AUGUST 15, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY – MONDAY – THE RICH YOUNG MAN

(Matthew 19:16-22)

Prayer – O Jesus, I will sacrifice everything to follow you.

Imagination: (Picture the young man asking Jesus about eternal life.)

Context:

The man’s “kneeling down” shows great piety and his question is excellent. He wants what Jesus offers, eternal life. In responding to his question, Jesus mentions only commandments which deal with other people. Jesus makes the goal more definite. Jesus invites him “to follow”. Because Jesus is on a journey to Jerusalem, worldly possessions are an obstacle. So, the man “must sell what you have.”

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

A certain man ran up, knelt before Jesus and asked him, “Good Master, what shall I do to gain everlasting life?” Jesus answered, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” You know the commandments, “Do not commit adultery. Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Do not defraud. Honor your father and your mother.” He answered, “Master, I have observed all these things since my youth.”

Jesus, looking on him, loved him and said, “One thing is lacking to you. Go, sell whatever you have and give to the poor and you shall have treasure in heaven. Then, come follow me.” Upon hearing this, the man grew sad and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

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

  1. The story begins with great hope. The man asks a fervent question, recounts a history of good moral behavior and seeks eternal life.
  2. Jesus affirms his reply and looks upon him with love.
  3. Jesus goes further and offers his greatest gift. He invites the man to follow.
  4. Jesus even motivates the man. He will have treasure in heaven.
  5. Instead of following Jesus, he turns back. His possessions keep him a captive.
  6. We will all meet him at the Last Judgment and discover the end of the story.

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

  1. Jesus, what more do I need to do to gain eternal life?
  2. Jesus, you love me and want me to succeed.
  3. You invite me higher. You stir within and lead me further.
  4. O Jesus, what are my possessions compared to the treasure in heaven?
  5. All that I own is a small price to purchase the Kingdom.
  6. Turning away from you is emptiness. Following you is fullness.
  7. Wait for me, Jesus. I am coming right now.

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

  1. Today, I will ask Jesus, “Lord, what must I do to gain eternal life?”
  2. I will help the poor.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Sell all and give to the poor. Your treasure in heaven will be great.

AUGUST 8, 2016 – WEEK NINETEEN – MONDAY – PAYING THE TEMPLE TAX

(Matthew 17:23-27)

Prayer: O Jesus, you have made me a child of God and a citizen of heaven.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples, privately in a house.)

Context:

This is a unique little story, whose meaning can easily be lost. In Jesus’ time, Roman citizens paid no taxes. Rome was supported by non-citizens paying taxes. Jesus, as a son of God, claims freedom from the taxes and extends that freedom even to his apostles. Because others do not yet understand this new freedom, Jesus has Peter pay the tax to avoid scandal.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

When they entered Capernaum, those who collected the temple tax came to Peter and said to him, “Does your Master pay the temple tax?” Peter replied, “Yes”.

When they got inside the house, without giving Peer time to speak, Jesus asked, “What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth receive taxes? From their own sons or from foreigners? Peter replied, “From foreigners”. Jesus said, “Then the sons are free.”

However, so we do not scandalize them, go to the sea, throw in a hook and take out the first fish you catch. Open its mouth. Inside you will discover a coin worth twice the temple tax. Take it and give it to them for both you and me.

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

  1. The story deals with Jesus being obedient to Jewish rules.
  2. Christians are true Jews, true sons of Abraham.
  3. However, they are not under Jewish laws (symbolized by the taxes).
  4. Jesus has made them children of God.
  5. They enjoy the “freedom of sons and daughters”.
  6. To avoid scandal, Jesus and Peter will pay the tax. However, the heavenly Father provides the coin.

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

  1. O Jesus, you will lead me out from unnecessary burdens.
  2. Heavenly Father, I am your child, called to live with you forever.
  3. O Jesus, I am free. You have made me a child of God.
  4. O Lord, never let me scandalize anyone.       Teach me to be sensitive to other’s beliefs.
  5. Father, you provide for all my needs.

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

  1. I will ponder the great freedom I enjoy in Christ.
  2. I will never misuse that freedom.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The sons are free. They need not pay the tax.

AUGUST 1, 2016 – WEEK EIGHTEEN – MONDAY – FOOD IN A DESERTED PLACE

(Matthew 14:13-21)

Prayer: O Jesus, you feed me with the finest food.

Imagination:  Picture Jesus feeding the 5,000.)

Context:

When Jesus heard of John’s death (told immediately before this story) he crosses to the eastern bank of the Sea of Galilee (Gentile territory). Jesus was already known among the Gentiles for his healing powers and many villages surrounded the Sea of Galilee. So, the scene evolves with many people in a deserted place. Matthew highlights this miracle as a preview of the Eucharist.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Hearing of John’s death, Jesus went by boat to a deserted place. The crowd learned of this and came out of their cities by foot. When he saw the great multitude, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

At evening, the disciples said, “This is a deserted place and the hour is late. Send the crowd away so they can buy some food in the towns.” Jesus said, “They need not do that. You give them to eat.” They answered, “We have only five barley loaves and two fishes.” He said, “Bring them to me.” He ordered the people to sit down. Taking the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke and gave the loaves to his disciples and the disciples gave them to the crowd.

They all ate and were filled. They gathered up what remained, twelve baskets of fragments. Those who ate were five thousand men, not counting women and children.

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

  1. Jesus feels deeply the loss of John and withdraws from his ministry.
  2. However, he also feels deeply for the people who need healing and teaching. So, he reverses his decision.
  3. The disciples still lack faith, not even thinking that Jesus would provide.
  4. Jesus has the disciples bring the food that they do have.
  5. Jesus takes the food, looks to heaven, blesses it, breaks it and gives to the disciples. He will do the same actions at the Last Supper.
  6. All are filled. No one is sent away hungry.
  7. God’s miracle is clear from the twelve full baskets.

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

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

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

  1. I will try to receive Holy Communion every day.
  2. I will thank God for caring for all my necessities

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

His heart was moved with pity.

JULY 25, 2016 – WEEK SEVENTEEN – MONDAY – THE MUSTARD SEED AND THE LEAVEN

(Matthew 13:31-35)

Prayer: O Jesus, Your Kingdom is hidden but powerful.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

These two parables express the power of the kingdom, by highlighting a beginning smallness and a final greatness. From insignificant beginnings of mustard seed and leaven, God creates a mighty Kingdom. What began as a small ministry of a Jewish prophet (Jesus of Nazareth) becomes the Final Age of all history.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said, “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God, to what can we compare it?” It is like a grain of mustard seed which a man planted in his field. It is the least of the seeds but when it is grown it becomes the largest of plants. It puts out its branches so that the birds of the air can dwell in its shade.”

Jesus proposed another parable, “The Kingdom is also like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour until the whole mass was leavened.” Jesus taught the crowds in parables to fulfill what the prophet said, “I will open my mouth in parables. I will announce what has been hidden since the creation of the world.”

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

  1. Although small, the mustard seed and the leaven are alive.       They contain God’s creative powers.
  2. They are effective only by being buried – the seed into the ground and the leaven into the flour.
  3. The leaven’s effects are seen quickly. The power of the mustard seeds comes forth more slowly.
  4. They bring great blessings. The birds gain shelter and human beings gain nourishment.
  5. Like the seed and the leaven, God’s Kingdom is hidden within us and often overlooked.
  6. Really, the kingdom is filled with power and able to transform any person or society.

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

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

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

  1. I will believe in the power of Jesus’ Kingdom.
  2. I will be patient, trusting God’s kingdom to transform me.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

To what can I compare the kingdom of God?

JULY 18, 2016 – WEEK SIXTEEN – MONDAY – A GREATER THAN JONAH OR SOLOMON

(Matthew 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.)

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

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

  1. I will think today about this Sign of Jonah – the miracle of Jesus’ rising.
  2. I will ponder Jesus’ greatness.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

A greater than Jonah or Solomon is here.

JULY 11, 2016 – WEEK FIFTEEN – MONDAY – THE REWARDS OF DISCIPLESHIP

(Matthew 10:40 – 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.)

Disciples, prophets and holy people serve the church and earn a reward.

By helping them, you receive the same reward.

In fact, you welcome Jesus himself.

A cup of cold water means giving good example. The little ones mean new disciples.

These, especially, need your help and gain you a reward.

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.

JULY 4, 2016 – WEEK FOURTEEN – MONDAY – WOMAN WITH AN ISSUE OF BLOOD

(MT: 9:18-26)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me press close to you and be healed.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus, surrounded by crowds and the woman secretly touching His garment.)

Context:

   This story contains excellent teachings about healing. The woman has been suffering for twelve years. Many people touch Jesus (as the disciples make clear) but only the woman touches him with faith. Since we have the story with many details, she must have been a member of Mark’s community.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

   As they were going, a woman with a flow of blood who had suffered for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel of his garment. “If I just touch his garment, I shall get well.” Jesus turned around and saw her and said, “Courage, daughter, your faith has restored you to health.” That very moment, the women got well.

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

  • This woman’s world was spiraling downward. Twelve years of hopelessness.
  • She finds new hope in Jesus. “If I just touch his garments, I will be healed.”

God’s power goes forth from Jesus.

He turns to the woman, giving her all of his attention.

She hears Jesus’ own words telling her that she has acted correctly.

He praises her faith and guarantees that her healing is true.

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

  • O Jesus, so much of my life spirals downward.
  • You give me new hope, even after years of suffering.

Your presence draws me close, fills me with faith and leads me to touch you.

Your power goes out to me. I will never be the same.

You give me your complete attention. You speak to me. You encourage me.

Jesus, you assure me that Your power will last forever.

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

In all my sufferings, I will look to Jesus for help.

I will seek to experience his presence.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

If I just touch his garment, I will be healed.

JUNE 27, 2016 – WEEK THIRTEEN – MONDAY – THE WOULD BE DISCIPLES

(Matthew 8:18-22)

Prayer: O Jesus, make me your true disciple, ready to pay any price.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with the crowd, challenging people to be his disciples.)

Context:

This gospel is Matthew’s version of the reluctant disciple. From this story, we get a clear picture that some people followed Jesus regularly. The two mentioned here are somewhat initiated into discipleship. Yet, they lack something. Jesus uses their statements to outline the requirements of full discipleship.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus saw the great crowd gathering, he gave orders to go to the other side. A certain scribe said to him, “Master, I will follow you wherever you shall go.” Jesus said to him, “The foxes have their lairs and the birds of the air have their nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Another of his disciples said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father”. But Jesus said to him, “Follow me and let the dead bury their dead.”

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

  1. The scribe is sincere. He wants to follow, but sees that he does not comprehend the difficulties involved.
  2. Jesus describes his own total commitment. The foxes and the birds have more conveniences than Jesus does.
  3. Jesus is the “Son of Man” and he will return in glory. For now, he sacrifices everything for us.
  4. The second disciple realizes his limitations. He has an elderly father and wants to postpone his commitment.
  5. Jesus shifts this man’s priorities. Others can care for his father. He must not lose this unique moment. His call to discipleship should come first.
  6. The two little dialogues reveal this truth. Jesus’ call takes first place because nothing else equals his gift.

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

  1. O Jesus, let your call sweep away all my hesitations.
  2. O Jesus, what you have done for me? You have accepted the most difficult life on earth to bring me the Kingdom.
  3. You are the Son of Man who will come in glory. Now, you are searching for me. I will await you!
  4. O Jesus, how many excuses I use to postpone my commitment.
  5. Open my eyes. Change my goals. Sweep away what does not matter.
  6. I will follow you, Jesus, wherever you go. Even if I have nowhere to lay my head.

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

  1. I will not postpone my response to Jesus’ call.
  2. I will examine my own priorities. What do I put first that should not be first?

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Follow me and let the dead bury their dead.

JUNE 20, 2016 – WEEK TWELVE – MONDAY – JUDGING OTHERS

(Matthew 7:1-5) 

Prayer: O Jesus, teach me compassion and forgiveness to improve my relationships with others.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching His disciples not to judge.)

Context:

Jesus praised the meek and the peacemakers. In these words, Jesus explains how to fulfill those roles. Not to judge other disciples is meekness and to remove your own faults is to make peace.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. As you judge, so you will be judged. The measure with which you measure out, will be measured out to you.

Why do you see the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not see the wooden beam in your own? Why do you say to your brother, “Let me take the splinter out of your eye” when there is a wooden beam in your eye? Hypocrite! Remove the beam in your own eye first and then you can remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.

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

  1. Because this issue is so important, Jesus goes into great detail.
  2. “Brother” means a fellow-believer. Disciples should have a loving relationship with each other.
  3. Judging others destroys compassion and unity.
  4. Seeing the faults of others, blinds the disciple to his own greater failings.
  5. Jesus wants his disciple to stop judging and to start cleansing his own soul.
  6. Once purified, he can purify others.

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

  1. O Jesus, how falsely I judge others.
  2. Remove my critical spirit.
  3. Let me excuse the faults of others, not magnify them.
  4. Fill me with your compassion and mercy.
  5. If I do not judge, you will not judge me.
  6. Make me a little child, O Jesus, who sees goodness in every person.

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

  1. Look at your relationships. What can you do to improve them?
  2. Seek a child-like spirit that overlooks evil.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Do not judge, so you will not be judged.

JUNE 13, 2016 – WEEK ELEVEN – MONDAY – RELATIONSHIPS

(Matthew 5-38-42)

Prayer – Come, Holy Spirit. Teach me how to love as a disciple should.

Imagination- (Picture Jesus teaching kindness to his disciples.)

Context:

The Jewish law to take only “An eye for an eye” was actually merciful in Jesus’ time. It limited the amount of revenge. Jesus goes beyond this legal mercy. The disciple must respond with extreme thoughtfulness, hoping to lead his opponent to faith in Jesus.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said to his disciples, “You have heard it said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’. But I say to you, ‘Offer no resistance to evil. If someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other to him. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, then go two miles.

Give to him who asks and do not turn your back on the borrower.”

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

  1. Jesus describes the new relationships in the Kingdom. If his disciples relate to others in this way, the Kingdom will spread quickly.
  2. Jesus asks his disciples not to retaliate. In this way violence will end and the gospel can be preached.
  3. Jesus asks the disciple to be patient, so others can see the Kingdom’s power.
  4. The disciple does not invoke the law. Let the person have both your tunic and cloak. He is probably in need.
  5. The disciple’s generosity in going “the second mile” witnesses to Jesus’ Kingdom.
  6. After experiencing the disciple’s charity, the person will listen to the message about the Kingdom.

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

  1. O Jesus, change me. Make my heart like your heart.
  2. Help me to bring everyone into your Kingdom, no matter what the cost!
  3. Jesus, I will set aside my interests for your interests. I will forget myself for your gospel.
  4. I will use every situation to bring the Kingdom to others.
  5. Jesus, if I turn my back on no one, you will not turn your back on me.

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

  1. I will examine my relationships to others. Are they according to the Kingdom?
  2. In my generosity, I will be a herald of the Kingdom.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Offer no resistance. Go a second mile. Hand him your tunic. Give to him who asks.

JUNE 6, 2016 – WEEK TEN – MONDAY – THE FIRST FOUR BEATITUDES

(Matthew 5:3-6)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Form my heart according to Jesus’ teaching.

Imagination:   (Picture Jesus teaching the crowds.)

Context:

Jesus calls various groups “blessed”. However, anyone can choose to belong to these groups. A person can be poor in spirit, meek, mourning over the world’s sins, and hungering for justice. So, the door is open to everyone. In all four situations, the person is promised heaven (under different figures of speech).

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Seeing the crowd, Jesus went up the mountain. When he sat down, his disciples came to him and he taught them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice.

They shall have their fill.

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

  1. When Jesus speaks to the crowds, he invites them into the Kingdom.       Here, he speaks to disciples who are already members of his Kingdom.
  2. Because their hearts are set upon the Kingdom, they can understand Jesus’ teaching.
  3. A person is “Blessed” by being a member of the Kingdom.
  4. A person becomes a member by a personal decision to be poor in spirit, to mourn for the Kingdom, to be merciful, and to hunger for justice.
  5. If they persevere in these dispositions, they will receive the full reward of blessedness, an eternal kingdom.

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

  1. O Jesus, you invite me into your Kingdom.
  2. O Lord, I accept your offer.
  3. Reveal to me the Kingdom’s secrets, so I can embrace them.
  4. O Jesus, if I persevere in my decision, I will be blessed eternally.
  5. Right now, I give you my heart, my choices, and all my decisions.
  6. O Spirit of Jesus, form me. Form me in poverty of spirit, meekness, sorrow for the Kingdom and mercy for all.

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

  1. I will allow these teachings to form my thinking.
  2. I will rejoice that Jesus calls me “Blessed.”

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The disciples came to Jesus and he taught them.

MAY 30, 2016 – WEEK NINE – MONDAY – THE WICKED TENANTS

(Mark 12:1-12)

Prayer: O Jesus, I will give you all of the harvest.

Imagination (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

Jesus bases this parable upon actual circumstances. In Galilee there were many foreign owners who leased the land to tenants. God is the owner and these tenants are the Scribes who claim to possess God’s word. However, they kill the Son so that the owner will give the vineyard to new tenants. This is a crisis parable which is meant to wake you up!

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

A man planted a vineyard and then leased it out to tenant farmers and went on a journey. In due time, he dispatched a man to gain his share of the produce.

However, they beat him and sent him off empty handed. He sent another. They beat him shamefully. He sent another and they killed him. He sent even more. They beat some and killed others.

Finally, he sent his only son thinking that they would show him respect. But the tenants said to one another, “This one will inherit everything. Let us kill him and the vineyard will be ours.”

What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will destroy those tenants and give the vineyard over to others.

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

  1. God has given you the vineyard of your faith. He expects the fruits of worship and goodness.
  2. He sends preachers and teachers to remind you of your duties.       Do not ignore them.
  3. He sends interior messengers, his inspirations within you.       Do not reject them.
  4. He sends the light of your conscience. Do not extinguish this.
  5. Finally, he sends a Fear of the Lord. What do you do with that?
  6. Wake up or else you will lose your faith and your immortal soul.

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

  1. Jesus, I thank you for my faith.
  2. You have given me the vineyard of eternal life.
  3. What do you want of me, O Lord, so I can be your faithful tenant?
  4. O Jesus, let me never forget that you are the owner of my soul.
  5. Send your messengers, O Lord. Ask for all the rent you want. I will give anything to remain in your vineyard!

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

  1. I will give God his share of this day. I will pray and help others.
  2. I will find time to thank God for my gift of faith.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

All the owner wanted was his rent.

MAY 23, 2016 – WEEK EIGHT – MONDAY – THE RICH YOUNG MAN

(Mark 10:17 – 27)

Prayer – Come, Holy Spirit. Let me sacrifice everything to follow Jesus.

Imagination: (Picture the young man asking Jesus about eternal life.)

Context:

The gospel begins “As Jesus set out”. This sets the scene. Jesus is on a journey and the young man will be invited to come along. The man’s “kneeling down” shows great piety. His question is excellent. He wants what Jesus offers, eternal life. Jesus loves him and invites him “to follow”. Worldly possessions are his obstacle. With so many possessions, he could not travel with Jesus.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

A certain man ran up, knelt before Jesus and asked him, “Good Master, what shall I do to gain everlasting life?” Jesus answered, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” You know the commandments, “Do not commit adultery. Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Do not defraud. Honor your father and your mother.” He answered, “Master, I have observed all these things since my youth.”

Jesus, looking on him, loved him and said, “One thing is lacking to you. Go, sell whatever you have and give to the poor and you shall have treasure in heaven. Then, come follow me.” Upon hearing this, the man grew sad and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

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

  1. The story begins with great hope. The man asks a fervent question, recounts a history of good moral behavior and seeks eternal life.
  2. Knowing all this is true, Jesus looks upon him with love.
  3. Jesus goes further and offers his greatest gift. He invites the man to follow.
  4. Jesus even motivates the man. There will be treasure for him in heaven.
  5. Instead of following Jesus, he turns back. His possessions are walls he cannot escape from.
  6. We will all meet him at the Last Judgment and discover the end of his story.

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

  1. Jesus, I have kept the commandments, what more must I do to gain eternal life?
  2. You invite me to follow you. You stir within and lead me further.
  3. Jesus, you do not want me to fail. You want me close to yourself.
  4. O Jesus, what are my possessions compared to the treasures in heaven? Are they not a small price to purchase the Kingdom?
  5. Turning away from you is emptiness. Following you is fullness. I will leave everything to follow you.

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

  1. Today, I will ask Jesus, ‘Lord, what must I do to gain eternal life?”
  2. I will help the poor.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Sell all and give to the poor. Your treasure in heaven will be great.

MAY 16, 2016 – WEEK SEVEN – MONDAY – THE BOY WITH A DEMON

(Mark 9:14)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Set me free from the Evil One.

Imagination: (Picture the boy’s father pleading with Jesus.)

Context:

The disciples are going backward. Earlier, they had great success in driving out demons. Now, they are total failures. Jesus gets exasperated. The difficulty is their lack of faith. The boy’s father knows his faith is weak and says, “Help my unbelief.” That is enough for Jesus to act.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus came down from the mountain, a man said, “Master, I have brought my son to you. He has a mute spirit who seizes him and throws him down. My son foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to cast him out but they could not.” Jesus said, “O unbelieving generation, how long must I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to me.”

When the mute spirit saw Jesus, he threw the boy on the ground. He rolled about, and was foaming at the mouth.

The father said, “If you can do anything, please have pity on us.” Jesus said, “If you can? Everything is possible to him who believes”. With tears, the father cried out, “I do believe Lord, help my unbelief.”

Seeing the crowd gathering, Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit saying, “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you to leave him and never to enter him again.” Crying out, the spirit convulsed him and left. The boy became as one dead, but Jesus, taking him by the hand, lifted him up and he arose.

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

  1. The lengthy details show the reality and the power of the demonic world.
  2. Having tried everything without success, the father comes to Jesus.
  3. Jesus is upset that the apostles failed to drive out the demon.
  4. Jesus is also puzzled by the father not yet fully believing in his powers.
  5. Slowly, Jesus brings the father to full faith, “Help my unbelief.”
  6. Finally, Jesus drives out the demon who must surrender and leave. Although seemingly dead, the boy has been freed.
  7. This story symbolizes our own resurrection.       Jesus will take our hand we will rise.

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

  1. O Jesus, I have many problems, so I come to you.
  2. Jesus, how slow I am to believe.
  3. My restlessness, my fears, my fruitless labors and my passions control me. I am not free.
  4. Cast them out, O Jesus. Rebuke them and make them leave.
  5. Jesus, even if I have experienced problems for years, you can overcome them.
  6. Take my hand! Lift me up! Even if I am dead, you will still say, “Arise.”

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

  1. I will trust in Jesus’ power over the demonic, especially in Confession and Communion.
  2. Today, I will have the faith of the boy’s father.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

I do believe, Help my unbelief. Everything is possible for him who believes.

MAY 9, 2016 – SEVENTH WEEK OF EASTER – MONDAY – THINKING THEY UNDERSTAND

(John 16:29-33)

Prayer: O Jesus, strengthen me in the time of trial.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with the apostles at the Last Supper)

Context: Jesus speaks plainly and the disciples think they understand. However, not having experienced the death and resurrection of Jesus, their faith is far too weak. Jesus shatters their self-confidence by predicting that they will desert him. However, Jesus concludes with a promise of victory.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The disciples said, “Now you are speaking plainly and not with parables. Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to ask you. Because of this, we believe that you came from God.”

Jesus said, “Do you believe? The hour is coming and is already here, when you will be scattered, each to his own home and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone. The Father is with me.

I have spoken these things so you may have peace. In the world, you will have distress. Have confidence. I have overcome the world.”

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

  1. The apostles think that they believe firmly.
  2. Their solid faith will come only after Jesus rises.
  3. Jesus sees that their faith is frail and incomplete, totally unable to withstand his death.
  4. When the Roman soldiers test their resolve, the disciples will scatter, leaving Jesus alone.
  5. Their desertion hurts Jesus but His faith lies in the Father, not in the disciples.
  6. The disciples will remember Jesus’ words and regain their peace.
  7. Even more important, Jesus will rise and they will share in his victory over the world.

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

  1. Jesus, speak plainly to me and I will understand.
  2. Strengthen my faith, so I do not desert you in the crisis.
  3. When my resolve is tested, I will stand with you, Jesus.
  4. How often Your words console me in my failures!
  5. Jesus, You chose me, even knowing that I would abandon you and leave you alone.
  6. O Jesus, I rejoice in your victory, the ultimate victory, the only victory that matters, and my eternal salvation.
  7. I will live with you forever.

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

  1. I will seek religious experiences so my faith will be strong.
  2. In my trials, I will ask Jesus to stay with me.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

The hour is coming when you will be scattered.

MAY 2, 2016 – SIXTH WEEK OF EASTER – MONDAY – PART TWO – JESUS’ NEED TO DEPART

(John 16:4-7)

Prayer: O Jesus, give me faith in your word.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus at the Last Supper.)

Context: The discourse shifts. Jesus turns the disciples’ attention to his future departure. Realizing that Jesus will leave, the disciples grow sorrowful. So Jesus speaks of the great gift that will follow – the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said, “These things I have told you so that when the hour comes, you may remember that I told you. I did not tell you these things from the beginning, because I was with you. Now I go to the one who sent me and none of you ask me, “Where are you going?”

Because I have said these things, sorrow fills your heart. However, I tell you the truth. It is expedient for you that I go, because if I do not go, the Paraclete will not come to you. If I go, I will send him to you.”

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

  1. Again, Jesus commands the apostles to remember his words. They will need them in difficult moments.
  2. Being a loving friend, Jesus did not reveal everything. He shielded his disciples like parents hide some sorrows from their children.
  3. However, he can delay no longer. They must be told. He is leaving them.
  4. He helps them to see the advantages of his leaving. The Paraclete will come.
  5. They cannot experience both the mortal Jesus and the Paraclete. One stage of God’s plan (Jesus’ mortal life) must give way to a greater moment (the Paraclete’s abiding presence).

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

  1. O Jesus, I will always treasure your words.
  2. Your words are my defense and my shield, my light and my consolation.
  3. Thank you, Jesus for keeping me from needless suffering.
  4. Jesus, I know where you have gone – to prepare a place for me.
  5. Until you return, the Paraclete will provide for me.
  6. Jesus, you have not left. You are always with me. I experience your presence by your Spirit’s touches.

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

  1. I will commit Jesus’ words to memory, especially those that touch my heart.
  2. I will invoke the Spirit of Jesus, the Guest who abides in my soul.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

It is better for you that I go. If I do not go, the Paraclete will not come.

MAY 2, 2016 – SIXTH WEEK OF EASTER – MONDAY – PART ONE – WHEN THE PARACLETE COMES

(John 15:26-16:3)

Prayer: O Jesus, I will testify to the whole world about you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching the apostles at the Last Supper.)

Context: Two powers will confront the world’s hatred – the Spirit’s powerful testimony and the Church’s doctrines, based on Jesus’ own teachings. In spite of this clear light, the world will still kill the disciples.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said, “When the Paraclete comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he shall testify to me. And you also will testify, because you were with me from the beginning.

These things I have spoken to you, so you will not be scandalized. They will put you out of the synagogues. In fact, the hour is coming, when whoever kills you, will think he has done a service for God. These things they will do to you, because they have known neither the Father nor me.”

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

  1. Jesus has already spoken the Father’s word. Now, the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth, will also speak the Father’s word.
  2. The Spirit will speak within the hearts of the disciples.
  3. With the Spirit’s help, the disciples will speak to the whole world about Jesus.
  4. The result will be exactly the same. Like Jesus, the disciples will be hated, rejected and even killed.
  5. As always, the problem is the same. The world has not known the Father.
  6. Because of this blindness, they did not accept Jesus and they will not accept Jesus’ disciples.

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

  1. O Holy Spirit, Jesus has sent you to me.
  2. O, Holy Spirit, tell me about Jesus.
  3. Dwell in my heart. I will be quiet and listen to your testimony.
  4. O Jesus, I will not be silent. I will speak about you to everyone.
  5. Thank you, Jesus, for warning me about how others will treat me.
  6. O Jesus, I will tell the whole world. Some will listen and be saved.

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

  1. I will set aside time for prayer, so the Spirit can teach me.
  2. I will be a faithful witness to Jesus.

Thought for the Day. (To recall your meditation)

When the Paraclete comes, he will testify about me and you, also, will testify.

APRIL 25, 2016 – FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER – MONDAY – REVEALED TO THE DISCIPLES

(John 14:21-26)

Prayer: O Jesus, send me the Holy Spirit who will teach me all things.

Imagination (Picture Jesus at the Last Supper with his apostles.)

Context:

Jesus has promised that the apostles would see him. In this text, he explains that this seeing will not be an external manifestation, but an internal, religious experience. These gifts are new and the Spirit will explain them. For now, they must be at peace.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Judas (not the Iscariot) said, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus answered, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word and my Father will love him. We will come to him and make our abode with him.

These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring all things to your mind, whatever I have told you.

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled or be afraid.”

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

  1. This is an important question, “Why does not the whole world see Jesus? Why does Jesus reveal himself only to these disciples?”
  2. Jesus and the Father are revealed internally. Only a disciple who loves God can receive this revelation.
  3. Keeping the commandments prepares the disciple’s heart to be God’s dwelling place.
  4. After coming to the disciple, Jesus will send the “Paraclete”, the Holy Spirit.
  5. This Spirit will teach and remind the disciples of Jesus’ teaching.
  6. The final result is a peace, which removes all fear from their hearts.

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

  1. O Jesus, what a great mystery! You manifest yourself to me but not to the world.
  2. If I love you, you and the Father will come and abide with me.
  3. O Jesus, send your Spirit into my heart. He will teach me.
  4. O Jesus, let your peace burst forth and flood my whole being.
  5. O Holy Spirit, how can I grow troubled when you abide with me?

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

  1. I will treasure the presence of Father, Son and Spirit in my soul.
  2. I will seek quiet moments, so the Spirit can teach me.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

My Father and I will come and abide with him.

APRIL 18, 2016 – FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER – MONDAY – THE GOOD SHEPHERD

(John 10:11-15)

Prayer: O Jesus, You laid down your life for me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching in the Temple)

Context:   Jesus’ care for his sheep knows no limits. Besides enduring the rigors of sleeping outside, He is willing to die to protect his sheep. The “hired man” would reject this responsibility and flee.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. When the hired man, who is not a shepherd and who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away. Then, the wolf catches and scatters the sheep. The hired man flees because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd. I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. I will lay down my life for my sheep.

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

  1. Jesus takes his care to the highest level. He is ready to give his life for the sheep.
  2. Hired hands fail this test. They have no desire to give their lives.
  3. Abandoned by the hired hand, the sheep are scattered and killed by the wolf
  4. Jesus explains why he is willing to die. He knows the sheep, just as he knows the Father and the Father knows him.
  5. The sheep are part of the mystery of the Trinity. They are valuable to Jesus. That is why he dies for them.

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

  1. Jesus, now I understand your love.
  2. You love me because you love the Father.
  3. You do for me what you would do for your Father.
  4. You expect no pay. You seek no reward. Your love is the mystery of the Trinity.
  5. No one else is like you. No one else makes such a sacrifice.
  6. I choose you as my Shepherd.
  7. Without you, the wolves of life would devour me.
  8. Jesus, why should I not lay down my life for you when you have died for me?

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

  1. I will ponder this great mystery. Jesus loves me because he loves the Father.
  2. I will return his love. I will offer my life to Jesus.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.

APRIL 11, 2016 – THIRD WEEK OF EASTER – MONDAY – FOOD THAT DOES NOT PERISH

(John 6:25-29)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me seek the Bread of life everlasting.

Imagination: Picture Jesus teaching the crowds

Context:   After Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes, he prays alone on the mountain. Meanwhile, his disciples cross the Sea of Galilee to Caparnaum and Jesus walks on the water to rescue them. In this gospel, the crowd finds him at Caparnaum, obviously wanting Jesus to multiply food again.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The crowds searched for Jesus and when they found him, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you. You do not seek me because you see miracles, but because you have eaten and been filled with the loaves.

Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him, the Father has set his seal.

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

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

  1. The crowds make extraordinary efforts to be with Jesus.
  2. They want his miracles.
  3. The miracles are signs of the Kingdom.
  4. Jesus wants them to seek the Kingdom, not the signs.
  5. Jesus has a special food which they should seek. It will give eternal life.
  6. The crowds have an excellent question. How do they accomplish the works of God?”
  7. Jesus gives a direct answer. The “work of God” is “to believe in him.”

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

  1. Jesus, I will do everything possible to find you.
  2. You welcome me and rejoice that I have come.
  3. Jesus, you give me signs so I keep searching.
  4. I will search for the food that gives eternal life.
  5. With all my heart, I ask, “What works can I do for you, Jesus?”
  6. “Just believe in me”, you reply.

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

  1. Today, I will seek Jesus with all my heart.
  2. I will hunger and thirst for Holy Communion.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

The crowds searched for Jesus and found him.