws conclusions. 
  5. People must take a hint from the fig tree which blossoms quickly. 
  6. All must prepare to meet Jesus. 
  7. “No one knows,” means that people cannot prepare by some secret knowledge. They must be good disciples. 
  8. Everyone can be ready if they live by Jesus’ teaching. Otherwise, they will not want Jesus coming back. 

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

  • O Jesus, whenever you come, I will be ready. I await you. 
  • O Jesus, I choose your Kingdom because this world will certainly end. 
  • I will see you, Jesus. You will come for me and reveal yourself to me. 
  • Your word does not pass away. It is my sure light. 
  • You are near, Jesus. You are at the door. No time is left. I choose you now. 
  • Gather me in. Send your angels. 

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

+ I will see the world as passing away. 

+ I will think of the moment when I will see Jesus. 

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

Men will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds.

WEEK THIRTY TWO – SATURDAY – NOVEMBER 13, 2021 – THE UNJUST JUDGE (LK 18:1-8)

Prayer:

O Jesus, let me cry out to you day and night. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with his disciples. 

Context:

The real focus in this parable is the unjust judge. Although he is a complete opposite of God, he still grants the widow’s request. In the middle of trials, the destitute must believe that God hears their prayers and will intervene for their deliverance. The final sentence about “finding faith on the earth” is very important. In trials, will we persevere in trusting God?

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity of praying always and not losing heart. 

A judge in a certain city did not fear God or man. A widow in that city begged him, “Give me a just decision against my adversary.” For a long time, he would not do so. However, he eventually thought, “I do not fear God or man. However, this widow bothers me. I will give her a just decision lest she wear me out.” 

Jesus said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. Will not God vindicate his elect who cry out to him day and night, even if he seems slow to answer them? I say that he will avenge them unexpectedly. But, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” 

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

  1. The dishonest judge has every bad quality. He has no fear of God, no fear of man and is totally corrupt. 
  2. He is the total opposite of the compassionate Jesus who wept over human suffering. Yet, he grants the request. 
  3. This parable describes the loving God who brings about a surprising reversal. 
  4. The suffering and the persecuted must do one thing. They must “cry out to God day and night.” 
  5. Their deliverance is assured. Justice will come quite unexpectedly. 
  6. The question is, “Does the person persevere in trusting God even when the trial continues?” 

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

  • O Jesus, to whom else shall I go? 
  • Jesus, teach me to pray without ceasing. Let me lift my heart to you “day and night.” 
  • You will come. You will not delay. You will give me “unexpected justice.” 
  • Let me gather with others. We will “cry out” together. 
  • O Jesus, even if you delay, I will persevere in faith. 
  • You will find me watching. 

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

+ Trials will not discourage me. They will cause me to cry out “day and night.” 

+ In faith, I will await God’s “surprising answer.” 

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

Will God be slow to answer those who call out to him day and night?

WEEK THIRTY TWO – FRIDAY – NOVEMBER 12, 2021 – DAYS OF DECISION (LK 17:26-37)

Prayer:

O Jesus, let me watch and be ready for your coming. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching his disciples about his Second Coming. 

Context:

Jesus gives two separate images, the biblical stories of Noah and Lot and the difficult decisions necessary in an emergency. In Palestine, the roofs were flat and people worked there. Every house had outside stairs directly to the street. A person going inside to save his possessions would be foolish. Both images stress the unknown aspects of Jesus’ coming.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

As it was in the days of Noah, so it shall be in the days of the Son of Man. They ate and drank, married and gave in marriage until the day Noah entered into the Ark. The flood came and destroyed them all. 

Likewise, in the days of Lot. They ate and drank, bought and sold, planted and built. When Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and brimstones and destroyed them all. So it will be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 

In that hour, if a person is on the roof and his goods are in the house, let him not go in to get them. If someone is in the field, let him not return to the house. Remember Lot’s wife. 

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

  1. Jesus uses Noah as an example. People were so busy with their lives, that they did not see the flood coming. 
  2. Similarly, Sodom was threatened but only Lot and his family knew to escape. 
  3. God saved both Noah and Lot by revealing the disaster to them. 
  4. They heard God’s word and took appropriate steps. However, Lot’s wife disobeyed. 
  5. These stories carry the same teaching. God will warn us and save us. We must listen and act. 
  6. A person on the roof and a man in the field should just flee and not worry about their possessions. 
  7. If they cling to material possessions, they will make the wrong decision. 
  8. Whoever is alert to the Kingdom (like Noah and Lot) will be saved. 

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

  • Speak, Lord. Guide me. Show me the way. 
  • Save me from foolish decisions. 
  • I will not be caught up in buying or selling. Instead, I will await your coming. 
  • When I see you on the horizon, I will run to you. 
  • Awaken me. Alert me. Give me ears attentive to your voice within. 
  • O Jesus, all is urgent. Set my soul on your path. 

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

+ I will not allow earthly things to capture my attention. 

+ When I see God’s will today, I will act immediately. 

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

As it was in the days of Noah, so it shall be in the days of the Son of Man.

WEEK THIRTY TWO – THURSDAY – NOVEMBER 11, 2021 – WHEN THE KINGDOM COMES (LK 17:20-25)

Prayer:

O Lord, prepare me for your coming

Imagination:

Picture Jesus instructing his disciples. 

Context:

The Pharisees want to know when the Kingdom would come. The question is futile because the Kingdom is already present as the Spirit dwells in the believer. A final and total coming of the Kingdom is still ahead.

In the second part, Jesus gives private teaching to his disciples. They won’t have to search. When the Second Coming arrives all will know. It will be like lightening in the sky – quick and evident.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

The Pharisees asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come. He answered, “You cannot tell by careful watching when the Kingdom of God will come. Neither is it a matter of saying, it is ‘here’ or ‘there’. The Kingdom of God is within you.” 

He said to his disciples “The days will come when you shall desire to see one day of the Son of Man and you shall not see it. They will say to you that he is ‘here’ or he is ‘there’. Do not go and do not follow them. The Son of Man, in his day, will be like the lightening that flashes from one end of the sky to another. First, however, he must suffer much and be rejected by this present age.” 

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

  1. The Pharisees approach Jesus with curious minds, not sincere hearts. 
  2. They want to know about his future coming when Jesus is already in their midst. 
  3. No need for useless searching. God’s Kingdom dwells within. 
  4. Jesus’ disciples are important in his plan. He gives them special teaching. 
  5. Jesus teaches two truths. First, running to special places is useless. 
  6. Second, Jesus will return as the King. All will see him, like lightening in the sky. 

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

  • O Jesus, I will seek you in my heart. You always dwell there. 
  • You are with me. You are here. I must just be still. 
  • You dwell in my soul and you want me to adore you there. 
  • Today, you will come. You will be in my midst. 
  • O Jesus, on a very special day, You will come as King. 
  • I will not wait. Right now, I make you my King. 

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

+ Today, I will be awakened to Jesus’ presence. 

+ Jesus will be my King for this day. 

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

The reign of God is already in your midst.

WEEK THIRTY TWO – WEDNESDAY – NOVEMBER 10, 2021 – THE TEN LEPERS (LK 17:11-19)

Prayer:

Come, Holy Spirit. Fill me with a spirit of thanksgiving. 

Imagination:

Picture the one leper returning to give thanks. 

Context:

This story is somewhat like a parable, ending with Jesus pronouncing the Samaritan’s saving faith. Obviously, the group consisted of nine Jewish lepers and one Samaritan. Their illness bonded them together and overcame their religious differences. The Samaritan emulates Naaman, a Syrian, who in the Old Testament returned to thank the prophet Elisha for healing him of leprosy. (2 Kg 5:15).

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

As Jesus was going to Jerusalem, he passed through Samaria and Galilee. In a certain town, ten lepers met him. Standing far away, they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, master, have pity on us.” 

Upon seeing them, Jesus said, “Go and show yourselves to the priest.” As they went, they were cleansed. One, seeing he was cleansed, went back, glorifying God in a loud voice. Falling on his face, he gave thanks. He was a Samaritan. 

Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? Where are the other nine? Is there no one found to return and give thanks except this stranger?” Jesus said, “Get up and go your way. Your faith has made you whole.” 

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

  • All ten see their unique opportunity. Jesus has come to their village. 
  • United in prayer, all ten “lift up their voices” and ask for pity. 
  • All are obedient. All go to the priest. All are cleansed. 
  • Nine return home thinking they have no further responsibility. 
  • Only one leper sees the need to return to Jesus. He alone receives total wholeness. 
  • Jesus is disappointed. He wants to give total wholeness but the nine did not return. 
  • Only a stranger receives the full gift. 

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

  • Jesus, you will come to me today. 
  • I will grasp that special moment. 
  • My heart will call out to you. 
  • Cleanse me of the leprosy of my sins. 
  • Jesus, I will not forget you. 
  • I will return to give thanks and You will bless me even more. 
  • Do not let me disappoint you. 

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

+ I will thank those who have helped me in the past – parents, teachers, friends. 

+ All day long, I will give thanks for God’s blessings. 

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

“Go on your way, your faith has made you whole.”

WEEK THIRTY TWO – TUESDAY – NOVEMBER 9, 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.