DECEMBER 21, 2016 – WEDNESDAY – MARY VISITS ELIZABETH

(Luke 1:39-45)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Fill me with your joy.

Imagination: (Picture Mary entering Zechariah’s house).

Context:

This story contains many truths. First, Jesus begins his sanctifying ministry. Second, John begins his ministry, pointing out Jesus to his mother. Third, this is an early picture of Pentecost. All are filled with the Holy Spirit.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Mary went quickly into the hill country of Judea, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and cried out in a loud voice: “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”

Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For the moment that your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you, for you have believed that the Lord’s words to you would be fulfilled.”

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

  1. Jesus begins immediately to sanctify the world. Mary is his first missionary.
  2. John the Baptist begins his ministry, pointing out the Christ to his mother.
  3. Pentecost comes early. All are filled with the Holy Spirit.
  4. Many years later, the apostles will gather with Mary and receive the Spirit at Pentecost.
  5. By prophetic revelation, Elizabeth knows that Mary is the mother of God.
  6. These two women hold all of history in their wombs.
  7. Elizabeth has the Precursor and Mary has the Saviour.

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

  1. Jesus, you begin immediately to save the world.
  2. Mary, bring Jesus quickly to me.
  3. Holy Spirit, fill me with joy.
  4. Mary, invite me into your womb, the new garden of Eden, where Jesus has placed every treasure.
  5. Mary, help me to believe God’s word.
  6. Mary, share with me the Spirit of Pentecost.

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

  1. Today, I will use Elizabeth’s words to praise Mary, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”
  2. I will ponder the mystery that God placed all human history in Mary’s womb.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Blessed are you who believed that the Lord’s words to you would be fulfilled.

DECEMBER 14, 2016 – WEEK THREE OF ADVENT – WEDNESDAY – MESSENGERS FROM JOHN

(Matthew 1:1-17)

Prayer: O Lord, I thank you that you have created me.

Imagination: (Picture Joseph and Mary at Bethlehem with the child, Jesus).

Context:

            Matthew traces the genealogy of Jesus through St. Joseph back to Abraham. He divides these ancestors into three groups, from Abraham to David (1000 BC), from David to the Babylon Captivity (587 BC), and from the Captivity to Joseph. The purpose is to show that Jesus is from the line of King David.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

A family record of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham (and the following) Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Perez, Hezron, Ram, Anminadab, Nahshon, Salmon, Boaz, (whose mother was Rahab), Obed (whose mother was Ruth), Jesse, King David, Solomon (whose mother was the wife of Uriah), Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joram, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amos, Josiah, Jechoniah (at the time of the exile). After the Exile, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Zadok, Achim, Eluid, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob.

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. It was of her that Jesus who is called the Messiah was born.   Thus, the total number of generations is: From Abraham to David, fourteen generations. From David to the Babylonian captivity, fourteen generations. From the Babylonian captivity to the Messiah, fourteen generations.

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

  1. The genealogy shows God’s guiding hand over many centuries.
  2. God wanted to bring forth Joseph, the husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus.
  3. The Babylonian captivity shows God’s special care. After seventy years, God led the exiles to return to Jerusalem and prepare for the Messiah.
  4. To highlight God’s special care, Matthew deliberately divides the groups into 14 ancestors, twice the special biblical number of seven.
  5. The list suddenly stops, because Joseph is not the father of Jesus. He is called “the husband of Mary”.
  6. The Virgin Mary, alone, brings forth the Messiah.
  7. Having given the ancestry, Matthew can now tell the story.
  8. His infancy stories will focus on Joseph, the person most deeply affected by his fiancé’s surprising pregnancy.

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

  1. Jesus, you were born at the right moment.
  2. Heavenly Father, I, too, was born at the right moment.
  3. How marvelous are your works. How wonderfully you have made me.
  4. All history is in your hands and I am in your hands.
  5. O Jesus, You will come again, at the end of time. I will be there waiting for you.
  6. O Lord, let me fulfill my purpose in your Kingdom.
  7. You are the Lord of all the ages. If I love you, I cannot fail.

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

  1. I will think today of my parents and grandparents, thanking God for their lives of faith.
  2. I will ask God to reveal his purpose for my life.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Joseph was the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus, who is called the Messiah.

DECEMBER 7, 2016 – WEEK TWO OF ADVENT – WEDNESDAY – THE EASY YOKE

(Matthew 11:28-30)

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

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

Context:

The burdened are those who cannot seem to get out from under. Jesus is one of them. He carries the whole world on his shoulders. Jesus’ yoke is his submission to God’s will. This is the lightest possible burden. Why carry any other?

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

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

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

  1. How many labors and burdens do you carry?
  2. Jesus invites you. He promises you rest. Come to him.
  3. Put aside your other burdens. Then, you can take up Jesus’ yoke. This is your true task in life.
  4. If you know Jesus, you will think and feel like Jesus.
  5. You will find Him gentle and humble, and will experience peace.

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

  1. O Jesus, I have so many labors and so many burdens!
  2. Jesus, you say, “Come to me.” I am coming. I am coming quickly.
  3. Jesus, you are totally intent on helping me.
  4. Jesus, I will gladly carry your yoke and your burden.
  5. Your burdens are so much easier than what I now carry.
  6. In the world, I find restlessness. In your Kingdom I discover peace.
  7. You always speak the truth. You fulfill all your promises. I can trust your words.

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

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

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Come to me for my yoke is easy and my burden light.

NOVEMBER 30, 2016 – WEEK ONE OF ADVENT – WEDNESDAY – MULTIPLIED BLESSINGS

(Matthew 15:29-37)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me hunger for your food.

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

Context:

The multiplication of food is the only miracle told in all four gospels. It is preceded by multiple healings. These stories highlight the Advent season when we await the Lord who comes with countless blessings, distributed freely to those who await him.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Large crowds came to Jesus, bringing with them the cripples, the deformed, the blind, the mute and many others besides. They laid them at his feet and he cured them. The crowds marveled to see the mute speaking and the deformed made whole, cripples walking about and the blind seeing. They glorified the God of Israel.

Jesus called together his disciples, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me three days with nothing to eat. I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint on the way. The disciples answered, “Where can we find so many loaves in this deserted place to feed so many? Jesus asked, “How many loaves do you have? They said, “Seven and a few little fishes.”

He commanded the crowd to sit down, and taking the seven loaves and the fishes, giving thanks, he broke and gave to his disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and had their fill, and seven baskets of fragments were left over.

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

  1. Each person has a need. Some are sick. Some are hungry. Jesus takes care of them all.
  2. The crowds show great faith. They take extraordinary efforts to bring the crippled and the blind to this deserted place.
  3. They know the source of the healings.       They place their sick at Jesus’ feet.
  4. The crowds do not complain of their hunger.       They have freely chosen to stay three days.
  5. Seeing their fatigue, Jesus initiates the multiplication. The scene is like the Last Supper. Jesus takes bread, blesses, breaks and gives to the disciples.
  6. An abundance results. All are satisfied. The seven baskets left over are meant for us.

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

  1. O Jesus, when will I learn to place all my needs at your feet?
  2. My faith draws me to you. Nothing will keep me back.
  3. Your power is unlimited, going forth to whomever draws near.
  4. You are thoughtful, Jesus. Even when I do not ask, you provide.
  5. Your Eucharist is every day. I will come to the table.
  6. Jesus, I will gather up all your blessings.       None will go to waste.

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

  1. Today, I will bring my greatest need to Jesus.       It is Advent and I must believe.
  2. I will receive Holy Communion as often as possible during this season.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The crowd marveled to see the mute speaking and the cripples walking.

NOVEMBER 23, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-FOUR – WEDNESDAY – THE TRIALS OF A DISCIPLE

(Luke 21:12-19)

Prayer: O Jesus, help me in the moments of my trials.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus explaining to the disciples their future difficulties)

Context:

After discussing all the wars and famines and earthquakes that will occur, Jesus turns to two other difficulties. The disciples will find themselves hauled into court. Also, their family and friends will turn on them.   Only patient endurance will win the victory.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said to his disciples, “Before all these things happen, they will lay hands on you. They will persecute you, bringing you to synagogues and prisons, dragging you before kings and governors for my name’s sake. You will be brought there so you can give witness.

Do not think ahead of time what you are to say for I will give you words and a wisdom which your adversaries cannot resist or refute.

You will be betrayed by your parents and your brothers, relatives and friends. Some of you will be put to death and you shall be hated by all for my name’s sake. By patient endurance you shall save your lives.”

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

  1. The problems will begin when the disciples witness to Jesus.
  2. The synagogue will reject them and this will lead to prison.
  3. They will be brought before the highest authorities – governors and kings.
  4. These arrests serve God’s purpose. The disciples will speak of Jesus to all who attend their trial.
  5. Jesus, himself, promises to be there, prompting them what to say.
  6. Even family members will not want the disciple to join this new Jesus Movement.
  7. The consequence will be dire. Some will die. Jesus will not miraculously save them.
  8. By dying, they will “save their life”, their eternal life that really matters.

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

  1. Jesus, to be persecuted for you is my greatest privilege.
  2. I will not be silent. I will speak about your name.
  3. Many need to hear the gospel. At least, some will listen.
  4. Kings and governors have limited power.       You, Jesus, and your disciples hold all authority.
  5. You will be there. You will give me the words. You will be my lawyer.
  6. No one will intimidate me or change my decision.       You are my king and my governor.
  7. Jesus, give me patient endurance.

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

  1. I will ask for the gift of Fortitude.
  2. I will not let hatred and anger of others to silence me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

By patient endurance, you will save your lives.

NOVEMBER 16, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-THREE – WEDNESDAY – THE SERVANTS ENTRUSTED WITH MONEY

(Luke 19:12-27)

Prayer: O Jesus, make me your faithful servant to whom you can entrust your blessings.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.)

Context

Jesus tells this parable to the disciples because they falsely believe that the reign of God is about to appear. The parable stresses the personal initiative of the disciple before Jesus returns in glory. These intervening years are not for laziness but for diligence in gaining new believers.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

As they neared Jerusalem, Jesus told the disciples a parable because they thought the reign of God was about to appear.

A man going to become king in a distant country called in ten servants, gave them money and said, “Invest this until I return.” When he returned, he sent for his servants. The first said, “Lord, your money has earned another ten.” “Good”, he said, “Since you were faithful in a small matter, I place you over ten villages. The second said, “Your investment has gained five more.” He said, “Take over give villages.”

The third said, “Here is your money. I had it for safekeeping. I was afraid because you are a hard man. You withdraw what you never deposit and reap what you never plant.” The king said, “You are worthless. Why did you not at least get interest on the money.” To others, he said, “Take what he has and give it to the man with ten. For, whoever has will receive more. Whoever has less will lose the little that he has.” Jesus then continued his ascent to Jerusalem.

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

  1. The disciples have the wrong idea. They will not see Jesus’ Kingdom in Jerusalem.
  2. Many years of hard work lie ahead.
  3. Although delayed, the day of accounting is inevitable.
  4. The diligent servants prepare for that day by working hard
  5. The third servant is lazy and has a false impression of the king.
  6. He loses everything, like a disciple who does not value the kingdom.
  7. Jesus continues to Jerusalem. He must fulfill his mission.

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

  1. O Jesus, I still have so far to go!
  2. Walk with me and I will persevere.
  3. Someday you will come for me. I will await you.
  4. Remove all my discouragement.
  5. O Jesus, your rewards are so great, more than I can receive.
  6. I will go with you, all the way to Jerusalem.

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

  1. I will ask for perseverance.
  2. I will think of Jesus’ great rewards.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

And Jesus continued up to Jerusalem.

NOVEMBER 9, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-TWO – WEDNESDAY – THE TEN LEPERS

(Luke 17:11-19)

Prayer – Come, Holy Spirit. Fill me with a spirit of thanksgiving.

Imagination: (Picture the one leper returning to give thanks)

Context:

This story is somewhat like a parable, ending with Jesus pronouncing the Samaritan’s saving faith. Obviously, the group consisted of nine Jewish lepers and one Samaritan. Their illness bonded them together and overcame their religious differences. The Samaritan emulates Naaman, a Syrian, who in the Old Testament returned to thank the prophet Elisha for healing him of leprosy. (2 Kg 5:15).

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

As Jesus was going to Jerusalem, he passed through Samaria and Galilee. In a certain town, ten lepers met him. Standing far away, they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, master, have pity on us.”

Upon seeing them, Jesus said, “Go and show yourselves to the priest.” As they went, they were cleansed. One, seeing he was cleansed, went back, glorifying God in a loud voice. Falling on his face, he gave thanks. He was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? Where are the other nine? Is there no one found to return and give thanks except this stranger?” Jesus said, “Get up and go your way. Your faith has made you whole.”

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

  1. All ten see their unique opportunity. Jesus has come to their village.
  2. United in prayer, all ten “lift up their voices” and ask for pity.
  3. All are obedient. All go to the priest. All are cleansed.
  4. Nine return home, thinking they have no further responsibility.
  5. Only one leper sees the need to return to Jesus. He alone receives total wholeness.
  6. Jesus is disappointed. He wants to give total wholeness, but the nine did not return.
  7. Only a stranger receives the full gift.

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

  1. Jesus, you will come to me today.
  2. I will grasp that special moment.
  3. My heart will call out to you.
  4. Cleanse me of the leprosy of my sins.
  5. Jesus, I will not forget you.
  6. I will return to give thanks and You will bless me even more.
  7. Do not let me disappoint you.

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

  1. I will thank those who have helped me in the past – parents, teachers, friends.
  2. All day long, I will give thanks for God’s blessings.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

“Go on your way, your faith has made you whole.”

NOVEMBER 2, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-ONE – WEDNESDAY – THE TOWER AND THE WAR

(Luke 14:28-32)

Prayer: O Jesus, help me to persevere until the finish line.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching the crowds.)

Context:

Jesus is dealing here with enthusiastic disciples who cannot see the tremendous hardships that lie ahead. So, Jesus gives two examples which entail great difficulties. A farmer needs a tower for his grain, but the extensive foundation is costly. A king must wage war but has fewer soldiers than the other king.

Because of difficulties, the disciple might turn away and lose the kingdom. Jesus wants his determination to be firm.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Which of you thinks of building a tower and does not sit down first and reckon the necessary costs to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, after laying the foundation, he cannot complete it and all laugh at him, saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.”

Or, what king about to go to war with another king, does not first sit down and think whether he is able, with ten thousand men, to meet with a king having twenty thousand? Otherwise, while he is still far off, he will send a delegation seeking the conditions of peace.

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

  1. Jesus says that both the farmer and the king must “sit down”. Their decision is momentous and they cannot rush in.
  2. Their present situation (outside of the Kingdom) is not good. However, their second state (abandoning discipleship) would be even worse.
  3. Jesus invites all to discipleship. He wants a mature decision that sees the costs.
  4. The farmer has to find more resources. The king must find more men.
  5. The disciples’ commitment must be complete, total, creative and persevering.
  6. More than any other, this parable unveils the cost and sacrifice of discipleship.

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

  1. Lord, I have been a superficial disciple, unaware of what is involved.
  2. Let me sit down and consider the depth of my commitment.
  3. No longer will I leave my spiritual tasks unfinished and my spiritual wars unfought.
  4. I will rise up from my table of prayer with renewed commitment.
  5. You will join me and say, “Let us begin again.”

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

  1. I will see clearly my failures in being a disciple.
  2. I will ask for unbounded hope that I can complete the tasks.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The farmer and the king had to sit down.

OCTOBER 26, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY – WEDNESDAY – THE CLOSED DOOR

(Luke 13:24-30)

Prayer – O Jesus, you are my Lord and Saviour

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

By this parable, Jesus confronts his hearers. They understand, all too well, what He means. He comes to their villages, preaches in their streets and eats with them. Yet, they do not accept his claims and cannot enter the Kingdom. Others, who never enjoyed the privilege of being near Jesus, will come from afar and enter the kingdom.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

A man asked Jesus, “Are there few who will be saved?” In response, Jesus said, “Strive to enter by the narrow gate. Many will seek to enter, but will not be able.”

When the master enters his house, he closes the door. Those outside knock at the door saying, “Lord, open for us.” The Master responds, “I do not know you nor where you are from.” They will say “We ate and drank with you. You taught in our streets.” He will repeat, “I do not know you or where you are from. Depart from me, you workers of evil.”

There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God but you are thrown out. They will come from East and West, North and South and sit down in the Kingdom of God. The last shall be first and the first will be last.

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

  1. The man has a serious question about the number to be saved.
  2. Jesus responds that the gate is narrow and many will not be able to enter the Kingdom (an answer which all need to hear).
  3. In fact, once the door is closed, no one can enter.
  4. The people who were locked out had no significant relationship to the master.
  5. They only “ate and drank” with Jesus and heard him “preach in their streets.”
  6. They are strangers. The master doesn’t even know where they are from.
  7. The consequences are stark. They are locked out while many from distant lands are inside.
  8. They missed what they could have had so easily.

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

  1. O Jesus, I so much want to be saved.
  2. Jesus, I will enter while the door is still open.
  3. I will not stay outside, enjoying my false freedoms.
  4. Jesus, my superficial religious practices are not enough.
  5. Conform me to your image. Then, you will know me.
  6. Your voice breaks through my deafness. Your light enters my darkness. You say,

“Come and know me.”

  1. Someday, someday, Jesus, I will dine with you forever.

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

  1. I will never take my salvation for granted.
  2. I will accept these warnings. They are needed helps for my salvation.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

They will come from East and West and North and South and sit down in the Kingdom.

OCTOBER 19, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-NINE – WEDNESDAY – THE TWO SERVANTS

(Luke 12:41 – 48)

Prayer – O Jesus, make me your faithful servant.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus teaching Peter and the others.)

Context:

This parable deals with handling responsibility, with being a good servant, whether in the Church or in daily life. The owner is extremely fair and generous but he demands high standards. Jesus describes two kinds of servants, faithful and unfaithful.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Peter said, “Lord, does this teaching refer to us or to all?” The Lord said, “Whom do you think is the faithful and far sighted servant whom the Lord sets over his household to dispense their ration of grain in due time? Blessed is that servant whom, when the Lord comes, he shall find busy. He will put him in charge of all his property.

However, if that servant says in his heart, ‘My Lord is delayed in coming’ and he begins to beat the housemen and the servant girls, to eat and to drink and get drunk, will not the Lord come on a day which he does not expect and at an unknown hour. He will punish him severely and count him among the untrustworthy.

When much has been given to a man, much will be expected. More will be asked of a man to whom more has been entrusted.”

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

  1. Throughout the parable, the Lord of the house is more than fair.       He balances both the reward and the punishment.
  2. Jesus wants the disciples’ hearts. They must care for his Church.
  3. He will bless them beyond their wildest imagination, putting them in charge of everything.
  4. Sometimes, the servant believes the delay is too long. He can enjoy selfish behavior.
  5. The owner suddenly returns. The actions are revealed. The servant is banished.
  6. Those servants who have received much will be held to a higher standard. More will be asked of them and their reward will be greater.

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

  1. O Jesus, how fair you are. More than fair, you are merciful and generous.
  2. Entrust me with your tasks. Where do you want me to serve?
  3. Who else will reward me as you do? Who else can fulfill all my desires? Who else can give me eternal life?
  4. Do not let me take advantage of your patience. Even if you delay, I will watch.
  5. O Lord, how surprisingly you will return. I will be ready, a faithful servant.
  6. Jesus, you expect much. I will give you everything.

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

  1. I will examine my talents. Which ones am I not using for the Lord?
  2. I will think of the joy of being with Jesus in the heavenly banquet.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Blessed is that servant whom the Lord finds busy when he comes.

OCTOBER 12, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-EIGHT – WEDNESDAY – SO MANY WOES

(Luke 11:42-46)

Prayer – O Jesus, cleanse me so you cannot condemn me.

Imagination – (Imagine Jesus at table with the Pharisees and lawyers.)

Context:

Jesus is familiar with the Pharisees’ teaching. They are confused. They put the wrong obligations first, and cause many religious problems. Jesus must clear away all this confusion.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Woe to you, Pharisees because you tithe on mint and rue and every herb, yet overlook the justice and love of God. You should do these things, but not overlook the other.

Woe to you Pharisees. You love the best seats at the synagogue and greetings in the marketplaces.           Woe to you! You are like hidden tombs over which men walk unaware.

In reply, a lawyer said, “Teacher, in speaking this way, you insult us, too”. Jesus answered, “Woe to you lawyers, also! You lay impossible burdens on men but will not lift a finger to lighten them.”

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

  1. Mint, rue, and herbs were so small that they should have been overlooked. Yet, they are the focus of religious activity.
  2. Justice to others and love for God are the important issues. These should take center stage.
  3. The Pharisees want to be recognized as holy and be acclaimed by others.
  4. However, their hearts are far from God. It is all show!
  5. People just trample such teaching under their feet and religion comes into disrepute.
  6. Many Pharisees enjoy burdening the consciences of others.
  7. Jesus comes to remove burdens so we can live like God’s children. This is freedom.

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

  1. O Jesus, loving you with all my heart – that is my goal.
  2. Jesus, give me a just and forgiving heart.
  3. Lord, I will hide my piety from the eyes of others and even from my own eyes.
  4. O Jesus, you do not burden me. Your laws set me free.
  5. Jesus, I will lift burdens from others, and help them to gain eternal life.

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

  1. I will be just to everyone I meet today.
  2. I will humble myself in my own eyes.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

You overlook justice and the love of God.

OCTOBER 5, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-SEVEN – WEDNESDAY – TEACH US TO PRAY

(Luke 11:1-4)

Prayer – O Lord, engrave these petitions in my heart.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples to pray)

Context:

Understanding the Our Father will surprise you. It is a heavenly prayer which opens our eyes to Jesus’ Second Coming and prepares us for the end of the world. Luke’s version is somewhat shorter than what is usually said. (Matthew’s version).

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

While Jesus was praying in a certain place, a disciple asked him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” Jesus said to them, “When you pray say:

Father, hallowed be your name.

Your Kingdom come

Give us this day our daily bread

Forgive us our sins because we also forgive all who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation”

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

  1. Jesus made us God’s children in Baptism. Now, we can call God “Father”.
  2. Now God’s holiness is manifested in Jesus’ name. So every tongue must confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father.
  3. “Your Kingdom come” refers to the final day, the completion of history. Being prepared for that day must be our goal.
  4. “Daily bread” has two meanings, the earthly bread we need each day and Holy Communion, the bread that prepares us for Jesus’ Second Coming.
  5. Luke’s prayer claims that the community always forgives others. What an important ideal!
  6. The temptation always means the final trial, when Satan will try to snatch our heavenly crown from us at the last minute.

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

  1. O Father, I am forever and ever your child. Let your name be always on my lips.
  2. O Jesus, in your name I glorify the Father.
  3. Come, Lord Jesus! That is the Bible’s final prayer.
  4. Provide my daily bread, O Lord.
  5. Make me hunger for the Eucharist.
  6. Jesus, guard me in the final testing.
  7. O Mary, be with me in my final hours.

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

  1. I will repeat these five petitions during the day.
  2. I will cherish my Baptism, which made me a child of God.

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

SEPTEMBER 28, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-SIX – WEDNESDAY – THREE WOULD BE DISCIPLES

(Luke 9:57-62)

Prayer – Come, Holy Spirit. Jesus calls and I must not delay.

Imagination: – (Picture Jesus with the disciples and the crowd.)

Context:

Journeying to Jerusalem seems glamorous. To set aside these false ideas, Luke places three sayings of Jesus at the very start of the journey. Discipleship is a difficult path, able to be walked only by a total dedication.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

As Jesus journeyed toward Jerusalem, a man cried out, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus said to him, “The foxes have dens. The birds of the air have nests. But the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Jesus said to another man, “Follow me.” He replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their dead. You go and preach the Kingdom of God.”

Another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me go home and say farewell to my family.” Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back, is ready for the Kingdom of God.”

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

  1. Jesus is on a journey. He has no time to waste. All three men must decide quickly.
  2. Jesus demands a sacrifice of material comforts that is needed to preach the Kingdom.
  3. “Burying the dead” means waiting years until the person dies. Preaching the Kingdom will not wait. People must hear the news immediately.
  4. A person who plows a field and looks back will do a poor job. The Kingdom requires our total attention.
  5. O child of God, Jesus is calling you and you are finding multiple excuses. Cut the strings. Jesus’ call is the opportunity of your lifetime.
  6. Do not forget. He is on a journey and moving quickly – like the days of your life which slip by so unnoticed.

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

  1. Jesus, please say those words to me, “Come, follow me.”
  2. Place within me the fire of your Kingdom. Consume all my other desires.
  3. O Jesus, I have found a love which is greater than family ties.
  4. Jesus, if I look back, I will hesitate. If I hesitate, I will doubt. If I doubt, I will not follow you. If I do not follow you, I will lose everything.
  5. O Jesus, your Kingdom is at hand and your call is clear. You await my decision.

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

  1. I will not fear the radical demands of Jesus’ Kingdom.
  2. I will cherish those words, “Come, follow me.”

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Jesus was journeying to Jerusalem when he called three men to follow him.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-FIVE – WEDNESDAY – SENT BY JESUS

(Luke 9:1-6)

Prayer – O Holy Spirit, anoint me with your powers.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus sending forth his 12 apostles)

Context:

This text looks forward to the Church, when the Holy Spirit will send the apostles to the whole world. Jesus’ words reflect what actually happened. The small Church communities sent forth preachers to the whole world.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Jesus called the twelve apostles together and gave them power and authority to overcome all demons and to heal diseases. He sent them forth to proclaim the reign of God and to heal the afflicted. He told them, “Take nothing for your journey, not staff, or traveling bag. Take no food and no money. No one is to have two coats.”

Stay at whatever house you enter and live there. Do not depart from it. Whoever will not receive you, when you leave that city, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.

So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the good news everywhere and curing diseases.

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

  1. Jesus trusted that these apostles would tell the whole world. How important is the preacher of the word!
  2. The apostles only proclaim that the Kingdom is at hand. Even they do not yet understand this Kingdom.
  3. However, they can heal and cast out demons to show the power of this Kingdom.
  4. Because they preach a heavenly Kingdom, they must set aside earthly comforts.
  5. Any village which rejects them receives no blessing. Even the dust will not enter the Kingdom.
  6. The apostles start immediately. They set out. The Kingdom is important and people must hear about it.

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

  1. O Jesus, you entrust this task to me. You believe in me. You depend on me.
  2. Your Kingdom is powerful, healing people and setting them free.
  3. Unleash your powers in our midst.
  4. O Jesus, I will proclaim the Kingdom is at hand.
  5. I will set aside earthly comforts because your Kingdom deserves my whole heart.
  6. I will set out, Jesus. I will not wait. Tomorrow is too late. Your Kingdom is coming.

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

  1. I will try to listen to God. What does he want me to do?
  2. In Jesus’ name, I will pray that people be cured and set free.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

He sent them forth to proclaim the Kingdom and to heal.

SEPTEMBER 14, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-FOUR – WEDNESDAY – THE CHILDREN IN THE MARKETPLACE

(Luke 7:31-35)

Prayer – O Jesus, prepare me for the moment when you come to me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples)

Context:

Besides proclaiming salvation, the parables warn us of judgment and call us to repentance. This parable has the cutting edge of urgency.

This parable shows hostility toward Jesus. Because the children cannot agree, their quarrels end their playtime. The cause is laziness. Some children expect others to do the strenuous part of dancing while they just sit around playing instruments.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplace, complaining against other children. “We have piped you a tune and you have not danced. We have sung a sorrowful song and you have not mourned.”

John came fasting and you said, “He has a devil.” The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said, “Behold, a glutton and a wine-drinker, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Wisdom is vindicated by her children.

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

  1. God sends his messengers, using various personalities to appeal to everyone.
  2. The people are lazy and do not respond. Instead, they criticize both John and Jesus.
  3. Opportunities to accept the Kingdom are lost, and time runs out.
  4. The decisive moment arrives, but no one is prepared.
  5. Jesus is God’s final messenger. The Father has sent his only Son.

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

  1. How many opportunities will you give me, O Lord?
  2. Speak now and give me a listening heart.
  3. Jesus, the time is short. Let me respond right now.
  4. I will repent, change my life and walk a new path.
  5. Do not let me ruin my life.
  6. Send your messengers. I will listen

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

  1. I believe God will send his messengers today. I will respond.
  2. I will seek the fruits of repentance.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Children complaining in the marketplace about God’s anointed messengers.

SEPTEMBER 7, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-THREE – WEDNESDAY – BLESSINGS AND WOES

(Luke 6:20-26)

Prayer – O Jesus, let me seek your ever-abundant blessings.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.)

Context:

To understand the gospels, look carefully at the audience. When Jesus teaches the crowds, he is inviting them to join his Kingdom. When Jesus teaches his disciples, he explains the mysteries and duties of the Kingdom. Here, he talks of the duties and blessings of the Kingdom, or, the opposite, the evils for not choosing the Kingdom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Jesus raised his eyes to his disciples and said:

Blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God.

Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled.

Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

Blessed shall you be when men shall hate you, and ostracize you and insult you and call you evil for the sake of the Son of Man. On the day they do so, rejoice and exult, for your reward shall be great in heaven. Thus it was that your fathers treated the prophets.

But woe to you rich, for your consolation is now.

Woe to you who are filled, for you shall hunger.

Woe to you who now laugh, for you shall mourn.

Woe to you when all speak well of you. Their fathers treated the false prophets in just that way.

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

  1. Notice the contrast between the present and the future. When the Kingdom comes everything is reversed.
  2. The poor become rich. The hungry are filled. The sorrowful laugh and the persecuted rejoice.
  3. The disciples will experience poverty, hunger, difficulties and criticism. They must see this as a road to the Kingdom’s blessings.
  4. Some disciples will reject Jesus and choose riches, comforts, merriment and praise. Jesus warns that these earthly favors will pass away.
  5. Jesus promises what is future. The disciples must believe and persevere.
  6. Others must be shaken out of their comforts. Otherwise, they will not find the Kingdom.

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

  1. Jesus, help me to sacrifice the present to gain a future glory.
  2. When I experience poverty I will think of the riches you have for me.
  3. When I experience hunger, I will think of my place at the heavenly banquet.
  4. When I weep because of injustice, I will think of the joy of being with you forever.
  5. When I am criticized because of you, I will think of your praise and your words, “Come into my Kingdom.”
  6. Jesus, never let me disappoint you.
  7. May I never hear a rebuke from your lips.

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

  1. I will make little sacrifices for Jesus today.
  2. I will think often of my heavenly reward. This will delight Jesus.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Your reward shall be great in heaven.

AUGUST 31, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-TWO – WEDNESDAY – HEALING, PRAYING, AND TRAVELING

(Luke 4:38-44)

Prayer: O Jesus, use your powers for me. Then, I will follow you wherever you go.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus healing the sick.)

Context:

This text manifests Jesus’ great powers but it also shows his desire to avoid the limelight and to preach in other towns to complete his mission. The crowds want Jesus to stay with them.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus left the synagogue he came to Peter’s house. His mother-in-law had a high fever and they interceded for her. Standing over her he commanded the fever and it left her. Rising immediately, she waited on them.

When the sun went down, all who had people sick with a variety of diseases brought them to Jesus. He laid his hands and healed all of them. The devils departed from many. They cried out, “You are the Son of God.” Jesus rebuked them and did not allow them to speak, for they knew he was the Messiah.

In the morning he went to a desert place but the crowds searched and found him, asking him not to depart from them. He said, “I must preach the Kingdom of God to other cities. This is why I am sent. And he preached in the synagogue of Galilee.

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

  1. The disciples have caught on. Jesus can heal. So they plead with him to heal Simon’s mother-in-law.
  2. Jesus stands over her in complete authority and rebukes the fever, as if the disease were an evil spirit which has no right to possess the woman.
  3. Having heard the stories of Jesus, the crowds have great faith. At sundown, (after returning from work), they bring the sick.
  4. Jesus’ power heals all and drives out the evil spirits. His victory is complete and total.
  5. The crowd wants these blessings to continue, but Jesus realizes that he must go to all the synagogues of Galilee.

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

  1. O Jesus, remove the fever of my disordered passions.
  2. In your authority, cast from me every evil. I will bring you all of my anxieties.
  3. I know these stories of your powers. Like the crowds, I will come to you with my weaknesses.
  4. Make your victory complete. Touch my whole life. Touch my body and soul, my past and present.
  5. The Father sent you to the whole world. You go everywhere. You even come to me.

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

  1. I will have total faith in Jesus’ love for me.
  2. I will hold nothing back from his touch.

Thought for today: (To recall your meditation)

I must preach the Kingdom of God to other cities.

AUGUST 24, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-ONE – WEDNESDAY – THE CULTURAL EVIL

(Matthew 23:29-36)

Prayer: O Jesus, free me from my blindness. Let me see the truth.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus confronting his contemporaries.)

Context:

This is the longest of seven woes pronounced by Jesus. He prophesies his own death and the persecution of the Early Church.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the just. You say, “Had we lived in our ancestors’ time, we would not have shed the prophets’ blood.” You witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. You fill up what your ancestors measured out.

You generation of vipers, how will you flee from the judgment of hell? I send you prophets and wise men and scribes. Some you put to death and crucify. Others you scourge in your synagogues. Others you persecute from city to city.

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

  1. Jesus challenges the present generation which claimed they were more enlightened than their ancestors.
  2. In reality, nothing had changed. They and their ancestors have the same hatred for God’s messengers.
  3. The killing will continue. Both Jesus and all who preach his name will suffer.
  4. They are a blind, perverse generation, totally unaware of their evil culture.
  5. Jesus would save them from this evil, but they reject him.

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

  1. O Jesus, I share in the guilt of my culture and participate in its sins.
  2. Only you can save me. Open my eyes!
  3. Only you point out a different road and say, “Follow me.”
  4. I am coming, Jesus. I will flee the coming judgment.
  5. Snatch me out of the pervasive evil. You are my Saviour.

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

  1. I will bring a repentant heart.
  2. I will accept radical changes in my attitudes.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

You witness against yourselves. You fill up the evil of your ancestors.

AUGUST 17, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY – WEDNESDAY – THE GOOD EMPLOYER

(Matthew 20:1-16)

Prayer: O Jesus, You are a generous employer. Let me serve you faithfully.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples.)

Context:

This parable is about the Kingdom. As the day goes on, the men grow discouraged. They stop seeking work and “sit around idle.” The owner’s constant going to the marketplace shows the importance of the Kingdom.

Paying the last workers first, reveals the parable’s meaning – the unbelievable generosity of God. The important sentence is, “Are you envious because I am generous?” (20:15) Notice that all the workers, first and last, are present at the final scene. This is the final Judgment when the undeserving (but repentant) people are admitted to the kingdom. The parable reveals how God acts.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

The kingdom of heaven is like an owner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. After agreeing upon the daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. He went out at the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did likewise. At the eleventh hour, he found others. “Why are you standing idle?” They said, “No one has hired us.” He said, “You also, go into my vineyard.”

When evening came he told the steward to call the workers and pay them, beginning with the last ones. These received a full day’s wages. The first also received a day’s wages but felt they should receive more. So, they murmured against the owner, saying that they had suffered the heat of the day.

The owner replied, “Friend, I do you no wrong because I agreed on a day’s wages. Cannot I give to the last what I give to you? Or, are you jealous because I am generous?”

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

  1. The owner continually goes to the marketplace. He wants everyone to have a chance to work in the vineyard.
  2. He surprises everyone by the generous gift of a full day’s pay.
  3. He has no interest in making a profit. The vineyard exists to bless the unemployed and helpless.
  4. Should not all rejoice that every worker had money for his family?
  5. This parable portrays Judgment Day, when all come before the Master of the Vineyard and each will realize how little they have worked.
  6. All the elect will hear Jesus’ words, “Enter into the Kingdom.”
  7. The parable reveals heaven. At the Final Judgment all will see the generosity of God.

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

  1. You search for me, Lord, all day and every day.
  2. In my youth, in my middle years and even in my final days, you say, “Go into my vineyard.”
  3. Jesus, why are you so zealous for me? What do you see in me that I do not see?
  4. You arrange everything for my salvation. Nothing is left to chance.
  5. At the end of my life, You will say, “You have done enough.” (when really I have done so little).
  6. O Jesus, you will reward me beyond all my expectations.
  7. “Who is like to you, O Lord?”
  8. You search for me because you want me to be with you.

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

  1. I will listen for God’s special words, “Go into my vineyard.”
  2. I will imitate God’s generosity, rewarding others beyond what I owe them.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Am I not free to be generous with my money?

AUGUST 10, 2016 – WEEK NINETEEN – WEDNESDAY – IMPORTANCE OF GATHERING

(Matthew 18:15-20)

Prayer: O Jesus, always join me with others so you will be in our midst.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus gathered with his disciples.)

Context:

Jesus has just spoken of the shepherd seeking out the wandering sheep. This sheep represents a disciple who has left the church and the Church must seek him out. In today’s text, the individual believer must also seek out anyone who has sinned and try to reconcile him. If unsuccessful, the Church must get involved. The final two verses stress the power of communal prayer and the real presence of Jesus in the Church assembly (two or three gathered).

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

If your brother offends you, go and point out his fault. This will be between you and him. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. If he does not listen, take one or two more, so that the word of two or three witnesses shall stand. If he does not listen, tell the Church. If he does not listen to the Church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.

I say to you. Whatever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven. Whatever you shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.

I say to you that if two or three of you join your voices about anything on earth, it shall be granted by my Father in heaven. Where two or three gather in my name, I am in their midst.

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

  1. Jesus wants his disciples gathered together. A lonely disciple will not persevere.
  2. If a disciple strays, another must go and point out his fault.
  3. If he listens, the disciple has regained his brother for the church.
  4. If the strayed disciple is unrepentant, the church must declare him an outsider, hoping that he sees and repents.
  5. The power of the church exists even in its smallest gathering (2 or 3).
  6. When gathered in Jesus’ name, these groups have all the powers of heaven.
  7. Even more, Jesus will be present in their midst.

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

  1. O Jesus, send me other disciples so I can be one with them.
  2. O Jesus, I will call back those who have lost interest.
  3. I will be like you, Jesus, a shepherd who seeks the strayed sheep.
  4. O Jesus, what powers you give us when we gather in your name
  5. I believe Jesus. Whatever I ask in your name will be given.
  6. You are with us. You abide in our midst. You stay. You bless us.
  7. Let me always gather with others. Do not let us scatter.

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

  1. I will commit myself to gather with others.
  2. I will try to seek out the strayed Catholic.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Where two or three gather, I am in their midst.