DECEMBER 29, 2016 – THURSDAY, CHRISTMAS WEEK – SIMEON’S INSPIRED WORDS

(Luke 2:25-27)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Lead me this day to your divine appointment.

Imagination:  (Picture Simeon praising God with Jesus in his arms.)

Context:

After forty days, Mary and Joseph fulfill the Mosaic Law by presenting Jesus in the temple. Surprisingly, Simeon appears on the scene. Luke says that the Holy Spirit was with Simeon, revealed the future to him and led him into the temple.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

In Jerusalem was a man named Simeon. He was just, devout and waited for the consolation of Israel. The Holy Spirit was with him. The Spirit had told him that he would not see death until he had seen the anointed one of the Lord.

On this day, the Spirit led him to the temple. When his parents brought in the child Jesus, according to the custom of the law, he took him in his arms and blessed God.

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

  1. Simeon totally dedicated his life to God.
  2. He is just, devout and awaiting the consolation of Israel.
  3. Even more important, the Spirit of God is upon him.
  4. The Spirit had spoken to him, promising that he would see the Messiah.
  5. Simeon is not a priest and has no duty to remain in the temple. He is guided by the Spirit.
  6. The Spirit says, “Go quickly to the temple, Simeon. Today is the day.”
  7. He keeps his divine appointment. He is at the right place at the right time, the very moment when the parents bring in the child.
  8. He receives his promised gift, seeing and holding the Messiah.

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

  1. O God, I will be devout and await your kingdom.
  2. O Jesus, let your Spirit anoint me.
  3. Help me to believe your promises to me.
  4. When your Spirit speaks, I will listen. When he leads, I will follow.
  5. O God, let your inner stirrings move me to the right place at the right time.
  6. Jesus, someday I will see you and hold you.

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

  1. With God’s help, I will be just and devout today.
  2. Today, I will open my heart to the Spirit’s promptings.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

On this day, the Spirit led Simeon to the temple.

DECEMBER 22, 2016 – THURSDAY – MARY’S MAGNIFICAT

(Luke 1:46-55)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Inspire your prayer in my heart.

Imagination: (Picture Mary praising God in Elizabeth’s presence)

Context:

Mary knows the Old Testament song of Hannah, mother of Samuel (1Sam 2:1-10). Hannah rejoiced that she conceived by God’s power after years of hopelessness. Mary enters into an even greater joy of conceiving God made man.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Mary prayed, “My soul magnifies the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in God my Saviour. For he who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is his name. His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear him. He has shown the might of his arm. He has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has put down the mighty from their thrones and has exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things and has sent the rich away empty. He has blessed Israel, his servant, being mindful of his mercy. Just as he promised Abraham and his descendants forever.”

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

  1. Mary is immersed in the greatest of all mysteries.
  2. The angel told her the mystery and Elizabeth further explained it.
  3. In her mystical vision, Mary sees herself guiding all of history.
  4. Mary prophesies about the Kingdom. The rich will become poor and the poor, rich. The powerful will grow helpless and the little ones gain strength.
  5. Mary is the center of this total, worldwide upheaval.
  6. Each generation will enjoy Mary’s favors, but only when they call her “blessed.”

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

  1. You, Mary are the easy way, the short way, the sure way into the Kingdom.
  2. Guide my steps. Enlighten my mind. You always safeguard the little ones.
  3. O Mary, flood my heart with God’s favors.
  4. Let me be poor, little, empty and hungry in this life, so I can be blessed in the age to come.
  5. Mary, share with me your mystical visions. Let me see the Kingdom, and all that God is doing.

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

  1. I will renew my devotion to Mary.
  2. I will read St. Louis de Montfort’s book “True Devotion to Our Blessed Mother.”

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

He who is mighty has done great things for me.

DECEMBER 15, 2016 – WEEK THREE OF ADVENT – THURSDAY

(Luke 7:24-30) 

Prayer: O Jesus, let me rejoice that I was born into your Kingdom.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus speaking to the crowds.)

Context:

Jesus has answered John’s messengers about being the Messiah. Now Jesus praises John, saying he is an angel preparing the way. Even though John is the greatest of the prophets, he did not live to see the glory of Jesus’ Kingdom. The final paragraph is interesting. Luke states that the crowds received Jesus because they were baptized by John and the others rejected Jesus because they rejected John’s ministry.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When the messengers of John departed, Jesus spoke to the crowds about John, “What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What really did you go out to see – a man clothed in soft garments? Those who eat well and are dressed in costly garments live in the houses of kings.

What did you go out to see – a prophet? Yes, and more than a prophet. He is the one of whom it is written, “Behold, I send my angel before your face to prepare the way before you.” I say to you that among those born of woman, there is no greater than John the Baptist. Yet, the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he.

All the crowds that heard Jesus, even the tax collectors, gave praise to God because they had received from John the baptismal bath which he administered. The Pharisees and the lawyers, by failing to receive his baptism, defeated God’s plan in their regard.

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

  1. Many in the crowd had heard John. So, Jesus’ words awaken memories of their repentance.
  2. The people went into the desert because of their religious searchings.
  3. John fulfilled all their hopes. Even more, he led them to Jesus.
  4. John was God’s angel preparing for the Messiah.
  5. Even so, the least in Jesus’ Kingdom would be greater than John.
  6. This gospel describes two groups. The crowds rejoiced because John baptized them. The Pharisees missed God’s plan because they refused John’s Baptism and were not prepared.

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

  1. O Jesus, I will search for you.
  2. O Jesus, I will find you in the quiet desert of prayer.
  3. All my hopes are fulfilled in your presence.
  4. You prepare me for your greatest blessings.
  5. I want to be the least in your Kingdom.
  6. Send your angels to guide my path.

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

  1. Today, I will search spiritually, leaving behind what I can see and feel.
  2. I will rejoice in being baptized into Jesus’ kingdom.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

What did you go out to see?

DECEMBER 8, 2016 – WEEK TWO OF ADVENT – THURSDAY – THE GREATNESS OF JOHN

(Matthew 11:11-15)

Prayer:   O Jesus, prepare me for the greatness of your Kingdom.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus talking to his disciples about John.)

Context:

John is the greatest of the Old Testament prophets. Yet, because he did not live to see Jesus’ Kingdom, the least in Jesus’ Kingdom is greater than John. An extraordinary proclamation! Just as extraordinary is Jesus saying that he fulfills the prophecies about Elijah.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said, “I solemnly assure you, history has not known a man born of woman greater than John the Baptist. Yet the least born into the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it away. All of the prophets as well as the law spoke prophetically until John. If you are prepared to accept this, he is the Elijah who was certain to come. Heed carefully what you hear.”

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

  1. Jesus benefitted greatly from the preaching of John who stirred the crowds to religious fervor.
  2. Jesus sees all of Israel’s history and declares that John is the greatest “born of woman.”
  3. Jesus also sees the future Kingdom.       Surprisingly, even the least in that new Kingdom will surpass John.
  4. The Kingdom is yours. Don’t let the world use violence to steal it from you.
  5. God’s prophecies are fulfilled.
  6. Since John is the new Elijah, the forerunner, Jesus is the Messiah of Israel.

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

  1. Thank you, Lord, that I was born after you established your kingdom.
  2. O Jesus, how many prepared the way for me to know you.
  3. O Jesus, what is my place in history? Show me my role in your Kingdom.
  4. Do not let the world steal the Kingdom from my heart.
  5. Make me the least in your Kingdom. This is my greatest desire.
  6. All the prophecies are fulfilled. You are the true Messiah.

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

  1. I will thank God today for all who have prepared me for my Catholic faith.
  2. I will cherish being a member of the kingdom of heaven.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The least born into the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

DECEMBER 1, 2016 – WEEK ONE OF ADVENT – THURSDAY – THE PARABLE OF THE TWO HOUSES

(Matthew 7:24-27) 

Prayer – O Jesus, I will put your word into practice so my house will always stand.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

Jesus chooses an example from the people’s daily experiences. In Israel, the rains come suddenly. A dry canal becomes quickly a raging stream. This parable is an excellent example of the sudden, unexpected moment of trial or judgment.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Everyone who hears my words and acts on them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rains fell. The floods came. The winds blew against that house, but it did not fall for it was founded on rock.

Everyone who hears my words and does not act on them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rains fell. The floods came. The winds blew against that house. It collapsed and its fall was total.

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

  1. Jesus speaks this parable to believers who have heard his words.
  2. Some are wise enough to put the words into practice. Others are foolish and do not live out the words.
  3. Both houses are the same. The difference lies in their foundations on strong rock or on weak sand.
  4. The wind, the rains and the floodings are the moment of truth, the time of reckoning. Both houses experience the same destructive powers.
  5. The results are completely opposite. One remains unharmed. The other collapses.
  6. Jesus warning is stark and evident. You must build your life on God’s word.

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

  1. Jesus, I have your word. I know your teaching. I will act. I will put into practice.
  2. Jesus, your word is abundant. I will act on it and put it into practice.
  3. O Lord, what do I build my life on? The rock of your teaching or the sand of my desires?
  4. Let your word, O Lord, penetrate my heart!
  5. How can I build my life on your word, unless I meditate on it daily.
  6. O Lord, if I live by your word, my life will not collapse.

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

  1. I will apply these meditations to my daily way of acting.
  2. I will honestly examine the parts of my life built upon sand.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The wise man built his house upon rock.

NOVEMBER 24, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-FOUR – THURSDAY – THE JERUSALEM DESTRUCTION

(Luke 21:20-28)

Prayer: O Jesus, be with us in times of disasters.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus explaining to his disciples the fall of Jerusalem)

Context:

Jesus prophesied that the Romans would destroy Jerusalem, which they did in 70 A.D. Luke wrote his gospel fifteen years after this destruction. However, these words were very important to the earlier believers. They heeded Jesus’ advice to “flee to the mountains” and were saved from death.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said to his disciples, “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by an army, then know that the desolation is near. Those in Judea should flee to the mountains. Those in the middle of the city must escape. Those in the country must not return. These are the days of vengeance when all that is written will be fulfilled.

Woe to the women who are with child or are nursing at the breast. There will be great distress in the land and great wrath upon the people. People will fall beneath the sword and they will be led captive to the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles, until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled.

There will be signs in the sun, the moon and the stars. On the earth, nature will be in anguish due to the roaring of the waves and the sea. Men will die of fear in anticipation of what is coming upon the earth, for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

Then, men will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud, with great power and majesty. When these things begin to happen, look up. Lift up your heads because your redemption is near at hand.”

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

  1. What powerful verses and gigantic prophecies!       Jesus prophesies of two different events, the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and his Second Coming at the end of the world.
  2. The believers could escape Jerusalem if they knew, believed and acted on Jesus’ words. Thousands did just that.
  3. Jesus’ words were totally fulfilled.       People either died by the sword or were taken into captivity. Only the believers were saved.
  4. The Second Coming is different. No one can escape. However, those without Jesus will die of fright.
  5. Those with Jesus will rejoice.
  6. They will see Jesus coming, the One whom they preached and suffered for.

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

  1. O Jesus, how important are your words.       Place them in my heart.
  2. O Jesus, save me from the disasters and catastrophes. Otherwise, I will be overwhelmed.
  3. Jesus, without you I would die by the sword of afflictions.
  4. Some day soon, you will come for me.
  5. Come, Lord Jesus. I will lift up my head and welcome you.
  6. For you I live. For you I will toil until you come.

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

  1. In all my difficulties, I will listen for Jesus’ advice.
  2. Each day, I will prepare for the moment of my death.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Lift up your heads. Your redemption is near at hand.

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-THREE – THURSDAY – JESUS’ LAMENT OVER JERUSALEM

(Luke 19:41-44)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me know the time of your visitation.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus weeping over Jerusalem.)

Context:

As Jesus comes close to Jerusalem, he suddenly stops and weeps. He knows the future destruction of this city and describes it clearly. He pinpoints the cause of the failure. They did not recognize the importance of his coming.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

As Jesus drew near, he saw the city and wept over it saying, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days are coming when your enemies will raise a wall around you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and will kill your children within you, not leaving one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

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

  1. Jesus foresees perfectly the future destruction of Jerusalem.
  2. In 70 A.D. the Romans totally destroyed Jerusalem, killing all the children and not leaving “stone upon stone”.
  3. Having enemies on every side, Jerusalem should have depended upon God for its safety.
  4. Instead, Jerusalem kills Jesus and loses their only opportunity for peace.
  5. They do not see the “time of his visitation.”
  6. So Jesus weeps, unable to save his beloved city.

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

  1. O Jesus, how many times you have cried over me.
  2. You see my entire future.
  3. Save me from the destructive forces within me and around me.
  4. Speak to me so I find the path of peace.
  5. Let me know the time of your visitation. I will await you.

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

  1. I will be ready when Jesus visits me today.
  2. I will open my eyes to the destructive forces in my life.
  3. I will say often, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

You did not know the time of your visitation.

NOVEMBER 10, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-TWO – THURSDAY – WHEN THE KINGDOM COMES

(Luke 17:20-25)

Prayer – O Lord, prepare me for your coming.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus instructing his disciples).

Context:

The Pharisees want to know when the Kingdom would come. The question is futile because the Kingdom is already present as the Spirit dwells in the believer. A final and total coming of the Kingdom is still ahead.

In the second part, Jesus gives private teaching to his disciples. They won’t have to search. When the Second Coming arrives all will know. It will be like lightening in the sky – quick and evident.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The Pharisees asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come. He answered, “You cannot tell by careful watching when the Kingdom of God will come. Neither is it a matter of saying, it is “here” or “there”. The Kingdom of God is within you.

He said to his disciples “The days will come when you shall desire to see one day of the Son of Man and you shall not see it. They will say to you that he is here or he is there. Do not go and do not follow them. The Son of Man, in his day, will be like the lightening that flashes from one end of the sky to another. First, however, he must suffer much and be rejected by this present age.

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

  1. The Pharisees approach Jesus with curious minds, not sincere hearts.
  2. They want to know about his future coming when Jesus is already in their midst.
  3. No need for useless searching. God’s Kingdom dwells within.
  4. Jesus’ disciples are important in his plan.       He gives them special teaching.
  5. Jesus teaches two truths. First, running to special places is useless.
  6. Second, Jesus will return as the King. All will see him, like lightening in the sky.

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

  1. O Jesus, I will seek you in my heart. You always dwell there.
  2. You are with me. You are here. I must just be still.
  3. You dwell in my soul, and you want me to adore you there.
  4. Today, you will come. You will be in my midst.
  5. O Jesus, on a very special day, You will come as King.
  6. I will not wait. Right now, I make you my King.

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

  1. Today, I will be awakened to Jesus’ presence.
  2. Jesus will be my King for this day.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The reign of God is already in your midst.

NOVEMBER 3, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-ONE – THURSDAY – THE LOST SHEEP AND THE LOST COIN

(Luke 15:1-10)

Prayer: O Jesus, show me how precious I am to you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

These twin parables are closely connected to the Prodigal Son parable. A hundred sheep was a medium sized flock. The shepherd must have been poor, unable to pay a helper. Luke’s gospel centers on God’s joy on the last day.

The parable of the lost coin has the same focus. The ten coins are the woman’s dowry, which she always carried in her headdress. She rejoices in the finding because each coin is so precious to her.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. At this, the Pharisees and scribes murmured, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So, Jesus told this parable. If a man with a hundred sheep loses one, does he not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and search for the lost until he finds it? When he does find it, he places it on his shoulder rejoicing. On coming home, he gathers his friends and neighbors and says to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my lost sheep.” I will tell you that, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need repentance.

Does not a woman having ten coins and losing one coin, light a candle, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? Then she calls her friends and neighbors and says, “Rejoice with me. I have found my lost coin.” In just the same way, I tell you that there will be more joy before the angels of God for one sinner doing penance.

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

  1. To leave ninety nine sheep in the desert is not a rational act. The shepherd thinks with his heart.
  2. The woman treasures this special coin. For years, she has carried this coin of her dowry in her headdress.
  3. Their joys cannot be contained. Friends and neighbors must share the abundance.
  4. This is not a temporary finding. The sheep and the coin are symbols of heaven and an eternal union.
  5. God’s joy overflows to the angels. The soul that was lost for a time is now found for an eternity.

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

  1. God, I am precious to you. Your love for me is totally beyond reason.
  2. Let me repent, so you and your angels can rejoice.
  3. Thank you, O Lord. You searched for me when I was lost.
  4. O God, your joy will not be complete until our union is forever.
  5. You give your angels charge over me. They, too, rejoice at my return.

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

  1. I will stop running from God. In this way, he can find me more quickly.
  2. I will recall those special moments when God found me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

There will be rejoicing among the angels.

OCTOBER 27, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY – THURSDAY – JESUS AND JERUSALEM

(Luke 13:31-35)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me follow you to Jerusalem.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus with his disciples and the Pharisees.)

Context:

Seemingly, the Pharisees are warning Jesus to leave Herod’s territory. Really, they want him to go to Jerusalem where they have more power. Jesus knows their plans and says that he will arrive in Jerusalem in time for his death.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

That same day, some Pharisees came and said to Jesus, “Depart from this place because Herod is thinking about killing you. Jesus replied, “Go and tell that fox that I cast out devils and heal today and tomorrow, and on the third day my purpose is accomplished.” Nevertheless, I must proceed on course, today and tomorrow and the following day, because no prophet can be allowed to die anywhere except in Jerusalem.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you. How often I would have gathered your children as a mother bird collects her young under her wing, and you refused me!

Your temple will be left abandoned and I say that you shall not see me until the time comes when you say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

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

  1. Jesus, the man of peace, experiences hostility from every side
  2. Jesus fears no one. He will continue his ministry until it is complete. Then he will leave.
  3. He knows the Father’s plan. He can only die in Jerusalem.
  4. Jesus loves Jerusalem. He weeps over the city. Shedding his blood will have little effect. Many will not believe.
  5. He would save Jerusalem from the Roman destruction.       Instead, their temple will be destroyed.
  6. He will come again when Israel will believe in him as Lord.

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

  1. O Jesus, in the middle of my turmoil, fill me with your peace.
  2. Let me be faithful to the work your Father has given to me.
  3. O Jesus, you know the place and time of my death. Be with me in that moment.
  4. You shed your blood for me. I will not let your sacrifice be in vain.
  5. You would gather me in and protect me in your arms. Hold me, Jesus.
  6. You are the King and you are coming again. I will await you.

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

  1. I will fulfill the task God gives me today.
  2. I will ask Jesus to pour his blood upon me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Jerusalem, Jerusalem. How I wanted to gather you like a mother hen gathers her young.

OCTOBER 20, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-NINE – THURSDAY – ENKINDLING A FIRE

(Luke 12:49-53)

Prayer – O Jesus, light your fire in my heart.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.)

Context:

This text contains two separate sayings of Jesus. The first shows his greatest desire – to cast the fire of the Holy Spirit upon all believers. The second speaks about the problems which will arise when people embrace Jesus’ Kingdom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to his disciples, “I have come to cast fire upon the earth. How I wish the blaze was ignited! I have a baptism by which I must be baptized. What anguish I feel until it is over.

Do you think that I have come to bring peace to this earth? The contrary is true. I have come for division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three. The father will be divided against his son and the son against his father. The daughter against the mother and the mother against the daughter. Mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.

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

  1. Jesus suddenly stops his teaching and speaks very personally of his deepest desires.
  2. He can no longer hold back his great anguish.
  3. He wants to cast a purifying fire upon the whole earth, making the disciples ready for the Kingdom.
  4. He will pay a heavy price for this gift. His baptism will be a bath of suffering.
  5. He admits to his great anguish before it is accomplished.
  6. He sees the sufferings of his disciples, which they cannot avoid.
  7. They cannot have peace at any price. The disciples will encounter family opposition.
  8. The opposition arises from their closest relatives who will not accept Jesus.

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

  1. O Jesus, what a deep love you have for me.
  2. Send your fire. Purify me. Refine me. Prepare me for your Kingdom.
  3. What a price you paid! You were in anguish about your death on the cross.
  4. You even worry about my suffering.
  5. Should I not be eager for your Kingdom? Am I not your disciple?
  6. Let nothing hold me back from you, Jesus. What is the cost of being your disciple? I will pay it.

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

  1. Ask Jesus to place a divine fire in your heart.
  2. What obstacles hold you back from a total commitment?

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

I have come to cast fire on the earth.

OCTOBER 13, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-EIGHT – THURSDAY – BLAMING THE FOREFATHERS

(Luke 11:47-54)

Prayer – O Jesus, fill me with a true piety which knows and loves God.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus denouncing the Pharisees)

Context:

The Jews blame their forefathers for being mistaken and killing the prophets. However, they will do the same thing in killing Jesus. Jesus recounts human history. Abel was the first one killed in the bible and Zechariah was the last prophet killed (2 Chr 24:20). Jesus’ accusations are proven true by the final sentences.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The Lord said, “Woe to you who build the tombs of the prophets but it was your fathers who killed them. You show that you stand behind the deeds of your fathers. They killed the prophets and you build their tombs. That is why the wisdom of God says, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles. Some of them they will kill and persecute.’ So, this generation will have to account for the blood of all the martyrs shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who died between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you. This generation must account for it.

Woe to you lawyers. You have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not gained access, yet you have stopped those who wish to enter.”

After he had left this gathering, the scribes and Pharisees began to show fierce hostility to him and tried to catch him in his speech on many occasions.

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

  1. The leaders are ignorant that they are caught up in a history of violence.
  2. They accept violence as a legitimate means of silencing the voices of the prophets.
  3. They refuse to accept the responsibility, even though their guilt stretches for centuries.
  4. Jesus offers them a new stream, a redemption from their past violence.
  5. Unfortunately, the leaders even block people who would want to follow Jesus. They have taken away the Key of Knowledge.
  6. They try to capture Jesus in his speech. What fools! They battle divine Wisdom Himself.
  7. They do not repent. They do not change. Their hostility grows.

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

  1. O Jesus, what are my sins? And the sins of my family? Let me repent.
  2. Jesus, you offer me a pure stream, a future history purified of the past.
  3. Redeem me, Jesus, from my culture.
  4. Open the door. Give me the Key to Divine Wisdom. I will walk in your paths.
  5. Jesus, change me. Forgive me. My past will no longer burden me.
  6. You are truth. You are life. You save. You redeem. You open holy roads to those who will follow.

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

  1. I will see clearly the sins of my culture and reject them.
  2. I will be a prophet who speaks out against what is not right.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

I will send to them prophets and apostles.

OCTOBER 6, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-SEVEN – THURSDAY – SEEKING HELP FROM A FRIEND

(Luke 11:5-8)

Prayer: Come Holy Spirit. Teach me the overwhelming kindness of God.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

Because the family went to bed early and would sleep in the same room, this request for bread disturbs the whole family. They are in the middle of their sleep and with the door bolted. Yet, the spirit of hospitality would overcome all that. Any refusal would be impossible and unthinkable.

The parable contains the words, “Can you even imagine…”. In other words, it is totally unthinkable that the man would not get up for his friend in need. The bread would be returned in the early morning.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said, “You have a friend and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves. A friend of mine has come from a long journey and I have nothing to give him.’” Could you even imagine your friend saying, “Do not trouble me! The door is shut. My children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up and give you any bread.”

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

  1. No one is to blame for this situation. The unexpected arrival was totally unforeseen.
  2. In his need, the man knew to turn to his friend.
  3. The parable is filled with hospitality. The petitioner has to be thoughtful of his newly arrived guest and the man in bed must respond to his friend’s plight.
  4. Both men assume their responsibilities. The one must beg. The other must get up and provide.
  5. Both men are clear examples of God who always responds with the greatest thoughtfulness.

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

  1. How close you are to me, O God! You have forged your bonds of friendship.
  2. Lord, teach me to turn to you. You are the first one I should think of.
  3. Jesus, I can never provide for all my needs. So much of life is unexpected.
  4. I have no security, except in you. You are my rock.
  5. Jesus, nothing is too much trouble for you. To refuse me would violate your eternal hospitality.
  6. How I rejoice at your unthinkable kindness!

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

  1. I will think often of God’s inconceivable kindness.
  2. I will not hesitate to turn to God in great faith.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Can you even imagine the man refusing to open the door?

SEPTEMBER 29, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-SIX – THURSDAY – SEVENTY-TWO MORE MISSIONARIES

(Luke 10:1-12)

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

Imagination – (Picture Jesus preparing 72 more disciples to go to the villages.)

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The Lord appointed seventy-two and sent them two by two before him where he was to visit. He said, “The harvest is great but the laborers are few. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest.

Behold I send you as lambs among wolves. Carry neither walking staff nor traveling bag. Greet no one along the way. Whatever house you enter say, “Peace be to this house.” If there is a peaceable man, your peace will rest upon him. If not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking what is put before you. The laborer is worthy of his hire. Do not move from house to house.

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

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

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

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

  1. Jesus, you have a plan for me, a place in your Kingdom and a task to be accomplished.
  2. Prepare me, Jesus, for the hostility I will face when I speak of your Kingdom.
  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. Pay any price to bring your word.
  5. The people must listen. They must respond. O Jesus, I will do all I can. Give me your Holy Spirit.

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

  1. I will look for people who need to hear about the Kingdom.
  2. I will seek out the right way to preach to them.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

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

SEPTEMBER 22, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-FIVE – THURSDAY – HEROD’S CONCLUSION

(Luke 9:7-9)

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

Imagination – (Picture Jesus with his disciples)

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. I will uproot the sinful desires that confuse my heart.
  2. I will multiply my desires to see Jesus.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Herod was perplexed and curious.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-FOUR – THURSDAY – THE PARABLE OF THE TWO DEBTORS

(Luke 7:36-50)

Prayer – O Jesus, even though I am a sinner, I will approach you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus at table with the woman at his feet.)

Context:

The central figure is the creditor who forgives both debtors. Where can such a man be found? He is God with his inconceivable goodness. The woman understands this goodness. Simon does not and, therefore, cannot accept Jesus allowing the woman to cleanse his feet.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

A certain Pharisee, named Simon, invited Jesus to dine with hm. A woman learned of this and brought a vase of perfumed oil. Her tears fell upon his feet and she wiped them with her hair.

Jesus’ host thought, “If this man were a prophet he would know that this woman is a sinner.” Jesus said to his host, “Simon, a certain creditor had two debtors. One owed him five hundred days’ wages and another fifty. Since neither could pay, he forgave both. Who loved him more?

Simon said, “The one who was forgiven more.” Jesus replied, “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. Before this happened, Jesus had already forgiven the woman’s sins.
  2. The greatness of her sins leads to her great thankfulness.
  3. She expresses this gratitude totally with her perfume, her tears and her hair.
  4. She desires only to thank Jesus, God’s instrument of forgiveness.
  5. The whole scene puzzles the Pharisee. He cannot comprehend the woman’s total thankfulness or Jesus’ total acceptance of her.
  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 Lord, you have forgiven all my sins. Why do I not love you totally?
  2. O Jesus, where my sins have been total, my love will be total.
  3. Jesus, you have redeemed me, and bought me back. You own me.
  4. How can I repay you? I cannot!
  5. What a blessing to weep at your feet!
  6. I will anoint you with deepest feelings.

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.
  2. I will thank God for saving me from hell.

Thought for the day (To recall your meditation)

Which of these loved him most?

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-THREE – THURSDAY – THE DEMANDS OF DISCIPLESHIP

(Luke 6:27-36)

Prayer – O Lord, you demand so much but you reward so generously.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.)

Context:

Jesus does not give these commands to the crowds but to his disciples. He reveals what he expects of them. The demands are high but the reward is even greater.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Jesus said to his disciples, “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those that curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on the cheek, turn and offer him the other. If someone takes your cloak, offer him your coat, also.

Give to everyone who asks. When someone takes what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others as you would have them treat you. If you love those who love you, what thanks do you deserve? Sinners do the same. If you do good to those who do good to you, what thanks do you deserve? Sinners do the same. If you lend to those who will repay, what do you deserve? Sinners lend to sinners to be repaid.

Love your enemies and do good. Lend without expecting repayment. In this you’re your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and to the wicked. Be merciful, therefore, as your Father is merciful.

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

  1. These commands demand a drastic change in behavior.
  2. Jesus wants a total change in our relationships and a total rethinking of how we act.
  3. Frequently, he mentions what sinners do for their friends. The disciples are called to much more for everyone.
  4. God acts this way. He blesses sinners and gives them earthly goods. Should not the disciple imitate God.
  5. Jesus wants disciples who are as merciful as God is merciful.

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

  1. O Jesus, help me to pray for my enemies and to do good to those who hate me.
  2. Jesus, I will love those who do not deserve love. This will be my gift.
  3. Jesus, I am special to you. I am your disciple. You expect much more of me.
  4. I see clearly, Jesus. My heavenly Father acts this way and You reveal his heart.
  5. I will give and seek no reward. This is how you love me.
  6. O Lord, I will pour out my mercy upon all, no exceptions. I will imitate the Father who has mercy for all.

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

  1. I will examine how I treat the people in my life.
  2. I will make changes and ask God for help.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High.

SEPTEMBER 1, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-TWO – THURSDAY – PETER’S CALL

(Luke 5:1-11)

Prayer – O Jesus, call me to serve you.

Imagination: (See Peter on his knees before Jesus in the boat.)

Context:

Peter has witnessed many of Jesus’ miracles but this miracle is unique. Peter is a fisherman. He knows that filling both boats with fish is impossible in the daylight. This is the perfect miracle. It drives Peter to his knees.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said to Peter, “Go out into the deep waters and lower your nets.” Peter replied, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing. However, at your command, I will lower the nets.”

When they did this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets broke. They called to their partners in the other boat. They filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”

Great astonishment at the catch of fish seized him and all who were with him. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching men.” Bringing their ships to land, they left everything and followed Jesus.

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

  1. Peter’s boat and Peter’s heart were empty before Jesus acted.
  2. After catching the fish, Peter experiences a fullness which he cannot explain.
  3. Jesus of Nazareth stands at the center of this story. He has brought about the great catch of fish.
  4. Peter realizes that he is “a sinful man”. Wanting to resolve his pain, he asks Jesus to depart.
  5. Jesus has a better solution. He invites Peter into a new holiness and a new task.
  6. Peter will be a “fisher of men”. This great call gets the disciples to leave everything behind.

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

  1. O Lord, I am empty. I have fished all night and caught nothing.
  2. My world, my career and my human goals do not fill me.
  3. I will obey you and put out deeper into the devout life.
  4. Suddenly, my little boat has your abundant fullness.
  5. O Lord, I cannot handle all my feelings. Depart from me.
  6. As I kneel at your feet, Jesus, I hear you call me to serve your Kingdom.
  7. For you, everything is left behind. Everything!

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

  1. For a few minutes today, I will take my boat into the ocean of prayer.
  2. I will accept God’s holy light, no matter what it reveals.

Thought for Today: (To recall your meditation)

Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man.

AUGUST 25, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-ONE – THURSDAY – NEED FOR WATCHFULNESS

(Matthew 24:42-51)

Prayer: O Jesus, I will watch for your return.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in the Jerusalem Temple with his disciples.)

Context:

This text contains two parables. The first likens God to a thief who breaks in at an unexpected time. The second is a servant. He can be faithful to his work or he can get drunk because the master delays his return.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to his disciples, “Stay awake because you do not know the hour in which the Lord will return. Know this. If the owner of the house knew at what hour the thief would come, he would certainly watch and not allow his house to be broken into. In the same way, you must be ready, for you do not know when the Son of Man will come.

Who is the faithful, far-sighted servant whom the Lord will appoint over his family to give them food at the right time? Blessed is that servant whom the Lord shall find at work when he returns. “Amen”, I say to you, “he will place him over all his property.

But if the evil servant says in his heart, “My master is delayed in coming”, and begins to beat his fellow servants and eat and get drunk, the master of that servant shall return on a day when he is not ready and when he least expects him. The master will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

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

  1. We do not know when Jesus will return for us. Time is very uncertain.
  2. The disciple must always watch and pray.
  3. One servant faithfully serves the meals. The other gets drunk.
  4. For both, Jesus will come, to reward the first and to punish the second.
  5. The faithful servant will be exalted and placed over the whole household.
  6. The other will be totally cast outside, always lamenting the position that he lost.

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

  1. O Jesus, I will watch faithfully.
  2. For you, I will stay awake.
  3. You come like a thief in the night. I will catch you and you will be mine forever.
  4. I will not count the hours of service. I will not think “My master delays”.
  5. If I had to serve you for 1,000 years, it would be as one day.
  6. O Jesus, never let me be separated from you, or cast out of the Father’s house.

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

  1. I will be faithful to my daily devotions.
  2. Today, I will do the works intended by my heavenly Father.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

You must be ready, because you do not know when the Son of Man will come.

AUGUST 18, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY – THURSDAY – THE INVITED GUESTS

(Matthew 22:1-14)

Prayer – O Jesus, may I always respond to your invitations.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus confronting his enemies.)

Context:

The time is Holy Week. In the days before his capture, Jesus confronts his opponents in Jerusalem. In this parable, the invited guests are the Jerusalem leaders who refuse to come, even when the servants invite them a second time. The banquet is filled but those initially invited are excluded.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus spoke to the chief priests and elders by using parables. “The Kingdom of heaven is like a king who had a wedding feast for his son. He sent his servants to call the invited but they would not come. He sent other servants who said, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner. My bullocks and cattle are killed. All is ready. Come to the feast.

But some ignored the invitation and went on their way, to their farm or to their business. Others insulted the servants and killed them. When the king heard this, he was angry and sent his army to destroy those murderers and burn their city.

Then he said to his servants, “The banquet is ready but those invited to come are not worthy. Go into the byroads and invite to the wedding whomever you might find. The servants went into the byroads and drew in all whom they found, the bad as well as the good. This filled the wedding hall with banqueters.

When the king came in to greet the guests, he saw a man not properly dressed for the wedding. He said, “My friend, how is it that you came not properly dressed?” The man had nothing to say. The king said, “Put him out into the night”. The invited are many. The elect are few.

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

  1. The invited guests were the Jewish leaders who rejected Jesus’ invitation to the Kingdom.
  2. The King destroying their city (Jerusalem) is the Roman army (70 A.D.)
  3. The leader’s rejection opens the banquet to the whole world.
  4. God uses every possible means to bring people into his banquet.
  5. The owner is like God, who wants his churches filled with believers.
  6. The man without a wedding garment is a baptized person who does not keep God’s commandments.
  7. All are freely invited but they must clothe themselves in virtue.

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

  1. O Jesus, how many invitations you give me.
  2. I will set aside everything else. Nothing will come before your Kingdom.
  3. O Jesus, you invite all. You want heaven to be filled to overflowing. I will be there with you.
  4. O Jesus, thank you for my Catholic faith, which invites me to your Kingdom.
  5. Only one thing do I fear – that I would miss out on the banquet of heaven.

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

  1. I will listen carefully today to God’s many invitations – in my heart and through others.
  2. I will thank God for my Catholic faith.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

They went everywhere to fill the wedding hall with banqueters.