APRIL 16, 2016 – THIRD WEEK OF EASTER – SATURDAY – THE MURMURING DISCIPLES

(John 6:60-69)

Prayer: O Lord Jesus, to whom else shall I go?

Imagination:   (Picture Jesus with his twelve apostles.)

Context:

Jesus has just finished his talk on the Eucharist, using the very explicit phrases “eat my flesh” and “drink my blood.” Some disciples could not accept this teaching. They walked away. Jesus now asks the Twelve. Peter answers that they will stay with Jesus. This is a very important text.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Many of the disciples said, “This is a difficult saying, who can accept it?” But Jesus, knowing that his disciples were murmuring, said, “Does this scandalize you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit which gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you that do not believe.”

Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. Jesus continued, “This is why I have said that no one can come to me, unless it is given to him by my Father.

From this time on, many of his disciples walked away. Jesus said to the Twelve, “Will you also go away?” Simon Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life. We have come to believe. We are convinced that you are God’s Holy One.”

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

  1. Jesus is hurt by the desertion of so many disciples.
  2. Their human intellects cannot grasp Jesus’ great spiritual gifts.
  3. If they cannot believe Jesus’ teaching about the Eucharist, how will they believe his ascending into heaven?
  4. Jesus gives everyone complete freedom. Even the Twelve can leave.
  5. Peter does not grasp everything. However, he knows that Jesus is the Anointed One. That is enough.
  6. He and the other apostles make the right decision, but Judas’ heart is not right.

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

  1. O Jesus, I am free. I can abandon you or stay with you.
  2. Draw me so I cling to you.
  3. My intellect is so small, Lord, and your mysteries are so great.
  4. O Jesus, you know my heart. I am weak but loyal.
  5. What a privilege to know that you are present in Holy Communion!
  6. You are the ascended Jesus who descends into my heart.
  7. If you don’t mind, Jesus, I will stay with you.

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

  1. I will deepen my friendship with Jesus by more frequent reception of Holy Communion.
  2. I will never abandon Jesus.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

APRIL 15, 2016 – THIRD WEEK OF EASTER – FRIDAY – HIS FLESH AND BLOOD

(John 6:52-59)

Prayer: O Jesus, may I eat your flesh and drink your blood every day of my life.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching to the crowds.)

Context: These are among the most important verses in the New Testament because they provide a clear teaching on the power of the Eucharist to give eternal life. These are verses dear to all Catholics because they teach that Holy Communion Jesus’ body and blood.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said, “If anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” The Jews asked, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said, “Amen, Amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you shall have no life in you.

He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has everlasting life and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him. As the living Father has sent me and I live by the Father, so, whoever eats of me will have life because of me.

This is the bread come down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things while teaching in Capernaum.

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

  1. The words are strikingly clear. This “bread from heaven” is Jesus’ flesh and blood.
  2. Jesus gives an unconditional promise. Whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood has everlasting life. Jesus will raise them up on the last day.
  3. Jesus also gives a warning. Unless the person eats his flesh and drinks his blood they will have no life.
  4. Jesus explains. By eating his body and drinking his blood, the person abides in Jesus just as Jesus abides in the Father.
  5. Five times, Jesus teaches that His flesh and blood are the food come down from heaven and that whoever eats will live forever.
  6. The message is important. His disciples remember that he taught this at Capernaum.

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

  1. Jesus, what could be clearer? The Eucharist is your flesh and blood, and I am invited to the table.
  2. By your Eucharist, give me eternal life.
  3. Jesus, Raise me up or else I will perish forever.
  4. Abide with me. Live in me. Give me your life. I will live forever.
  5. You warn me O Jesus. Your warning is very serious.
  6. If I do not I eat this food, I will have no life with you.
  7. Draw me to your table. I want to live with you forever.

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

  1. I will try to receive Eucharist every day.
  2. I will cherish this sacrament as the food of eternal life.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will live forever.

APRIL 14, 2016 – THIRD WEEK OF EASTER – THURSDAY – STOP MURMURING

(John 6:43-51)

Prayer: O Jesus, teach me to learn from the Father.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching the crowds.)

Context: Jesus continues to speak about the Israelites in the desert. Just as they murmured against Moses, Jesus’ audience is murmuring against him. Yet, Jesus is the bread of life, ensuring that we will live forever.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Many murmured because Jesus said, “I am the bread come down from heaven.” Jesus said, “Do not murmur. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him up on the last day. Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him, comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is of God. He has seen the Father.

Whoever believes in me has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate manna in the desert and died. This is the bread come down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will never die. I am the living bread come down from heaven.

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

  1. Before receiving the manna, their ancestors murmured.
  2. This crowd also murmurs because they cannot believe what Jesus promises.
  3. Their minds do not grasp this mystery and they refuse to listen.
  4. They do not believe that Jesus has seen the Father and speaks his word.
  5. These listeners are helpless – unable to grasp and unwilling to learn.
  6. The heavenly bread will do them no good.

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

  1. Jesus, how patient you are with me when I murmur.
  2. O Father, instruct me. My own intellect cannot absorb this mystery.
  3. Jesus, draw me to the Father.
  4. O Jesus, you have seen the Father and you reveal him to me.
  5. Jesus, raise me up on the last day.
  6. Nourish me, O Bread of Life, and I will live forever.

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

  1. I will receive Holy Communion as often as possible.
  2. I will let the Father draw me into this mystery.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Whoever eats this bread will live forever.

APRIL 13, 2016 – THIRD WEEK OF EASTER – WEDNESDAY – TRUE BREAD FROM HEAVEN

(John 6:32-39)

Prayer: O Jesus, hold me tight. Never let me go.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching the crowds.)

Context: In the debate with Jesus, the crowd talks about the great sign of manna. In the desert, God promised Moses that he would send “bread from heaven” (Ex. 16:4). Jesus explains that the manna came from his Father.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to them, “Amen, Amen, I say to you, Moses did not give you bread from heaven. My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. The bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. They said to him, “Lord, give us this bread always”. Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall not hunger. He who believes in me shall never thirst.

But I told you that although you have seen me, you do not believe. All that the Father gives me shall come to me, and whoever comes to me, I will not cast out. I came down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.

This is the Father’s will. That I should lose nothing but raise it up again on the last day.

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

  1. In the desert, the Father gave earthly food which sustained human life for a short time.
  2. Now, the Father will give his Son, (the Word made Flesh), which sustains us forever.
  3. Although the crowd asks for this heavenly bread, they do not understand the gift.
  4. First they must believe in Jesus and come to him.
  5. To whomever comes, Jesus gives everlasting life. This is the Father’s plan.

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

  1. Jesus, you provide for every need.
  2. Father, I hunger for the true bread.
  3. Father, your greatest gift is your only-begotten Son.
  4. Jesus, you are the bread of life. I seek nothing else.
  5. O Jesus, I believe that you hold me in your hands.
  6. Call me and I will come. Keep me and I will never wander.

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

  1. I will not delay any longer. This day, I will come to Jesus.
  2. I will let him hold me. I will not walk away from his grasp.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

“I will lose nothing but will raise him up on the last day.”

APRIL 12, 2016 – THIRD WEEK OF EASTER – TUESDAY – THE HEAVENLY FATHER’S BREAD

(John 6:30-35) 

Prayer: O Jesus, give me to eat from the heavenly table.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples teaching the crowds.)

Context:

After Jesus multiplies the food and the people seek him out, he gives a lengthy teaching on heavenly bread. This heavenly bread is both his teaching and the Eucharist, his flesh and blood.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The crowds said to him, “What sign do you give us that we might see and believe? What work do you do? Our fathers ate manna in the desert, as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat’”. Jesus said, “Amen, Amen, I say to you, Moses did not give you bread from heaven but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. The bread of God is what comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.

Therefore, they said to him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever believes in me shall not thirst.”

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

  1. The crowd wants more signs.
  2. Jesus has already given them enough signs.
  3. So, he demands that they have faith in him.
  4. They want earthly bread, like the father provided for the Israelites.
  5. Now, the Father has sent Jesus, the true heavenly bread.
  6. Finally, the crowds seek the right bread, “Give us this bread always.”
  7. This bread is already given. Jesus is here.

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

  1. O Jesus, I do not need signs. I need only you.
  2. You will provide my daily bread. Why am I anxious?
  3. You have come down from heaven, a gift of the Holy Spirit through the Virgin Mary.
  4. O Jesus, give me always the bread of your presence.
  5. I will come to you and will never hunger again.

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

  1. I will go to mass every day possible.
  2. I will trust God for my daily bread.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Whoever comes to me will never hunger.

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

(John 6:25-29)

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

Imagination: Picture Jesus teaching the crowds

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

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

The crowds searched for Jesus and found him.

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.”