JULY 24, 2016 – WEEK SEVENTEEN – SUNDAY (C) – TEACH US TO PRAY

(Luke 11:1-4)

Prayer: O Lord, engrave these petitions in our hearts.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples to pray)

Context:

The Our Father is a heavenly prayer which opens our eyes to Jesus’ second Coming and prepares us for the end of the world. Luke’s version is somewhat shorter than what Matthew records.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

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

Father, hallowed be your name.

Your Kingdom come

Give us this day our daily bread

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

Lead us not into temptation.”

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

  1. What a privilege! We can call God “Father”. In Baptism, Jesus made us God’s children.
  2. We must want God to be praised and exalted.
  3. “Your Kingdom come” refers to the final day, the completion of history. We must be ready for that day.
  4. “Daily bread” has two meanings, the earthly bread we need each day and Holy Communion, the bread that prepares us for Jesus’ second Coming.
  5. Luke’s prayer claims that the community always forgives others.       What an important ideal.
  6. “Temptation”   refers to the final trial, when Satan will try to snatch our heavenly crown away from us at the last minute.

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

  1. O Father, I am forever and ever your child.
  2. Father, may you always be praised.
  3. Jesus, you taught me this. In heaven, I will proclaim you the eternal Father.
  4. Come, Lord Jesus! Do not delay.
  5. Provide my daily bread, O Lord.
  6. Make me hunger for the Eucharist.
  7. Forgive my sins. They are my daily burden.
  8. O Mary, be with me in my final hours. Help me to overcome the Evil One.

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

  1. I will repeat these five petitions during the day.
  2. I will cherish my Baptism, which made me a child of God.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Lord, teach us to pray.

JULY 17, 2016 – WEEK SIXTEEN – SUNDAY – C – MARY & MARTHA

(Luke 10:38-42)

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

Imagination: (Picture Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet.)

Context:

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

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

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

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

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

  1. Martha is filled with good will. She invites Jesus to her home and prepares the meal.
  2. Jesus accepts both Martha’s activity and Mary’s personal attention.
  3. Martha causes the problem. She cannot see the value of her sister just sitting with Jesus.
  4. At this point, Jesus is forced to defend Mary’s choice.
  5. Mary’s attention to Jesus is the disciple’s first obligation.       Martha’s activity is his second.
  6. Jesus, come into my life. Come into my home. I have already opened the door.
  7. Be the center of all my attention.
  8. Lord, absorb my faculties by your overwhelming presence.
  9. If I listen, then you can make me a disciple.
  10. Once I am your disciple, I will do my tasks in the Kingdom.

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

  1. Today, I will seek some quiet moments spent in Jesus’ presence.
  2. I will prize the interior life of prayer (which I so often neglect).

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

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

JULY 10, 2016 – WEEK FIFTEEN – SUNDAY (C) – THE GOOD SAMARITAN

(Luke 10:25-37)

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

Imagination: (Picture Jesus gathered with his disciples and teaching the lawyer.)

Context:

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

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. I will see how limited is my present love.
  2. I will see Christ in all those who have needs.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

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

JULY 3, 2016 – WEEK FOURTEEN – SUNDAY (C) – SEVENTY-TWO MORE MISSIONARIES

(Luke 10:1-12)

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

Imagination – (Picture Jesus preparing seventy-two more disciples to go to the villages.)

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The Lord appointed seventy-two and sent them two by two before him where he was to visit. He said, “The harvest is great but the laborers are few. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest. Behold I send you as lambs among wolves. Carry neither walking staff nor traveling bag. Greet no one along the way. Whatever house you enter say, “Peace be to this house.” If there is a peaceable man, your peace will rest upon him. If not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking what is put before you. The laborer is worthy of his hire. Do not move from house to house.

Heal the sick and say, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand.’ If the city does not receive you, then leave, saying ‘We shake the dust of this city from our feet as testimony against you.’ Yet, the Kingdom is at hand. I assure you, on that day, the fate of Sodom will not be as severe as for that town.”

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

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

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

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

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

  1. I will look for people who need my words about the Kingdom.
  2. I will seek out the right way to preach to them. I will see the urgency to spread Jesus’ word.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

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

JUNE 26, 2016 – WEEK THIRTEEN – SUNDAY (C) – THREE WOULD BE DISCIPLES

(Luke 9:51-62)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me not hold back my commitment to you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus speaking to the crowds.)

Context:

This gospel begins Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, a serious undertaking that will result in his death. Many are attracted to Jesus and want to follow him. He invites many to do so but he has to warn them of the costs of being his disciple. Mark gives three examples of an inadequate response.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

As Jesus journeyed toward Jerusalem, a man cried out, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus said to him, “The foxes have dens. The birds of the air have nests. But the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Jesus said to another man, “Follow me.” He replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their dead. You go and preach the Kingdom of God.”

Another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me go home and say farewell to my family.” Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back, is ready for the Kingdom of God.”

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

  1. Jesus is on a journey. There is no time to waste. All three men must decide quickly.
  2. Preaching the Kingdom demands a minimum of material comforts and provides no stable place to lay your head. The disciple must accept that commitment.
  3. “Burying the dead” means waiting years until the person dies. Preaching the Kingdom will not wait. People must hear the news immediately.
  4. A person who plows a field and looks back will do a poor job.       The Kingdom demands all of our attention.
  5. O child of God, Jesus is calling you and you are finding multiple delays. Cut the strings. Jesus’ call is the opportunity of your lifetime.
  6. Do not forget. Jesus moves quickly – like the days of your life which slip by so unnoticed.

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

  1. O Jesus, if you say, “Come, follow me”, I will follow.
  2. I will put your Kingdom above all my other desires.
  3. Jesus, if I look back, I will hesitate. If I hesitate, I will doubt.
  4. If I doubt, then I will not follow you. If I do not follow you, I will lose everything.
  5. O Jesus, your Kingdom is at hand and your call is now.

Resolutions:

  1. I will not fear the radical demands of Jesus’ Kingdom.
  2. I will cherish his words, “Come, follow me.”

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

No one who looks back is ready for the Kingdom of God.

JUNE 19, 2016 – WEEK TWELVE – SUNDAY (C) – JESUS’ IDENTITY REVEALED

(Luke 9:18-22) 

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

Imagination – (Picture Jesus with his disciples)

Context:

At the synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus proclaimed what he would accomplish for Israel. This gospel reveals even more. Jesus is Israel’s Messiah. At this point, only the disciples can know. The crowds would misinterpret this truth and make him a king. Jesus quickly explains that he will be a suffering Messiah.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

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

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

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

  1. The disciples are especially blessed when they join Jesus in prayer.
  2. The false opinions about Jesus show that the worldly person cannot comprehend the mysteries of God.
  3. Jesus’ direct question fills Simon Peter with faith and divine revelation.
  4. Jesus is the Messiah, sent by God to fulfill his divine plan.
  5. For now, that startling truth must not be preached.
  6. He will be a surprising Messiah. He will suffer, die, and rise. This is the Father’s plan.

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

  1. O Jesus, let me join you every day in prayer.
  2. All your blessings await me as I pray.
  3. Only faith, not human intelligence, can understand who you are.
  4. You are my Messiah, bringing all God’s favors.
  5. The Father has sent you to bless me.
  6. I will follow you into the great mystery of your death. I will die with you on Calvary, knowing that you will raise me from the dead.

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

  1. I will get to know Jesus Christ from daily mental prayer.
  2. I will accept the crosses in my life.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

You are the Messiah of God.

JUNE 12, 2016 – WEEK ELEVEN – SUNDAY (C) – THE TWO DEBTORS

(Luke 7:36-50)

Prayer: O Jesus, you have forgiven me much. Let me love you much.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus at table with Simon, the Pharisee.)

Context:

Jesus’ parable centers upon the creditor who forgives both debtors. Where can such a man be found? He is Jesus’ example of God’s inconceivable goodness. The woman understands this goodness. Simon does not and, therefore, he cannot accept Jesus allowing the woman to cleanse his feet.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

A certain Pharisee named Simon wanted Jesus to dine with him. However, when a sinful woman washed Jesus’ feet and anointed them with perfumed oil, Simon thought, “If this man were a prophet, he would know that she is a sinful woman.” Jesus said to the Pharisee, “Two men owed money to a certain money lender. One owed five hundred coins and the other, fifty. Since neither could pay, he cancelled both debts. Who was more grateful to him?” Simon answered, “The one who was forgiven the greater debt.”

Turning to the woman, Jesus said to Simon, “You see this woman. When I entered your house, you gave me no water to wash my feet. She washed them with her tears. You gave me no kiss. She has kissed my feet. You did not anoint my head. She has anointed my feet. I say, “Many sins are forgiven her because she has loved much.”

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

  1. The woman has experienced Jesus’ forgiveness.
  2. The greatness of this forgiveness leads to her great thankfulness.
  3. She expresses this gratitude totally, using perfumed oil, her tears and her hair.
  4. She desires one thing – to thank Jesus for his forgiveness.
  5. The whole scene puzzles the Pharisee.       He cannot comprehend the woman’s total thankfulness or Jesus’ total acceptance.
  6. Jesus clarifies what has happened. Her love is as deep as her sins used to be.       She sinned totally. She was forgiven totally. She now loves totally.

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

  1. O Jesus, how many sins you have forgiven me!
  2. O Lord, your mercy pours out upon all who ask.
  3. Jesus, I will recall all my sins. Where my sins have been total, my love can be total.
  4. Your mercy claims all my heart!
  5. Jesus, you understand what led me into sin and you know how to lead me to forgiveness.
  6. What a blessing to weep at your feet!

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

  1. I will see my past sins as a cause for thanking God for his mercy. They can become a source of gratitude.
  2. I will thank God for saving me from hell.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Which of these loved him most?

JUNE 5, 2016 – WEEK TEN – SUNDAY (C) – THE WIDOW OF NAIM

(Luke 7:11-17)

Prayer – Lord, in your compassion, give me life.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus standing with the widow by the funeral)

Context:

Naim is just 3 miles away from Nazareth. It still has a cemetery that has been used for centuries. Jesus stops death in its tracks and makes it retreat.   The story obviously looks forward to Jesus’ resurrection. Luke regularly stresses Jesus’ compassion and his care for women.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

When Jesus went with his disciples and a large crowd to Naim, he met a dead man being carried out, the only son of a widowed mother. A large crowd was with her.

When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity and said to her, “Weep not”. Then, he came near and touched the bier. Those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man I say to you arise”. The dead man sat up and began to speak. Jesus gave him to his mother.

A fear came upon all and they glorified God saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us” and “God has visited his people”. This report spread throughout Judea and all the countryside.

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

  1. Two large crowds meet. One is a crowd of death, on the way to a burial. The other is a crowd of life, on the way to Jesus’ resurrection.
  2. Jesus stops the burial procession in its tracks. It will go no farther.
  3. He is filled with pity. He sees in the widow a foreshadowing of his own mother’s sorrows.
  4. By touching a dead body, He contracts ritual impurity. But, his power overcomes death. All is clean.
  5. To many millions, Jesus will say “arise” on the last day.
  6. The results are clear. The young man speaks, and is totally restored.
  7. Faith spreads like wildfire. They see Jesus as their expected Messiah and realize that God has visited them.
  8. How fortunate that Jesus was there at the right time.

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

  1. O Jesus, without you I tend toward death. With you, I have fullness of life.
  2. Stop the forces of death in my heart and soul. Infuse your divine life.
  3. How great is your compassion. It flows out in my every need.
  4. Touch me, Jesus. Touch me and make me whole.
  5. If you speak that word, “Arise”, I will come back to divine life.
  6. O Jesus, you always come to me at the right time, when all else fails.

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

  1. I will bring my sins to Jesus. He will remove them.
  2. I will listen for Jesus’ word – “Arise”.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Jesus said to the widow, “Weep not”. He said to her son, “Arise”.

MAY 29, 2016 – WEEK NINE – SUNDAY (C) – A CENTURION WITH GREAT FAITH

(Luke 7:1-10) 

Prayer: O Jesus, fill me with faith in all that you can do.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with the Centurion.)

Context:

Since Christianity had spread to the Gentile world, Luke was extremely interested in Gentiles who experienced Jesus’ power. This Gentile centurion is a special person. 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, I have not found such great faith in Israel.” When they returned home, they found the servant in perfect health.

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

  1. The centurion has complete and total faith in Jesus’ power to heal.
  2. Jesus also is aware of his power, proclaiming “I will come and heal him.”
  3. The extraordinary parts of this story are the centurion’s great humility (I am not worthy) and his faith that Jesus’ powers are not limited by distance (“say but the word”).
  4. Jesus highlights the centurion’s faith.       He has never seen Jewish people with that level of belief.
  5. The faith is rewarded. The servant is healed.

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

  1. O Jesus, I have total faith in your powers.
  2. You want me to come to you and plead for my loved ones.
  3. You claim all authority in heaven and on earth.
  4. I believe, Jesus, that you have all the power of the Father.
  5. Just speak your word, Jesus and all is made new.

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

  1. Every day, I will bring to Jesus all that needs to be healed – my body, my soul, my relationships, my memories.
  2. Today, I will live by faith in the power of Jesus.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The centurion knew that Jesus had done this. He and his whole household believed.

MAY 22, 2016 – TRINITY SUNDAY (C) – THE SPIRIT TEACHES

(John 16:12-15)

Prayer: O Jesus, thank you for the Holy Spirit who teaches me all truth.

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

Context:          Jesus describes the two goals which the Spirit will accomplish among the disciples (the Church). First, He will extend Jesus’ revelation, going beyond what Jesus was able to teach in his short lifetime. Second, the Spirit will explain those teachings which Jesus did say but were not comprehended by the disciples.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Jesus said, “I have yet many things to say, but you cannot bear them now. When he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will teach you all truth. He will not speak on His own. He will speak what he hears and will show you the things that are to come.

He shall glorify me because he will receive what is mine and reveal it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine. That is why I say, He will receive what is mine and reveal it to you.”

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

  1. In this final hour, Jesus reveals some special truths. After his Resurrection, He will reveal even more.
  2. However, the full revelation will come only from the Holy Spirit who will explain the mystery of Jesus.
  3. The source of these mysteries is the eternal Father, who sends both the Son and the Spirit.
  4. The Spirit gathers up all these truths about the Father and Jesus, and reveals them.
  5. He reveals them to multiply Jesus’ glory within us.

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

  1. O Spirit, reveal these mysteries to me. Then, Jesus will capture my heart.
  2. You reveal “what is coming”, so I can know what to do with my life.
  3. Teach me “all truth”. Let me be a quick learner.
  4. Reveal Jesus to me. Reveal all of his glory, all of his power, all of his love.
  5. O Spirit, taught by you, I will glorify Jesus.
  6. O Trinity, Father, Son and Spirit, You are always at work on my behalf.

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

  1. I will have a special devotion to the Spirit of Jesus.
  2. Today, I will seek the Spirit’s help for all my decisions.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

When the Spirit comes, he will teach you all truth.

MAY 15, 2016 – PENTECOST SUNDAY (C) – JOHN’S PENTECOST

(John 20:19-23)

Prayer: Jesus, breathe upon me and send your Holy Spirit.

Imagination: (Picture the Risen Jesus appearing to the fearful disciples.)

Context:

Jesus comes to the frightened disciples on Easter Sunday night. This is “John’s Pentecost”, because Jesus bestows the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost, Luke speaks of the disciples praying in tongues. John’s gospel goes deeper. Having received the Spirit, the apostles will be able to forgive sins.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Late that same day, the first day of the week, when the disciples were gathered together, the doors were locked for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be to you.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Therefore, he said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I send you. Having said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive, are forgiven them. Whose sins you retain, are retained.”

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

  1. Jesus will use these disciples as the church’s foundation.
  2. Filled with fear, they are not ready for the task.
  3. They lock the doors. How could they go out to all the world?
  4. How they need Jesus!
  5. Jesus’ body has new qualities. He now comes through locked doors.
  6. He is the same Jesus of Nazareth with wounds in his hands and side.
  7. Seeing Jesus has immediate effects. Joy replaces fear.
  8. Jesus’ words, “Peace be with you.” Reestablish a relationship broken by the apostles running away.
  9. He breathes on them (as God breathed life into Adam) and gives them God’s Holy Spirit.
  10. They share Jesus’ greatest power. They, too, can take away the sins of the world.

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

  1. O Jesus, please come. I am filled with so many fears.
  2. You are risen. You can come anywhere. Come, Lord Jesus.
  3. Jesus, say your special words in my heart, “Peace be with you.”
  4. Show me your wounds, and I will know it is you.
  5. Breathe on me, Jesus, and I will have eternal life.
  6. Send me. I will go to the whole world.
  7. Thank you for a Church which can forgive my sins, Jesus. They are so numerous.

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

  1. I will use the sacrament of Confession frequently.
  2. I will ask Jesus for his Holy Spirit.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

MAY 8, 2016 – SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (C) – JESUS’ PRAYER FOR FUTURE BELIEVERS

(John 17:20-23)

Prayer: O Jesus, restore our oneness in your glory.

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

Context: Jesus’ prayer is for us, the future believers. Two thousand years later, as the word reaches us, we receive the same glory given by the Father to Jesus, and from Jesus to his Church.

If Jesus’ word forges a unity, the world also, will believe in Jesus.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said, “I pray not only for them, but for all who will believe in me through their word. That they all may be one, as you Father are in me and I in you. That they, also, may be one in us, so that the world will believe that you have sent me.

I have given them the glory that you gave me, so they might be one as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they might be brought to perfection as one, and that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them as you loved me.”

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

  1. Jesus looks to the future. He sees the billions of people who will believe through the disciples’ preaching.
  2. Jesus wants all believers to enjoy the oneness that he enjoys with the Father.
  3. This unity of believers will be Jesus’ instrument to bring the whole world to faith in him.
  4. This oneness comes from Jesus giving all believers a share in his glory.
  5. By seeing his disciples united, the world (his persecutor) will see that the Father loves the world.
  6. This is Jesus’ only plan for the world’s salvation.
  7. His Church must be clothed in his glory and one with each other.

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

  1. O Jesus, you prayed for me, knowing that I would believe your word.
  2. Now, you want me to join with other believers.
  3. You share your glory with all of us.
  4. You make us one in this glory.
  5. By our oneness, others will believe in you.
  6. When the whole world believes, you will come again.

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

  1. I will thank God for my faith.
  2. I will seek other believers to share my devout life.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

“I pray that they may be one so the world believes.”

MAY 1, 2016 – SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (C) – THE IMPORTANCE OF JESUS’ WORD

(John 14:23-29)

Prayer: O Jesus, I will abide in your word.

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

Context: This text focuses on Jesus’ teaching – which enjoys a surprising power. A disciple who lives this teaching will enjoy the presence of the Father and Jesus. Then, the Paraclete will amplify the teaching.

In the second part, Jesus, concerned about the effect of his going to the Father, promises his peace.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said, “If anyone loves me and keeps my Word, my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our dwelling in him. Whoever does not love me, does not keep my word.

The word which you have heard is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

I have spoken these things while I abide with you. The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in my name, 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. Not as the world gives do I give. Let not your heart be troubled or be afraid.

You have heard me say that I go away and I will come back to you. If you loved me, you would be glad because I go to the Father and the Father is greater than I. I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens, you might believe.

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

  1. The door to friendship with God is loving Jesus and being true to his word.
  2. If this happens, the Father and Jesus actually come to live within the disciple.
  3. Jesus’ time of teaching is ending. From now until the end of the world, the Holy Spirit is the teacher.
  4. The situation is changing. Jesus is returning to the Father. The disciples should rejoice.
  5. Instead, they grow fearful and need Jesus’ peace.
  6. Later, they will remember these words and will believe as they see them come true.

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

  1. O Jesus, you offer me life with your Father.
  2. Thank you for dwelling in my soul.
  3. O Holy Spirit, teach me the great mysteries of the Father.
  4. O Jesus, you have gone to the Father to prepare a place for me.
  5. I am so fearful. How I need your peace.
  6. Your words are the light for my path.
  7. O Jesus, you have provided everything for my salvation.

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

  1. I will treasure God’s presence in my soul.
  2. I will ask Jesus for his peace.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

My Father will love him and we will come to him.

APRIL 24, 2016 – SUNDAY – FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER (C) – JUDAS ISCARIOT

(John 13:31-35)

Prayer:  O Jesus, I will glorify you by my love for others.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus at the Last Supper.)

Context:

Judas has just left the Last Supper. Only the eleven apostles remain. Jesus speaks of two great realities – he will glorify God by his obedient death and the apostles must love one another so all the world sees that they belong to Jesus.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

After Judas had left the Upper Room, Jesus said, “Now is the son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorifies in him, God also will glorify him in himself and immediately he will glorify him.

Little children, I will not be with you much longer. A new commandment I give to you. That you love one another. As I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love for one another.”

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

  1. When Judas left to betray him, Jesus knew that his death was inevitable.
  2. His obedient death is the way he will give glory to the Father.
  3. The Father will reciprocate. He will glorify Jesus in the resurrection.
  4. While all these events are happening, the disciples will feel abandoned.
  5. For a “little while” Jesus will be taken from them. He cannot do anything to avoid that suffering.
  6. They are ready for the greatest commandment, far beyond loving each other as they love themselves.
  7. They must love as Jesus loved them.
  8. This is the great sign to the whole world.

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

  1. Jesus, teach me obedience to the Father.
  2. O Father, I, too, will glorify you and you will glorify me.
  3. O Jesus, how dark it is when you are absent.
  4. Let it be “just a little while”. Come back soon!
  5. Jesus, give me your Holy Spirit so I can love as you loved.
  6. Your love can change me and the whole world.

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

  1. I will imitate Jesus’ obedience to the Father.
  2. I will love everyone with Jesus’ love.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

I will not be with you much longer.

APRIL 17, 2016 – FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (C) – SHEEP IN THE FATHER’S HANDS

(John 10:24-30)

Prayer: O Jesus, I will hear your voice and follow you to eternal life.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching in the Temple)

Context:   Even this image of shepherd gets drawn into controversy. Not being Jesus’ sheep, the hearers do not believe that Jesus can give everlasting life to those who follow him. Jesus explains that he holds every person in his hands, just as His Father does.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The Jews said to Jesus, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered, “I told you and you did not believe. The works I do in the Father’s name, testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep.

My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me. I give them everlasting life and they shall never perish. No one can pluck them out of my hand. My Father has given them to me and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.

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

  1. The Jews ask a question which seemingly deserves a plain answer.
  2. However, the question comes because they refuse to believe Jesus’ testimony.
  3. More words, even plainer words, will not help them.
  4. They need to make a decision. They must accept Jesus.
  5. Because the true sheep desire to live forever, they easily understand.
  6. Jesus holds these sheep and no one snatches them away.
  7. Jesus reveals his identity. He is one with the Father.

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

  1. Jesus, you have already given me enough words. Now, I must believe.
  2. I will give you my heart. Then, I will fully understand your words.
  3. Awaken in me immense desires for eternal life.
  4. O Jesus, I will share your relationship with the Father.
  5. Speak loudly in my soul, Jesus. Silence all other voices.
  6. Where else would I rather be than in your hands?

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

  1. I will listen today for Jesus’ voice.
  2. I will stay in Jesus’ hands. I am safe there.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

The Father has given these sheep to me and no one will snatch them from my hands.

APRIL 10, 2016 – THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER – (C) – VISION AT THE SEA OF GALILEE

(John 21:1-8)

Prayer: O Jesus, make me aware of your presence.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus standing on the shoe at the Sea of Galilee.)

Context:

Because Jesus promised to appear to his disciples in Galilee, the apostles return there and resume fishing. In John’s gospel, this is the third recorded vision to these disciples.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus showed himself again at the Sea of Galilee. Simon Peter said to Thomas, Nathanael of Cana, the sons of Zebedee and two others, “I am going fishing.” They replied “We will come with you.” However, all night they caught nothing.

In the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but they did not recognize him. He called out to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” “No” they answered. “Throw your nets to the right side of the boat and you will find something.” When they did, they caught so many fish that they could not pull them in.

The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When he heard it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment (he was lightly clad) and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the ship dragging the net with their fishes.

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

  1. Peter is the leader. The other seven are blessed by going with him. The beloved disciple is one of the “two other disciples.”
  2. Their fishing experience and skill profit nothing. The nets are empty.
  3. Although they do not recognize this mysterious figure, they obey his words.
  4. The miracle reveals to the beloved disciple that “it is the Lord.”
  5. Peter believes his words and plunges into the sea.
  6. The others arrive in a more conventional way. Yet, all experience Jesus’ presence.

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

  1. O Jesus, keep me united with Peter and the Church. This is how I will be blessed.
  2. Make me of one mind and heart with other disciples who love you.
  3. Speak to me, Lord, and I will obey your word.
  4. Give me the beloved disciple’s sensitive faith, who first realizes that it is you.
  5. May I see your loving hand in all my blessings.
  6. May I always come to you, whether exuberantly (like Peter) or more calmly (like the others).
  7. Fill me with your presence.

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

  1. I will try to be united with others who search for Jesus.
  2. I will ask to experience Jesus’ presence.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

“Have you caught anything to eat? Throw your nets to the right side.”

APRIL 3, 2016 – SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER, (C) – PART TWO – THOMAS THE DOUBTER

(John 20:24-29)

Prayer: Jesus, remove all my doubts so I can proclaim you as Lord and God.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus offering Thomas the opportunity to touch his wounds.)

Context:

This is the high point of the gospel. John has put forth all the evidence to show Jesus has come from the Father. He has told many stories of people accepting Jesus. In this text, Thomas gives the clearest and greatest expression of faith in Jesus, “My Lord and my God.”

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When the disciples told Thomas that they had seen the Lord, he said, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

A week later, Jesus came, even though the doors were locked. He said, “Peace be with you.” Then, he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Bring your hand and put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving but believe.” Thomas answered, “My Lord and my God.”

Jesus said “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

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

  1. Even a week later, the doors are still locked from fear.
  2. Thomas’ doubts have closed his mind to faith.
  3. Jesus overcomes both the locked doors and the closed mind.
  4. To gain Thomas heart, Jesus accedes to his requests.
  5. Thomas’ story, (more than any other), shows that Jesus’ body was truly risen.
  6. Thomas’ faith goes beyond the other disciples. He is the first to proclaim Jesus as “Lord and God.”
  7. Jesus praises us. We believe without seeing his risen body.

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

  1. Enter my heart, Jesus. Do not let my closed doors keep you away.
  2. You arrange everything to bring me to faith.
  3. Jesus, let me touch your hands and enter your open heart.
  4. O Lord, let me experience you. Come in your fullness.
  5. You are “Lord, God, Saviour, Redeemer” – my all!

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

  1. I will ask Jesus to come to me.
  2. I will believe even though I do not see.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.

APRIL 3, 2016 – SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER – (C ) – PART ONE – JESUS BESTOWS THE SPIRIT

(John 20:19-23)

Prayer: O Jesus, breathe upon me and anoint me with your Spirit.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus appearing to his disciples in the Upper Room.)

Context:

This vision occurs on Easter Sunday evening and reveals many truths. By coming through a closed door, Jesus clearly shows that he has a risen, glorified body. Showing his hands and his side proves that he is the crucified Jesus, born of Mary. His final action of bestowing the Spirit is really a Pentecost. Instead of bestowing the gift of tongues, the Spirit gives the greater power of forgiving sins.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

On the first day of the week, when the disciples were gathered in the upper room, the doors were locked for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

He said to them again, “Peace be to you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Having said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive are forgiven them. Whose sins you shall retain are retained.”

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

  1. In his mortal life, Jesus never came through locked doors.       His glorified body has greater powers.
  2. Seeing his hands and side, the disciples rejoice immediately.       They know who Jesus is.
  3. Before anything else, Jesus gives the disciples inner stillness, “Peace be with you”.
  4. Filled with peace, they are ready to receive the Holy Spirit.
  5. This is Pentecost! Jesus breathes on them and pours out the Holy Spirit of forgiveness.
  6. This power to forgive will remain in the Church until the end of time.

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

  1. O Jesus, how fearful I am.
  2. Come quickly, Jesus, even though my doors are closed.
  3. Fill me with your stillness of peace.
  4. Joy! I experience joy when you come.
  5. Breathe on me. Send the Spirit into my heart.
  6. O Jesus, your forgiveness is your greatest gift to me.

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

  1. I will ask Jesus to send me His Spirit.
  2. I will seek forgiveness in the sacrament.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

MARCH 27, 2016 – EASTER SUNDAY (C) – THE DISCIPLES AT THE TOMB

(John 20:1-8)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Give me the faith to seek the risen Christ.

Imagination: Picture the disciples at the empty tomb.

Context:

If Jesus has risen from the dead, then his tomb must be empty. All four gospels begin their Easter stories with visits to the empty tomb and with descriptions of the disciples’ reactions.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

When it was still dark on the first day of the week, Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been taken away. She ran to Peter and to the disciple whom Jesus loved and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord from the tomb and we do not know where they have placed him.”

Then, Peter and the other disciple went out to the tomb. They both ran together but the other disciple outran Peter and came first to the tomb. When he bent down, he saw the linen cloth lying there, but he did not go in. When Peter arrived, he went into the tomb and saw the linen clothes. The cloth that had been around his head was not lying with the linen clothes, but was wrapped together in another place. Then, the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in. He saw and believed. As yet they did not understand the scripture that he must rise from the dead. The disciples left and went home, but Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.

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

  1. The Beloved Disciple is the author of John’s gospel. All of the many details, (about the various linens, where they were placed, and who arrived first), are memories of his personal experiences.
  2. Notice the readiness of these three disciples. Magdalen comes as early as possible, while Peter and the Beloved Disciple run to the tomb.
  3. Although experiencing the empty tomb, the disciples still do not know that Jesus is risen.
  4. Peter seems totally confused. The Beloved Disciple believes, but does not understand the full story. Magdalen is weeping.
  5. This is God’s first stirring. The full gift will soon come. At least, they are searching.
  6. The two disciples return home. Magdalen’s great love, however, takes her in a more important direction. She stays at the tomb.

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

  1. O Lord, thank you for these eyewitnesses. My faith in your resurrection is based on their witness.
  2. All this evidence captures my intellect. The stone is rolled away.       The body is not there. The linens are in various places.
  3. My heart is ready to believe.
  4. Let me run. Let me hurry quickly. I must find you.
  5. Give me the heart of Magdalen. I don’t want to return home to the empty world.

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

  1. I will renew my faith in the risen Jesus.
  2. I will study the scriptures

Thought for Today: (To recall your Meditation)

Magdalen ran to the apostles. Peter and the Beloved Disciple ran to the tomb.

MARCH 20, 2016 – PALM SUNDAY C – THE PALM SUNDAY PROCESSION

(Luke 19:28-40)

Prayer: O Jesus, I place my garments at your feet.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus riding upon a donkey with the great crowd.

Context:

This special procession is Messianic, openly fulfilling prophecies so the crowd knows that Jesus is their Messiah. However, Jesus does not ride a horse and proclaim himself a general who will lead an army. He rides a donkey. He is a Messiah of peace who will lead to peace (if they follow).

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to two of his disciples, “Go into the village. You will find a colt, which is tied and upon which no man has ever sat. Untie him and bring him. If anyone asks, “What are you doing?” just say that the Lord has need of it.   They went and found the colt. As they untied it, the owners asked, “Why are you doing that?” They explained that the Master needed it. They brought the animal to Jesus and laying their cloaks on it, they helped him to mount. Many spread their cloaks on the road as he moved along.

On his approach to the descent from Mount Olivet, the entire crowd of his disciples began to joyously praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying “Hosannah! Blessed be the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed be the reign of our father David to come! God save him from on high! Peace in heaven and glory on high.” Some of the Pharisees said to him, “Master, rebuke your disciples.” He said, “I say to you that if they are silent, the stones will cry out.”

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

  1. The disciples are successful in their task because they obey Jesus’ directions.
  2. The owner cooperates. How blessed he is. He sacrifices the donkey because “The Lord has need.”
  3. Jesus knows exactly what to do. He must ride a donkey into Jerusalem to fulfill the prophecies about the Messiah.
  4. The donkey symbolizes Jesus as a Messiah of peace, not of war.
  5. The crowds respond immediately to Jesus’ Messianic entry.
  6. They proclaim the event clearly. Jesus is coming “In the name of the Lord.”
  7. He will fulfill their centuries-long hopes for the blessings of David.

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

  1. Jesus, teach me to obey your every directive.
  2. You know every detail of the Father’s plan.
  3. Jesus, what were your feelings on this special day of arriving in Jerusalem?
  4. O Jesus, you sought only to do the Father’s will.
  5. Jesus, You are a Messiah of peace. Fill my heart with your peace.
  6. I, too, say “Blessed are you, Jesus. The Father sent you.
  7. You fulfill all my hopes.

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

  1. I will consider how blessed I am because Jesus became a man.
  2. I will try to appreciate the burden that Jesus assumed.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.