AUGUST 9, 2016 – WEEK NINETEEN – TUESDAY – THE LOST SHEEP

(Matthew 18:12-14)

Prayer: O Jesus, come and find me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

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

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

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

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

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

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

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

  1. O God, I am precious to you. Your saints called you “made”, in your unreasonable love for me.
  2. Let me repent, so you and your angels can rejoice.
  3. Thank you, O Lord, for coming in search for me when I was lost.
  4. O God, your joy will not be complete until our union is forever.
  5. You give your angels charge over me. They, too, rejoice at my return.

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

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

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

There will be rejoicing among the angels.

AUGUST 2, 2016 – WEEK EIGHTEEN – TUESDAY

(Matthew 15:1 + 10-14)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me be planted by your heavenly Father

Imagination: (Picture Jesus preaching to the crowds.)

Context:

This gospel mentions two enemies of Jesus – the scribes from Jerusalem (fierce opponents) and Pharisees (misguided opponents). The scribes raise the question of purification of hands before eating. The Pharisees object to eating certain foods. Since they both deal with food, Matthew joins these two controversies.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The scribes from Jerusalem said to Jesus, ‘Why do your disciples transgress the traditions of the ancients? For example, they do not wash their hands before eating a meal.

Jesus summoned the crowd and said, “Hear and understand. It is not what goes into a man’s mouth that defiles him, but what comes out of his heart. This is what defiles a man.”

His disciples said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were scandalized when they heard these words. Jesus answered, “Every plant which my Father has not planted, shall be rooted up.

Let them alone. They are blind and are leaders of the blind. If the blind lead the blind they will both fall into the pit.”

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

  1. The scribes are not concerned about good health habits.       They are clinging to religious traditions, but not to the living God.
  2. Jesus rejected these practices because they did not change people’s hearts.
  3. The Pharisees stressed dietary laws so people would be holy.
  4. For Jesus, the food going into the stomach is not important.
  5. Good or evil depend on the desires coming from the heart.
  6. Jesus corrects the disciples’ awe toward the Pharisees.       Otherwise, they would follow their teaching.
  7. Only what the heavenly Father does in our hearts will not be uprooted.

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

  1. Jesus, I will keep my eyes on you and my heart upon your words.
  2. Change my heart, O Lord. Create a new spirit within me.
  3. Show me, O Lord, the inner workings of my own heart.
  4. Bring my hidden desires into the light.
  5. O Jesus, what I eat is not important. Being like you is very important.
  6. O Father, plant eternal life in my heart.

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

  1. I will be careful about whose advice I follow.
  2. I will guard my thoughts, words and deeds.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

What comes out of a man’s heart determines what he is.

JULY 26, 2016 – WEEK SEVENTEEN – TUESDAY – SENDING OUT HIS ANGELS

(Matthew 13:36-43)

Prayer: O Jesus, I await your coming with all your angels.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in a house, alone with his disciples)

Context:

Jesus has just told the parable of the owner who sowed good seed while his enemy sowed weeds. The owner does not allow his servants to rip out the weeds. He is willing to wait for the harvest (which is always a symbol for Jesus’ second Coming.) Now, Jesus explains each part of that story and applies it to the Final Judgment.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

After Jesus sent away the crowds, he came into the house. His disciples said, “Explain to us the parable about the weeds in the field.”

Jesus replied, “The one who sows the seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world. The good seed are the children of the Kingdom. The weeds are the followers of the Evil One. The enemy that sowed the weeds is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world. The reapers are the angels.

Just as the weeds are gathered up at the harvest and burned in fire, so it shall be at the end of the world. The Son of Man shall send his angels and they shall gather out of the world all who cause others to sin and all the evildoers. They shall cast them into the fire and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then, the just shall shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Let everyone heed what he hears.”

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

  1. The owner allowed the wheat and the weeds to grow alongside each other, as if they both were equal.
  2. “The field is the world”, says Jesus. In human life, the good and the bad are equal.
  3. People misjudge this situation. They think that good and bad are equal in God’s sight.
  4. The angels see people for what they are.   They easily detect the bad from the good.
  5. They gather those who did evil and deliver them to the fire of hell.
  6. They take the good into the Father’s house, where they shine like the stars.
  7. Everyone needs to grasp this lesson. “Let everyone heed.”

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

  1. O Jesus, I want to be your wheat. To be good, is my free choice.
  2. Your angels will gather me in. I will prepare for that day.
  3. You are so patient, giving me time to repent.
  4. You are the Son of Man who will come in glory.
  5. O Jesus, I love you and I will await you.
  6. Someday, Jesus, I will shine in your Father’s house.

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

  1. Because God is patient with me,
  2. I will use this time to get my life in order.
  3. I will persevere in doing good, because that I will live forever in the Father’s house.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

He will send out his angels.

JULY 12, 2016 – WEEK FIFTEEN – TUESDAY – WOE TO THE UNREPENTANT CITIES

(Matthew 11:20-24)

Prayer: O Jesus, give me the grace to repent so I can face you on the Day of Judgment.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching His disciples the importance of repentance.)

Context:

   People might have some superficial relationship with their parish and think that this will get them into heaven. The gospels correct this false impression. They demand a full relationship to Jesus, one which comes from the heart. Here, Jesus mentions three cities where he has preached. They have heard Jesus but have not accepted and responded to his word.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus began to chastise the cities where he had done his miracles.

   “Woe to you, Chorazin. Woe to you, Bethsaida. If the miracles worked in you had been done in other cities, they would have done penance in sackcloth and ashes. It will be more tolerable for those cities on the day of judgment than for you.

   And you, Capernaum: Shall you be exalted to heaven? You shall be cast down to hell. If I had done the miracles in Sodom, the city would still exist today. It shall be more tolerable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

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

Jesus’ words are shocking. He speaks of sackcloth, ashes, judgment and hell.

These cities have seen his miracles performed in their midst.

Chorazin and Bethsaida welcomed him and accepted his miracles. However, they did not repent.

Capernaum was Jesus’ headquarters. They thought they would be exalted.

Jesus’ preaching and miracles only increased their guilt.

Jesus wants a full conversion to life in His Kingdom.

He will bring this about if you let him.

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

O Jesus, I have enjoyed your word and your blessings.

Jesus, stir my heart. Help me to respond.

Stay with me, Jesus. Take up your residence.

Jesus, I cannot bear the thought that you would condemn me on Judgment Day.

Chastise me now, so you need not judge me later.

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

What do I need to repent of?

Having received much, I will return much.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

If I had done these miracles in Sodom, they would have repented.

JULY 5, 2016 – WEEK FOURTEEN – TUESDAY – THE FAITH OF THE CROWD

 (Matthew 9:23-28)

Prayer: O Jesus, come to my town.

Imagination (Picture Jesus healing and teaching the crowds.)

Context:

   The gospel has 2 parts. First, Jesus casts out a demon so a person begins to speak. This causes both praise and criticism. Then, Jesus tours all the villages with multiple miracles of power.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

   They brought to Jesus a dumb man who was possessed by the demon. After the demon was cast out, the man spoke. The crowd wondered, saying “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “By the prince of demons, he casts out demons.”

   Jesus went all around to their cities and towns, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom. He healed every illness and disease. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were lying prostrate from exhaustion, like a sheep without a shepherd.

   Then he said to his disciples. The harvest is indeed great but the laborers are few. Pray, therefore, to the Lord of the harvest, that he would send laborers into his harvest.

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

The people hear the stories about Jesus, and know exactly what to do. They “bring the man to Jesus.”

Jesus’ power is total. The demon leaves and the man speaks.

The crowds respond in great simplicity. They rejoice, never having seen such a mighty work in Israel.

The Pharisees respond in duplicity, refusing to accept Jesus, and claiming his powers are demonic.

Jesus releases all his powers. His compassion drives him to all the towns.

Without Jesus, the people are like exhausted sheep, having no shepherd.

Jesus sees their need and knows that he needs helpers. So, he begins to prepare his disciples.

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

O Jesus, I know the gospel stories and I know what to do. I will come to you.

Your power is total. You are not a specialist who handles only one type of illness.

No one is like you, Jesus. All blessings flow from your hands.

Remove my cynical spirit. Make me a child, ready to believe.

How compassionate you are! Always thinking of me. Always preparing blessings ahead of time.

O Jesus, send me to labor in your harvest.

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

In the greatest faith, I will bring my problems to Jesus.

I will offer my time to spread the gospel.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The crowds said, “Never have we seen anything like this in Israel.”

JUNE 28, 2016 – WEEK THIRTEEN – TUESDAY – POWER OVER THE SEA

(Matthew 8:23-27)

Prayer – O Jesus, calm the storms in my own life.

Imagination: (Picture the fearful disciples and Jesus calming the sea.)

Context:

Matthew very much follows Mark’s story when Jesus sleeps in the boat. The miracle causes awe and wonder in the apostles.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus got into a boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a violent storm came up on the lake, and the boat began to be swamped with waves, but he was asleep.

They came and woke him saying, “Lord, save us. We are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea and there was great calm. The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this that even the words and the sea obey him?”

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

  1. There were many boats but Jesus travels with his disciples. He wants them to be the primary witnesses of his power.
  2. The wind and the unruly sea are symbols of demonic chaos which destroys our lives as disciples.
  3. The disciples have some faith. They wake Jesus up, believing he can save them.
  4. Jesus expected more faith. His being in their boat, awake or asleep, would have saved them.
  5. Jesus rebukes the wind and the sea, just as he rebuked Satan who possessed people.
  6. The apostles understand that only God can tame the wind and sea. If so, “Who is this Jesus?”

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

  1. O Jesus, travel in my boat. You are always welcome.
  2. Chaos and evil surround me. You are my only safeguard.
  3. Jesus, when I awaken you, you always help me.
  4. Give me greater faith.   Even when you seem to sleep, I will trust you.
  5. Waking or sleeping, you always guard me.
  6. You are Lord. You are God. You are Saviour. You are Redeemer. You are all in all.

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

  1. I will never begin a task without Jesus in my boat.
  2. I will always believe that his power can do all things.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Even the wind and the sea obey him.

JUNE 21, 2016 – WEEK TWELVE – TUESDAY – THE NARROW ROAD

(Matthew 7:6 & 12-14)

Prayer: O Jesus, teach me to enter by the narrow gate of selflessness and walk the narrow

Road that leads to life.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus warning his disciples about the conditions for eternal life.)

Context:

Matthew writes for his Church members who have chosen the Kingdom. They want eternal life, but He warns them that the gate is narrow. Many go through a wide gate that does not lead them into the Kingdom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to his disciples, “Do not give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before swine.

They will trample them underfoot, at best, or even tear you to shreds. Enter by the narrow gate, for the gate that leads to destruction is wide and many enter. How narrow is the gate that leads to life and how constricted is the road and how few find it.

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

  1. Dogs and swine represent those who have no interest in the holy pearls of the gospel. The disciples, although preaching to all, must not expose the gospel to ridicule.
  2. To enter by the narrow gate is to accept the discipline needed to keep the commandments.
  3. Some disciples want to be lax, refusing to accept restrictions on their freedom.
  4. They are foolish. They are entering a wide gate that leads to destruction of their lives.
  5. Not only is the beginning gate narrow, but the whole road is constricted.
  6. Living by the gospel doesn’t mean just being good at the beginning (to get through the narrow gate is not enough.) The disciple must persevere on the narrow road.
  7. This gate and road are not hard to find. People do not searching because they do not want to find.
  8. All these warnings are wake-up calls!

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

  1. O Jesus, your words are pearls that I will cherish.
  2. Do not let me toss away your gospel.
  3. O Jesus, I will enter by your narrow gate.
  4. Show me the narrow road and I will walk with you.
  5. Close my eyes to the wide paths of death and destruction.
  6. I want your eternal life, Jesus. No matter what the cost.
  7. How I love your narrow gate which leads to life.

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

  1. I will accept the restrictions imposed by God’s love.
  2. I will seek eternal life with all my heart, not fearing the narrow way.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

How narrow is the gate that leads to life.

JUNE 14, 2016 – WEEK ELEVEN – TUESDAY – LOVE YOUR ENEMIES

(Matthew 5:43-48)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Make me perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect.

Imagination  Picture Jesus asking the disciples to imitate the Father.

Context:

Jesus continues his demands concerning goodness towards enemies. He contrasts his disciple with the pagans and demands a greater holiness. At the end, Jesus reveals his goal. He wants the disciple to be as perfect as the heavenly Father.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

You have heard it said, “You shall love your neighbor but hate your enemy.” I say to you “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for those who persecute you and insult you. In this way, you can be children of your heavenly Father. He makes the sun rise on the good and the bad. He makes the rain fall on the just and the unjust.

If you love those who love you, what reward shall you have? Do not even sinners do this? If you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not even the pagans do that? You must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

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

  1. Jesus leads you to the height of holiness.
  2. At this new height, Jesus asks you to love everyone and to exclude all hatred.
  3. He offers you the highest reward. You will be a child of the heavenly Father.
  4. Look at how God acts. He sends his sun and his rain on everyone, good or bad.
  5. Jesus wants you to act in every situation as the Father would act.

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

  1. Jesus, lead me to the heights of holiness.
  2. O Jesus, give me a new way to live.
  3. Let your love cast out all my hatred. Make me a child of the heavenly Father.
  4. I will shower my love, my blessings, my goods upon everyone.
  5. You call me to be perfect as the Father. I will begin right now.       Walk with me, Jesus.
  6. O Jesus, loving my friends is natural. Even sinners do that. Loving my enemies will be my new goal.

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

  1. I will let everyone into my heart this day.
  2. I will remove my hatred and critical spirit.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.

JUNE 7, 2016 – WEEK TEN – TUESDAY – SALT AND LIGHT

(Matthew 5-13-16)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Set me as a light on the lampstand.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus instructing his disciples.)

Context:

A disciple is someone who has made a decision to live totally for the Kingdom. In the gospels, Jesus explains what he expects of his disciples. The disciple must be salt, a power against food corrupting. He must also be a light, so men can see God’s goodness reflected in the disciple’s life.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus continued to teach his disciples on the mountain.

“You are the salt of the earth. If the salt loses its flavor, how will it be salted? It is good for nothing except to be cast out and trodden under foot.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountaintop cannot be hidden. Men do not light a candle and put it under a bushel basket, but upon the lampstand, so it can give light to all in the house. Let your light shine before men so that they can see your good works and glorify your heavenly Father.”

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

  1. Jesus does not exaggerate the truth.   His disciples will bless the whole world.
  2. Jesus warns his disciples. The salt can lose its flavor. The light can be kept hidden.
  3. When disciples cease to be disciples, the world trods them under foot. They are useless.
  4. By allowing God to change their hearts, the disciple can show the world what God’s power can do.
  5. All will glorify the heavenly Father for what he has accomplished in the disciple.
  6. Jesus’ plan is very successful. We should follow it more often.

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

  1. Jesus, you call me to greatness in your Kingdom.
  2. Give me your salt – a taste for devotion, and a desire for the Kingdom.
  3. Let me be your candle, burning brightly and set on the highest place.
  4. Jesus, change my life. Then, I will have good works that shine out to others.
  5. O Father, all is for your glory!

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

  1. What must I do to foster personal devotion?       What time should I find for prayer and spiritual reading?
  2. I will try to bless others by my good works.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world set upon a lampstand.

MAY 31, 2016 – WEEK NINE – TUESDAY – RENDER TO GOD WHAT IS GOD’S

(Matthew 22:15-21)

Prayer –O Lord, let me give you everything.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus confronted by the Pharisees.)

Context:

Israel had two political groups. One sought total allegiance to Rome. Others sought independence, even by war if necessary. The Pharisees, by this question, hope to trip Jesus, forcing him to take one political position or another. By using the coin, Jesus evades the question, and gives a clear principal to decide these political questions.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The Pharisees talked among themselves about how to ensnare Jesus in speech. They sent their disciples with the Herodians saying, ‘Master, we know you are truthful and teach God’s way sincerely. You seek no one’s favor and do not act out of human respect. Therefore, tell us what you think. Is it lawful to pay tribute to Caesar or not? Jesus, knowing their hypocrisy said, “Why do you tempt me, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.”

When they handed him a small Roman coin, he asked them, “Whose inscription is this?” “Caesar’s”, they replied. He said, “Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” Their amazement knew no bounds.

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

  1. The Pharisees are not open to Jesus’ word because they have their own ideas.
  2. They begin with flattery, trying to hide their inner wickedness.
  3. What they say is true. Jesus is truthful, a man from God, who does not seek human favor.
  4. Jesus reads their hearts. They are hypocrites, pretending to be his friend but ready to betray him.
  5. They bring forth their deadly question, which is meant to destroy Jesus’ popularity.
  6. Jesus’ wisdom is greater and he wins the debate.
  7. What is important is that we give God all we owe.

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

  1. Jesus, change my heart, make it open to your word.
  2. Reveal my inner wickedness. Strip me of all pretense. Let me stand naked in your truth.
  3. O Jesus, you have come from God and you have returned to God.       You are my way to the Father.
  4. O Jesus, I surrender all my rights into your loving hands.       Whom else should I trust?
  5. What do I owe you, Lord? Everything!

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

  1. I will see Jesus as the One sent by the Father.
  2. I will give Jesus all that is his.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Render to God, what is God’s.

MAY 24, 2016 – WEEK EIGHT – TUESDAY – RECEIVING THE HUNDRED-FOLD

(Mark 10:28-31)

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

Imagination: (Picture Jesus instructing his apostles.)

Context:

A young man has walked away from Jesus because he was rich. In contrast, Peter is a model disciple who has set all aside. Jesus spells out the rewards, in this life and in eternity.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Peter said to Jesus, “Behold, we have left all things to follow you.” Jesus responded, “Amen I say to you, that there is no one who has left brothers or sisters, or fathers or mothers or children or lands for my sake and the gospel who will not receive in this age a hundred times as many homes, brothers and sisters, mothers, children and property – and persecution besides – and in the age to come, 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 says that he and the other apostles have left everything behind.
  2. Jesus accepts Peter’s claim as true and spells out the great rewards.
  3. The early Christians were already experiencing this hundredfold. The people who had joined the Church shared all their possessions.
  4. By sharing their properties, people really had access to a hundred homes.
  5. Mark slips in a warning. The disciples will be persecuted (which they already were experiencing).
  6. The greatest rewards will 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. O Jesus, teach me how to leave everything behind and follow you.
  2. O Jesus, how great are your rewards, even in this life.
  3. You give peace of soul and freedom from sins.
  4. You give me others as my brothers and sisters. This is the great blessing of devout communities.
  5. Teach me to be a brother and sister to others by sharing my life and my goods.
  6. O Jesus, persecutions will come. Be with me in my trials.
  7. What will my life be “in the age to come?” What is everlasting life? What is it like to live with you forever? Don’t let me miss out.

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.

MAY 17, 2016 – WEEK SEVEN – TUESDAY – THE EXTRA MILE

(Mark 9: 30-37)

Prayer: Jesus, teach me to be a little one, living in the simplicity of a child.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus, with his arms around a child, teaching his disciples.)

Context:

The disciples have just failed to drive out a demon. Now, they do not understand Jesus’ teaching about suffering. Worst of all, they argue about who is the most important. They neither think nor act as disciples.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus and his disciples began a journey through Galilee, but he did not want anyone to know about it. Jesus taught his disciples, “The Son of Man will be betrayed into the hands of men and they will kill him. After his death, he will rise on the third day. “ They, however, did not understand and were afraid to ask him.

When they entered the house, Jesus asked them, “What were you discussing on the way? They fell silent because they were disputing about who was the most important. Sitting down, Jesus taught the Twelve, “If anyone wants to be first he must be the last and the servant of all.”

Taking a child, he put him in their midst. Placing his arm around him, Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes such a child for my sake, shall welcome me, and not just me, but him who sent me.”

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

  1. Jesus is now “on his way” to Jerusalem. The disciples should be “on the way” to understanding. However, they are going backwards.
  2. For the first time, Jesus predicts three important facts. He will be betrayed, killed and rise from the dead.
  3. The disciples do not understand and are afraid to ask.
  4. Instead of learning these mysteries about Jesus, they concentrate on their own importance.
  5. When confronted, they have no answer.       They have violated Jesus’ basic teaching of serving others.
  6. Jesus reiterates this teaching. They should serve the new believers who need so much help. This is the task of the disciple.

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

  1. O Lord, I will walk with you. I will take your road and go your way.
  2. O Jesus, I know what is ahead – hardship and suffering. To follow you is worth any cost.
  3. Enlighten me, Jesus. Teach me your mysteries and your ways.
  4. Take my eyes off of myself. Take my heart away from my selfish interests.
  5. I will serve, Jesus. I will serve your people. Give me a task. What a privilege!

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

  1. I will make sacrifices today to serve others.
  2. I will ask for light to understand the mysteries of the Kingdom.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

If anyone wishes to be first, he must be the servant of all.

MAY 10, 2016 – SEVENTH WEEK OF EASTER – TUESDAY – THE HOUR HAS COME

(John 17:1-5)

Prayer: O Jesus, lead me to eternal life.

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

Context: After teaching the apostles, Jesus prays to his Father and has them listen in. This prayer has three parts. In this section, Jesus declares that he has glorified God by giving everyone eternal life. He reveals that knowing him and knowing the Father are the same, and bring God’s glory.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus, lifting up his eyes to heaven, said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son that your Son may glorify you. You have given him power over all people, so he may give eternal life to all whom you gave to him. Now this is eternal life. That they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

I have glorified you on earth. I have finished the work you have given me to do. Now, glorify me, O Father, with yourself, with the glory that I had with you before the world began.”

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

  1. Although Jesus speaks directly to the Father, he wants the apostles to overhear his prayer.
  2. The Father and the Son reveal each other’s glory so the disciples can see.
  3. Having revealed the glory of the Father, Jesus’ work is finished.
  4. Now, the Father will reveal Jesus’ glory by raising him from the dead.
  5. After the Resurrection, the disciples will see the glory which Jesus had “from the beginning.”
  6. By knowing the Father and Jesus, all can gain eternal life.

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

  1. Jesus, this mystery overwhelms me. Both you and the Father want to reveal yourselves to me.
  2. Complete your work in me, O Jesus. Fully reveal your Father.
  3. Jesus, the “hour has come.” Let me no longer put off my task of coming to know you.
  4. Jesus, give me eternal life. The Father gave you this task.
  5. This is eternal life, to know you, Father, and Jesus whom you have sent.

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

  1. “The hour has come”. I must accept Jesus fully.
  2. I will value Jesus’ eternal glory above all earthly gifts.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son.

MAY 3, 2016 – SIXTH WEEK OF EASTER – TUESDAY – THE SPIRIT’S TASKS

(John 16:8-11)

Prayer: O Jesus, send your Paraclete to overcome the world.

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

Context: Jesus again shifts the focus. The Holy Spirit will not just be an advocate for the disciples. He will be a prosecuting attorney against the world. He will work within the believers, assuring them that they have correctly chosen to stand with Jesus.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

When the Paraclete comes, he will convict the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment. Of sin, because they have not believed in me. Of justice, because I go to the Father and you will see me no more. Of judgment, because the prince of this world is already judged.

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

  1. When experiencing the world’s persecutions, the disciples might ask, “Did we make the right choice?”
  2. In these moments, the Holy Spirit will be a powerful inner voice, comforting the disciples.
  3. As their advocate, he will put the whole world on trial.
  4. First, He will reveal the great sin of the world which refused to accept Jesus, in spite of his many miracles.
  5. Second, He will judge the world which persecutes the disciples even though they testify truly. Jesus has gone to the Father and will return in glory.
  6. Third, He will judge the world by casting out the world’s leader, Satan.
  7. Persecuting the disciples is just Satan’s final words before he has to leave.

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

  1. O Jesus, the world has made a great mistake. They refuse to accept you.
  2. I accept you. I choose you as my Lord.
  3. Your Spirit speaks within. His mighty voice says, “Blessed are you.”
  4. O Jesus, You have ascended to heaven and await my joining you.
  5. O Jesus, you have cast out Satan, the world’s prince.
  6. You are the victor. I will stand with you, my king.
  7. Thank you, Lord, for saving me from the world’s confusion.

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

  1. I will listen to the Spirit’s voice within.
  2. I will not allow the world to confuse me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your mediation)

The prince of this world is already cast out.

APRIL 26, 2016 – FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER – TUESDAY – JESUS’ FAREWELL GIFT

(John 14:27-31)

Prayer: O Jesus, fill me with your total peace.

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

Context:

This gospel concludes Jesus’ teaching at the Last Supper. He tries to prepare the apostles in two ways. First, he promises to place a lasting peace in their hearts. Second, he explains that his death results from his battle with Satan, the prince of this world. Jesus suffers because he is obedient to the Father.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give. Let not your heart be troubled or be afraid. You have heard me say to you, I go away and I come back to you. If you loved me you indeed would be glad, because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

I have told you this before it happens, so that when it does happen, you will believe. I will not go on saying many things. For the prince of this world comes and he has no hold on me. However, the world must know that I love the Father and I do as the Father commanded.

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

  1. The heart of Jesus is broken. Obeying the Father entails leaving the apostles in great distress.
  2. He tries to soften this hardship by filling their hearts with peace.
  3. His “going away” is just for “a little while”, the three days in the tomb.
  4. He will come back. Only Jesus could do that.
  5. They must try to enter into Jesus’ joy. He will be returning to the Father.
  6. He prophesies all these events, so that they believe.
  7. He must stop speaking. The battle is at hand, the eternal combat between Jesus and Satan.
  8. His death on the cross will prove to the whole world that he loves the Father.

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

  1. O Jesus, your heart is always broken for me in all my trials.
  2. Fill me with your peace.
  3. O Jesus, for a little while you have “gone away”.
  4. Come back, Jesus. Return soon.
  5. By your words, I know you live within me.
  6. O Jesus, all your words have proven true. I believe.
  7. I see your arms, extended on the cross, in obedience to your Father.
  8. You have destroyed my adversary, Satan. You have won the victory for me.

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

  1. I will try to understand Jesus’ infinite love for me.
  2. I will seek his peace so I can serve him.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The Prince of this world has no control over me.

APRIL 19, 2016 – FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER – TUESDAY – SHEEP IN THE FATHER’S HANDS

(John 10:22-30)

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

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching in the Temple)

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

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

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

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

(John 6:30-35) 

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

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

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Whoever comes to me will never hunger.

APRIL 5, 2016 – SECOND WEEK OF EASTER – TUESDAY – THE QUESTIONING NICODEMUS

(John 3:7-15)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me come to you for wisdom.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching Nicodemus)

Context:

Nicodemus is a trained Jewish scholar. His questions to Jesus contrast the Jewish faith with the mysteries of Christ. His questions allow Jesus to explain these truths. If Nicodemus cannot understand the mystery of the Holy Spirit, how can he understand the Trinity.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Do not be surprised that I said to you that you must be born again. The spirit breathes where he will and you hear his voice but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone born of the spirit.

Nicodemus asked, “How can this happen?” Jesus said, “Are you a teacher in Israel and you do not know these things?” Amen, amen, I say to you. We speak what we know and we testify to what we have seen but you do not receive our testimony. If I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe when I speak to you about heavenly things?

No one has ascended into heaven except the one who has descended from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven. Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up so that whoever believes in him may not perish but may have everlasting life.”

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

  1. “Being born from above” is receiving the Holy Spirit in Baptism.
  2. After Baptism, the Spirit leads the believer wherever he chooses, (like the wind blowing).
  3. Nicodemus is confused because these Christian truths go far beyond the Jewish faith.
  4. The early Church easily understands them and gladly explains them to the world.
  5. Jesus’ heavenly role as Son of Man goes beyond Baptism and the Spirit’s indwelling.
  6. Jesus even describes his own death which will bestow eternal life.

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

  1. O Jesus, help me to be born again.
  2. Pour out your Holy Spirit.
  3. I will let your Spirit lead me wherever he wishes.
  4. You are lifted up on the cross. You died for me.
  5. You have ascended to heaven so I can ascend with you.
  6. Without you, I perish. With you, I have everlasting life.

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

  1. I will ask to receive the Holy Spirit today.
  2. I will think of Jesus in heavenly glory and ask for eternal life.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

We speak what we know and we testify to what we have seen.

MARCH 29, 2016 – EASTER WEEK – TUESDAY – MAGDALEN SEES JESUS

(John 20:11-18)

Prayer: Jesus, fill me with Magdalen’s love and devotion to you.

Imagination: (Picture Magdalen at the tomb with Jesus.)

Context:

This is a very rich text, containing many teachings for both devotion and doctrine. Magdalen stays at the empty tomb, thinking the body has been stolen. Jesus appears and reveals who he is. She grasps Jesus but Jesus tells her not to hold him because he is ascending to the Father. A new relationship now exists. Jesus is preparing the way to heaven.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

After the disciples left, Magdalene remained at the tomb, weeping. When she looked into the tomb, she saw two angels dressed in white, one at the head and the other at the feet where the body of Jesus had been. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said, “Because they have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have placed him.”

Turning around, she saw Jesus standing there, but did not know it was he. Jesus said, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for? Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have taken him, tell me where you have put him and I will take him away.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary”. She replied, “Rabboni (meaning “Master”). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, “I am ascending to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God.” Mary went and told the disciples, “I have seen the Lord and these are the things he has told me.”

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

  1. Magdalen’s love is greater than the two apostles. She alone stays at the tomb.
  2. She listens to her heart, not to her head.
  3. She acts quite irrationally. She sees angels but doesn’t question why they are standing in the tomb.
  4. She sees a man and asks him to return the body (if he has stolen it.)
  5. Her physical eyes do not recognize Jesus because his glorified body has been transformed.
  6. However, she recognizes his voice. Jesus, the good Shepherd, calls her by name.
  7. She embraces Jesus as if nothing has changed, but he is ascending to the Father.
  8. Everything is new. The disciples are now Jesus’ brothers and sisters, and God is their Father.
  9. Magdalen becomes the Apostle to the Apostles – telling them that she had seen the Lord.

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

  1. Where are you, Lord?
  2. I am searching for you with all my heart.
  3. I embrace you, Jesus.
  4. You are ascending so that I can ascend with you.
  5. Let my tears prepare for your coming.
  6. Jesus, call me by name.
  7. O Jesus, you have made God my Father.
  8. Make me an apostle. I will tell all my friends about your rising.

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

  1. I will ask Jesus for Magdalene’s generosity.
  2. I will listen for Jesus to call me by name.

Thought for Today: (To recall your meditation)

They have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have placed him.

MARCH 22, 2016 – TUESDAY – HOLY WEEK – JUDAS ISCARIOT

(John 13:36-38)

Prayer: Jesus, may I always be loyal to you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus at the Last Supper.)

Context:

Jesus often spoke about his betrayal. Up to now however, Jesus never revealed his betrayer or said openly that he would come from the twelve. Now he must focus on this issue. So, Jesus reveals Judas as the one and determines the time by telling Judas to leave the Upper Room.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus grew troubled in spirit and said, “Amen, amen I say to you. One of you will betray me. “The disciples looked at one another, puzzled as to whom he could mean. Now the disciple whom Jesus loved was leaning on his breast. Simon Peter beckoned to him and said, “Who is he speaking about?” The disciple asked, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “The one to whom I give some food after dipping it in the dish.” He dipped it and gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon.

After receiving the morsel, Satan entered into Judas. Jesus said, “What you have to do, do quickly.” The others at table did not know Jesus’ purpose. Having received the morsel, Judas went out immediately. It was night.

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

  1. What a tragic story. Judas, called to be close to Jesus, becomes the knife in Jesus’ heart.
  2. Jesus often spoke about this moment. Now, it could not be postponed.
  3. Because of their simplicity, the other apostles worry if it could be themselves.
  4. The Beloved Disciple is so close to Jesus’ heart that Jesus tell him who his betrayer is.
  5. Jesus is still in control. He determines the time of the betrayal by telling Judas to act now.
  6. ‘It was night” everywhere – in Judas’ soul, in Jesus’ broken heart and in world history. This was the darkest moment.

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

  1. O Jesus, by your grace, my life will not be a tragic story.
  2. You call me to greatness. You have prepared a place for me at your table.
  3. Give me the simplicity of the apostles who were loyal to you.
  4. I will place my head on your breast and experience the love in your Sacred Heart.
  5. O Jesus, to depart from you is the darkest night. Hold on to me.

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

  1. I will value my friendship with Jesus above every other prize.
  2. I will be faithful to my friends.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

One of you will betray me.