AUGUST 11, 2016 – WEEK NINETEEN – THURSDAY – THE UNMERCIFUL SERVANT

(Matthew 18:21-19:1)

Prayer: O Jesus, fill my heart with the Holy Spirit.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples)

Context:

The parable is about the Last Judgment and highlights the greatest demand upon every disciple, learning how to forgive. The warning is serious. God, who has granted the disciple forgiveness, will revoke that forgiveness if he does not extend forgiveness. Here everything is at stake.

The parable offers a unique comfort. If we forgive others, then God’s mercy extends beyond this world to the Final Judgment.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

(Scene 1) The Kingdom of heaven is like a King who decided to settle all his accounts. One servant owed him ten thousand talents. The King wanted his family and his goods sold so payment could be made. The servant said, “Have patience with me and I will pay everything.” Moved with pity, the king forgave the debt.

(Scene 2) When this servant left, he found his fellow-servant who owed him a hundred pence. Laying hands on him, he said, “Pay what you owe.” The fellow-servant, prostrating himself, said “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” However, he would not. Instead, he threw him into prison until the debt was paid.

(Scene 3) The other servants were very grieved and told the King what had happened. He called the servant and said, “Wicked servant, I forgave you the entire debt when you asked me. Should you not, then, have compassion on your fellow servant as I did on you? Filled with anger, he handed the servant over to the torturers until he paid all. So shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you do not forgive all your brothers from your heart.

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

  1. An “accounting” always represents the Final Judgment.
  2. For the true disciple, this Final Judgment will be filled with mercy.
  3. The first servant claims that he will repay the debt. However, the amount he owes is astounding.
  4. So, the King forgives the whole debt unconditionally.
  5. Although forgiven, the disciple does not imitate the King’s forgiving generosity.
  6. The other servants (disciples) know that this violates the King’s desires.
  7. The King is forced to reverse his decision. Mercy turns into Judgment.

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

  1. O Jesus, how much I owe you! I can never repay it.
  2. Lord, may the moment of my judgment be always before my eyes.
  3. I will give mercy so I can receive mercy.
  4. O Jesus, you have revealed the great secret.
  5. Teach me to “forgive from my heart.”
  6. Open my eyes to see how great is your patience with me.
  7. Inebriated by your mercy, I will forgive all who harm me.

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

  1. Today, I will think only of God’s patience and mercy to me.
  2. I will show forgiveness to everyone.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Moved with compassion, the King forgave the whole debt.

AUGUST 4, 2016 – WEEK EIGHTEEN – THURSDAY – TRANSFIGURED ON THE MOUNTAIN

(Mark 9:2-13)

Prayer – O Jesus, reveal to me your heavenly glory.

Imagination- (Picture Peter, James and John witnessing the glory of Christ.)

Context:

These three apostles witness both Jesus’ glory on the mountain and his agony in the Garden. Mark always links Jesus’ suffering with his glory, telling his persecuted Christians to persevere in their sufferings because their reward is great. The vision also includes Moses and Elijah, the two great Old Testament personalities.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Six days later, Jesus took Peter, James and John up a high mountain by themselves. He was transfigured before them and his clothes became dazzlingly white. Elijah appeared to them along with Moses and they spoke with Jesus. Peter said, “It is good for us to be here. Let us make three tents, one for you, one for Elijah and one for Moses.” However, he did not really know what to say for he was filled with awe.

A cloud overshadowed them and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Looking up, they saw no one. Only Jesus was with them.

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

  1. To bestow the experience, Jesus must withdraw the apostles to the mountain’s solitude.
  2. When they see Jesus’ heavenly glory, they are overwhelmed.
  3. Jesus is the central figure. Moses and Elijah are at his side.
  4. The events overwhelm the usually talkative Peter. He can only exclaim, “It is good to be here.”
  5. The cloud paralyzes them, making them completely attentive to the Father’s words, “This is my Beloved Son. Listen to him.”
  6. When the vision is over, they see only Jesus. He is the beginning and the end of all creation.

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

  1. O Lord, invite me to your mountain of prayer. I will leave behind this valley of darkness.
  2. O Jesus, Your glory is great. My poor faculties cannot grasp your light.
  3. Let your divine cloud descend over me.
  4. You, O Lord, are the center of all history. In you, I discover who I am.
  5. Jesus, you are “the Beloved Son”. I will listen to you.
  6. I will keep my eyes only for you, Jesus.

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

  1. Many times today, I will find a moment to climb the mountain of prayer.
  2. I will value the riches which Christ offers to me.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Looking up they saw Jesus in all his glory.

JULY 28, 2016 – WEEK SEVENTEEN – THURSDAY – THE CONCLUDING PARABLE

(Matthew 13:47-53)

Prayer: O Jesus, help me to understand your Kingdom.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples)

Context:

After preaching many parables, Jesus concludes with this parable about the Final Judgment. When finished, he asks the disciples if they understand. Then describes what he has just done by bringing forth various kinds of teachings.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The Kingdom of heaven is like a net cast into the sea which gathers all kinds of fish. When it is filled, the men draw it out. Sitting on the shore, they place what was worthwhile in their baskets but the useless they throw out. So it shall be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out and separate the evil from among the just. They shall cast them into the furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

“Have you understood all these parables?” Jesus asked. ‘Yes”, they said. He said to them, “Every scribe instructed in the kingdom of Heaven is like the head of the house bringing forth from his treasuries, the old and the new.” When Jesus finished this parable, he moved on from that district.

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

  1. Jesus’ heart is totally on the Kingdom of God.
  2. He constantly uses fresh images to impress this Kingdom upon his disciples’ hearts.
  3. The Kingdom already exists on earth in the hearts of good people.
  4. The wicked and the good live in the same neighborhood, seemingly equal.
  5. The angels, however, know who is who. They separate out the wicked, who are cast into the fire.
  6. The parables are simple and the disciples easily understand.
  7. Jesus provides many treasures from his storeroom of knowledge.

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

  1. O Jesus, focus my heart on your Kingdom.
  2. Impress your Kingdom onto my mind and soul.
  3. O Jesus, I cannot fool your angels. They see my heart.
  4. I cannot sneak into heaven. My soul must be truly yours.
  5. O Jesus, teach me and I will understand.
  6. You explain all the mysteries. Everything is clear. I must respond.

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

  1. I will ask Jesus to show me the state of my soul.
  2. I will remember the moment of my Judgment.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Have you understood all this?

JULY 21, 2016 – WEEK SIXTEEN – THURSDAY – THE PURPOSE OF THE PARABLES

(Matthew 13:10-13)

Prayer: O Jesus, reveal to me the mysteries of the Kingdom.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus explaining to his disciples the mystery of parables.)

Context:

All the gospels speak of “insiders” (the disciples) and “outsiders” (those who have not yet accepted Jesus and his Kingdom). Jesus has offered to these outsiders, (called “Them”) the Kingdom but they have not received it. Therefore, they will not hold on to the little faith that they do have.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

His disciples asked Jesus, “Why do you speak to them in parables? Jesus answered, “Because to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but to them it has not been given. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich. From anyone who has not, even what they have will be taken away.

That is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but they do not see. They hear but they do not listen or understand.”

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

  1. The human mind cannot grasp the mysteries of the Kingdom.
  2. Only the human heart, by surrendering to God, can understand the Kingdom.
  3. The Disciples give their heart to the Kingdom.   They receive much and are able to receive more.
  4. The wise and the prudent hold on to their hearts.   They receive little and stand in danger of losing everything.
  5. The parables are perfectly clear to those who give their hearts.
  6. They cannot to be understood by those who refuse.

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

  1. O Jesus,   I will be your disciple, able to receive your revelation.
  2. Teach me abandonment. If I surrender, I will understand.
  3. O Jesus, reveal your love, your closeness and your care. These are the mysteries of your Kingdom.
  4. Let me grow rich in your Kingdom.
  5. O Jesus, if I close my heart to you, I will lose everything.
  6. O Jesus, in these parables I meet you, heart to heart.

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

  1. I will give my heart to Jesus.
  2. I will take each parable to heart, searching out its meaning.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

To anyone who has more, more will be given and he will grow rich.

JULY 14, 2016 – WEEK FIFTEEN – THURSDAY – THE EASY YOKE

(Matthew 11:28-30)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Help me to take up Jesus’ easy yoke and light burden.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus inviting all his disciples to come to Him.)

 Context:

Jesus speaks of “a burden” and “a yoke”. The burdened are those who cannot seem to get out from under. Jesus is one of them. He carries the whole world on his shoulders. Jesus’ yoke is his submission to God’s will. When we accept God’s will, our daily burdens become much lighter.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

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

  1. “Come to me” is the greatest invitation in the whole world.
  2. Since all are burdened, all are invited.
  3. Jesus himself is the gift. He alone can give you rest. Come to him.
  4. Jesus’ yoke is your task in the Kingdom.
  5. To find rest, you must know Jesus and think as he does.
  6. You will find that he is gentle and humble. Your soul will experience peace.

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

  1. Jesus, you say “Come to me.” I am coming. I am coming quickly.
  2. You will be gentle, totally intent on helping me.
  3. You will be humble and serve my needs.
  4. I will rest in you and be refreshed.
  5. Jesus, I will gladly carry your yoke. It is so much easier than what I now carry.
  6. In the world, I find restlessness. In your Kingdom I discover peace.
  7. You always speak the truth. You fulfill all your promises.       I can trust your words.

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

  1. I will examine any worldly burdens which I have foolishly assumed.
  2. I will choose, instead, the tasks that Jesus has for me.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

My yoke is easy and my burden light.

JULY 7, 2016 – WEEK FOURTEEN – THURSDAY – SENDING OUT THE TWELVE

(Matthew 10:7-15)

Prayer – O Jesus, send me forth like an apostle.

Imagination (Picture the Twelve gathered around, listening to Jesus’ instructions.)

Context:

   There is not much time to evangelize Israel, so Jesus sends out the Twelve. This is totally his initiative. He summons, instructs, and gives his powers. They disciples must trust God to provide and the villages must respond to the message. Urgency fills the air.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

   Jesus said to his disciples, “As you go, make this announcement, ‘The reign of God is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, heal the lepers and expel demons. The gift you have received, give as a gift. Provide yourselves with neither gold nor silver nor copper in your belts; no traveling bags, no change of shirt, no sandals, no walking stick.

   Look for a worthy citizen in every town or village you come to and stay with him until you leave. As you enter his home bless it. If the home is deserving, your blessing will descend on it. If not, your blessing will return to you.

   If anyone does not receive you, leave that town and shake the dust from your feet. It will go easier for Sodom and Gomorrah on judgment day than for that town.

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

  • There is great urgency. The time is short. The gospel must be preached.
  • Jesus takes a new initiative. He pours out his zeal upon the Twelve.

They go forth two by two, showing love for each other and encouraging each other.

They enjoy the powers of the Kingdom – to expel demons, to heal, and to raise the dead.

They must be unselfish, being satisfied with whatever house receives them.

They will bless greatly whoever welcomes them.

The village must respond to their message. Otherwise, the apostles will reject them.

The final judgment will be severe, worse than Sodom and Gomorrah.

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

O Jesus, the time is short. I must act today.

Fill my heart with your zeal and holy desires.

Call me to a greater level of responsibility.

Join me with others. Together, we can be faithful.

Give me your powers. I will free people and they will believe.

O Lord, I will sacrifice everything for your Kingdom.

O Jesus, if some will not listen, I will go quickly to others.

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

  • I will be aware of opportunities to speak about the Kingdom.
  • I will seek a friend who will join me in my task.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Make the announcement, “The reign of God is at hand.”

JUNE 30, 2016 – WEEK THIRTEEN – THURSDAY – THE PARALYZED MAN

(Matthew 9:1-8)

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

Imagination- (Picture Jesus healing the paralyzed man.)

Context:

The stories in this section are controversy stories, which allow Jesus to make some pronouncement.   The pronouncement in this story is that Jesus is the Son of Man with divine authority.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

People brought to him a paralyzed man lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, your sins are forgiven.” At that, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming. Jesus knew what they were thinking and said, “Why do you harbor such thoughts. Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘Rise and walk?’

But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins- he then said to the paralyzed man, “Stand up. Roll up your mat and go home.”

The man stood up and went home. At the sight, a feeling of awe came over the crowd and they praised God for giving such authority to man.

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

  1. The people love the paralyzed man. They, also, have faith in Jesus.
  2. Their first thought is to place him at Jesus’ feet.
  3. Because of their faith, Jesus forgives the man’s sins.
  4. Jesus then heals the paralyzed man to prove that he could forgive sins.
  5. The paralyzed man keeps receiving all these favors.
  6. When Jesus tells him to get up, he shows great faith. He arises and picks up his mat.
  7. The event confounds the learned critics and delights the simple believers. They believe even more in Jesus’ powers.

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

  1. Lord, send me friends who believe in you.
  2. Teach me to accept the advice of others.
  3. O Jesus, I want my sins to be forgiven. This is your greatest gift (which I often do not seek).
  4. Jesus, you have all power and authority in heaven and on earth.
  5. You heal everything – soul, mind, feelings, senses, intellect and will.
  6. Speak to me Jesus. Tell me to rise from my sins.
  7. Lord, make me a new creation. I will be a sign to others.

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

  1. I will look for friends who believe in Jesus.
  2. I will let their faith bless me.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The people brought him to Jesus.

JUNE 23, 2016 – WEEK TWELVE – THURSDAY – DOING THE FATHER’S WILL

(Matthew 7:21-24)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Teach me to do the Father’s will.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching His disciples true devotion.)

Context:

The disciples in Matthew’s Church exercised many charismatic powers (as seen in this gospel). Here, Matthew issues a severe warning. These powers do not get the disciple into heaven. Only doing the Father’s will accomplishes that.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Not everyone who says to me “Lord, Lord”, shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven. Only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and cast out devils in your name and do miracles in your name?” And I will say to them, “I never knew you. Depart from me you workers of inequity.”

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

  1. If you do not enter Jesus’ Kingdom, you will be lost forever.
  2. Lip service, like saying “Lord, Lord” does not suffice.
  3. Even having special powers, like prophecy and healing, do not open the door.
  4. To enter heaven, you must do the Father’s will.
  5. What if you performed miracles and lived an evil life? What would this profit you?
  6. If you have no interest in the Father’s will, you are really a “worker of inequity”. Somewhat shocking!

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

  1. O Jesus, often I say “Lord, Lord” but do not do the Father’s will.
  2. Lord, if I do your will, you will take me to heaven.
  3. Jesus, help me to enter heaven someday.
  4. Give me great powers, but only to serve your Kingdom.
  5. Jesus, make me a true child of God.
  6. Jesus, I want you to say “Come. I know you. You have done my Father’s will.”

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

  1. I will cry out “Lord” and live by his commandments.
  2. I will reject every lie in my life.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

JUNE 16, 2016 – WEEK ELEVEN – THURSDAY – HOW TO PRAY

(Matthew 6:7-13)

Prayer: O Jesus, teach me to pray as you prayed.

Imagination (Picture Jesus teaching His disciples the Our Father.)

Context:

The Lord’s prayer has seven petitions. The first three – “hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done” are really the same, asking Jesus to return in glory. The last four petitions focus on what you need to gain the Kingdom.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When you pray do not use many words, for the heavenly Father knows what you need before you ask. When you pray, say:

“Our Father, who are in heaven. Hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

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

  1. In the Our Father, Jesus shows you what you should desire.
  2. The Heavenly Father and His Kingdom must come first.
  3. You must seek the Father’s will in all situations.
  4. You must receive the daily bread of the Eucharist.
  5. You need your sins forgiven to gain the Kingdom.
  6. You must forgive all who have hurt you.
  7. You must persevere in all trials and temptations.
  8. The saints said this prayer slowly and devoutly.

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

  1. O Jesus, focus all my desires upon your Kingdom.
  2. O Father, I will live for your glory.
  3. Lord, let your Kingdom break into my life.
  4. Jesus, reveal the Father’s will. I will do it always.
  5. Give me a hunger for daily Eucharist.
  6. I forgive everyone, Lord. Everyone!
  7. O Jesus, help me in my temptations.
  8. Lessen the trials so I persevere.

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

  1. I will make the Our Father my daily prayer.
  2. I will make Holy Communion my daily food.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

When you pray, do not use many words.

JUNE 9, 2016 – WEEK TEN – THURSDAY – ANGER

(Matthew 5:21-24)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Let your gentleness overcome my anger.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples to reconcile.)

Context:

Jesus teaches a “greater goodness” which is demanded by the holiness of this new Kingdom. In this gospel, he compares the Old Testament teaching on anger and his new teaching. Jesus desires a oneness among his disciples by avoiding anger.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus taught the disciples about anger, saying, “You have heard it said, ‘You shall not kill’ and ‘Whoever kills shall be liable to judgment’. But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of judgment. Whoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raqa’ shall be in danger of the council. Whoever shall say ‘You fool’ shall be in danger of hell fire.

If you come to the altar to offer your gift and remember that your brother has anything against you, leave your offering before the altar and go first to be reconciled to your brother. Then come and offer your gift.”

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

  1. Jesus raises the Old Law to a new level and invites the disciples to live at that new height.
  2. The law commanded only external compliance. Jesus’ Kingdom goes much deeper, into the disciples’ hearts.
  3. Jesus’ disciples must remove their inner anger. Then, violence will cease.
  4. He forbids angry words, so hatred has no hold.
  5. He even demands that the temple sacrifices be delayed until the disciples reconcile.
  6. Jesus gives new precedents and requires total selflessness.

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

  1. Jesus, make me gentle.
  2. Save me, O Lord, from the violent waters of anger. Bring me to the restful waters of your Spirit.
  3. Even on the cross, you spoke no angry word. You were silent as a lamb going to the slaughter.
  4. Release a river of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation within me.
  5. Reconcile me to all of my family and friends.
  6. O Jesus, I will drink deeply of your forgiveness.

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

  1. Today, I will forgive everyone who hurts me.
  2. I will reconcile with my enemies wherever possible.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Leave your gift at the altar and go to be reconciled with your brother.

JUNE 2, 2016 – WEEK NINE – THURSDAY – THE SINCERE SCRIBE

(Mark 12:28-34)

Prayer – O Jesus, I want to love you with all my heart and soul.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus speaking with this good-willed scribe.)

Context:

This scribe is not hostile. His question is sincere. He searches for the most important commandment. Jesus quotes the great prayer which he himself recited each day. This had brought the scribe close to Jesus’ Kingdom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

One of the scribes asked Jesus, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied: “This is the first: ‘Hear, O Israel. The Lord our God is Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.

And the second is like to it. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There are no other commandments greater than these.

The scribe said to Jesus, “Excellent Teacher, you are right in saying, ‘He is one and there is no other than He.’ Yes, to love him with all our heart and all our mind and all our soul and all our strength and to love our neighbor as ourself is worth more than any burnt offering and sacrifice.’

Jesus approved his answer and told him, “You are not far from the reign of God”. And no one had the courage to ask him any more questions.

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

  1. This scribe comes with a docile spirit.       His question is fair and he accepts Jesus answer.
  2. To emphasize this total consecration to God alone, Jews multiply images – heart, mind, will, strength.
  3. Jesus adds a surprise. To this great commandment (known by all), he adds a second command, to love our neighbor.
  4. In these two commands, Jesus has summed up his whole gospel.
  5. The scribe agrees. Loving God and neighbor are more important than even temple sacrifices.
  6. The scribe is close to the Kingdom.       Now, he needs only to believe that Jesus is Messiah and Lord.

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

  1. O Jesus, I consecrate myself to you – heart and mind, soul and strength. Anything less is unworthy of you.
  2. O Jesus, give me a spirit docile to your commands.
  3. O Jesus, when you enter my heart so does the whole world. Everyone becomes my neighbor.
  4. You loved totally – even to your death on the cross.
  5. Love is a total immolation. O Jesus, I offer you my heart.
  6. You are love, Jesus. I choose you as the bridegroom of my soul.

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

  1. I will set aside time today for God alone.
  2. I will love my neighbor in thought, word and deed.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Hear, O Israel. The Lord our God is Lord alone.

MAY 26, 2016 – WEEK EIGHT – THURSDAY – THE BLIND BEGGAR

(Mark 10:46-52)

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

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

Context:

This journey to Jerusalem began with Jesus healing a blind man and culminates with this healing of blindness. In contrast, the disciples grow in their blindness about Jesus’ death in Jerusalem. They do not grasp his predictions of his passion. This blind man saw and followed Jesus to Jerusalem.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples, a blind man, Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting by the wayside, begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he cried out, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me”. The crowd told him to be silent but he cried out even more, “Son of David, have mercy on me.”

Jesus commanded that he be brought near. The crowd said, “Take comfort. Arise. He is calling you.” He threw off his cloak, leaped up and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” asked Jesus. “Rabboni, that I may see” said the blind man. Jesus said, “Go your way, your faith has saved you.” He saw immediately and followed Jesus on the way.

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

  1. This beggar is at a severe disadvantage. He is blind, sits by the wayside, and does not even know what is happening.
  2. However, his blindness prepares him for this moment. He grasps quickly that Jesus is his only ray of hope.
  3. When Jesus hears his cries, the crowd changes its opinion.       His crying out was the right thing to do.
  4. With his sight restored, he sees the face of Jesus and can follow him “up the road” to Jerusalem.
  5. What a day for Bartimaeus! A marginal, begging blind man becomes a disciple who follows Jesus.

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

  1. Lord, you will come near to me this day.
  2. O Holy Spirit, whisper within my soul, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
  3. With great hope, I will cry out to you, O Lord.
  4. You will hear me, and call me to your side.
  5. You will ask, “What is it that I can do for you?”
  6. Do everything for me, Lord! Bless me and I will “follow you on the way.”

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

  1. I will be attentive today to the Spirit speaking in my heart.
  2. I will have great hope that Jesus will hear my every cry.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

He saw immediately and followed Jesus on the way.

MAY 19, 2016 – WEEK SEVEN – THURSDAY – RESPONSIBILITIES OF A DISCIPLE

(Mark 9:41-50)

Prayer: O Jesus, help me to live according to your highest ideals.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus explaining his ideals to his disciples.)

Context:

These teachings deal with moral life in the Christian community. First, disciples must give good example to the “little ones” (the newer members). Secondly, they must make radical sacrifices to avoid Gehenna. (Gehenna was a place south of Jerusalem where rubbish was always burning, a clear symbol for hell). When Jesus talks about cutting off a hand or foot, and plucking out an eye, he does not want us to harm ourselves but not to use that faculty for evil.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

If anyone scandalizes a little one who believes in me, it would be better for him if a millstone were tied about his neck and he was cast into the sea.

If your hand scandalizes you, cut it off. It is better to enter life maimed than to keep both hands and enter into Gehenna with its unquenchable fires.

If your foot scandalizes you, cut it off. It is better to enter everlasting life with one foot, than to have two feet and be cast into unquenchable fire.

If your eye is your downfall, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the Kingdom of God with one eye than to be cast into hell’s fire which never end.

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

  1. The disciple’s personal conduct should not scandalize other believers.
  2. Each disciple must be a model. This requires personal sacrifice.
  3. The hand often reaches for the money and the goods of others. This must stop.
  4. The eye looks lustfully and sees opportunities for personal satisfaction. This must stop.
  5. The foot takes the believer into temptations and occasions of sin. This must stop.
  6. All of these faculties must be curbed and limited. Jesus’ road is narrow and straight.

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

  1. I will be your disciple, Jesus, no matter what you demand of me.
  2. Make me a model to others, keeping them away from sin.
  3. Jesus, curb my greed. Limit my desires for money.
  4. Purify my eyes so I can one day see your glory.
  5. Make my feet take only your path, the straight and the narrow.

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

  1. I will face honestly what needs to be removed from my lifestyle.
  2. I will ask Jesus to guide me onto his road.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

If your hand or eye or foot scandalizes you, then cut them off.

MAY 12, 2016 – SEVENTH WEEK OF EASTER – THURSDAY – JESUS’ PRAYER FOR FUTURE BELIEVERS

(John 17:20-26)

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. 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 5, 2016 – ASCENSION THURSDAY (C) – THE ASCENSION VISION

(Luke 24:47, Acts 1:8-11)

Prayer: O Jesus, take my heart to heaven with you.

Imagination: (Picture the disciples watching Jesus ascend into heaven.)

Context:

Luke describes the Ascension in two places – at the end of his gospel and at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles. Here we use the account in the Acts which gives more details.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus led the disciples out to the Mount of Olives, telling them not to depart from Jerusalem but to await the promise of the Father, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the whole world.”

As they looked on, he was lifted up. They watched until a cloud took him from their sight. While they were still gazing upward, two men in white garments said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up to heaven. Jesus, who is taken from you, will come just as you saw him going to heaven.”

So, they returned to Jerusalem. They devoted themselves to prayer, together with some women and Mary, the mother of Jesus.

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

  1. Seeing Jesus ascend into heaven is the final piece of evidence that Jesus is God.
  2. Soon, the final age of the Spirit will begin.
  3. The apostles know what to do. They must return to Jerusalem and wait for the Spirit.
  4. However, they want to remain on this hillside because their hearts are empty.
  5. The angel has to promise them, “He will return just as you saw him.”
  6. Obediently, they return to Jerusalem, where the Spirit will fill them with his fire, plunge them into his presence and anoint them with his powers.
  7. What a journey for the apostles! Three years ago, they met a man named Jesus. Now, they know that He is God and will soon send them the Holy Spirit.
  8. All these gifts happen in the presence of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

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

  1. Jesus, you are my Lord and my God.
  2. You have gone ahead and prepared a place for me.
  3. Jesus, take my heart to heaven.
  4. I will obey you so your plans come true.
  5. Anoint me with your Spirit, and I will be your witness.
  6. O Lord, you will “return just as you ascended.” I await your coming.
  7. Mary, draw me close to yourself. The Spirit comes wherever you are present.

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

  1. Today, I will often say the words, “Come, Holy Spirit.”
  2. I will take some quiet moments to receive the Spirit.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

They gathered with Mary, the mother of Jesus.

APRIL 28, 2016 – FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER – THURSDAY – REMAINING IN THE VINE

(John 15:6-11)

Prayer: O Jesus, stay with me, and my life will produce good fruit.

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

Context: Jesus’ first priority is his unity with his disciples. From this oneness comes all blessings, both for the disciples and for the world. The disciples must make a choice to stay with Jesus. This decision is filled with frightening consequences. They will either be cast out into the fire or bear fruit.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

If anyone does not remain in me, he will be cast out and become a withered branch. They shall gather him up and cast him into the burning fire.

If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask whatever you want and it shall be done for you. In this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

As the Father has loved me, I also have loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love, as I have kept the Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.

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

  1. Jesus highlights the disciple’s decision. Although chosen by Jesus, the disciple must freely decide to remain in him.
  2. The wrong choice is devastating. Like everyone else, they will be cast out into the fire of hell.
  3. Making the right choice merits the greatest blessings – complete access to God.
  4. The Father himself initiates their union with Jesus. He loves Jesus and Jesus loves the disciple.
  5. The union is completed by the disciple keeping the Father’s commandments.
  6. Abiding in Jesus brings an indescribable joy.

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

  1. O Jesus, I give you my consent. Claim me for yourself.
  2. Losing you, Jesus is an unthinkable disaster. Never let it happen.
  3. You attract me. You entice me. You call me to yourself.
  4. You offer me the Father’s love and say, “This is yours if you want it.”
  5. O Jesus, place your commands in my heart. They are the doors to the Father.
  6. You pour out your joy – complete and total – earthly and heavenly – for now and forever.

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

  1. I will recall that the Father’s love for Jesus can be mine, also.
  2. I will struggle to keep the commandments, never growing discouraged by my sins.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

“That my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”

APRIL 21, 2016 – FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER – THURSDAY – AFTER WASHING THE FEET

(John 13:16-20)

Prayer: Jesus, I will follow your example.

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

Context:

After washing the apostles’ feet, Jesus makes clear what that action meant. He has served the Apostles and they must serve others. Even here, the betrayal by Judas claims Jesus’ attention. He predicts the betrayal so the apostles are not scandalized by that action.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Amen, amen I say to you. The servant is not greater than the master. Nor is the apostle greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, then you will be blessed if you put them into practice.

I do not speak to all of you. I know whom I have chosen. My purpose is to fulfill the scripture, “The one who eats bread with me, shall lift up his heel against me.” I tell you this now, before it happens, so that when it does happen, you may believe that I am.

Amen, amen I say to you, “Whoever receives the one whom I send, receives me. Whoever receives me, receives the one who sent me.”

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

  1. Jesus renounced all of his privileges to serve mankind.
  2. He expects his disciples to do the same.
  3. If the disciple imitates Jesus, the gospel message will be clear.
  4. We are blessed only by imitating Jesus.
  5. Jesus worrying about Judas’ betrayal will affect the others. Jesus predicts the event to soften the blow.
  6. Jesus describes the greatness of a disciple. Whoever receives them, receives Jesus and the Father.

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

  1. O Jesus, my greatest dignity is to serve with you.
  2. O Jesus, I will think like you, speak like you, act like you.
  3. O Jesus, with all my faults, you have chosen me.
  4. You worry about me. You are concerned. You ease my every sorrow.
  5. Send me. Wherever I go as your apostle, you will go with me.

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

  1. I will imitate Jesus’ spirit of service.
  2. I will recall moments when Jesus softened my hardships.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Blessed are you if you put these things into practice.

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 7, 2016 – SECOND WEEK OF LENT – THURSDAY – NO RATIONING OF THE SPIRIT

(John 3:31-36)

Prayer: O Jesus pour out the fullness of your Spirit.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples).

Context:

John the Baptist was a great preacher but he knew only earthly truths. Jesus knows heaven and can speak about what he has seen in heaven. Jesus is not just an earthly Messiah. He “comes from above” and brings heavenly life.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The One who comes from above is above all. Whoever comes from earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. Whoever comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is truthful. The one whom God has sent speaks the words of God and God does not ration the Spirit.

The Father loves the Son and has given everything over into his hands. Whoever believes in the Son, has everlasting life. Whoever does not believe in the Son, will not see life because the wrath of God abides in him.

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

  1. Having come from heaven, Jesus brings all of heaven’s riches.
  2. Jesus has seen the Father. Having seen, he can testify.
  3. Jesus’ frustration is that no one believes his testimony.
  4. If people believed, the Father would pour out the Holy Spirit abundantly upon them.
  5. Believing in Jesus bestows eternal life.
  6. Not believing in Jesus closes the door to eternal life. God’s wrath is not removed.

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

  1. Tell me about heaven, Jesus.
  2. Bring me all of heaven’s treasures.
  3. Pour out your fire. Do not ration your Holy Spirit.
  4. You alone can give me eternal life.
  5. O Jesus, bring me into the Father’s love. Remove me from his wrath.

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

  1. I will think of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.
  2. I will open my heart today to a complete infilling of the Spirit.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

God does not ration the Holy Spirit.

MARCH 31, 2016 – EASTER WEEK – THURSDAY – JESUS IN THE UPPER ROOM

(Luke 35:48)

Prayer: O Jesus, flood my soul with faith.

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

Context:

The disciples have heard the news about Jesus’ rising, but when Jesus actually comes, they experience fear and even disbelief. Slowly, he proves to them that he is truly risen. The skepticism of the disciples in these resurrection stories shows that they needed proof to believe. This helps our own faith.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

While all the disciples were still speaking, Jesus appeared in their midst and said, “Peace be to you. It is I, do not be afraid.” However, they were troubled and fearful, thinking that they saw a ghost. He asked, “Why are you troubled and why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet. See that it is I myself. Touch and see. A ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” Saying this, he showed them his hands and feet.

They were still incredulous because of joy and were amazed. He asked, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him some broiled fish which he ate in their midst. He said, “I told you, while I was with you, that everything written in the law of Moses, in the prophets and in the psalms concerning me had to be fulfilled.” He opened their minds to understand the scriptures.

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

  1. The disciples take a step backward. Before Jesus appears, they were talking about his rising.       Now, they grow fearful and troubled.
  2. Jesus is patient and gives them signs.
  3. He repeats his plea “See that it is I myself.”
  4. This is too good to be true. Jesus has to show them his hands and his feet.
  5. He eats food so they know he is not a ghost.
  6. He reminds them of all the fulfilled prophecies.
  7. Jesus battles for their minds and hearts.
  8. He loves them and chose them to carry the message to the world.

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

  1. Jesus, you can come to me at anytime.
  2. You are so patient with my slowness to believe.
  3. Do not let anxieties destroy my faith.
  4. Your rising from the dead is no myth. You are flesh and blood.
  5. O Jesus, you are always concerned, always asking, “Why are you troubled?”
  6. Jesus, You are risen. Almost too good to be true!

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

  1. I will ponder the remarkable truth that Jesus of Nazareth has risen from the dead.
  2. I will believe that he will raise me up to glory.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Why do questions arise in your heart?