JULY 19, 2016 – WEEK SIXTEEN – TUESDAY – HAVING A NEW FAMILY

(Matthew 12:46-50)

Prayer – O Jesus, I will be your brother (sister).

Imagination:(Picture yourself in the crowd with Jesus saying “These are my brother and sister”

Context:

Often, Mark begins a story, tells another story and then completes the first story. In this text, Mark concludes the story of Jesus’ family. Mark uses the key words, “outside” (to refer to the family) and “inside” (to refer to those who do God’s will). Don’t get upset by this story. It doesn’t mean that Mary complains. (Mark never uses Mary’s name. She is entirely absent in his gospel.) He wants to say that the disciples is Jesus’ mother, or brother or sister.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus was speaking to the crowds when his mother and his brothers came. They stood outside and sent someone to say, “Your mother and your brothers are outside and they wish to speak with you.”

Jesus responded, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers”? Extending his hand to those seated around him, Jesus said, ”These are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does the will of my heavenly father is brother and sister and mother to me.”

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

  1. People can be related to Jesus by nature and not by faith.
  2. They are still outside the Kingdom.
  3. Jesus uses this occasion to announce a new truth. He is forming a new family of God.
  4. His disciples have the unique opportunity of belonging to Jesus’ family.
  5. If they just do God’s will, they will be a brother or a sister, or even a mother to Jesus.

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

  1. Jesus, to know you is not enough. I must see you with the eyes of faith.
  2. I will place no obstacle to your work.
  3. Form me into your family.
  4. Oh, to be a child of God! Nothing. Nothing is a greater blessing.
  5. Jesus, your invitation overwhelms me. I can be your brother or sister.
  6. Whose heart could imagine such a blessing?
  7. Jesus, I will always do God’s will. Then, I will remain in your family forever.

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

  1. I will ponder the great privilege of being a child of God.
  2. I will seek God’s will at every moment.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Whoever does the will of God is brother, sister and mother to me.

DECEMBER 20, 2016 – TUESDAY – MARY’S QUESTIONING AND ACCEPTANCE

(Luke 1:34-38)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Help me to say “Yes” to God’s plan.

Imagination: (Picture Mary speaking with the Angel).

Context:

Luke records the greatest moment in human history, when God becomes flesh in Mary’s womb. This text highlights Mary’s struggle to understand the mystery. Once all is clear, she quickly consents.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin named Mary. The angel said, “Do not fear, Mary. You have found favor with God. You shall conceive and bear a son and give him the name Jesus. Great will be his dignity and he will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father. He will rule over the house of Jacob forever and his reign will be without end.

Mary said to the angel, “How can this be because I do not know man?” The angel explained, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you. The child will be called holy, the Son of God. Know that Elizabeth, your relative, has conceived a son in her old age. She who was called barren, is now in her sixth month because nothing is impossible to God.”

Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.” At this, the angel left her.

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

  1. Mary knew that God called her to be a virgin. Now, the angel speaks of her becoming a mother.
  2. The angel explains how both are true. The Holy Spirit will overshadow her, making her both mother and virgin.
  3. This message overwhelms Mary.
  4. Because Mary must accept her privilege, the angel describes God’s miracle in Elizabeth.
  5. The angel concludes, “Nothing is impossible to God.”
  6. Mary’s human mind quickly understands that God will do the impossible.
  7. She surrenders completely, “Let it be done to me according to your word.”

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

  1. Father, what is your plan for me?
  2. Jesus, I cannot always understand your favors.
  3. Mary, teach me how to search for answers.
  4. Spirit, reveal God’s mysteries in my life.
  5. God, nothing is impossible for you.
  6. Mary, engrave your response on my heart, “Let I be done to me according to your word.”

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

  1. This day, I will surrender to God’s plan.
  2. I will believe that nothing is impossible for God.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Let it be done to me according to your word.

DECEMBER 13, 2016 – WEEK THREE OF ADVENT – TUESDAY – THE PARABLE OF THE TWO SONS

(Matthew 21:28-32)

Prayer- O Jesus, give to me the grace of conversion.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus confronting his critics)

Context:

This is a parable of God’s mercy which explains the decisive moments of the Final Judgment. What a surprise! Publicans and prostitutes enter Jesus’ Kingdom. Why? Because they realized the need for conversion. They changed their “no” into a “yes”. The Jerusalem leaders, however, change their “yes” into a “no”.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

When Jesus was questioned about his authority, he told a parable. “What do you think? A certain man had two sons. Coming to the first, he said, “Son, work today in my vineyard.” He replied, “I will not go.” Afterwards, he was moved to repentance and went. Going to the second in a similar way, he asked the same question. He said, “I will go”. However, he did not go. Which of the two did the Father’s will?

They said, “The first”. Jesus replied, “I say to you that the publicans and prostitutes shall go first into the kingdom. When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him. However, the publicans and prostitutes did. When you saw them repent, you did not repent and believe him.”

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

  1. The first son represents a sinner who sees his own disobedience and feels guilty.
  2. When repentance is preached, he changes his “No” to a “Yes”.
  3. He takes advantage of God’s mercy.
  4. The second son represents people who think they have no sins.
  5. They fool themselves and feel no need for repentance.
  6. They reject the favor of forgiveness. Their superficial yes becomes an unchangeable “No”.
  7. The result is obvious. The sinners enter the Kingdom because they took advantage of forgiveness. Others are excluded because they see no need to change their lives. 

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

  1. God, your forgiveness is everywhere, like rain falling from the sky.
  2. O Jesus, I shout from the housetops, “I am a sinner.”
  3. O God, I will change every “No” that I have said into a “Yes.”
  4. By your mercy, my second state will be much better than my first.
  5. O Jesus, your power to forgive is far greater than my power to sin.
  6. O God, why should I hide my sins from myself when they are so evident to you?

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

  1. I will write down all my sins (so they become evident to me) and I will confess these sins to a priest.
  2. I will trust totally in God’s mercy.

Thought for the day (To recall your meditation)

Publicans and prostitutes shall go first into the Kingdom.

DECEMBER 6, 2016 – WEEK TWO OF ADVENT – TUESDAY – THE LOST SHEEP

(Matthew 18:12-14)

Prayer: O Jesus, come and find me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

This parable is closely connected to the prodigal Son parable. A hundred sheep was a medium sized flock. The shepherd must have been poor and unable to pay a helper. Matthew’s gospel stresses the shepherd’s unwearied search and his great joy.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said to his disciples, “What do you think of this? A man had a hundred sheep and one of them went astray. Does he not leave the ninety-nine and go in search of the one? When he finds it, he rejoices more for the one than for the ninety-nine who did not go astray.

Even so, it is not my Father’s will. My Father in heaven does not want even one of the little ones to perish.”

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 not his head.
  2. He is alone and does not want to lose the sheep.
  3. His joy is greater than having the others.
  4. This is not a temporary finding. The sheep is a symbol of heaven and an eternal union.
  5. This is exactly the Father’s plan, what he always wanted.

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

  1. God, I am precious to you. Your saints called you “mad”, in your unreasonable love for me.
  2. Search for me, Jesus, even as I keep wandering.
  3. I will stop running away and let you find me.
  4. O God, your joy will not be complete until our union is forever.
  5. You want me with you. That is your plan.

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

  1. I will stop running from God so 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.

NOVEMBER 29, 2016 – WEEK ONE OF ADVENT – TUESDAY – REVEALED TO THE CHILDREN

(Luke 10:21-24)

Prayer – Lord Jesus, give me a humble and accepting heart.

Imagination: (Imagine Jesus reprimanding his disciples.)

Context:

Jesus sent out 72 disciples to proclaim the Kingdom. They have just returned with all the good news of their successes. This text is filled with rejoicing. Advent, unlike Lent, is a time to rejoice because “The Lord is near.”

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus cried out, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent, you have revealed them to the little ones. This has seemed good in your sight.

All things have been given over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son, but the Father. And no one knows the Father, except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

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

  1. Jesus rejoices because the disciples are understanding the Kingdom.
  2. This understanding is withheld from the worldly wise and prudent.
  3. Jesus credits his heavenly Father, who has revealed these mysteries to the little ones.
  4. Jesus has the power to reveal even the Father himself.
  5. Jesus will reveal these mysteries to all. First, they must become his disciple.

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

  1. Jesus, reveal to me the mysteries of the Kingdom.
  2. Even more, reveal the Father himself.
  3. As my heart is caught up with the Father, You will rejoice in me.
  4. When I was wise and prudent, you could not do this. Now, I am your little one.
  5. O Jesus, all that is yours is to become mine. What a mystery!

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

  1. I will find time for solitude, so Jesus can reveal the Father.
  2. I will cherish the mysteries of Jesus’ Kingdom.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The Son reveals the Father to whomever he wishes.

NOVEMBER 22, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-FOUR – TUESDAY – NOT YET THE END

(Luke 21:5-11) 

Prayer: O Jesus, let me persevere until the end.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples).

Context:

In teaching about his Second Coming, Jesus keeps putting it off, always speaking of events that must happen first. The “coming” is always “later”. He stresses perseverance so the disciple does not think that the road is short.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Some were speaking about the temple, which was adorned with precious stones and offerings. Jesus said, “These things which you see. The days will come when one stone will not be left upon another. All will be torn down. They asked him, “Master, when will this be?” and “What shall be the sign that it is going to happen?”

He said, “Be careful not to be led astray. Many will come in my name, saying, “I am he” and “the time is at hand” but do not follow them. When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be disturbed. These things must first happen but the end is not yet. Nations shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There shall be earthquakes, plagues and famines in various places. Even in the sky, there will be portents and signs.”

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

  1. Nothing seemed more lasting than the newly built temple.
  2. Forth years after Jesus died, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the temple (just as Jesus predicted).
  3. In asking for a sign, the disciples are misguided. Jesus’ word is the daily guide.
  4. Jesus lists so many happenings (wars, earthquakes, plagues and famines). Yet, none is a sign.
  5. Jesus wants the disciples to stay on his path (even if there are cosmic events).
  6. They have his true teaching. They must just be good disciples.

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

  1. Jesus, nothing remains. Only you are eternal.
  2. I need no sign, only your presence guiding me.
  3. Your teaching is in my heart. I will cling to that.
  4. I know you will come for me. I await you in faith.
  5. O Jesus, what a world! We live with wars and famines and earthquakes! Stay with me!
  6. Help me to stay on your path, Jesus. The end is not near. I have many miles to go.

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

  1. I will use Jesus’ words to guide my day.
  2. I will detach myself from material possessions by little sacrifices.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

These things will happen but the end will not follow immediately.

NOVEMBER 15, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-THREE – TUESDAY – THE MAN UP IN THE TREE

(Luke 19:1-10)

Prayer: O Jesus, come and stay in my house this day.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus finding Zaccheus in a tree.)

Context:

Zaccheus is the second wealthy man to receive an invitation from Jesus. He accepts the gift and uses his wealth to restore justice. This story highlights Jesus as the saviour of all, even rich people and their families.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Upon entering Jericho, Jesus passed through the city. There lived a wealthy man named Zaccheus, the chief tax collector. He wanted to see Jesus but he could not, because of the crowd. So, he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree which was along Jesus’ route. When Jesus reached that place, he looked up and said, “Zaccheus, come down quickly, for today I must stay in your house.” He came down and received him with joy.

When this was seen, many complained, “Jesus is going to the house of a sinner.” Zaccheus stood his ground and said to the Lord. “I will give half of my belongings to the poor and if I have cheated anyone in the least I will return it four-fold.” Jesus said, “Today, salvation has come to this house, for this is what it means to be a son of Abraham. The Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”

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

  1. As a tax collector, Zaccheus works for Rome. However, his desires are for Jesus’ Kingdom.
  2. Zaccheus had only one chance, one moment. Jesus was just “passing by”.
  3. His limitations help him. God prompts Zaccheus to climb a tree where Jesus easily sees him.
  4. When Jesus says, “I must stay in your house”, Zaccheus understands the great gift.
  5. He holds his ground and does not allow the crowd to steal the Kingdom.
  6. Instead, he repents, “I give half my possessions to the poor and I will repay four times over any money I have extorted.” (Lk 19:8)
  7. His conversion is lasting. He joined the early church. That is how we have his name and his story.

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

  1. Jesus, today you will come.
  2. O Jesus, I will not miss my chance when you pass by today.
  3. You will see me and call my name.
  4. Lord, I am entangled, but you will set me free.
  5. Yes, Jesus, come and stay in my house.
  6. I will change whatever needs to be changed.
  7. Jesus, you will rejoice. I am lost and you have saved me.
  8. I will follow you all the way to Jerusalem.

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

  1. I will be alert for those moments when Jesus will “pass by today.”
  2. When Jesus says, “This day I shall stay in your house”, I will open my heart.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Zaccheus would not allow the crowd to rob him of the Kingdom.

NOVEMBER 8, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-TWO – TUESDAY – THE HUMBLE SERVANT

(Luke 17:7-10)

Prayer – O Jesus, let me serve you with a generous spirit and a humble heart.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus with his disciples.)

Context:

Jesus pierces deeper into his disciples’ hearts. He probes their inner thoughts and demands that they root out any self-righteousness.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

If a man has a servant who ploughs the field and herds the sheep, will he say to him when he comes in from the field, “Sit down immediately for your supper?” Will the owner not say, “Prepare my supper first. Serve me, while I eat and drink. Afterwards, you can eat and drink.”

Does he thank the servant for doing what is commanded? Not at all. So, when you do all these things that are commanded, just say “We are unprofitable servants. We just do that which has to be done.”

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

  1. The owner is not rich. He has just one servant who works both outside in the fields and in the house.
  2. This servant is totally faithful. He does all his work in both places.
  3. Jesus does not correct the disciple’s failure.       He explains Kingdom’s full challenge.
  4. The servant has two responsibilities.       He must complete all his tasks and consider himself “unprofitable”.
  5. This can happen only in the Kingdom. The greatest saints saw themselves as totally unworthy.
  6. The saints understood that God’s reward was so great and their labors were so small.

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

  1. Help me, O Lord, to be your servant.
  2. I will be faithful in the exterior tasks and in my interior prayer.
  3. Let me rejoice! To serve you is my greatest privilege.
  4. When all is done, let me honestly say that I am an unprofitable servant.
  5. My harvest is due more to your seeds than to my diligence.
  6. O Jesus, serving you is more a favor than a task.
  7. My work is so little and your rewards are so great!

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

  1. This day, I will be faithful to all that God desires of me.
  2. At the end of the day, I will rightly call myself “an unprofitable servant.”

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

We are unprofitable servants. We do what needs to be done.

NOVEMBER 1, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-ONE – TUESDAY – THE GREAT SUPPER

(Luke 14:15-24)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me respond now to your banquet invitation.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

In Jesus’ time, a popular, story told about a tax collector who decided to invite all the prominent people to a banquet. Naturally, these prominent people did not want to attend. The tax-collector then decided to fill his house with the poor. When the house is filled, he makes certain that those originally invited will never get in.   Jesus applies this story to the Kingdom. Some things are out of God’s control. God prepares the Kingdom and sends the messengers. Yet, each person is free. No matter what God does, some will never taste “the bread of the Kingdom.”

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

A man who heard the parable of inviting the poor to supper said to Jesus, “Blessed is the man who shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God”. Jesus told him this parable.

A man had a great supper and invited many. He sent his servant at the hour of the supper to say to those who were invited that they should come because everything was ready. They began all at once to make excuses. The first said, “I have bought a farm and must go to see it.” The second said, “I have bought four yoke of oxen and I want to try them. Please hold me excused.” The third said, “I have married a wife and cannot come.”

When the servant told his master these things, he grew angry and said, “Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor, the sick, the blind, and the lame. The servant returned and said, “Lord, it is done as you commanded and still there is room. The master said, “Go into the highways and the byways and compel them to come in, so my house shall be filled. But, I say to you, “None that were invited, shall taste of my supper.”

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

  1. The parable presents a great warning. Many people have heard the gospel but reject Jesus.
  2. They even group together and support each other in their rejection.
  3. They have more important tasks than to respond to the kingdom.
  4. The host reacts with anger, sending his servant to invite the marginal people.
  5. These do not need two invitations.
  6. They feel unworthy and must be taken by the hand to accept.
  7. There is no last minute reprieve. The house has no room left for those invited first.
  8. Some will never taste “the bread of the Kingdom.”

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

  1. O God, you call. You invite. But, I must say “yes”.
  2. O Jesus, no tasks are more important than accepting your kingdom.
  3. O Lord, I see all who are entering the banquet. Why should I remain outside?
  4. It’s not too late. Your parable warns me to accept now.
  5. You will not reject me. I can still eat the bread of the Kingdom.

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

  1. I will treasure Jesus’ invitation to the banquet more than anything else in the world.
  2. I will thirst for the bread of the Kingdom.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

“None of those invited shall taste of my supper.”

OCTOBER 25, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY – TUESDAY – THE SMALL BEGINNINGS

(Luke 13:18-21)

Prayer – O Jesus, plant your powerful Kingdom in my heart.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus preaching to the crowds)

Context:

These two little parables are excellent images of the reign of God. The mustard seed and the leaven are both small but powerful. As they are planted, people learn how forceful they are.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus asked, “What is the Kingdom of God like? What does it resemble?

It is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a great tree, so the birds of the air lodged in its branches.

Again he said, “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God? It is like yeast which a woman took and placed in three measures of flour until the whole mass of dough began to rise.”

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

  1. These excellent images make the Kingdom of God easy to understand.
  2. God places the Kingdom in the baptized like a farmer places the mustard seed in the ground.
  3. The gigantic tree represents a symbol of the mature Christian.
  4. The woman also knows the power of the yeast. She places it in the flour.
  5. The whole mass of dough is expanded. The yeast changes everything. That is what the Kingdom does.
  6. Jesus’ Kingdom seems so small, yet it totally changes people’s lives.

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

  1. Jesus, place your Kingdom in my heart.
  2. Nothing is more real than your Kingdom. Thy Kingdom come!
  3. What power your Kingdom has. It bestows eternal life!
  4. O Jesus, Your Kingdom will change everything.
  5. I will seek first the Kingdom of God.
  6. By the power of your Kingdom, Jesus, all things are possible.

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

  1. I will place great faith in the power of God’s Kingdom.
  2. I will allow God’s power to act within my heart.

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

What does the Kingdom of God resemble? To what can I compare it?

It is like a mustard seed or like yeast.

OCTOBER 18, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-NINE – TUESDAY – THE WIDE AWAKE SERVANTS

(Luke 12:35-38)

Prayer – O Jesus, I will be your vigilant servant.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus with his disciples.)

Context:

Jesus describes the perfect disciples. The robe gathered in by a belt shows a man at work. The burning lamps show that the servants are awake. The Master even proceeds to wait on them, (a reversal of roles which happens in the Kingdom). Jesus spells out his expectations. The disciples must be ready even if he comes at midnight or before sunrise.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to his disciples, “Let your belts be fastened around your waists and your lamps be burning ready. You are like men who are waiting for their Lord to return from the wedding so that when he comes and knocks, you can open immediately.

Blessed are those servants whom the Lord finds watching when he comes. Amen I say to you, he will put on an apron and make them sit down at table while he proceeds to wait on them.

Whether he comes at midnight or before sunrise should he find them ready, it will go well with them.

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

  1. Jesus tells this parable to his disciples. This is what he expects of those dedicated to the Kingdom.
  2. They work hard, with their robes fastened by a belt. At the same time, they are ready to welcome him with their burning lamps.
  3. They toil on earth but they always have their hearts in heaven, a difficult assignment.
  4. There must be no delay, no fumbling for the lamp when the Master comes. This demands a total, single-hearted commitment to the Master.
  5. The reward is great. The master himself prepares the best of meals.
  6. The commitment is open ended. There are no office hours. Even if it is midnight or before sunrise, the disciples will be ready.

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

  1. O Jesus, you have high expectancies of me. I will live up to them.
  2. Teach me to live in two worlds, doing my work on earth but always keeping my heart for heaven.
  3. I will always be ready, devoted and single-minded. Only your Kingdom is important.
  4. What a great eternal reward! I will sit with you in the heavenly banquet. This is your firm promise.
  5. My commitment has no limit. I do not watch the clock. I watch for you. Come, Lord Jesus.

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

  1. Where do I fall short of Jesus’ expectations.
  2. I will rejoice today because I am called to the heavenly banquet.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Blessed are those servants whom the Master finds watching when he comes.

OCTOBER 11, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-EIGHT – TUESDAY – CLEANING THE WRONG SIDE OF THE CUP

(Luke 11:37-41)

Prayer – O Jesus, make my heart sincere in my love for you.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus dining with the Pharisees)

Context:

Jesus spent much time at table, with Pharisees who were deeply religious. (Pharisees did not participate in any way in Jesus’ death). The gospels use the Pharisee stories to correct false religious ideas and to highlight Jesus’ teaching on the importance of inner decisions. This meal was probably around noon.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

A certain Pharisee asked Jesus to dine with him. So Jesus entered his house and sat down to eat. The Pharisee began to question within himself why Jesus did not wash before dinner.

The Lord said to him, “You Pharisees! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but within you are filled with rapaciousness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside, also make the inside, too? But, if you give alms, all will be wiped clean for you.

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

  1. The man invited Jesus to dinner with a good motive.
  2. However, his inner thoughts are certainly judgmental.
  3. These inner thoughts have changed the atmosphere.
  4. Jesus attacks the problem in front of everyone. He cites the basic flaw in the Pharisees’ religious practice.
  5. They stress external regulations and do nothing about their sinful hearts.
  6. If God made the inside and the outside, we should be concerned about both.
  7. As always, Jesus offers a solution. Giving alms will cleanse the heart. The inside will be clean.

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

  1. O Jesus, come to my table. Dine with me and stay with me.
  2. Jesus, who am I to judge?   You judge me. You are the Lord of all history.
  3. What are my flaws, Jesus? Reveal them and I will purge them.
  4. My heart is sinful but You take away the sins of the world.
  5. Cleanse me, inside and out. All needs to be purified.
  6. What a solution! I give alms and all is cleansed. I will use my money to purchase my cleansing.

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

  1. I will ask Jesus to cleanse me.
  2. I will always be generous with my money.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

If you give alms, all will be wiped clean.

OCTOBER 4, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY SEVEN – TUESDAY – MARY & MARTHA

(Luke 10:38-42)

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

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

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

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

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

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

  1. Martha is filled with good will. She invites Jesus to her home and prepares the meal.
  2. Jesus accepts both Martha’s activity and Mary’s personal attention.
  3. Martha causes the problem. She cannot see the value of her sister just sitting with Jesus.
  4. At this point, Jesus is forced to defend Mary’s choice.
  5. Mary’s attention to Jesus is the disciple’s first obligation. Martha’s activity is his second.

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

  1. Jesus, come into my life. Come into my home. My door is wide open.
  2. Be the center of all my attention.
  3. Speak, Lord. I will listen.
  4. Lord, absorb my faculties by your overwhelming presence.
  5. You will make me a disciple and I will act to serve you.
  6. O Jesus, I will embrace my tasks in the Kingdom.

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

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

Thought for today: (To recall your meditation)

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

SEPTEMBER 27, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-SIX – TUESDAY – FIRE UPON SAMARIA

(Luke 9:51-56)

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

Imagination: (Picture Jesus walking with his disciples)

Context:

As Jesus begins his journey to Jerusalem, he encounters people who reject him. He has to pass through Samaria which was between Galilee (North) and Jerusalem (South). The Samaritans themselves were enemies of the Jews, and would not welcome Jesus. However, after Pentecost, Samaria is very receptive when Philip preaches the gospel. (Acts C8)

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

When the days of his being taken from this world were to be accomplished, Jesus steadfastly set his face toward Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to prepare his way through a Samaritan town, but the Samaritans would not welcome him because he was on his way to Jerusalem.

When his disciples, James and John, saw this, they asked “Lord, would you not have us call down fire from heaven to destroy them?” Jesus turned only to reprimand them. Then he set off for another town.

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

  1. Jesus ascends to Jerusalem. From there, he will ascend into heaven. Jerusalem is just a stepping stone.
  2. He is “resolved to proceed”. His face is firmly set. Otherwise, he would turn back from his cruel death.
  3. Samaria loses its opportunity to help Jesus. Like Nazareth, it has rejected the prophet.
  4. John and James react from human feelings, wanting immediate vengeance. Jesus rejects their anger.
  5. Jesus will take another route, blessing some other places. This is how God always acts, giving to others the blessing rejected by some.
  6. Samaria, however, repented at the preaching of Philip. They did not miss out when God gave them a second chance.

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

  1. O Jesus, I will accompany you. I will go with you to Jerusalem. Wait for me. I am coming.
  2. O Lord, the gifts of your death and rising await me in Jerusalem.
  3. O Jesus, you can enter my city anytime. My heart is always open to you.
  4. You are so patient. You do not call down fire. You wait for me to repent.
  5. How I have failed to listen! No more. Send your word and I will take it into my heart.

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

  1. I will be steadfast in my decision to lead a devout life.
  2. I will go to Jerusalem, seeking always God’s will for me today.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

When his days of being taken from this world came, Jesus set out for Jerusalem.

SEPTEMBER 20, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-FIVE – TUESDAY – A FAMILY VISIT

(Luke 8:19-21)

Prayer: O Holy Spirit, help me to hear and act upon God’s word.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus surrounded by the crowds.)

Context:

Jesus forms a new family. This family is not based upon blood relationships but upon people freely choosing to hear and practice God’s word. To highlight this truth, this text contrasts Jesus’ human family with his new family.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

When his mother and his brothers came to Jesus, they could not reach him because of the crowd. Jesus was told, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, wanting to see you.”

Jesus answered, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act upon it.”

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

  1. Jesus’ human family standing outside represents people who have not yet received the gospel.
  2. They want to see Jesus. This represents the yearning of every human heart.
  3. Those inside do see Jesus. He dwells in their presence and teaches them. They are disciples.
  4. How did they gain this privilege? They heard God’s word and accepted the invitation.
  5. Jesus reveals his gift. All can become members of his new family.

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

  1. O Lord, my religious faith must capture my heart.
  2. O Jesus, I do not want to stand outside the door of your Kingdom.
  3. I want to see you, Jesus. I desire entrance into your presence.
  4. What a treasure to be on the inside and to hear you preach!
  5. I will form my life according to your word.
  6. Then, I will be in your family.

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

  1. I will read the Bible, (especially the gospels) every day.
  2. I will do what the gospel commands me. It is not easy.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

My mother and my brothers are those who hear my word and act upon it.

Note: This text does not speak against Mary. She heard and did God’s word perfectly. She told the angel, “Let it be done according to your word.”

SEPTEMBER 13, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-FOUR – TUESDAY – THE GRIEVING WIDOW

(Luke 7:11-17)

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

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

Context:

Luke regularly stresses Jesus’ compassion and care for women. Naim is located just 3 miles away from Nazareth with a cemetery that has been used for centuries. The story obviously looks forward to Jesus’ resurrection.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

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

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

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

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

  1. Two large crowds meet. One is a crowd of death, on the way to a burial. The other is a crowd of life, on the way to Jesus’ resurrection.
  2. Jesus stops the burial procession in its tracks. It will go no farther.
  3. He is filled with pity. He sees in the widow a foreshadowing of his own mother’s sorrows.
  4. He would normally contract ritual impurity by touching a dead body. However, his power destroys death.
  5. Jesus says “arise”, a word he will say to billions on the day of Judgment.
  6. The results are clear. The young man speaks, totally restored.
  7. Jesus gains the victory and all rejoice in a young life restored.
  8. Faith spreads like wildfire. Jesus is the prophet and God has visited his people. How fortunate that Jesus was there at the right time.

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

  1. Jesus, without you I am filled with death. With you, I have fullness of life.
  2. Stop the forces of death in my heart and soul. Infuse your divine life.
  3. Your compassion is great, coming to me in my every need.
  4. Touch me, Jesus. Touch me and make me whole.
  5. When you say “Arise”, I come back to divine life.
  6. Win the victory, Lord, and we will all rejoice.

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

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

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

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

SEPTEMBER 6, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-THREE – TUESDAY – NATIVITY OF OUR LADY

(Matthew 1:18-25)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Give to me Joseph’s fidelity to God’s plan.

Imagination: (Picture Joseph receiving the angel’s message).

Context:

Luke tells us about Mary accepting her role as Mother of God. In Matthew’s gospel, the infancy stories focus on Joseph’s dilemma. How does an upright Jewish man resolve the dilemma of a pregnant fiancé? Joseph is a just man.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, an upright man, unwilling to expose her to the law, decided to divorce her quietly.

Such was his intention, when an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in sleep. “Joseph, Son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, because the child has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. She shall have a son whom you will call Jesus. He will save many from their sins. All this happened to fulfill what the Lord said, “A virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall call him Emmanuel, meaning, ‘God is with us.’ Joseph did as the angel commanded and took Mary as his wife.

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

  1. By his human attraction for Mary, Joseph gets immersed in a divine mystery.
  2. Both Mary and Joseph had a dilemma.
  3. Mary could not explain to him what happened and Joseph had to live according to his beliefs.
  4. Joseph decides to take the most gentle action and divorce Mary quietly.
  5. Realize the greatness of Joseph. He could have had Mary killed.
  6. If he did, the Messiah would not have been born and the world would be in total darkness.
  7. An angel resolves the problem.
  8. In his darkest hour, Joseph always followed God’s light.

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

  1. O Jesus, in my dilemmas, send me your angel of light.
  2. Give me the faith of Mary and Joseph.
  3. Let all my decisions be gentle and thoughtful.
  4. Reveal my role in your Kingdom.
  5. Thank you, Joseph, for preserving the life of the Messiah.
  6. Jesus, you take away my sins.
  7. You are Emmanuel, God with us. How much I owe to you!

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

  1. I will enkindle a devotion to Joseph (a favorite patron of St. Teresa of Avila)
  2. I will seek God’s help in my dilemmas.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Joseph did as he angel commanded.

 

AUGUST 30, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-TWO – TUESDAY – ASTONISHING POWER

(Luke 4:31-37)

Prayer: O Jesus, use your power to cleanse me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in the synagogue.)

Context:

Rejected by the people of Nazareth, Jesus establishes his new base at Capernaum. The people receive him and, upon entering the synagogue, he casts out an unclean spirit. The people praise him and spread his fame throughout the whole region.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus went to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and he taught on the sabbath. All were astonished at his teaching because his words had power.

In the synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit who cried out in a loud voice, ‘Let us alone. What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”

Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be still and come out of him”. After the devil had thrown him on the floor, he left him and did him no harm. Awe came upon everyone and they asked, “What is the power of his words? He commands the unclean spirit with authority and power, and they leave.” His fame kept spreading throughout the whole region.

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

  1. The people sense Jesus’ authority in the power of his teaching.
  2. Jesus’ holiness forces the unclean spirit to reveal himself. He will soon lose his hold upon the man.
  3. Satan’s keen intellect sees quickly. Jesus is the Holy One and he can destroy the devil.
  4. The devil is powerless. He throws the man to the floor but that is all he can do. The man is free forever.
  5. The people were already in awe. After seeing Jesus’ cast out the demon, their enthusiasm spills over to the whole countryside.

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

  1. O Jesus, I see your power and authority. You are the Christ.
  2. O Jesus, cleanse and purify. Set me free of my hidden evils.
  3. Jesus, You are the Holy One who comes to save, not to destroy.
  4. Set me free, Jesus and I will be free forever.
  5. I will tell everyone of your power. You can free them, also.
  6. Jesus, set the whole world free from the Evil One.

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

  1. I will bring to Jesus all my inner evils.
  2. I will seek the freedom given to the children of God.

Thought for the today: (To recall your meditation)

He commands the unclean spirits with authority and power.

AUGUST 23, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-ONE – TUESDAY – CLEANSING THE INSIDE

(Matthew 23:35-37)

Prayer: O Jesus, send your Holy Spirit, the fire of true repentance.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching inner holiness.)

Context:

Jesus continues to confront his opponents about their false teachings which lead many astray. “The cup and the dish” are people who follow the Pharisees. They are not taught to purify their hearts. In Jesus’ time, tombs were whitewashed so people could avoid them and not contract ritual impurity. Inside, however, there were decaying bodies, a symbol of outward religious practice that does not cleanse the heart.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but within you are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisees, first make clean the inside of the cup so that the outside might also be clean.

You are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful to men but within are full of dead men’s bones and all kinds of filth. Outwardly, you appear just to men, but inwardly are full of hypocrisy and evil.”

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

  1. A hypocrite is someone who is evil and has no desire to change but wants people to think that he is a good person.
  2. The Pharisees stress external religious devotions, but have no desire to cleanse their hearts.
  3. Cleansing thoughts, feelings and actions is the difficult religious task.
  4. To “plunder” is to take advantage of others.
  5. To “self-indulge” is to place no restraint on inner desires.
  6. To “whitewash” is to cover over the real problem.
  7. Outwardly the person seems alive. Inwardly, they are dead.
  8. Jesus challenges the disciples to make serious, inner changes.

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

  1. Change me completely, Lord. I give you my permission.
  2. Send your Spirit of truth so I do not fool myself.
  3. Jesus, I will not take advantage of others.
  4. O Lord, help me to restrain my desires.
  5. Send your inner fire down from heaven.
  6. Burn away all that is evil, so I might live in you.

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

  1. I will ask for light to know all my faults.
  2. I will seek to restrain my sinful desires.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Clean first the inside of the cup, that the outside might also be clean.

AUGUST 16, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY – TUESDAY – RECEIVING THE HUNDRED-FOLD

(Matthew 19:23-30)

Prayer – O Jesus, teach me to set aside everything for love of you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus surrounded by his disciples.)

Context:

After the rich young man walked away, Jesus commented on the difficulty of the rich entering the Kingdom of God. In today’s text, Peter is a model disciple and Jesus spells out the rewards for all who follow.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Peter said to Jesus, “We have put everything aside to follow you. What can we expect? “ Jesus responded, “I give you my solemn word, in the new age when the Son of Man takes his seat upon a throne befitting his glory, you who have followed me shall likewise take your places on twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel.

Moreover, everyone who has left brothers or sisters, or fathers or mothers or children or lands for my sake will receive many times more and will inherit everlasting life. Many who are first shall be last and the last shall come first.

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

  1. Peter states the truth. He and the other apostles have left everything behind.
  2. Jesus proclaims a new age, when he will come in glory.
  3. The new believers were already experiencing these blessings. By sharing their properties, they had access to many homes.
  4. Leaving behind their natural family, they discover so many others in God’s family.
  5. The great rewards would be “in the age to come”, everlasting life with Jesus and a sharing in his resurrection.

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

  1. Jesus, teach me how to leave everything behind and follow you.
  2. You give peace of soul and freedom from sins.
  3. Other believers become my brothers and sisters, the great blessing of faith relationships.
  4. Teach me to be a brother and sister to others.
  5. What will my life be “in the age to come?”
  6. Jesus, what is it like to live with you forever? Don’t let me lose your eternal gift.

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

  1. I will make a sincere effort to detach myself today from some material goods.
  2. I will think about Jesus’ promises. (He always keeps his word.)

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

And in the age to come, everlasting life.