APRIL 4, 2016 – SECOND WEEK OF EASTER – MONDAY – NICODEMUS

(John 3:1-13)

Prayer: O Jesus, help me to grow in faith.

Imagination: (Picture Nicodemus speaking with Jesus.)

Context:

Nicodemus appears in three different stories in John’s gospel. In this meditation, we will use all three because they show his growth into discipleship.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Scene One (Jn 3:1-10): Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews, came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God for no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him.” Jesus said, “No one can see the Kingdom of God without being born from above.” Since Nicodemus did not understand, Jesus went on, “No one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of the water and the Spirit.” Nicodemus answered, “How can this happen?” Jesus responded, “You are a teacher is Israel and you do not understand this?”

Scene Two (Jn 7:50-56): The Pharisees were accusing Jesus. Nicodemus, who had come to him earlier, said to them, “Does our law condemn a person before it first hears him and find out what he is doing?” They said, “You are not from Galilee also, are you?”

Scene Three (Jn 19:38-39): Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus, came and took Jesus’ body down from the cross. Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about a hundred pounds.”

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

  1. Fearful about what others might think, Nicodemus comes secretly at night.
  2. He does not have a full understanding of Jesus. He calls him a “Rabbi” and knows only that he is a teacher who performs some signs.
  3. This first meeting seemingly has no results. Nicodemus makes no act of faith and does not become a disciple.
  4. In the second scene, he gains some boldness. He confronts the Pharisees and speaks in Jesus’ defense.
  5. In the final scene, Nicodemus casts off all his fears and publicly shows that he loves Jesus.
  6. He is now a disciple and an important help in Jesus’ burial.

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

  1. Jesus, I do not know you fully.
  2. My natural powers cannot comprehend you.
  3. I am filled with fears, but I desire to come to You.
  4. Still my heart and reveal yourself.
  5. Plant your seeds of conversion within me.
  6. Claim my thoughts and feelings for yourself.
  7. As your presence grows, I will become bold.
  8. Some day, I will openly tell the world that I am Your disciple.

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

  1. I will pay attention to God’s inner stirrings.
  1. I will grow in discipleship, even if it is hidden from others.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The one who came only at night, later joined Jesus at His cross.

MARCH 28, 2016 – EASTER WEEK – MONDAY – THE GOOD NEWS

(Matthew 28:8-15)

Prayer: O Jesus, I will carry the good news to the whole world.

Imagination: (Picture the two women meeting Jesus).

Context:

This gospel has 2 quite different scenes. The women meet Jesus and he tells them to bring the good news to his disciples. In the second scene, a cover-up takes place. Bribes are paid so this good news remains hidden from the people. This battle will go on until the end of time. Only then will all see that Jesus is truly risen from the dead.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The women left the tomb quickly, filled with both fear and great joy, running to tell the disciples. Then, Jesus stood before them and said, “Peace.” They came up, took hold of his feet and adored him. Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers that they are to go to Galilee. There they shall see me.”

As they were going, some of the guards came into the city and told the chief priests all that had happened. They assembled with the elders to decide what to do. They gave a great sum of money to the soldiers and said, “You are to say that the disciples came at night and stole the body while we were asleep. If the Procurator should hear of this, we will settle it and keep you out of trouble.” They took the money and did as they were told. This is the story that circulates among the Jews even to this day.

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

  1. The women are overwhelmed with joy.
  2. They see an angel and then they experience the Risen Jesus.
  3. They are prepared to be messengers, the first to know and to tell the story.
  4. Many more visions will follow. Jesus will appear for forty days to prepare the disciples.
  5. The guards, too, had this experience.       They could have become evangelists.
  6. They sell out. They take the money and close the door to truth.
  7. How many did they deprive of eternal life, themselves included?
  8. Lies can blunt the power of the gospel.

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

  1. O Jesus, I experience great joy at this story.
  2. Prepare me to be your evangelist. Come to me often.
  3. Remove all fear so I can follow you.
  4. O Jesus, you called even the guards to preach you, but the soldiers lost their vocation.
  5. Do not let me sell you out, no matter what the cost.
  6. O Jesus, I will tell your story to everyone.

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

  1. I will try to find moments of quiet, so Jesus can come to me.
  2. I will be totally committed to the truth.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

They took the money and did as they were told.

MARCH 21, 2016 – MONDAY – HOLY WEEK – MARY’S ANNOINTING

(John 12:1-11)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me be generous in serving you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus at table with Martha, Mary and Lazarus.)

Context:

Lazarus has just been raised from the dead. This scene continues the death to life theme, but now it focuses on Jesus, not Lazarus. Martha and Mary play their familiar roles. Martha serves and Mary anoints Jesus’ feet.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead. They made a supper. Martha served and Lazarus was at table. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made from genuine aromatic nard with which she anointed Jesus’ feet and wiped the feet with her hair. The odor of the ointment filled the house.

Then, Judas Iscariot, who was about to betray Jesus, asked, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred silver pieces and given to the poor? “ He said this, not because he loved the poor, but because he was a thief and controlled the purse. Jesus said, “Let her alone. She has done this for my day of burial. The poor you always have with you but me you do not always have.

A great crowd of Jews knew that Jesus was there. They came, not just to see Jesus but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. The chief priests planned to kill Lazarus, too, because many Jews were going over to Jesus, believing in him on account of Lazarus.

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

  1. What an experience – to sit at table with the Saviour of the world and with a man who had been dead four days.
  2. Martha and Mary use their personal talents. Martha serves the meal. Mary anoints Jesus.
  3. Mary has total generosity. She buys the costliest perfume.
  4. Judas reveals his heart. His eyes are on the money, not upon Jesus’ glory.
  5. Mary’s perfume fills the whole house just as the Spirit filled the temple.
  6. The perfume prefigures the glory of Jesus’ body after rising from the dead.
  7. Lazarus is a witness to Jesus’ power and leads others to believe.
  8. How many signs do the chief priests need to have their hearts touched?

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

  1. I will be generous, Jesus, giving to you my most costly treasures.
  2. O Jesus, I will use my talents for you and your Kingdom.
  3. Let your glory and your blessings fill my whole house, my whole life.
  4. What love Martha and Mary had for you!
  5. Do not let money dominate my life. I could become a Judas.
  6. Your body is in heaven and you want my body to be there with you.
  7. How many signs you have given to me. Increase my faith.

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

  1. Where should I be more generous with my possessions?
  2. I will try to serve the interests of Jesus.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

She has done this for my day of burial.

MARCH 14, 2016 – WEEK FIVE OF LENT – MONDAY – THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

(John 8:12-20)

Prayer: O Jesus, flood me with divine light.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in the temple.)

Context:

After saving the woman caught in adultery from being stoned to death, Jesus calls himself “The light of the world”. He is challenged to produce witnesses. He claims that the Father is his witness, but the crowd knows neither the Father nor Jesus.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. The Pharisees said, “You testify on your own behalf.” Jesus said, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony can be verified because I know where I come from and where I am going. I testify on my behalf and so does the Father who sent me. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.

He said these words in the temple area. But no one arrested him because his hour had not yet come.

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

  1. John has already told us that Jesus “was the light of the human race” (1:3) and that the Baptist had come to testify to that light.
  2. Now, Jesus himself proclaims his prerogative, that he is the “light of the world.”
  3. The Pharisees challenge his claim, saying that he does not have the two witnesses demanded by the law.
  4. Jesus correctly states that if God is the witness, only one is needed.
  5. They, of course, are ignorant of the Father and of Jesus’ divine origins, even though he clearly says, “I am.”
  6. Knowing Jesus and knowing the Father go together. Ignorance of one causes ignorance of the other.

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

  1. Jesus, You are divine. You are God’s eternal Word. You are equal to the Father. You became flesh and lived among us.
  2. I know you, Jesus. I know you are the world’s only true light.
  3. Jesus, if you are my light, I will not walk in darkness.
  4. Jesus, I am a child of the light and a child of the promise.
  5. I will not choose the darkness or even the twilight. My inheritance is the fullness of light.

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

  1. I will leave behind all the darkness of my past life.
  2. I will live always in the light of truth.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me does not walk in darkness.

MARCH 7, 2016 – WEEK FOUR OF LENT – MONDAY – BELIEVING THE WORD OF JESUS

(John 4:43-54)

Prayer: O Jesus, you can do all things. Help me to believe.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with the royal official pleading for his son.)

Context:

This is the second time in John’s gospel that Jesus reveals his power. This second miracle also takes place at Cana, and has some similar aspects. First, Jesus’ initial response seems like a refusal. Yet, the official sees that it is not a definitive refusal. He grows in faith, “believing in the word Jesus spoke to him.”

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Jesus went to Cana of Galilee where he made the water into wine. A certain royal official, whose son was sick at Capernaum, came to him because he heard that Jesus had returned from Judea to Galilee. He asked Jesus to come down and to heal his son, who was at the point of death.         Jesus said, “Unless you see signs and wonders, you do not believe.” The official said to him, “Lord, come down before my son dies.” Jesus said, “Go home. Your son lives.” The man believed the word which Jesus said and went home.

On his way home, his servants met him, bringing word that his son lived. He asked the hour when this happened. “Yesterday, at the seventh hour, the fever left him.” The father knew that this was the same hour that Jesus said, “Your son lives.” So he and his whole household believed. This was the second miracle that Jesus did upon returning to Galilee.

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

  1. Jesus returned to Galilee, which was filled with faith. Jesus’ fame had spread everywhere.
  2. Having heard of Jesus’ miracles, the royal official comes with great faith.
  3. The son occupies first place in the man’s heart and he wants Jesus to heal.
  4. Jesus’ reply seems harsh, much like his answer to his mother at Cana.
  5. Even so, the man’s love for his son causes him to renew the request.
  6. Jesus acts at a distance, knowing that the son is healed.
  7. The official, also, is satisfied. He does not press Jesus to come with him.
  8. Without seeing, he “ believed in Jesus’ word.”
  9. When the servants brought the news, the official has no doubt that Jesus healed his son.
  10. His faith grows. All in the house believe. He became a Church member. That is how we have the story.

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

  1. O Jesus, how many requests I have in my heart right now.
  2. O Lord, I come before you with my heart filled with desires.
  3. I seek no sign, I believe you are the Christ, Son of the living God.
  4. I need not say “Come to my house.” You are already with me.
  5. Your power has no limit. Time and place present no obstacles.
  6. Let me see your power in every event of my life.
  7. O Jesus, we will believe in you, all my family, and my friends.

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

  1. I will ask Jesus for his help in every need.
  2. I will allow faith to grow within.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Go home. Your son lives. He and his whole household believed.

FEBRUARY 29, 2016 – WEEK THREE OF LENT – MONDAY – REJECTION AT NAZARETH

(Luke 4:21-30)

Prayer – O Lord, never let me reject you.

Imagination(Picture Jesus confronted by the angry citizens of Nazareth.)

Context:

The mood of the crowd changes suddenly from acceptance to rejection. Jesus pinpoints the cause. They want to see miracles. Jesus recounts two stories in which the prophets worked miracles for non-Jewish people. Their rejection turns to an angry attempt to kill Jesus. However, it is not yet the time for his crucifixion.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

While preaching at the synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus said, “Today this passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke favorably of him and marveled at the words which came from his mouth. Yet, they said, “Is this not the son of Joseph?” Jesus said, “You will say, ‘Physician, heal yourself. We have heard about the great things you have done in Capernaum. Do them here in your own country.’”

He continued, “I say to you. A prophet is without honor only in his native place. I say in truth. There were many widows in the days of Elijah in Israel, when the heavens were closed for three years and six months and there was great famine on the earth. To none of these was Elijah sent except to the widow at Zarephath near Sidon. There were many lepers in the time of Elisha the prophet, but he cleansed none except Namaan, the Syrian.”

When those in the synagogue heard these things they grew angry. They brought Jesus out of the city to the edge of a hill, so they could throw him down. But he passed through their midst and went his way.

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

  1. These people of Nazareth have an obstacle to accepting Jesus as a prophet. They knew him as a little boy, the son of Joseph.
  2. These memories close their minds to faith.
  3. Jesus pinpoints the problem. Prophets are accepted everywhere except where they grew up.
  4. The people feel that they have a right to Jesus’ miracles. After all, he grew up in Nazareth.
  5. Jesus cites Elijah and Elisha who worked miracles for foreigners but none for Israel.
  6. This rebuke stirs them to anger and to an attempt to kill Jesus. However, the Father wants Jesus to die in Jerusalem.
  7. Because of its lack of faith, Nazareth receives no blessing.

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

  1. Jesus, I have so many obstacles. Remove them all.
  2. I accept you, Jesus. I open my heart wide. I am yours.
  3. Lord, all that I have comes from you.
  4. Jesus, your favors are for everyone. You push no one aside. You look with love, even upon me.
  5. Poor Nazareth is deprived of your blessings. Woe is me if I reject you.
  6. O Jesus, teach me your ways.

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

  1. I will seek Jesus today with childlike faith.
  2. I will receive Jesus’ favors and I will use them well.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Jesus passed through their midst and went his way.

FEBRUARY 22, 2016 – WEEK TWO OF LENT – MONDAY – COMPASSIONATE AS THE FATHER

(Luke 6:36-38)

Prayer: Father, fill me with your compassion.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.)

Context:

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

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. I will ask Jesus to make me a generous person.
  2. Today, I will see who needs my compassion and forgiveness.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation

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

FEBRUARY 15, 2016 – WEEK ONE OF LENT – MONDAY – THE LAST JUDGMENT

(Matthew 25:31-46)

Prayer: O Jesus, You are the King who is to come.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

Some people never heard Jesus’ gospel. In this parable, Jesus confronts the question of how they will be judged. Although they do not know Jesus (Lord, when did we see you?), they still can gain his Kingdom by serving him in the needy.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The King shall say to the just, “Come, blessed of my Father, possess the Kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. For I was hungry, thirsty, lost, naked, sick and in prison and you helped me.” The just will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry, thirsty, lost, naked, sick and in prison?” “Amen, I say that as long as you did it to one of my least brothers, you did it to me.”

Then he will say to the unjust, “Depart from me, you accursed into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, thirsty, lost, naked, sick and in prison and you did not help me.” They shall answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry, thirsty, lost, naked, sick and in prison and did not help you?” He shall answer, saying, “As long as you did not do it to one of these least, neither did you do it for me.”

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

  1. The parable shows the cosmic Christ. All the nations (believes and non-believers) are forced to come before him.
  2. These people are surprised to discover that they have served or not served this King. They have never heard about Jesus.
  3. Jesus explains that he identifies with every needy and suffering person in the whole world.
  4. The parable shows the eternal Christ. The Kingdom “was prepared from the world’s beginning.”
  5. The lesson for the disciple is this. Christ’s Kingdom is eternal. Salvation or damnation concerns every human being (those who heard and those who have not heard the gospel).

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

  1. Lord, before I existed you prepared the kingdom for me.
  2. O Jesus, your Kingdom will remain forever. List me among its members.
  3. The just served you when they didn’t even know you. Should I not serve you better, since I do know you?
  4. I have heard your gospel. What great responsibilities I have.
  5. Every needy person I meet today is a door into your Kingdom. Let my eyes be open.

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

  1. Today, I will thank God for my faith in Jesus Christ.
  2. I will think of my inevitable meeting with the King. What will he say to me?

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

“All the nations will be gathered before him.”

FEBRUARY 8, 2016 – WEEK FIVE – MONDAY – TOUCHING HIS CLOAK

(Mark 6:53-56)

Prayer – Jesus, let me seek you, find you and be blessed by your power.

Imagination – (Picture the crowds pressing upon Jesus).

Context:

These crowds in Galilee are enthusiastic. In fact, by their lively faith they somewhat force Jesus to heal. He seems more comfortable in the solitude of prayer or in teaching the disciples.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When they landed on the shore at Gennesaret, the crowds immediately recognized him. Going throughout the whole countryside, they began to carry those who were sick to the place where they heard he was.

Wherever he went, into towns or villages or cities, they laid the sick on the streets and beseeched him that they be allowed to touch even the hem of his garment. As many as touched him, were made whole.

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

  1. Jesus attracts the crowds. They know his power and his kindness.
  2. They so desire to see Jesus that they find out where he is.
  3. The people’s gigantic faith spurs gigantic efforts. They gather up all the sick from the whole countryside.
  4. They do not ask Jesus to teach or even to lay hands. They only ask him to stay still until the sick touch his garment.
  5. The results are amazing. Everyone gets healed. No one is sent away disappointed.

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

  1. O Jesus, You are so kind. You do not limit your power.
  2. Give me gigantic faith! A fullness of belief! An overwhelming confidence!
  3. I will search for you, Jesus, all the days of my life.
  4. Just be still, Jesus. Let me come close to you. I will stay in your presence.
  5. Your power will go forth. You will strengthen me and I will serve you.

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

  1. Today, I will seek for Jesus, knowing that he will welcome me.
  2. My faith will move me to action.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Wherever he went, they asked if they could just touch his garment.

FEBRUARY 1, 2016 – WEEK FOUR – MONDAY – PART ONE – POWER OVER SATAN

(Mark 5:1-10)

Prayer – Lord Jesus, set me free in the power of your name.

Imagination: (Picture the possessed man coming to Jesus and his disciples.)

Context:

Although this story seems strange, biblical scholars agree that it happened. (Although it probably is two stories joined together). Jesus began his ministry to Israel with an exorcism. Now, as he reaches Gentile territory for the first time, he again performs an exorcism.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When they came to the country of the Gerasenes, Jesus got out of the ship and was met by a man with an unclean spirit. He had been living among the tombs and could not be constrained even with chains, for he had pulled them apart and smashed them. Day and night he was among the tombs, crying out and cutting himself.

Seeing Jesus afar off, he ran up and adored him. Crying out, he said, “What have I to do with you, Jesus, Son of the most high God? I adjure you by God that you do not torment me. He said this because Jesus was saying, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man.”

Jesus asked him “What is your name”. He answered, “My name is Legion because we are many.” And they asked Jesus not to drive them far from this region.

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

  1. The devil loves the tombs, where all is death.
  2. The man’s state is horrendous. He is lonely, insane and self-destructive.
  3. When Jesus arrives, however, he senses that he can find freedom and new life.
  4. The devils know that Jesus possesses greater power and that they are about to lose their control.
  5. Since Jesus has authority, they must admit that they are a legion of devils.
  6. They are helpless. Soon, they will surrender their resting place.

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

  1. O Jesus, without you I am as good as dead to all that you have created.
  2. My life would have only loneliness, endless torture and anxiety.
  3. But you came into my life. Your light pierced my darkness and I came to you.
  4. Lord, your power is greater than my demons. In your name, I am free.
  5. O Jesus, I run to you. I see in you a light of hope.

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

  1. I will not lose hope in facing the darkness of despair.
  2. I will call out to Jesus to use his power.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Seeing Jesus, afar off, he ran to him.

FEBRUARY 1, 2016 – WEEK FOUR – MONDAY – PART TWO – SENDING JESUS AWAY

(Mark 5:11-20)

Prayer – O Jesus, one word from you and I will be restored.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus with the freed man. He is now clothed and at peace.)

Context:

The gospels contain those stories which were easily remembered by the early Church. The unique feature of pigs running over a cliff makes this event quite unforgettable. This episode shows that devils always seek a resting place in material creation.

The story also contrasts the cured man with the villagers who are upset about their pigs and ask Jesus to leave. The man has a different request.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

A great herd of swine was feeding near the mountain. The spirits asked Jesus, “Send us into the swine.” Jesus gave them permission and they entered the swine. The herd of about two thousand went rushing into the sea and were drowned. The swineherds brought the news to the villagers, who came out to see what happened.

As they came to Jesus, they saw the man possessed by Legion, sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane. They were filled with fear. The swineherds told them what had happened to the possessed man and to the swine. They begged Jesus to leave their district.

As Jesus got into the ship, the man began to ask Jesus if he could accompany him. Jesus did not allow him but said, “Go home to your friends and tell them the great things the Lord, in his mercy has done for you.” He went off and began to tell all in the Ten Cities what Jesus had done for him. All were amazed.

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

  1. The villagers get a complete picture. Also, they see that the possessed man is now perfectly sane. The swineherds tell them what happened.
  2. Although they see that Jesus has completely healed this tormented man, they make a gigantic blunder. They ask Jesus to leave.
  3. They have no interest in his blessings and power. Jesus will not stay where there is no faith.
  4. The freed man is now sane. He sees far more clearly than the villagers and wants to accompany Jesus.
  5. Jesus has a greater plan. This freed man will become an excellent evangelist. He must tell his friends all that Jesus did. What a day for him!

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

  1. O Jesus, do not let me be foolish like these villagers. They loved their pigs more than you.
  2. Jesus, do not leave. Do not walk away. Stay. Stay with me.
  3. O Jesus, I have seen your powers and I know your blessings.       You are all I need.
  4. Let me accompany you. Let me be your disciple. Wherever you go, I will follow.
  5. How great are your plans for me. I will tell all the world about how you have blessed me.

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

  1. I will not follow the world which always makes foolish decisions about Jesus Christ.
  2. I will repay Jesus for his favors to me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The man went home to his friends and told them all that Jesus had done for him.

JANUARY 25, 2016 – WEEK THREE – MONDAY – CASTING OUT SATAN

(Mark 3:22-30)

Prayer – O Jesus, by your power, free me from the Evil One.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in his controversy with the scribes.)

Context:

Mark presents another group of critics, the scribes. However, Jesus does not answer them. Jesus speaks to the crowds to get a fair hearing. He destroys the scribe’s argument by sheer logic. Then, he defines his relationship to the demonic world. He is more powerful than satan who holds all mankind in bondage. Finally Jesus speaks about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, a sin which the scribes have committed by attributing God’s power to the Evil One.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The scribes from Jerusalem claimed “He is possessed by Beelzebub and he casts out devils by the prince of devils.” Jesus then spoke to the crowds in a parable. “How can Satan cast out Satan? A Kingdom divided against itself, cannot stand. A house divided against itself also cannot stand. If Satan has suffered mutiny in his ranks, he is divided and cannot stand. He is finished. No one can enter a strong man’s house and rob him of his goods unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he plunders his house. All sins shall be forgiven mankind and all blasphemies, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, shall never be forgiven. He carries the guilt of his sin forever.

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

  1. The evidence is overwhelming and the scribes have to admit that Jesus drives out demons.
  2. So, they claim the source of this power is the prince of demons.
  3. Their argument is ridiculous. Satan’s kingdom would be divided and would certainly end.
  4. Jesus describes Satan as a strong man who has captured the human race.
  5. Jesus, however, is stronger. He ties up Satan and is sets people free.
  6. Blasphemy against the Spirit is when a person rejects Jesus’ power, saying it comes from Satan.
  7. The scribes have done this and will not seek Jesus’ forgiveness.

 

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

  1. O Jesus, Satan has no hold over you. You have all authority.
  2. Your power and his power will forever clash.
  3. O Jesus, Your power is divine and I fully trust you with my life.
  4. Set me free. Plunder Satan’s possessions. Remove his control over my life.
  5. Without you, Satan would make this world into his hell.
  6. With you, earth becomes like the Kingdom of God.
  7. O Holy Spirit, forgive all my sins. You are divine and have all the Father’s powers.

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

  1. I will examine my life and discover where Satan has control over me.
  2. I will deliberately come under Jesus’ power.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Jesus ties up the strong man and plunders his possessions, setting us free.

JANUARY 18, 2016 – WEEK TWO – MONDAY – SOME SURPRISE PRONOUNCEMENTS

(Mark 2:18-22)

Prayer: O Holy Spirit, make me a new creation.

Imagination: (Imagine Jesus with the disciples and the Pharisees.)

Context:

Jesus uses two images of cloth and wineskins to show that his Kingdom demands a totally new way of acting and thinking. Nobody sews new cloth on old garments or pours new wine into old wineskins.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees came to ask, “Why do we fast but your disciples do not fast?”

Jesus answered, “How can the guests at a wedding banquet fast when the bridegroom is still with them?” As long as he is there, they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them. Then, they will fast.

No one sews a piece of new cloth on an old garment because the new will pull away from the old, and the tear will get worse.

No one puts new wine into old wineskins. The wine will burst the skins and the wine will spill and the wineskins will be ruined. New wine must be put into new skins.

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

  1. Jesus does not allow his disciples to fast. His Kingdom is new and contains greater blessings.
  2. He reveals an astonishing mystery. He is the bridegroom, the presence of God in their midst.
  3. The Bridegroom’s presence precludes all fasting at his wedding.
  4. Both images (new cloth and new wine) carry the same message. Jesus is God’s new presence and the former response to God is inadequate.       Jesus’ Kingdom bursts these limited ideas.
  5. To be faithful to the Bridegroom, the disciples must seek the new wine of the Holy Spirit.

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

  1. Jesus, my faith is too small to receive you.
  2. You are such a gift. Why do I not rejoice always?
  3. You are the bridegroom, God in our midst. To you is all honor and glory.
  4. When you are present, I rejoice. Sorrow is cast out. Joy abounds.
  5. I will find new cloth, greater faith that can hold your blessings.
  6. Jesus, pour out the new wine of your Spirit.

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

  1. I will ask, “What must I do to receive Jesus’ gifts.”
  2. I will make Jesus my bridegroom. He wants to have everything.
  3. I will ask for greater faith so I gain every gift of God.

Thought: (Recall this text during the day)

How can the guests fast, when the bridegroom is still with them?

JANUARY 11, 2016 – WEEK ONE – MONDAY – JESUS FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE

(Mark 1:14-20)

Prayer – Lord Jesus, invite me today to be your disciple.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus calling his first disciples along the Sea of Galilee.)

Context

This gospel text begins “After John was arrested” and it records Jesus’ first homily of his public ministry. He repeats John’s teaching that the reign of God has come and gathers his four most important helpers.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

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

Passing by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother, Andrew, casting nets into the sea, for they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately, they left their net and followed him.

Going a little farther, he saw James, the son of Zebedee and his brother, John. They were mending their nets in the ship. He called them, also. They left Zebedee in the ship with his hired men and followed him.

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

  1. Jesus follows his heavenly Father’s timetable. While John is preaching, he remains silent. When John is arrested, Jesus knows to begin.
  2. These are the most important years in world history, as Jesus begins to save all mankind.
  3. Jesus says that the Kingdom is at hand. God’s power will break into human history.
  4. Everyone must be ready. So, Jesus tells everyone to turn away from evil and believe in him.
  5. The two sets of brother are the first to hear the message. They respond immediately.
  6. Peter and Andrew leave their boats behind. James and John leave their father and friends. These four are perfect models for all believers.

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

  1. Heavenly Father, what is your timetable for my life? When is the time for me to act?
  2. Jesus, I believe. This is the hour, the time of fulfillment. I will not delay.
  3. I believe. I accept your Kingdom. I repent. I turn to you and hear your voice.
  4. Jesus, you want to come into my heart.
  5. I hear your call. I will follow you, forever and ever.
  6. O Jesus, You are the gift of the Father. What else compares with your friendship? I will leave everything to be your friend.

Resolutions: (Use one of these or make your own)

  1. I will learn God’s timetable. What does he expect today?
  2. When Jesus invites me today, I will answer immediately.

Thought: (Recall this text during the day)

Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.

JANUARY 4, 2016 – MONDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY – MESSENGERS FROM JOHN

(Matthew 11:2-6)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me always believe in You.

Imagination: (Picture John’s disciples questioning Jesus.)

Context:

John, in prison, heard about the works Christ performed and sent two disciples to Jesus to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or do we look for another?”

Jesus said, “Go back and tell John what you have heard and seen. The blind see. The lame walk. The lepers are cured. The deaf hear. The dead rise. The poor have the gospel preached to them. Blessed is that person who finds no stumbling block in me.”

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

John’s disciples came to him and told him all that was happening in Jesus’ ministry. John sent two of them to Jesus. When they arrived, they asked him, “Are you the one who is to come, or do we look for another?” At that very hour, Jesus was curing many people of their diseases, sufferings and evil spirits. He also gave sight to many who were blind.

Jesus said, “Go and tell John what you have heard and seen. The blind see. The lame walk. The lepers are made clean. The deaf hear. The dead rise. The poor have the gospel preached to them. Blessed is that person who is not scandalized about my ministry.”

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

  1. John sits in prison, his life’s work almost completed.
  2. He is filled with doubts. Was he correct in pointing out Jesus as the Messiah?
  3. He has an important question. Are you the Messiah? Are you the one who is to come?
  4. Jesus presents all the evidence. He heals the blind, the lame and the lepers.   Even the dead rise and testify to Jesus.
  5. The gospel does not record the effect of these words upon John or his disciples.
  6. Matthew recorded this story for us.
  7. God will always do things God’s way. Do not be scandalized by God’s plan.

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

  1. Jesus, in my doubts, I will come to you.
  2. O Jesus, You present all the evidence. I know you are the Messiah.
  3. You heal. You cure. You raise from the dead.
  4. I will be still. I will watch for you. When you finish your work in me, I will understand what you are doing.
  5. Do your work in me. I will await your touch.
  6. You are not a stumbling block. You are the way.

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

  1. I will ponder the evidence in the gospels.
  2. I will believe in Jesus, no matter what happens.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Go and tell John all that you have seen and heard.

DECEMBER 14, 2015 – WEEK THREE OF ADVENT – MONDAY – WHAT ABOUT JOHN’S BAPTISM?

(Matthew 21:23-27)

Prayer: O Jesus, you have all authority in heaven and earth.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching in the temple, confronted by the temple authorities.)

Context:

The day before, Jesus had cleansed the temple. As he comes back, the temple authorities want to know by what authority he took that action. Jesus avoids answering this question. Instead, he shames the leaders. They are embarrassed by their mistakes concerning the Baptist’s authority.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders asked, “By what authority do you do these things? Who has given you the authority?”

Jesus responded, “I have a question. If you answer it, I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Where did the Baptism of John come from? Did it come from man or from heaven?

They thought within, “If we say from heaven, he will ask ‘Then, why did you not believe?’ But if we say, ‘From men’, we are afraid of the crowds because all believed that John was a prophet.” So they said to Jesus, “We do not know”. Jesus said to them, “Then, neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

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

  1. The temple authorities also strenuously resisted Jesus’ message.
  2. The temple needed a cleansing and the leaders resented Jesus’ purifying action.
  3. They attack the messenger, trying to discredit Jesus.
  4. However, they had foolishly resisted John the Baptist whom the people had accepted.
  5. Jesus’ reply catches them off-guard. They know they were wrong the first time.
  6. If they were mistaken about John, they are probably mistaken about Jesus.
  7. Jesus does not need to reply. They are discredited.

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

  1. Cleanse my temple, Lord. I will not object at all.
  2. Jesus, I will not resist your message.
  3. Jesus, you have all authority. Your every word is eternal life.
  4. Lord, do not let me repeat past mistakes.
  5. My choosing you is no mistake. You are Messiah and Lord.
  6. Your message is from heaven, where you will take me soon.

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

I will admit my past mistakes so I do not repeat them.

I will give Jesus total authority over my life.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Did John’s message come from men or from heaven?

DECEMBER 7, 2015 – WEEK TWO OF ADVENT – MONDAY – FORGIVING SINS

(Luke 5:17-26)

Prayer – Come, Holy Spirit. Give me friends with great faith.

Imagination- (Picture Jesus healing the paralyzed man.)

Context:

These stories in Mark’s gospel are controversy stories. Each dispute allows Jesus to make some pronouncement. In this story, Jesus says that he is the Son of Man with divine authority.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus was at Capernaum, a crowd gathered around the house. Four men arrived, carrying a paralyzed man. Because of the crowd, they could not get him to Jesus. So, they uncovered the roof and lowered the man to Jesus. Seeing how much faith they had, Jesus said, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Some thought, “This is blasphemy. Only God can forgive sins.” Jesus asked them, “Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’, or ‘arise and walk?’ So that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, I say, “Arise, take up your bed and walk.”

He got up, took his bed and went away in the sight of all. The crowd was amazed and said, “We have never seen anything like this.”

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

  1. The heroes of this story are the four friends who love the paralytic.
  2. Against all odds, they do everything to bring him to Jesus.
  3. Because of their faith, Jesus forgives the man’s sins.
  4. Jesus then heals the paralyzed man to prove that he could forgive sins.
  5. As yet, the paralytic has done nothing.
  6. However, when Jesus tells him to get up, he shows great faith. He arises and picks up his mat.
  7. The event confounds the learned critics and delights the simple believers. They believe even more in Jesus’ powers.

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

  1. Lord, send me friends who believe in you.
  2. I will respond to their efforts to bring me to you.
  3. O Jesus, I want my sins to be forgiven. This is your greatest gift, (which I often do not seek.)
  4. Jesus, you have all power and authority in heaven and on earth.
  5. You heal everything – soul, mind, feelings, senses, intellect and will.
  6. Speak to me, Jesus. Tell me to rise from my sins.
  7. Lord, I will be a sign to others, so they also come to believe.

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

  1. I will choose my friends from those who believe in Jesus.
  2. I will let their faith bless me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Four men uncovered the roof and lowered the man to Jesus, who said, “Your sins are forgiven.”

NOVEMBER 30, 2015 – WEEK ONE OF ADVENT – MONDAY – A CENTURION WITH GREAT FAITH

(Matthew 8:5-11)

Prayer: O Jesus, fill me with faith in your power.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with the Centurion.)

Context:

Advent is a time of faith and the church selects the Gentile centurion as the first model. He believed that Jesus could heal at a distance (unheard of in Judaism). Even Jesus proclaims his extraordinary faith.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him saying, “Lord, my servant is at home in bed paralyzed suffering painfully.” Jesus said, “I will come and heal him. The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but say but the word and my servant shall be healed. I also am a man subject to authority, having soldiers under me. I say to this one, “Go” and he goes. To another, “Come” and he comes. To my servant “Do this” and he does it.”

Hearing this, Jesus was amazed and said to the crowd who followed him. “Amen I say to you that I have not found such great faith in Israel. Many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of heaven, while the natural heirs will be cast out into the dark.”

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

  1. The centurion has complete and total faith in Jesus’ power to heal.
  2. Jesus is totally aware of his own powers. He proclaims “I will come and heal him.”
  3. The centurion is extraordinary for his great humility (I am not worthy) and for his faith (that Jesus could heal at a distance).
  4. Jesus proclaims that he has never seen Jewish people with that level of belief.
  5. Jesus predicts that many Gentiles will enter the Kingdom by having the same faith.

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

  1. Jesus, I will come to you in all my needs.
  2. O Jesus, your power can accomplish all things, anywhere and anytime.
  3. Nothing limits your power.
  4. Jesus, I am not worthy but you will act in my soul.
  5. Your Kingdom is open to all. The whole world is invited.
  6. Just speak your word, Jesus and I will be healed.
  7. O Jesus, place great faith in my heart.

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

  1. Today I will bring to Jesus all that needs to be healed – my body, my soul, my relationships, my memories.
  2. I will have great desires to be at Jesus’ banquet.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

I have not found such great faith in all of Israel.

NOVEMBER 23, 2015 – WEEK THIRTY FOUR – MONDAY – THE WIDOW’S MITE

(Mark 12:38-44)

Prayer – O Jesus, to you I give all I have.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus in the temple with his disciples.)

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. I will examine my use of money.
  2. I will be totally honest and sincere in all my financial dealings.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

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

NOVEMBER 16, 2015 – WEEK THIRTY THREE – MONDAY – THE BLIND BEGGAR

(Luke 18:35-43)

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

Imagination: (Picture Jesus and the crowd with a beggar by the roadside.)

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. I will be attentive today to Jesus’ presence.
  2. I will have great hope that Jesus hears my every prayer.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

What do you want me to do for you?