WEEK SIXTEEN – FRIDAY – JULY 22, 2022 – MAGDALEN SEES JESUS (JN 20:1 – 11-18)

Prayer:

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

Imagination:

Picture Magdalen at the tomb with Jesus.

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

+ I will ask Jesus for Magdalen’s generosity.

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

Thought for Today: (To recall your meditation.)

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

WEEK SIXTEEN – THURSDAY – JULY 21, 2022 – THE PURPOSE OF PARABLES (MT 13:10-17)

Prayer:

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

Imagination:

Picture Jesus explaining to his disciples the mystery of parables.

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

+ I will give my heart to Jesus.

+ I will take each parable to heart, searching out its meaning.

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

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

WEEK SIXTEEN – WEDNESDAY – JULY 20, 2022 – THE SOWER (MT 13:1-9)

Prayer:

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

Imagination:

Picture Jesus preaching to the crowds.

Context:

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

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The harvest was thirty, sixty and a hundredfold.

WEEK SIXTEEN – TUESDAY – JULY 19, 2022 – HAVING A NEW FAMILY (MT 12:46-50)

Prayer:

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

Imagination:

Picture yourself in the crowd with Jesus saying “These are my brothers and sisters.

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEEK SIXTEEN – MONDAY – JULY 18, 2022 – A GREATER THAN JONAH OR SOLOMON (MT 12:38-42)

Prayer:

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

Imagination:

Picture Jesus speaking to the crowds.

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

+ I will ponder Jesus’ greatness.

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

A greater than Jonah or Solomon is here.

WEEK SIXTEEN – SUNDAY (C) – JULY 17, 2022 – MARY & MARTHA (LK 10:38-42)

Prayer:

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

Imagination:

Picture Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet.

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

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

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

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

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

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

  • Jesus, come into my life. Come into my home. I have already opened the door.
  • Be the center of all my attention.
  • Lord, absorb my faculties by your overwhelming presence.
  • If I listen, then you can make me a disciple.
  • Once I am your disciple, I will do my tasks in the Kingdom.

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

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

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

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

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

WEEK FIFTEEN – SATURDAY – JULY 16, 2022 – Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – THE ANOINTED AND CHOSEN SERVANT (MT 12:14-21)

Prayer:

O Jesus, anoint me with your Holy Spirit.

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with the crowds swarming around him.

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

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

            Behold my servant whom I have chosen

            My beloved in whom I am well pleased.

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

He will not contend or cry out

Nor will his voice be heard in the streets.

The bruised reed he will not break

And the smoldering wick he will not extinguish

Until judgment is made victorious.

In his name, the Gentiles will hope.

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

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

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

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

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

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

+ I will ponder the gentleness and softness of Jesus.

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

In his name, all the nations will find hope.

WEEK FIFTEEN – FRIDAY – JULY 15, 2022 – LORD OF THE SABBATH (MT:12:1-8)

Prayer:

O Jesus, you are God, Lord even of the Sabbath.

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with his disciples being confronted by the Pharisees.

Context:

The gospels use these confrontation stories to highlight Jesus’ authority, to bring out new aspects of Christian life and most important, to reveal Jesus’ identity.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

On the Sabbath, Jesus and his disciples went through a cornfield. The disciples were hungry and plucked the heads of grain and ate them. Some Pharisees saw them and said, “See here, your disciples are doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath.”

Jesus answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his men were hungry?  How he entered God’s house and took and ate the holy bread, a thing forbidden to him and his men or to anyone except for priests? Have you not read that the priests on duty can break the Sabbath rest and incur no guilt! I assure you, something greater than the temple is here. If you understood the meaning of the text, ‘It is mercy that I desire and not sacrifice’, you would not have condemned these innocent men. The son of Man is indeed Lord, even of the Sabbath.”

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

  1. Jewish people, walking through a cornfield, were allowed to pluck the grain. The Pharisees object because the disciples are doing this on the Sabbath.
  2. Jesus cites King David as an example of freedom.
  3. David acted correctly. His men’s well-being was more important than the law.
  4. Jesus also cites the priests who help people in the temple on the Sabbath.
  5. The disciples’ serving Jesus is greater than being in the temple.
  6. Jesus leaves no doubt about his own greatness. He is the Lord with authority over the Sabbath.

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

  • Jesus, your Father has given me all of creation.
  • Set me free, Jesus from all anxieties and false limitations.
  • When I serve you, Jesus, I am free.
  • You always place me first, Jesus. I am always the center of your attention.
  • You are greater than the temple. You are God. You are Lord.
  • You are greater than the Sabbath. You are the son of Man.
  • You have all power. You love me and want me to be with you forever.

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

+ By faith in Jesus, I will try to experience true freedom.

+ In my heart this day, I will constantly proclaim Jesus as Lord.

Thought for Today: (To recall your Meditation.)

A greater than the temple is here.

The Son of Man is Lord, even of the Sabbath.

WEEK FIFTEEN – THURSDAY – JULY 14, 2022 – THE EASY YOKE (MT 11:28-30)

Prayer:

Come, Holy Spirit. Help me to take up Jesus’ easy yoke and light burden.

Imagination:

Picture Jesus inviting all his disciples to come to Him.

Context:

Jesus speaks of “a burden” and “a yoke.” The burdened are those who cannot seem to get out from under. Jesus is one of them. He carries the whole world on his shoulders. Jesus’ yoke is his submission to God’s will. When we accept God’s will, our daily burdens become much lighter.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

“Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

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

  1. “Come to me” is the greatest invitation in the whole world.
  2. Since all are burdened, all are invited.
  3. Jesus himself is the gift. He alone can give you rest. Come to him.  
  4. Jesus’ yoke is your task in the Kingdom.
  5. To find rest, you must know Jesus and think as he does.
  6. You will find that he is gentle and humble. Your soul will experience peace.

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

  • Jesus, you say “Come to me.” I am coming. I am coming quickly.
  • You will be gentle, totally intent on helping me.
  • You will be humble and serve my needs.
  • I will rest in you and be refreshed.
  • Jesus, I will gladly carry your yoke. It is so much easier than what I now carry.
  • In the world, I find restlessness. In your Kingdom I discover peace.
  • You always speak the truth. You fulfill all your promises. I can trust your words.

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

+ I will examine any worldly burdens which I have foolishly assumed.

+ I will choose, instead, the tasks that Jesus has for me.

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

My yoke is easy and my burden light.

WEEK FIFTEEN – WEDNESDAY – JULY 13, 2022 – REVELATION TO THE LITTLE ONES (MT 11:25-27)

Prayer:

Come, Holy Spirit. Reveal all that is hidden.

Imagination:

Picture Jesus praising God for His disciples.

Context:

Filled with joy, the apostles return from their preaching mission. Jesus, too, experiences great joy and thanks his Heavenly Father for revealing the Kingdom to his disciples.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus cried out, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent, you have revealed them to the little ones. This has seemed good in your sight.

All things have been given over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son, but the Father. And no one knows the Father, except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

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

  1. Jesus rejoices because the disciples are understanding the Kingdom.
  2. This understanding is withheld from the worldly wise and prudent. 
  3. Jesus credits his heavenly Father, who has revealed these mysteries to the little ones.
  4. Jesus has the power to reveal even the Father himself.
  5. Jesus will reveal these mysteries to all. First, they must become his disciple.

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

  • Jesus, reveal to me the mysteries of the Kingdom.
  • Even more, reveal the Father himself.
  • As my heart is caught up with the Father, You will rejoice in me.  
  • When I was wise and prudent, you could not do this. Now, I am your little one.
  • O Jesus, all that is yours is to become mine. What a mystery!

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

+ I will find time for solitude, so Jesus can reveal the Father.

+ I will cherish the mysteries of Jesus’ Kingdom.

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

The Son reveals the Father to whomever he wishes.

WEEK FIFTEEN – TUESDAY – JULY 12, 2022 – WOE TO THE UNREPENTANT CITIES (MT 11:20-24)

Prayer:

O Jesus, give me the grace to repent so I can face you on the Day of Judgment.

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching His disciples the importance of repentance.

Context:

People might have some superficial relationship with their parish and think that this will get them into heaven. The gospels correct this false impression. They demand a full relationship to Jesus, one which comes from the heart. Here, Jesus mentions three cities where he has preached. They have heard Jesus but have not accepted and responded to his word.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus began to chastise the cities where he had done his miracles.

“Woe to you, Chorazin. Woe to you, Bethsaida. If the miracles worked in you had been done in other cities, they would have done penance in sackcloth and ashes. It will be more tolerable for those cities on the day of judgment than for you.

And you, Capernaum: Shall you be exalted to heaven? You shall be cast down to hell. If I had done the miracles in Sodom, the city would still exist today. It shall be more tolerable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

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

  1. Jesus’ words are shocking. He speaks of sackcloth, ashes, judgment, and hell.
  2. These cities have seen his miracles performed in their midst.
  3. Chorazin and Bethsaida welcomed him and accepted his miracles. However, they did not repent.
  4. Capernaum was Jesus’ headquarters. They thought they would be exalted.
  5. Jesus’ preaching and miracles only increased their guilt.
  6. Jesus wants a full conversion to life in His Kingdom.
  7. He will bring this about if you let him.

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

  • O Jesus, I have enjoyed your word and your blessings.
  • Jesus, stir my heart. Help me to respond.
  • Stay with me, Jesus. Take up your residence.
  • Jesus, I cannot bear the thought that you would condemn me on Judgment Day.
  • Chastise me now, so you need not judge me later.

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

+ What do I need to repent of?

+ Having received much, I will return much.

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

If I had done these miracles in Sodom, they would have repented.

WEEK FIFTEEN – MONDAY – JULY 11, 2022 – THE REWARDS OF DISCIPLESHIP (MT 10:34 – 11:1)

Prayer:

O Jesus, when I help the needy, I help you. Show me this mystery.

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching His disciples to care for each other.

Context:

Jesus praises those who show hospitality. But there is much more. A great mystery exists. When helping someone who preaches or believes the gospel, you help Jesus.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

“Whoever receives you, receives me. Whoever receives me, receives him who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet, receives a prophet’s reward. Whoever receives a holy man, because he is a holy man, receives a holy man’s reward. Whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple – Amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”

When Jesus finished giving these commands to his twelve disciples, he left that place to teach and to preach in other towns.

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

  1. Disciples, prophets and holy people serve the church and earn a reward.
  2. By helping them, you receive the same reward.
  3. In fact, you welcome Jesus himself.
  4. A cup of cold water means giving good example. The little ones mean new disciples.
  5. These, especially, need your help and gain you a reward.
  6. Jesus moves to other villages. He must preach to everyone.

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

  • O Jesus, I will help those who serve your Kingdom. 
  • You will reward me as you reward them.
  • Even you, Jesus, are blessed when I bless them.
  • Send me to others, so all can be blessed.
  • O Jesus, you scatter rewards everywhere. Both the giver and the receiver gain your heavenly riches.
  • Nothing escapes your eye, O Lord. You reward even my cup of cold water.
  • Give me your zeal. Let me search for others to teach.

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

+ I will welcome those who come in Jesus’ name.

+ I will search out people who need God’s word.

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

Amen. I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.

WEEK FIFTEEN – SUNDAY (B) – JULY 10, 2022 – THE GOOD SAMARITAN (LK 10:25-37)

Prayer:

O Jesus, you are my good Samaritan and I am wounded along the way.

Imagination:

Picture Jesus gathered with his disciples and teaching the lawyer.

Context:

The lawyer asked a common question in Judaism, “How far must my charity extend? Who is within that circle?” Jesus uses the priest and the Levite who pass by to lead up to the Samaritan. The story’s impact comes from the identity of the caregiver, a Samaritan hated by the Jews. He is the model disciple because his love embraces the whole world.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

A lawyer asked Jesus, “What must I do to gain eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What is written in the law?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus said, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you shall live.” But, he, wishing to justify himself asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered, “A man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho fell among robbers who stripped him, wounded him and left him half dead.

A certain priest going the same way, saw him and passed by. Also, a Levite came near, saw him and passed by. However, a Samaritan on his journey came near, saw him and was moved with compassion. Approaching, he bound up his wounds, poured on oil and wine, put him on his beast, brought him to the inn and took care of him. The next day he gave the host two pence and said, ‘Take care of him and I will repay you on my return.’

Which of these, in your opinion, was neighbor to the man?” He replied, “The one who showed mercy.” Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”

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

  1. The lawyer wanted to distance himself from those in need. 
  2. In the parable, this “distancing” by the priest and Levite is unacceptable.
  3. The Samaritans received no love from the Israelites. Therefore, this example is highly vivid. 
  4. The highest love comes from someone who has been hated.
  5. A true disciple’s love is total, personal and with no reservations.
  6. This love embraces everyone – the poor, despised, helpless and even enemies.
  7. This love is practical. Jesus says, “Go and do likewise.”

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

  • O Lord, flood my heart with the river of your love.
  • Help me to draw close to everyone.
  • Jesus, make my love for you and others limitless.
  • Give me a heart that embraces everyone.
  • O Jesus, change my heart. Change my heart. Change my heart.
  • O Jesus, I will “go and do likewise.” Only practicing love makes me your disciple.

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

+ I will see how limited my present love is.

+ I will see Christ in all those who have needs.

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

“Take care of him and I will repay you.”

WEEK FOURTEEN – SATURDAY – JULY 9, 2022 – DO NOT FEAR (Mt: 10-24-33)

Prayer:

O Jesus, free me from fear so I always acknowledge that I am your disciple.

Imagination:

Picture Jesus speaking with his apostles.

Context:

Jesus is sending his apostles to preach the Kingdom. This is all new for them. Jesus foresees that they will be persecuted and could easily fear and fail to acknowledge him before men. So Jesus teaches them not to fear. This is so needed because anyone who preaches Jesus will be intimidated by others.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said to his apostles, “Do not fear men who intimidate you. Nothing is hidden which will not be revealed and nothing concealed that will not become know. What I tell you in darkness, speak in the light. What you hear in private, preach on the housetops.

Do not fear those who can kill the body but cannot destroy the soul. Fear him who can destroy both body and soul in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And yet, not one of them falls to the ground without your Father knowing it. As for you, the very hairs of your head are numbered. Therefore, do not fear. You are worth more than many sparrows.

Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will acknowledge before my Heavenly Father.  Whoever disowns me before men, I will disown before my Heavenly Father.”

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

  1. In the gospel, Jesus’ teachings are hidden in the hearts of the disciples. They bless the disciples but no one else.
  2. That will change. The apostles will go to all the world. The words in their hearts will be totally revealed.
  3. Through the Apostles, Jesus will multiply his power over the world.
  4. The person preaching Jesus’ word will face persecution and possibly, death.
  5. Losing bodily life is not to be feared. Fear only someone who can destroy the soul.
  6. They are very valuable to the Father, more than any other part of creation.
  7. The final result is clear. If they preach and are killed, Jesus will acknowledge them.
  8. If they cease to preach and disown Jesus, he must disown them.

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

  • Bless me through your word, planted deeply in my heart.
  • I will preach and multiply your word to the nations.  
  • Jesus, what a joy to be your voice.
  • How the Father values me. He called me to spread his Kingdom.
  • Help me to fear no one (unless they can steal heaven from me).
  • Jesus, you will acknowledge me before the Father.  You will say, “He preached my word to the nations.”

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

+ I will drink fully of Jesus’ words.

+ I will share my faith with others.

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

What I tell you in darkness, speak in the light.

WEEK FOURTEEN – FRIDAY – JULY 8, 2022 – PERSECUTIONS (MT 10:16-23)

Prayer:

Come, Holy Spirit, Strengthen me in moments of trial.

Imagination:

Picture Jesus preparing His disciples for persecution.

Context:

Jesus has just commissioned his apostles and sent them out to preach. He warns them of difficulties. Matthew’s Church also sent out missionaries who faced the same persecutions, both from Jews and Romans.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Beware of men. They will hand you over to courts, and they will scourge you in the synagogues. You will be led before governors and kings for my sake, so you can give testimony to them and the pagans. When they hand you over, do not think about what you will say. The Spirit of your Father will speak within you.

Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father, his child. You shall be hated by all because of my name, but whoever perseveres to the end, shall be saved.

The disciple is not above his master. If they have called me Beelzebub, what will they call you?

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

  1. When you turn to Jesus, many will oppose you.
  2. By this teaching, Jesus tries to prepare you for what you will face.
  3. God has a purpose for this opposition. You can explain to your persecutors what God has done to you.
  4. The Spirit will give you the words that touch hearts.
  5. So, rejoice. If they persecuted the Master, they will certainly persecute you.

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

  • Jesus, prepare me for the opposition I will meet in my devout life.
  • Send me your Spirit so my opponents can be won over.
  • Teach me the costs of discipleship. I will pay any price.
  • When the opposition continues, let me stand firm.
  • What more could I ask for? You invite me to suffer persecution with you.

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

+ I will try to explain my conversion to all who question me.

+ If they do not understand, I will be patient.

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

The Spirit of your Father will speak within you.

WEEK FOURTEEN – THURSDAY – JULY 7, 2022 – SENDING OUT THE TWELVE (MT 10:7-15)

Prayer:

O Jesus, send me forth like an apostle.

Imagination:

Picture the Twelve gathered around, listening to Jesus’ instructions.

Context:

There is not much time to evangelize Israel, so Jesus sends out the Twelve. This is totally his initiative. He summons, instructs, and gives his powers. The disciples must trust God to provide and the villages must respond to the message. Urgency fills the air.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said to his disciples, “As you go, make this announcement, ‘The reign of God is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, heal the lepers and expel demons. The gift you have received, give as a gift. Provide yourselves with neither gold nor silver nor copper in your belts; no traveling bags, no change of shirt, no sandals, no walking stick.

Look for a worthy citizen in every town or village you come to and stay with him until you leave. As you enter his home bless it. If the home is deserving, your blessing will descend on it.  If not, your blessing will return to you.

If anyone does not receive you, leave that town and shake the dust from your feet. It will go easier for Sodom and Gomorrah on judgment day than for that town.”

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

  1. There is great urgency. The time is short. The gospel must be preached.
  2.  Jesus takes a new initiative. He pours out his zeal upon the Twelve.
  3. They go forth two by two, showing love for each other and encouraging each other.
  4. They enjoy the powers of the Kingdom – to expel demons, to heal, and to raise the dead.
  5. They must be unselfish, being satisfied with whatever house receives them.
  6. They will bless greatly whoever welcomes them.
  7. The village must respond to their message. Otherwise, the apostles will reject them.
  8. The final judgment will be severe, worse than Sodom and Gomorrah.

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

  • O Jesus, the time is short. I must act today. 
  • Fill my heart with your zeal and holy desires.
  • Call me to a greater level of responsibility.
  • Join me with others. Together, we can be faithful.
  • Give me your powers. I will free people and they will believe.
  • O Lord, I will sacrifice everything for your Kingdom.
  • O Jesus, if some will not listen, I will go quickly to others.

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

+ I will be aware of opportunities to speak about the Kingdom.

+ I will seek a friend who will join me in my task.

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

Make the announcement, “The reign of God is at hand.”

WEEK FOURTEEN – WEDNESDAY – JULY 6, 2022 – COMMISSIONING OF THE TWELVE (MT 10:1-7)

Prayer:

Come, Jesus. Anoint me to preach your Kingdom.

Imagination:

Picture Jesus preparing his apostles for their missionary journey.

Context:

Jesus now makes his apostles into missionaries. He calls them and gives two powers – to drive out demons and to heal. He tells them how to act and what to preach. For the first time, others will use Jesus’ powers.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to expel unclean spirits and to heal every disease and illness.

Jesus sent them on mission as the Twelve, after giving them the following instructions. “Do not go to the Gentiles or to the Samaritans. Go to the lost sheep of Israel. When you go, you are to preach, ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick. Raise the dead. Cleanse the lepers. Cast out devils. Do this freely, for you have freely received.

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

  1. Jesus sends forth his most dedicated group – the Twelve.  
  2. He gives them extraordinary powers to cast out devils and to heal every illness.
  3. They must not go to Gentile villages nor to Samaritan towns.
  4. Their goal must be Israel, the special object of Jesus’ love.
  5. They say only one thing. “The Kingdom is at hand.” At this point, that is all they understand.
  6. They will do extremely well because they obey Jesus and use his powers.

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

  • O Jesus, call me. I will dedicate my life to the Kingdom.
  • Show me where to go and what to do.
  • Give me the power to preach and persuade.
  • Help me to lead my family and friends to faith.
  • Jesus, give me a simplicity of lifestyle.
  • Jesus, the Kingdom is at hand and everyone must know it.
  • How great is the need for all to hear the message! The time is short and You are coming soon.

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

+ In my own little way, I will announce the Kingdom to everyone.

+ I will believe that Jesus will equip me with His powers.

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

When you preach say, “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Then, heal the sick.

WEEK FOURTEEN – TUESDAY – JULY 5, 2022 – THE GOOD NEWS OF GOD’S REIGN (MT 9:32-38)

Prayer:

O Jesus, your goodness is everywhere.

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with his disciples, healing the crowds.

Context:

The gospels are filled with Jesus compassion and power. Now, he extends that compassion to physical healings and to being a shepherd to the poor. Unable to do all by himself, he shares his powers with the twelve Apostles.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were prostrate from exhaustion, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great but the laborers are few. Pray, therefore, that the Lord of the harvest would send laborers into his harvest.”

Calling his twelve disciples together, he gave them power to cast out unclean spirits and to heal all kinds of sickness and disease. He gave these instructions, “Do not go to pagan territory and do not enter a Samaritan town. Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make the announcement, “The reign of God is at hand.” Cure the sick. Raise the dead. Heal the lepers. Expel demons. The gift you have received, give as a gift.”

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

  1. Jesus is indefatigable. He is everywhere – towns, villages, synagogues and street corners. He does everything. He heals. Raises from the dead. Expels demons.
  2. The gospel reveals His inner thoughts. He is filled with compassion because the people are worn out.
  3. He will be their shepherd, taking up this difficult and thankless task.
  4. His heart conceives a new plan. He will multiply this work by sharing his powers with the faithful apostles.
  5. Jesus first love is for Israel, his people. The disciples must go there first. Time is limited.
  6. They must preach his message, “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” This alone prepares for his coming. 
  7. He gives them the Kingdom’s powers – to heal and expel demons.

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

  • Jesus, you are everywhere. You do all things. You seek me out. You speak in my heart.
  • You reveal your heart. You are filled with compassion. Every action is for my benefit.
  • You see me worn out. You see me burdened. “I will make you my sheep,” you say.
  • You have sent others for me. You have given me a Church to preach your Kingdom and a Eucharistic table to nourish me.
  • You love your people. You love those who are baptized and believe in you. 
  • Your gifts are freely given and freely received. Your abundance is everywhere.

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

+ I will be aware that Jesus is everywhere.

+ I will think of his great love for me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Make the announcement, “The reign of God is at hand.”

WEEK FOURTEEN – MONDAY – JULY 4, 2022 – A TOUCH OF FAITH (Mt 9:18-26)

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, let me touch you in faith so your power goes out to me.

Imagination:

Picture the crowds pressing upon Jesus while the woman touches his garment.

Context:


This story has so many details (bleeding, twelve years, many doctors, wasted money and even the woman’s thoughts), that the woman herself was obviously the source of this information. She also was a member of Mark’s Church.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

A woman had suffered with an issue of blood for twelve years, receiving treatment from many doctors and exhausting her money. Yet, she grew worse. Having heard about Jesus, she came up behind him and touched his garment saying, “If I but touch his garment, I will be made whole.”

Immediately, the flow of blood dried up and she felt in her body that she was healed of the sickness.  Jesus, knowing that some power had gone forth from him, turned to the crowd and asked, “Who touched my garments?” His disciples said, “You see the crowd pressing upon you, and you ask, ‘Who has touched me?’”

He looked around to see who it was. Trembling and fearful, the woman fell down before Jesus and told him the whole story. He said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be free of this illness.”

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

  1. The woman “heard about Jesus.” Her faith came from hearing these gospel stories.
  2. Many press upon Jesus, but physical contact is not enough to receive the blessing.
  3. Many people touch Jesus but this woman touches him with faith.
  4. Her actions violate Jewish law. Her flow of blood made her unclean. However, her faith overcame these legal barriers.
  5. Jesus recognizes the difference between the crowd pressing in and the woman’s touch.
  6. He explains that her faith opened the door to his powers.

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

  • O Jesus, I know your gospel stories. Stir me to lively faith.
  • Jesus, I will press in. I will come close and draw near.
  • I will touch you in faith. Your power will go forth and I will be changed.
  • Dry up my sins, Jesus.  Let my sorrows stop flowing. Heal my emotions and my body.
  • You welcome me. You stir my faith. You invite me to come. Your power goes forth and I am a new person.

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

+ I will ponder the gospel miracles and allow them to bring me to faith.

+ I will act on these new beliefs. Jesus does not disappoint those who believe in him.

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

Daughter, your faith has made you well.

WEEK FOURTEEN- SUNDAY – C– JULY 3, 2022 – SEVENTY-TWO MORE MISSIONARIES (LK 10:1-12)

Prayer:

O Lord, choose me and send me wherever your word needs to be preached.

Imagination:

Picture Jesus preparing seventy-two more disciples to go to the villages.

Context:

Other gospels (Mark and Matthew) record Jesus sending the Twelve. Only Luke mentions this larger number of seventy-two. Obviously, the early Church communities sent out large numbers of missionaries. The instructions given for the seventy-two are almost identical to those already given to the Twelve.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The Lord appointed seventy-two and sent them two by two before him where he was to visit. He said, “The harvest is great but the laborers are few. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest.

Behold I send you as lambs among wolves. Carry neither walking staff nor traveling bag. Greet no one along the way. Whatever house you enter say, ‘Peace be to this house’. If there is a peaceable man, your peace will rest upon him. If not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking what is put before you. The laborer is worthy of his hire. Do not move from house to house. Heal the sick and say, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand.’ If the city does not receive you, then leave, saying ‘We shake the dust of this city from our feet as testimony against you.’ Yet, the Kingdom is at hand. I assure you, on that day, the fate of Sodom will not be as severe as for that town.”

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

  1. Jesus organizes. He plans. He wastes no time.  
  2. These seventy-two will go to definite villages and Jesus will follow.
  3. They will face great hostilities – like lambs going among wolves.
  4. The task is very urgent. There is no time for greeting people and having a chat.
  5. The disciple is a missionary, a preacher with an important message.
  6. They must be disciplined, content with whatever food or housing is available.
  7. If they preach, the village must accept the message. Otherwise, Jesus will not come and they will lose the Kingdom.
  8. How dreadful will be their punishment on the day of Jesus’ Second Coming.

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

  • O Jesus, you have a plan for me, a place in your Kingdom and a task to be accomplished.
  • Give me courage against the hostility I will face.
  • O Jesus, the whole world must hear and I must speak. How urgent is my task.
  • O Lord, I will make any sacrifice and pay any price to bring your word.
  • The people must listen. They must respond. 
  • O Jesus, I will do all I can. Give me your Holy Spirit.

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

+ I will look for people who need my words about the Kingdom.

+ I will seek out the right way to preach to them. I will see the urgency to spread Jesus’ word.

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

Say to them, “The reign of God is at hand.”