WEEK TWENTY SEVEN – WEDNESDAY – OCTOBER 6, 2021 – TEACH US TO PRAY (LK 11:1-4)

Prayer:

O Lord, engrave these petitions in my heart. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching his disciples to pray. 

Context:

Understanding the Our Father will surprise you. It is a heavenly prayer which opens our eyes to Jesus’ Second Coming and prepares us for the end of the world. Luke’s version is somewhat shorter than what is usually said (Matthew’s version). 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

While Jesus was praying in a certain place, a disciple asked him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” Jesus said to them, “When you pray say: 

Father, hallowed be your name. 

Your Kingdom come 

Give us this day our daily bread 

Forgive us our sins because we also forgive all who sin against us. 

Lead us not into temptation” 

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

  1. Jesus made us God’s children in Baptism. Now, we can call God, “Father.” 
  2. Now God’s holiness is manifested in Jesus’ name. So every tongue must confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father. 
  3. “Your Kingdom come” refers to the final day, the completion of history. Being prepared for that day must be our goal. 
  4. “Daily bread” has two meanings – the earthly bread we need each day and Holy Communion, the bread that prepares us for Jesus’ Second Coming. 
  5. Luke’s prayer claims that the community always forgives others. What an important ideal! 
  6. The temptation always means the final trial when Satan will try to snatch our heavenly crown from us at the last minute. 

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

  • O Father, I am forever and ever your child. Let your name be always on my lips. 
  • O Jesus, in your name I glorify the Father. 
  • Come, Lord Jesus! That is the Bible’s final prayer. 
  • Provide my daily bread, O Lord. 
  • Make me hunger for the Eucharist. 
  • Jesus, guard me in the final testing. 
  • O Mary, be with me in my final hours. 

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

+ I will repeat these five petitions during the day. 

+ I will cherish my Baptism which made me a child of God. 

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

Lord, teach us to pray.

WEEK TWENTY SEVEN – TUESDAY – OCTOBER 5, 2021 – MARY & MARTHA (LK 10:38-42)

Prayer:

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

Imagination:

Picture Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet. 

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thought for Today: (To recall your meditation.) 

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

WEEK TWENTY SEVEN – MONDAY – OCTOBER 4, 2021 – THE GOOD SAMARITAN (LK 10:25-37)

Prayer:

Give me a loving heart, O Lord, like your own

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with His disciples

Context:

The lawyer’s question was common in Judaism, “How far must my charity extend? Who is within that circle?” 

Jesus’ parable uses the usual set of three persons. Logically, after the priest and Levite, the third person should be a Jewish layperson. The story’s impact comes from the identity of the caregiver – a Samaritan, an enemy of Israel. He is the model disciple because love must embrace 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 a theoretical answer for his intellect. 
  2. Instead, Jesus tells a story which pierces the heart. In the parable, the actions of the priest and Levite are unacceptable. 
  3. The parable describes a disciple’s love – total, personal and with no reservations. 
  4. His love embraces everyone – the poor, despised, helpless and even enemies. 
  5. The example is highly vivid because the Samaritans received no love from the Israelites. 
  6. This love is very practical. Jesus says, “Go and do likewise.” 

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

  • O Lord, flood my heart with love and I will accept this river. 
  • Limitless – that is your love for me and it should be my love for you. 
  • All-embracing, that should be my willingness to serve the needy. 
  • O Jesus, change my heart. Change my heart. Change my heart. 
  • O Jesus, let me “go and do likewise.” Action, not theory makes me your disciple. 

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

+ I will open my eyes and see how limited is my present love. 

+ 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 TWENTY SEVEN – SUNDAY – B – OCTOBER 3, 2021 – AS AT THE BEGINNING (MK 10:2-12)

Prayer:

O Jesus, restore me. Make me pure as was the beginning creation. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching the holiness of marriage

Context:

Even though the Jewish people received God’s revelation, they wandered from the truth. Because of their hardness of heart, Moses even allowed a man to divorce his wife and marry another. Now, the Pharisees test Jesus, claiming that Moses allowed divorce. Jesus, however, points to the Jewish bible and says that “in the beginning” God had a different plan that must be followed.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

To test Jesus, the Pharisees asked him, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? Jesus responded, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and to put her away.” 

Jesus said, “He wrote this commandment because of the hardness of your hearts. However, from the beginning, God made them male and female. Therefore, a man shall leave his mother and father, and shall cleave to his wife. They shall be two in one flesh. They are no longer two. They are one flesh. What God has joined together, let no man separate.” 

Later, in the house, the disciples questioned this teaching. Jesus said, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her, and the woman who divorces her husband and marries another commits adultery.” 

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

  1. Sin obscured God’s revelation to Israel. Even Moses, their inspired leader, permitted a bill of divorce. 
  2. Jesus restores God’s Kingdom, “as it was from the beginning.” 
  3. “In the beginning” man and woman were “two in one flesh,” and totally inseparable. 
  4. Their union was so important that they even left their father and mother. 
  5. God sealed this union and made marriage inviolable. 
  6. At this point, the disciples are confused. After they receive the Holy Spirit, they will see permanent marriage as a sign of God’s Final Age. 

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

  • O Jesus, sin obscures my vision. Purify me. 
  • I will follow your words, O Lord. 
  • O Jesus, you want to restore me “as in the beginning.” 
  • Make me a faithful spouse. 
  • Send me a marriage partner who shares in the ideals of your Kingdom. 
  • Jesus, send your Holy Spirit and begin your new creation. 
  • O Jesus, help me to live according to God’s plan. 

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

+ I will seek God’s guidance in choosing a spouse. 

+ I will use the sacraments to remain faithful to my marriage vows. 

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

In the beginning, God made them male and female.

WEEK TWENTY SIX – SATURDAY – OCTOBER 2, 2021 – THE LITTLE CHILDREN (MT: 18:1-10)

Prayer:

O Jesus, I must accept your Kingdom like a little child

Imagination:

Picture Jesus surrounded by children and the disciples. 

Context:

After teaching on the permanency of marriage, Jesus welcomes children (the purpose of marriage). When the disciples hinder them, Jesus grows angry because a vital principal is at stake (infant Baptism). Only Jesus decides who is worthy of the Kingdom. No one else must hinder them.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

People were bringing children to Jesus so he might touch them but the disciples scolded them for doing this. Jesus became indignant and said, “Let the little children come to me and do not forbid them. For such is the Kingdom of God. 

Amen I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child shall not enter it. Then he embraced them and blessed them, laying his hands upon them.” 

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

  1. The parents realize all the blessings that Jesus can give and want their children to receive. 
  2. The disciples do not understand the Kingdom. All are welcome. 
  3. Jesus becomes indignant. For all to enter the Kingdom is his constant concern. 
  4. He speaks from his heart, “Let the little children come to me.” 
  5. This is your invitation. Jesus speaks to you. 
  6. Set aside your adult sophistication. You need a heavenly Father just like everyone else. 
  7. Go to Jesus. He will embrace you and you will be blessed as never before. 

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

  • Jesus, your blessings flow freely and are easily received. 
  • O Lord, let nothing hinder me. Sweep away all obstacles that stand between us. 
  • You speak to me. You say “Let them come.” 
  • You are like a king who wants his people to enter his palace. 
  • O Jesus, I need you. I need your presence. I need your help. 
  • Take me in your arms. Your hands are wounded and your arms are bloody – all for love of me. 

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

+ Today, I will seek Jesus’ presence. 

+ I will remove any obstacles that keep me from Jesus. 

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

He embraced them and blessed them.

WEEK TWENTY SIX – FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2021 – THE UNREPENTANT TOWNS (LK 10:13-16)

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, let me use well this time for repentance given to me by the heavenly Father

Imagination:

Picture Jesus speaking to his disciples and the crowds. 

Context:

Jesus mentions three towns of Galilee – Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum. The gospels do not record any ministry of Jesus in the first two towns, but obviously he preached there. They are compared with Tyre and Sidon, two Gentile towns known for their sinfulness. In Capernaum, Jesus had an extended ministry, filled with great miracles. This city was known for its pride because of its lofty stature.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Jesus said, “Woe to you Chorazin! Woe to you Bethsaida! For if in Tyre and Sidon had been done the mighty works that were done in you, they would have done penance long ago in sackcloth and ashes. It will go easier on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 

And as for you, Capernaum, are you to be exalted to the heavens? You will be cast down into hell.He who hears you, hears me. He who rejects you, rejects me. He who rejects me, rejects the one who sent me.” 

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

  1. Jesus pulls no punches. His words are like arrows piercing the heart. 
  2. The first two towns did not accept the gospel. They did not repent. They will not share in the Kingdom. 
  3. Israelites despise Gentile Tyre and Sidon but Chorazin and Bethsaida are even less worthy in God’s sight. 
  4. Capernaum totally misjudges its spiritual state. It prides itself on witnessing Jesus’ miracles but refuses to accept his message and repent. They are headed to hell. 
  5. For all three towns, Jesus is concerned about the Day of Judgment. These people will not be ready. 
  6. To reject the missionary is to reject the gospel, the only door into eternal life. 

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

  • Jesus, pierce my heart with your words. 
  • I will accept your gospel and be with you forever. 
  • Lord, you always worry about my Day of Judgment. 
  • To prepare, I must repent and cast aside what is evil. 
  • You will exalt me, Jesus. You will take me into your heart. You will do everything for me. 
  • How important to believe in your gospel and to accept you as Lord! 

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

+ I will not delay. I will go to confession and be freed from my sins. 

+ I will humble myself and ask Jesus to exalt me. 

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

He who hears you, hears me.

WEEK TWENTY SIX – THURSDAY – SEPTEMBER 30, 2021 – SEVENTY-TWO MORE MISSIONARIES (LK 10:1-12)

Prayer:

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

Imagination:

Picture Jesus preparing 72 more disciples to go to the villages. 

Context:

Three gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), record Jesus sending the Twelve. Only Luke mentions this larger number of 72. Obviously, the early Church communities sent out large numbers of missionaries. The instructions given for the 72 are almost identical to those already given to the 12.

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.’ But know 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. These 72 prepare villages for Jesus to follow. 
  2. The disciples will face great hostilities – like lambs among wolves. 
  3. The task is urgent, with no time for greeting people and passing the time of day. 
  4. The disciple is a missionary, a preacher with an important message.
  5. He must be disciplined, content with whatever food or housing is available. 
  6. If he preaches, the village must accept the message. Otherwise, Jesus will not come and they will lose the Kingdom. 
  7. How dreadful will be their punishment on the day of the Kingdom. 

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

  • Jesus, you have a plan for me, a place in your Kingdom and a task to be accomplished. 
  • Prepare me, Jesus, for the hostility I will face when I speak of your Kingdom. 
  • O Jesus, the whole world must hear and I must speak. How urgent is my task. 
  • O Lord, I will make any sacrifice. 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 to hear about the Kingdom. 

+ I will seek out the right way to preach to them. 

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

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

WEEK TWENTY SIX – WEDNESDAY – SEPTEMBER 29, 2021 – A TRUE ISRAELITE (JN 1:47-51)

Prayer:

O Jesus, call me into your presence. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with his early disciples. 

Context:

Peter, Andrew, Philip and Nathaniel are all from Bethsaida. Philip leads Nathaniel to Jesus. This dialogue reveals much of Jesus’ identity. It alludes to Jacob who was filled with guile (Nathaniel has none). Jacob saw angels ascending and descending on a ladder. (Nathaniel will see Jesus with angels.) Nathaniel is called Bartholomew in the listing of the twelve apostles. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

The next day, Jesus decided to go to Galilee, where he found Philip. Jesus said, “Follow me.” Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathaniel and said, “We have found the one whom Moses wrote about in the law and prophets, Jesus the son of Joseph of Nazareth.” Nathaniel said, “Can anything of good come from Nazareth?” Philip said, “Come and see.” 

Jesus saw Nathaniel coming to him and said, “Behold a true Israelite in whom there is no guile.” Nathaniel asked, “How do you know me?” Jesus said, “Before Philip called you I saw you under a fig tree.” Nathaniel said, “Rabbi, you are the son of God. You are the King of Israel.” Jesus said, “You believe because I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than these. Amen, amen I say to you, you shall see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” 

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

  1. It seems like just a chance happening. Jesus on his way to Galilee comes upon Philip. 
  2. Their meeting has eternal results for Philip and Nathaniel. 
  3. Philip desperately wants Nathaniel to share his faith in Jesus. 
  4. Nazareth is never mentioned in the Old Testament so Nathaniel must trust Philip’s faith. 
  5. Nathaniel is a true Israelite, without guile (not like Jacob who was full of guile). 
  6. When Jesus uses his prophetic power, Nathaniel believes immediately (he is without guile). 
  7. Jesus promises greater revelations. Nathaniel will see angels accompanying the Son of Man in glory. 

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

  • O Jesus, let me meet you today. 
  • What a blessing to hear your words, “Come, follow me.” 
  • O Jesus, I will bring others to you. 
  • Remove my sophistication and make me a person without guile. 
  • Jesus, you know everything about me. You see me at every moment. 
  • Someday, I will see you with your angels. 
  • You are the messiah coming again in glory. I await you. 

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

+ I will believe in Jesus and bring others into that belief. 

+ I will think today of Jesus coming with his angels. 

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

Philip sought out Nathaniel, “We have found the Messiah.”

WEEK TWENTY SIX – TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2021 – FIRE UPON SAMARIA (LK 9:51-56)

Prayer:

O Jesus, let me follow you to Jerusalem. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus walking with his disciples. 

Context:

As Jesus begins his journey to Jerusalem, he encounters people who reject him. He has to pass through Samaria which was between Galilee (North) and Jerusalem (South). The Samaritans themselves were enemies of the Jews and would not welcome Jesus. However, after Pentecost, Samaria is very receptive when Philip preaches the gospel. (Acts C8) 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

When the days of his being taken from this world were to be accomplished, Jesus steadfastly set his face toward Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to prepare his way through a Samaritan town, but the Samaritans would not welcome him because he was on his way to Jerusalem. 

When his disciples, James and John, saw this, they asked “Lord, would you not have us call down fire from heaven to destroy them?” Jesus turned only to reprimand them. Then he set off for another town. 

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

  1. Jesus ascends to Jerusalem. From there, he will ascend into heaven. Jerusalem is just a stepping stone. 
  2. He is “resolved to proceed.” His face is firmly set. Otherwise, he would turn back from his cruel death. 
  3. Samaria loses its opportunity to help Jesus. Like Nazareth, it has rejected the prophet. 
  4. John and James react from human feelings, wanting immediate vengeance. Jesus rejects their anger. 
  5. Jesus will take another route, blessing some other places. This is how God always acts, giving to others the blessing rejected by some. 
  6. Samaria, however, repented at the preaching of Philip. They did not miss out when God gave them a second chance. 

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

  • O Jesus, I will accompany you. I will go with you to Jerusalem. Wait for me. I am coming. 
  • O Lord, the gifts of your death and rising await me in Jerusalem. 
  • O Jesus, you can enter my city anytime. My heart is always open to you. 
  • You are so patient. You do not call down fire. You wait for me to repent. 
  • How I have failed to listen! No more. Send your word and I will take it into my heart. 

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

+ I will be steadfast in my decision to lead a devout life. 

+ I will go to Jerusalem seeking always God’s will for me today. 

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

When his days of being taken from this world came, Jesus set out for Jerusalem.

WEEK TWENTY SIX – MONDAY – SEPTEMBER 27, 2021 – AMBITIOUS AND ARROGANT (LK 9:46-50)

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, give me a humble and accepting heart. 

Imagination:

Imagine Jesus reprimanding his disciples.

Context:

These two stories reveal two sins of disciples – ambition and exclusivity. Ambition seeks prominence within the community. Exclusivity excludes those outside the community. Jesus quickly corrects both.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

The disciple discussed among themselves who was the greater. Jesus, seeing their thoughts, placed a child by himself and said, “Whoever shall receive this child in my name, receives me, and whoever receives me, receives him who sent me. Whoever is least among you is the greatest.” 

John said, “Master, we saw a man casting out devils in your name and we tried to stop him because he is not of our company. Jesus told him in reply, “Do not stop him. Whoever is not against you, is on your side.” 

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

  1. The apostles have much to learn. They have not yet witnessed Jesus lowering himself and accepting death on the cross. 
  2. By placing a helpless child in their midst, Jesus demands service instead of ambition. 
  3. The reward for Christian service is great. Receiving the helpless is to receive Jesus and the Kingdom. 
  4. John manifests human selfishness. He wants to exclude others and not allow them to use the powers of the Kingdom. 
  5. Jesus’ heart is much more open. Everyone is to be accepted unless they line up against you. 

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

  • O Jesus, destroy my ambitious spirit that serves only me. 
  • Give me a new heart, open to all. 
  • Give me your Holy Spirit of service that cares for the helpless. 
  • Where can I find you, Jesus? In all who need my help. 
  • Take down my walls. Remove my prejudices. Give me a heart open to all. 
  • In your name, I will embrace the whole world and invite them into the Christian community. 

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

+ I will not tolerate my own pride. 

+ I will welcome everyone and tear down my walls of exclusivity. 

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

Whoever is least among you is the greatest.

WEEK TWENTY SIX – SUNDAY – B – SEPTEMBER 26, 2021 – GAINING HEAVEN (MK 9:38-43; 47-48)

Prayer:

O Jesus, purify my heart and guide my decisions

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with his disciples. 

Context:

This gospel has many little parts. Some teach about relationships within the believing community. Others explain what is needed for personal salvation. Both are important. Jesus mentions the “fire of Gehenna.” This was a rubbish place outside of Jerusalem where there were constant fires. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone casting out devils in your name. Because he is not of our company, we tried to stop him.” Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no man can do a miracle in my name and speak ill of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. 

Anyone who gives you a cup of cold water in my name because you belong to Christ, Amen, I tell you, he shall not lose his reward. But it would be better, if anyone leads astray one of these little ones who believe in me, that a millstone be tied around his neck and he be plunged into the sea. If your hand is a difficulty, cut it off! Better for you to enter life with one hand than to keep both hands and enter into the fire of Gehenna. 

If your foot is your undoing, cut it off! Better for you to enter life with one foot than, with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. If your eye is your downfall, pluck it out! It is better to enter life with one eye than to be thrown with two eyes into Gehenna, where the worm dies not and the fire is never extinguished.” 

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

  1. Jesus confronts John’s pride. He cannot accept an outsider sharing in Jesus’ powers. 
  2. Jesus confronts scandal when new believers see older members who do not fulfill Jesus’ commands. 
  3. Believers must give a “cup of cold water,” that is, the good example of their Christian lives. 
  4. Jesus confronts sin within the Church. The goal is heaven and damnation must be avoided at all costs. 
  5. This is a true disciple – humble, open to others, setting good example and avoiding sinful activity. 

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

  • O Lord, how holy is your name, containing all power in heaven and earth. 
  • O Jesus, let every tongue proclaim your name for the Father’s glory. 
  • I am your follower. Let my life lead others to follow you. 
  • Help me so I never lead others astray. 
  • O Jesus, your Kingdom is worth any price! 
  • Cut out of my life whatever cuts me off from you. 

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

+ I will use Jesus’ name to release God’s power. 

+ I will remove anything that gives bad example. 

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

He will not lose his reward.

WEEK TWENTY FIVE – SATURDAY – SEPTEMBER 25, 2021 – A SECOND WARNING (LK 9:43-45)

Prayer:

O Holy Spirit, reveal to me the mystery of Jesus. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with his disciples. 

Context:

Jesus has just healed the boy with a demon. While the disciples are still amazed at this, Jesus shifts the focus to his death. The warning falls on deaf ears. They have no idea of the mystery that lies ahead.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

In the middle of the disciples’ astonishment at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, “Place in your hearts my words. The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of men.” 

They failed to understand his words. It was so concealed from them that they did not grasp it at all and they were afraid to question him about this matter. 

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

  1. Jesus’ display of powerful healings overwhelms the disciples. They cannot grasp the mystery of suffering. 
  2. The disciples do not place Jesus’ words in their hearts. They want only his glory. 
  3. Jesus reveals the hardest truth. He will be delivered over as a prisoner. 
  4. The full impact of his words is lost. The disciples grasp nothing. 
  5. The matter seems so unimportant that they do not bother to ask. 

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

  • O Jesus, I will be a true disciple always giving you my heart. 
  • Place your words in my heart and I will cherish them. 
  • Even when you speak to me of trials and sufferings, I will not walk away. 
  • Remove the veil that covers my mind so your words give me life. 
  • O Jesus, I will live by every word that comes from your lips. 

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

+ I will ask Jesus to speak to my heart. 

+ I will take to heart his gospel teachings. 

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

Place my words in your hearts.

WEEK TWENTY FIVE – FRIDAY – SEPTEMBER 24, 2021 – JESUS’ IDENTITY REVEALED (LK 9:18-22)

Prayer:

O Holy Spirit, open to my heart the mystery of Jesus Christ. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with his disciples. 

Context:

An earlier gospel showed what the Father wanted Jesus to accomplish for Israel. This gospel answers a deeper question. What is Jesus’ relationship to the Father and to Israel. At this point, only the apostles must know. The crowds would misinterpret this truth and make him a king.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

As Jesus was praying in seclusion, his disciples were with him. He asked them, “Whom do people say that I am?” They answered, “Some say John the Baptist. Some say Elijah. Others say that one of the prophets has arisen.” 

He said, “Whom do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “The messiah of God.” He strictly commanded them not to tell anyone, saying “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and be put to death and rise on the third day.” 

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

  1. When Jesus is at prayer, he sees clearly the Father’s will. 
  2. The disciples, also, are especially blessed when they join Jesus in prayer. 
  3. The world cannot comprehend who Jesus is or what he accomplishes. 
  4. Jesus’ direct question to the disciples fills Simon Peter with faith and revelation. 
  5. Jesus is the Messiah sent by God to fulfill his divine plan. 
  6. Surprisingly, the Father wills that Jesus suffer, die and rise from the dead. 

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

  • Jesus, my human intelligence cannot understand who you are and what you will do for me. 
  • Give me the light of prayer. I will understand my task. 
  • Fill me with faith. Reveal your mysteries. Draw me to yourself. 
  • You are the Messiah sent by God to save me. 
  • I will follow you into the great mystery of your death. You will raise me from the dead also. 

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

+ By daily mental prayer, I will get to know Jesus Christ. 

+ I will thank Jesus who suffered and died for me. 

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

You are the Messiah of God.

WEEK TWENTY FIVE – THURSDAY – SEPTEMBER 23, 2021 – HEROD’S CONCLUSION (LK 9:7-9)

Prayer:

O Holy Spirit, reveal to me the fullness of Jesus. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with his disciples. 

Context:

This text is sort of an interlude as Herod ponders Jesus’ identity. Later, Peter, by divine revelation will proclaim correctly that Jesus is the Messiah. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Herod the Tetrarch heard of all that Jesus was doing, and he was perplexed. Some were saying, “John has been raised from the dead.” Others, “Elijah has appeared.” Still others say, “One of the prophets of old has risen. But Herod said, “John I beheaded. Who is this man about whom I hear all these reports?” He was very curious to see him. 

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

  1. Jesus’ miracles do not lead Herod to faith but “to confusion.” His sinful life impeded any true understanding. 
  2. The three preposterous ideas show the great religious confusion which only Jesus can remove. 
  3. Herod is troubled. He cannot forget his murder of John. Jesus’ holiness stirs up these painful memories. 
  4. In the gospels, many people hear reports about Jesus. Usually, this arouses faith and they bring their sick to Jesus. 
  5. In Herod, the reports only stir up curiosity. He wants to see Jesus but not to repent and to believe. 

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

  • O Jesus, do not let my sins lead me into confusion. 
  • Quiet my sinful desires. Take away the darkness of my mind. 
  • I, too, have troubling memories. I come to you for forgiveness. 
  • I know who you are, Jesus. You died for me and you saved me from everlasting death. 
  • You are Lord. You are King. 
  • How I want to see you, to serve you, to love you forever. Come, Lord Jesus. 

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

+ I will uproot the sinful desires that confuse my heart. 

+ I will multiply my desires to see Jesus. 

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

Herod was perplexed and curious.

WEEK TWENTY FIVE – WEDNESDAY – SEPTEMBER 22, 2021 – SENT BY JESUS (LK 9:1-6)

Prayer:

O Holy Spirit, anoint me with your powers. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus sending forth his 12 apostles. 

Context:

This text looks forward to the Church, when the Holy Spirit will send the apostles to the whole world. Jesus’ words reflect what actually happened. The small Church communities sent forth preachers to the whole world.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Jesus called the twelve apostles together and gave them power and authority to overcome all demons and to heal diseases. He sent them forth to proclaim the reign of God and to heal the afflicted. He told them, “Take nothing for your journey, not staff, or traveling bag. Take no food and no money. No one is to have two coats. 

Stay at whatever house you enter and live there. Do not depart from it. Whoever will not receive you, when you leave that city, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” 

So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the good news everywhere and curing diseases. 

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

  1. Jesus trusted that these apostles would tell the whole world. How important is the preacher of the word! 
  2. The apostles only proclaim that the Kingdom is at hand. Even they do not yet understand this Kingdom. 
  3. However, they can heal and cast out demons to show the power of this Kingdom. 
  4. Because they preach a heavenly Kingdom, they must set aside earthly comforts. 
  5. Any village which rejects them receives no blessing. Even the dust will not enter the Kingdom. 
  6. The apostles start immediately. They set out. The Kingdom is important and people must hear about it. 

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

  • O Jesus, you entrust this task to me. You believe in me. You depend on me. 
  • Your Kingdom is powerful, healing people and setting them free. 
  • Unleash your powers in our midst. 
  • O Jesus, I will proclaim the Kingdom is at hand. 
  • I will set aside earthly comforts because your Kingdom deserves my whole heart. 
  • I will set out, Jesus. I will not wait. Tomorrow is too late. Your Kingdom is coming. 

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

+ I will try to listen to God. What does he want me to do? 

+ In Jesus’ name, I will pray that people be cured and set free. 

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

He sent them forth to proclaim the Kingdom and to heal.

WEEK TWENTY FIVE – TUESDAY – SEPTEMBER 21, 2021 – MATTHEW, THE TAX COLLECTOR (MT 9:9-13)

Prayer:

Come, Holy Spirit. Let me respond quickly to Jesus’ call. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus at table in Matthew’s house. 

Context:

This text has two parts. First, Matthew responds to Jesus’ call and then he invites Jesus to his house. Since Matthew is a sinner (collecting taxes for Romans) his friends are also “sinners,” so the dinner becomes a controversy story. This leads to the pronouncement that Jesus came to call sinners not the righteous. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Jesus saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s post. He said to him, “Follow me.” He got up and followed him. 

Later, while Jesus was at table in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors came and sat with Jesus. Some Pharisees saw this and asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such people?” Jesus heard them and said, “Those who are well do not need the doctor. The sick do. Learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ I came to call sinners, not the righteous.” 

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

  1. Matthew never searched for Jesus. He just went to work one day and Jesus found him. 
  2. What a special day! Matthew began as a tax collector (working for the Roman Empire). He ends the day as Jesus’ disciple (working for the Kingdom). 
  3. Everything happened so quickly. Jesus saw him and invited him. Matthew left his post and followed. 
  4. If he had hesitated or doubted, he would have missed his call. 
  5. He accepts Jesus completely, opening his home and inviting the other sinners. 
  6. The Pharisees try to exclude Matthew and his friends from the Kingdom. Jesus would have none of that. 
  7. Jesus proclaims that they are the very ones he is calling. 

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

  • O Jesus, today is so important! You will come. You will pass by. You will say, “Follow me.” 
  • Do not let me say “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” (like St. Augustine). 
  • When you call, I will follow. 
  • Come for me! I am a sinner and your Father sent you to sinners. 
  • Why do I wait? Why do I continue to sit at my tax collector’s post? Why am I afraid? Who do I not “get up and follow you?” 
  • In the quiet of this prayer, I hear your voice. I respond, “Wait, Jesus, I am coming.” 

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

+ I will be vigilant today. 

+ I will open my whole house to Jesus. 

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

Seeing Matthew at his post, Jesus said, “Follow me.”

WEEK TWENTY FIVE – MONDAY – SEPTEMBER 20, 2021 – THREE SAYINGS OF JESUS (LK 8:16-18)

Prayer:

O Lord, call me to be your child of light. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus teaching the crowds

Context:

This text contains three separate sayings of Jesus. The first saying envisions a Greek home with a light welcoming visitors. The second sentence points out that nothing is secret to God, all will be revealed. The third sentence describes a person who is receptive to God’s word and will receive more, and a person who will lose what little faith he has. 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Jesus said to the crowds, “No one lights a candle and covers it over with a basket or places it under the bed. He sets it on the candlestick so all who come in can see the light. 

There is nothing secret that will not be made known and come to light. 

Be careful, then, how you hear. To the man who has, more will be given. Whoever does not have will lose even the little that he thinks he has.” 

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

  1. Jesus describes three different situations. 
  2. A person filled with faith should not hide his light but make it available so others will live by faith. 
  3. A person who has dark secrets must learn to remove that darkness. God knows his evil and it will be revealed to all. 
  4. A person must hear God’s word and receive it correctly so he can receive more. 
  5. Unless he safeguards the word, he will lose even what he has. 

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

  • Jesus, light the candle in my heart. 
  • Let my lamp lead others to you. 
  • Remove all darkness within me. Bring all my secrets into your light. 
  • I will treasure your word. It is your great gift. 
  • Let me receive your word and hold it securely. 
  • What a mystery. If I receive, then I get even more. Only you can be so generous. 

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

+ This day I will walk in God’s light. 

+ I will root out the dark powers within me. 

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

There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed.

WEEK TWENTY FIVE – SUNDAY – B – SEPTEMBER 19, 2021 – DISPUTING ABOUT IMPORTANCE (MK 9:30-37)

Prayer:

O Jesus, I want to serve you and your friends. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with a child in the middle of his disciples. 

Context: 

In the second half of Mark’s gospel, Jesus deliberately withdraws from the crowds to teach his disciples about his suffering and death, and about their difficult duties as disciples. The more he explains, the less they seem to grasp (as in this story). 

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Jesus said to his disciples, “The son of Man will be betrayed into the hands of men and they shall kill him. After his death, he will rise again on the third day.” However, they did not understand a word and were afraid to ask him. 

When they came to the house, Jesus asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” They were silent because they had discussed which of them was the most important. 

Sitting down, Jesus called the twelve and said, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Taking a child, he put him in their midst, and embracing him, said, “Whoever receives such a child in my name receives me and whoever receives me, does not receive just me but him who sent me.” 

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

  1. What a contrast. Jesus talks about his death. The disciples talk about their importance. 
  2. They go inside the house. The disciples are so important that Jesus leaves the crowds behind. This is private teaching. 
  3. When confronted, the disciples know that they were wrong. They grow silent, not trying to defend themselves. 
  4. Jesus makes the application easy to understand. Within the Christian community, the disciple must sacrifice and serve. 
  5. The child represents the newcomer, the new believer. Serving and teaching new believers is the apostles’ primary task. 

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

  • O Jesus, you paid a great price to redeem me. 
  • You saved me. You died for me when I was a sinner. 
  • Now others must be saved, and I must pay the price. 
  • Help me to set aside my selfish desires. I will sacrifice for the Kingdom. 
  • O Jesus, I fall silent before you. You have done so much and I have done so little. 
  • Help me to serve, to bring your gospel to those who have never heard. 

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

+ I will look for chances today to evangelize. 

+ In all my relationships, I will try to serve others. 

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

They did not understand a word and were afraid to ask him.

WEEK TWENTY FOUR – SATURDAY – SEPTEMBER 18, 2021 – THE SOWER (LK 8:4-15)

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 Kingdom and its glorious fulfillment. The beginning has multiple frustrations. The end has a gigantic harvest.

Jesus’ ministry is experiencing many obstacles. The disciples see failures, desertions and hostility. Jesus, however, 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. God scatters these abundant seeds of his power in your heart. 
  2. Some seeds you miss entirely. These invitations fall “by the wayside.” 
  3. Other seeds you resist by the hardness of your heart. They do not take root. 
  4. You mix some seeds with your other worldly concerns. Unfortunately, these never produce any worthwhile fruit. 
  5. But some seeds you receive without compromise. You give them fertile soil. They produce abundant fruit and you rejoice. 

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

  • Lord, sow the seeds of your kingdom and of eternal life in my heart. 
  • O God, I see those times when I was not receptive to your Kingdom. 
  • Jesus, why did I resist your kingdom? Why was my heart like rocky ground? 
  • O Lord, when I mix your seeds with my human desires, they bring forth no fruit. 
  • Jesus, my life can still be glorious. There is still time for an abundant harvest. 

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 clear the soil, so the seeds can grow. 

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

The harvest was thirty, sixty and a hundredfold.

WEEK TWENTY FOUR – FRIDAY – SEPTEMBER 17, 2021 – THE SPECIAL DISCIPLES (LK 8:1-3) 

Prayer:

O Jesus, let me accompany you all the days of my life 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus with these special disciples – both men and women. 

Context:

Only Luke has this section which highlights the role of women in a ministering role for the Kingdom. Jesus had helped each of these women. After being blessed by Jesus, they were invited to travel with the group.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Jesus travelled through the cities and towns, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom. With him were the Twelve as well as certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities. Mary, called Magdalen, from whom seven devils were cast out. And Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chusa, Susanna and many others who were assisting Jesus out of their means. 

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

  1. This short summary contains many individual stories. First, the Twelve who are so tightly bonded to Jesus. 
  2. Then the three women whom Luke says were healed. (Chusa is probably the royal official whose son was healed. No wonder he let his wife travel with Jesus.)
  3. Finally, “many others.” All of whom had received some blessing. 
  4. Their gratitude led to full-time service and even using their money for the Kingdom. 
  5. Luke writes that “the women who had followed him from Galilee“ were at Jesus death and burial (24:49 and 55). They were faithful to the end. 

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

  • O Jesus, what a privilege to be always in your company. 
  • By your favors and blessings you bond me to you. 
  • You share your work. You give me a task. What more can I ask? 
  • Jesus, wherever you go, I will go. 
  • Lord, I will use my money for your Kingdom. 
  • Even at Calvary, I will be there for you. 

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

+ I will recall the special blessings of Jesus. 

+ In my gratitude, I will do everything I can for his Kingdom, today. 

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

The Twelve were with Jesus as well as certain women.