MARCH 23, 2016 – WEDNESDAY – HOLY WEEK – JESUS WASHES PETER’S FEET

(John 13:6-11)

(Note: The gospel for today is so similar to yesterday’s that the following scene from the Last Supper is used).

Prayer: Jesus, bathe me in your cleansing waters.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus washing Peter’s feet).

Context:

Peter is so special to Jesus that even in the washing of feet, there is a unique dialogue. The others accept this action (which a servant usually performs) without saying anything. Peter has two strong emotions – at first, refusing to be washed and then, enthusiastically asking to be totally washed.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing, you do not understand now but you will understand later.” Peter said, “Lord, you shall never wash my feet. “ Jesus answered, “If I do not wash you, you shall have no inheritance with me.” Peter said to him, “Lord, wash not only my feet, but my hands and my head.” Jesus said, “To be fully clean, you need only wash your feet. You are clean, but not all” (He knew who would betray him.)

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

  1. Peter resists this shift in his relationship to Jesus.   His feelings cannot adjust to Jesus being a servant.
  2. Jesus explains very little, saying only, “Later will you understand.”
  3. Peter’s resistance heightens. His questioning becomes a refusal.
  4. Jesus states the consequences “You will have no part with me.”
  5. Peter’s heart is in the right place. He would never want to lose his relationship to Jesus.
  6. Peter’s surrender is full – the feet, the hands, the head.       Like walking on the water.
  7. Peter hears those powerful words – “You are clean.”
  8. Jesus grows sad because “not all are clean.”

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

  1. O Lord, your goodness is too great for me.
  2. Your actions overwhelm me and your nearness causes me to fear.
  3. I run from you when I should just be still.
  4. I flee from you, but you chase after me.
  5. I put up walls but you go around them.
  6. I close doors, but you enter anyway.
  7. Bathe me, O Lord, from head to toe.
  8. Jesus, you say “You are clean” and my heart pounds.
  9. You say “not all are clean” and I see the mystery of your care for me.

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

  1. Cleansed once in Baptism, I will seek the second cleansing of confession.
  2. I will ponder the following – “I cannot understand why Jesus loves me and cleanses me.”

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

To be fully clean, you need only wash your soul.

MARCH 16, 2016 – WEEK FIVE OF LENT – WEDNESDAY – THE SON FREES YOU

(John 8:31-36)

Prayer: Jesus, set me free from the slavery of sin.

Imagination: Picture Jesus teaching in the Temple

Context: Jesus speaks to “the Jews who believed in him” (8:31). Although they believe, their faith is too limited. They consider Abraham greater than Jesus. They want to make Jesus part of the Jewish religion instead of its fullness.   Jesus stresses that he is not God’s servant but his Son.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to the Jews who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are descendents of Abraham and we have never been slaves to anyone. How can you say that you will set us free?”

Jesus answered, “Amen, Amen I say to you. Whoever commits sin is the slave of sin. A slave does not stay in the house forever but the son always remains. Therefore, if the son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.”

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

  1. These Jewish believers have limited faith and Jesus must challenge them.
  2. They still cling to Abraham and are not certain about Jesus.
  3. Abraham could not forgive sins or bestow eternal life.
  4. Without Jesus, they remain slaves and will be ejected from the Kingdom.
  5. By believing in Jesus, they themselves can become sons of God.
  6. They will have the right to live forever in God’s house.

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

  1. O Jesus, do I truly believe? Is my faith full and deep?
  2. To be God’s child, I must abide in your word and walk on your path.
  3. O Jesus, without you, I am a slave, a slave to sin and a slave to death.
  4. Change me, Jesus. Change me from slave to son.
  5. You call me to live forever in your Father’s house.

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

  1. I believe that Jesus is unique, the only Son of God.
  2. I will seek Jesus’ saving power in confession.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

If the Son frees you, you are free indeed.

MARCH 9, 2016 – WEEK FOUR OF LENT – WEDNESDAY – PART TWO – HONORING THE SON

(John 5:23-26)

Prayer: O Jesus, help me to value eternal life.

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

Context: Jesus continues to defend his ministry as He focuses on God’s power to judge, to raise from the dead and to grant eternal life. The Father, (who obviously has these powers) has given them to Jesus, who is “The Son of Man”, (a title of great authority.)

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Whoever does not honor the Son, does not honor the Father who sent him. Amen, Amen, I say to you. Whoever hears my word and believes in him who sent me, has eternal life and will not come to condemnation. He has passed from death to life. Amen, Amen I say to you. The hour is coming and is already here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God. Those who hear, shall live.

Just as the Father has life in himself, so he has given to the Son the possession of life in himself. And he gave him power to exercise judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed. The hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out. Those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life. Those who have done evil deeds to the resurrection of condemnation.

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

  1. When Jesus says “Amen, Amen”, his teaching is very important.
  2. The stakes are very high – eternal life or eternal death.
  3. To enjoy eternal life, you must hear his voice and honor the Son.
  4. His voice is so powerful that even the dead hear it.
  5. Jesus has the power to judge all mankind and he wants you to share his glory.
  6. The decision is yours. You can rise to new life.

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

  1. O Jesus, Your words are so important.
  2. You alone, O Jesus, have full and everlasting life.
  3. Through you, I can rise from my grave.
  4. All life dwells in you. You are the Father’s new blessing.
  5. You will call me forth and give me eternal life.
  6. O Jesus, I make the choice.
  7. I choose you. I choose your glory and your life.

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

  1. I will seek a personal relationship with Jesus.
  2. For my eternal salvation, I will trust only Jesus.

 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The hour is coming and is already here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of Man.

MARCH 9, 2016 – WEEK FOUR OF LENT – WEDNESDAY- PART ONE – THE SON AND THE FATHER

(John 5-19-23)

Prayer: O Jesus, reveal the Father and Jesus to me.

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

Context: Jesus has just healed a man who lay ill for thirty-eight years. However, he healed him on the Sabbath, and “The Jews began to persecute Jesus” (Jn 5:16) and even tried to kill Jesus because He made “himself equal to God”. (5:18). Now, Jesus responds to their hostility.

Gospel text; (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said, “I say to you that a son cannot do anything by himself, but only what he sees his father doing. Whatever he does, the son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed.

Just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also the Son will give life to whomever he wishes. Nor does the Father judge anyone, but he gives all judgment to his Son, so they may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father who sent him.

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

  1. Jesus reveals the source of his powers and deeds.
  2. He does only what he sees the Father doing.
  3. The Father loves Jesus and shows him everything. Nothing is held back.
  4. As the Father gives more power, Jesus does greater works. This causes even more wonder.
  5. Only God can give life and judge the world. Jesus shares even in these divine powers.

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

  1. Jesus, through you, I share in the Father’s life.
  2. Reveal your mysteries. I can do nothing on my own.
  3. I am amazed and filled with wonder as I see you work in me.
  4. O Jesus, you imitated the Father. Let me imitate you.
  5. You have all power over life and death. I entrust my soul to you.
  6. Only you are the Lord of heaven and earth.

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

  1. I will ask Jesus to show me what to do.
  2. I will trust him for all I need, both in life and in death.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he does.

MARCH 2, 2016 – WEEK THREE OF LENT – WEDNESDAY – THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS

(Matthew 5:17-20)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Make me great in Jesus’ Kingdom.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples).

Context:

“Law and Prophets” means the whole Old Testament. Jesus wants his Church to retain these books and teach them to his disciples. At the same time, these books are not God’s final word or his greatest gift because Jesus “fulfills” these laws and prophetic words.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to his disciples, “Do not think that I have come to destroy the law or the prophets. I have not come to destroy, but to fulfill. Amen I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter, not even the smallest part of the letter will pass away, until all is fulfilled.

Whoever shall break one of these least commandments and teach others to do so, will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever shall keep them and teach others to do so, shall be called great in the Kingdom of heaven.

I tell you that unless your goodness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the Kingdom of heaven.

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

  1. After making us God’s children, Jesus describes how we must live.
  2. First, disciples must keep God’s word. Secondly, they must teach others to live by God’s word.
  3. Then, they will be great in the Kingdom. They will be both doers and
  4. Disciples must go beyond the limited goodness of the scribes and Pharisees.
  5. These tasks are heavy but the reward is great. Disciples will live forever in the Kingdom of Heaven.

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

  1. Jesus, you have made me a child of the Father.
  2. Train me in your word, O Lord.
  3. O Jesus, plant your truth in my heart.
  4. Give me a zeal to instruct others in your word.
  5. May your power make me holy.
  6. You call me to be great in the Kingdom. I cherish your invitation.

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

  1. I will examine where I do not keep God’s law.
  2. I will read the Old Testament to see God’s words to Israel.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Whoever keeps these commandments and teaches others will be great in the Kingdom.

FEBRUARY 24, 2016 – WEEK TWO OF LENT – WEDNESDAY – AMBITIOUS JAMES AND JOHN

(Matthew 20:17-28)

Prayer: Come Holy Spirit. Reveal the glory you have prepared.

Imagination: (Picture James and John seeking favors from Jesus.)

Context:

Jesus has just told the apostles that he would come in glory. With great ambition, James and John want that glory. Before granting any glory, Jesus must enter into his Messianic glory by drinking the cup. This cup means both his suffering and the Eucharistic cup celebrated in Mark’s Church.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The mother of James and John came to Jesus, accompanied by her sons. Jesus asked “What is it that you want?” She answered, “Promise me that these sons of mine will sit, one on your right hand and the other on your left hand in your Kingdom.” Jesus replied, “You do not know what you are seeking. Can you drink of the chalice that I will drink?” They said, “We can.” Jesus said, “You shall indeed drink of the chalice that I drink of. However, to sit on my right hand or my left hand, is not mine to give you. It is for those for whom it has been reserved by my Father.”

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

  1. These apostles have no idea of the costs of the Kingdom’s glory.
  2. Jesus tells them that they seek what they do not understand.
  3. Even with this warning, they glibly say that they can drink the chalice.
  4. Jesus sees the future. After many failures, they will drink the chalice and will be martyred.
  5. The highest glory, however, is reserved for others.
  6. Such is the Kingdom! God has already prepared each one’s place and his decisions are beyond our comprehension.

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

  1. O Jesus, enlighten me about the greatness of your Kingdom.
  2. Pull me into the great mystery of your will.
  3. Help me to drink your chalice.
  4. O Jesus, You have prepared my place in glory.
  5. O Jesus, Your only desire is to share your glory with me.
  6. You have already made me so many promises.

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

  1. I will find time for mental prayer so God can reveal the Kingdom to me.
  2. I will cherish God’s will, both on earth and in heavenly glory.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The Father has already decided my place in heavenly glory.

FEBRUARY 17, 2016 – WEEK ONE OF LENT – WEDNESDAY – A GREATER THAN JONAH OR SOLOMON

(Luke 11:29-32)

Prayer – O Lord, I seek no sign or wonder. I seek only you.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus speaking to the crowds.)

Context:

Although Jesus’ enemies asked for a sign, Jesus addresses his teaching to the crowds. He cites two Old Testament examples of foreigners having a change of heart. When Jonah preached in Nineveh (a perennial enemy of Israel) the people repented. When the Queen of Ethiopia came to see Solomon, she was totally impressed with his wisdom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to the crowd, “This is a wicked generation because it looks for a sign. No sign shall be given except the sign of Jonah, the prophet. As Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so shall the Son of Man be to this generation.

The Queen of the South shall rise in judgment upon the men of this generation and shall condemn them because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

At the judgment, the citizens of Nineveh will rise along with this generation and shall condemn it. At the preaching of Jonah they did penance, but you have a greater than Jonah here.”

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

  1. People want signs to satisfy their intellect, when really they should be surrendering their heart.
  2. A sign does not get people to repent. It only satisfies curiosity.
  3. Jesus gives the whole world the greatest sign, his rising from the dead.
  4. The Queen believed just by hearing Solomon speak. What is Solomon compared with Jesus?
  5. The hated Ninevites repented when Jonah spoke. Who is Jonah compared to Jesus?
  6. Every person in history will come before Jesus in judgment.
  7. On that day, the Queen and the Ninevites will condemn those who did not repent.

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

  1. Jesus, give me no sign. Just give me yourself.
  2. You are risen from the dead and I will rise with you. Alleluia!
  3. Change my heart, Jesus. Turn me totally to Your way of life.
  4. They repented when Jonah preached. I will repent at your word.
  5. Send me your Holy Spirit of repentance. All can be changed.
  6. When I come to you after my death, let me be your friend.

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

  1. I will think today about the miracle of Jesus’ rising.
  2. I will ponder Jesus’ claim that he is greater than all other teachers.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

A greater than Jonah or Solomon is here.

FEBRUARY 3, 2016 – WEEK FOUR – WEDNESDAY – REJECTED BY HIS OWN PEOPLE

(Mark 6:1-6)

Prayer – O Jesus, I honor you as the true prophet who has come into the world.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in the synagogue at Nazareth)

Context:

Jesus returns to Nazareth, accompanied by his disciples. After his teaching, the crowd asks itself three questions which summarize Mark’s gospel. Jesus has shown authority, wisdom and healing powers. However, the whole atmosphere of the synagogue is disbelief. The result is a foregone conclusion. Jesus can heal only a few who have faith.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus came to his own town with his disciples. On a sabbath, he entered the synagogue and began to teach. Many listened in admiration, saying, “How did he learn all these things? Where did he get this wisdom? By what power can he do these works? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Jude and Simon? Are not his sisters with us. They found him too much for them.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is without honor only in his native place, in his own house and among his own relatives. He could work no miracle there. He only cured a few people by laying hands on them.

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

  1. In his return to Nazareth, Jesus has much greater stature. He enjoys a reputation and has a large group of disciples.
  2. He acts at Nazareth exactly as he did in the other towns.       He teaches about the power of God.
  3. The reaction here is different. There is no awe or wonder or pressing in to touch his garment.
  4. Jesus confronts this response. Hometown people often refuse to believe the greatness of someone they know so well.
  5. Jesus is deeply disappointed. He cannot help the very people he grew up with.
  6. Nazareth loses its blessings. They are deprived of divine miracles. Even more important, they have no faith in Jesus, their native son.

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

  1. Jesus, you are known to the whole world. Your believers live in every country. This is a great sign to me.
  2. You offer your powers to everyone. You will bless all who believe.
  3. Jesus, you want to bless me. Your only disappointment is when I do not believe.
  4. Fill me with awe and wonder. Let me press in like the believing woman.
  5. How many blessings will come from you today! Let me gather them up. Every one is important.

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

  1. I will see every event this day in the light of faith.
  2. I will ask for blessings all day long.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

He could work no miracle there.

JANUARY 27, 2016 – WEEK THREE – WEDNESDAY – PART ONE – THE POWERFUL SEED

(Mark 4:1-9)

Prayer – O Jesus, let the seed of your word flourish within me.

Imagination (Picture Jesus surrounded by the crowd).

Context:

Mark’s gospel has very few parables and most deal with seeds (an image of the Kingdom). Parables are central to Jesus’ teaching and express the themes that are closest to his heart. This text is a parable of hope. Jesus overcomes the disappointment of his disciples, who see many not receiving the Kingdom. Jesus describes Palestinian farming, where the seed is thrown everywhere because the plowing takes place later.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Because a large crowd gathered, Jesus got in a boat to teach them, as they stood on the shore. He taught them in parables. “Listen now, the sower went out to sow. Some seed fell by the wayside and the birds of the air ate them. Other seed fell on stony ground where there was not much soil. It grew quickly but had no deep soil. When the sun rose, it was scorched and withered away because it had no roots.

Some seed fell among thorns. The thorns grew and choked it and there was no yield of grain.   Some seed fell on good ground. This seed gave fruit that yielded thirty, sixty or a hundredfold. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.

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

  1. The seed is God’s word containing the life of the Kingdom.
  2. God’s word is perfect. All the seeds are equal, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power.
  3. Jesus preaches to all, and his words enter everyone’s ears. They all hear and receive.
  4. Some hearts are like rocks, or superficial soil or thorns. Seeds in those hearts produce no harvest.
  5. Surprisingly, these failures are not important. The farmer has a gigantic harvest.
  6. The seed is so powerful that when it finds some good soil, it produces an unimaginable harvest.

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

  1. O Jesus, plant your Kingdom in my heart.
  2. Your Kingdom contains every power needed to sanctify me.
  3. You preach to all. You do not hold back your word. I can receive it whenever I wish.
  4. O Jesus, look at my heart. It is filled with rocks, and with thorns and is so superficial.
  5. Jesus, part of my heart is good ground. Pour out your seed and the harvest will be abundant.
  6. O Jesus, let us rejoice together in a gigantic harvest.

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

  1. I will seek God’s word in the gospels.
  2. When I hear Jesus’ word, I will receive it with a generous spirit.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Whoever has ears to hear. Let him listen.

JANUARY 27, 2016 – WEEK THREE – WEDNESDAY – PART TWO – THE DIFFERENT RESPONSES

(Mark 4:10-20)

Prayer – O Jesus, let my heart receive your word.

Imagination- (Picture Jesus teaching the crowds).

Context:

In this part, Jesus explains the parable and a shift takes place. The original parable highlighted the great power of the seed. This explanation highlights the way each person receives the seed.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When they were alone, the disciples asked about the parables. Jesus said, “You are given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God. To the outsiders, all is given in parables so they will look intently but not see, listen carefully but not understand, lest they be converted and their sins forgiven.             He said, “The seed is the word. Those by the wayside are the ones who, as soon as they hear, Satan comes and takes away what was sown.

Those on rocky ground are people who hear the word and immediately receive it with joy, but they have no root and last only a short time. When trials and persecutions arise because of the word, they falter. Those sown among thorns are those who hear the word but the cares of the world, the attractions of riches and their desires for things choke the word and make it fruitless. Those sown on good ground are those who hear the word, take it to heart and yield fruit, thirty, sixty, a hundredfold.

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

  1. Jesus’ parables appeal to the heart. If the person’s heart is right, he will understand the meaning. If his heart is not right, he will remain in darkness.
  2. Some believers do not protect the seed. They do not treasure it. Satan, like a bird in the sky, can easily steal it away.
  3. Some believers do not allow the seed to claim their heart. They are superficial and easily surrender their faith, as if it is of no value.
  4. Some believers mix the seed with their other desires, wishing to have both heaven and earth.
  5. Inevitably, worldly possessions and selfish desires claim their heart. What comes forth is choked.
  6. True believers treasure the seed because it is precious. They protect it so trials do not destroy. They remove other desires so the seed can grow.
  7. They rejoice in a super-abundant harvest.

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

  1. Jesus, I must give you my heart. Then, I will understand your parables.
  2. O Jesus, I treasure your word. Hide it deep within. I do not want it stolen.
  3. O Jesus, place your friendship at the deepest part of my being.
  4. Let your word go deep into my heart so a harvest comes forth from me.
  5. Remove all my selfish and worldly desires.
  6. O Lord, only Your word contains the seed of eternal life. It alone must claim my heart.

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

  1. I will read the gospels every day.
  2. In total generosity, I will open my heart to the Kingdom.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

To you are given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom.

JANUARY 20, 2016 – WEEK TWO – WEDNESDAY – THE MAN WITH THE WITHERED HAND

(Mark 3:1-6)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Give me faith in Jesus’ powers.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus healing the man with the withered hand.)

Context:

For a while, Jesus continues his ministry within the synagogue. Unfortunately, this great healing of a withered hand is overshadowed by a controversy. This leads to the pronouncement that “doing good” and “saving life” is more important than Sabbath laws.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus again entered the synagogue and there was a man with a withered hand. His enemies watched him to see if Jesus would heal on the Sabbath, so they might accuse him.

Jesus said to the man with the withered hand, “Stand up here.” Then he said to his enemies, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath or to do evil? To save life or to destroy it?” They did not respond.

Looking at them, he was filled with anger. He grieved because of the blindness of their hearts. He said to the man, “Stretch forth your hand.” As he stretched it forth, the hand was restored. His enemies went out and consulted with others how they might destroy him.

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

  1. Time and again, Jesus returns to the synagogue, so it would receive the new powers of the Kingdom.
  2. Jesus did many healings on the Sabbath because that was when the people gathered in the synagogue.
  3. Some reject his powers. They do not understand the greatness of his gift or the importance of his invitation.
  4. Fortunately, this man does believe. He stands up and stretches out his hand. By Jesus’ power, he becomes a living sign of the Kingdom.
  5. Jesus’ enemies still resist. This healing only hardens their hearts. Even miracles will not change them.

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

  1. Come to my synagogue Jesus. Restore my life! Pour out your blessings.
  2. O Jesus, I need your powers and I need your Kingdom.
  3. Jesus, turn your eyes to my afflictions. Let me hear you say “Stand up here.”
  4. Jesus, I will stretch out the withered hand of my emotional needs, my sinful tendencies and my ruined life. You will make me whole.
  5. I will be a sign to others. By my changed life, I will be your witness.
  6. Jesus, do not let me harden my heart to your invitations.

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

  1. I will always trust that Jesus will come, will enter my heart, and will heal me.
  2. I will not allow my critics to sway my decisions.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

As he stretched forth the hand, it was healed.

JANUARY 13, 2016 – WEEK ONE – WEDNESDAY – MULTIPLE HEALINGS

(Mark 1:29-39)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me experience your healing power.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus surrounded by the sick seeking to be healed.)

Context:

Jesus’ powers are diverse. He heals many illnesses and casts out all kinds of demons. They do not shout out because Jesus quiets them. When his work is finished, He walks away from the acclaim, because much work lies ahead.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

When they left the synagogue, they came to the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law was sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her.

He took her by the hand and lifted her up. Immediately, the fever left her and she waited on them.           When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill and possessed with demons. All the city was gathered at the door. He healed many with various diseases and he cast out demons, not allowing them to speak because they knew who he was.

Rising early before dawn, he went out to a deserted place to pray. Simon, and those with him, followed Jesus. When they found him, they said, “Everybody is looking for you”. Jesus said, “Let us go to the neighboring towns and villages, that I may preach there, also. For this purpose I have come.” So, he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout Galilee.

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

  1. These apostles have quickly come to believe. They know that Jesus can heal the mother-in-law’s illness.
  2. The crowds also have great faith. At sunset (as soon as the workers are home), they bring everyone to Jesus.
  1. Jesus does not disappoint their simple faith. His power goes forth to all.
  2. Jesus’ pace is hectic. From the synagogue, to the house and to the crowds after sunset.
  3. The final scene is important. The disciples want to bask in the popularity. Jesus wants to go elsewhere. He is interested only in doing the Father’s work.
  4. Jesus senses an urgency. He must visit all the towns.

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

  1. O Jesus, lift my heart to a highest level of faith. Then, do your wonders in my soul.
  2. If the crowds, who hardly knew you, believe, why do I not have greater faith?
  3. O Jesus, fill me with zeal. Let me not rest until I complete your work.
  4. O Jesus, your power is always going forth. At every moment, You are always blessing me.
  5. I will bring you all my worries, my hopes and my burdens, laying them at your feet.
  6. You will complete your task. You will visit me and I will receive you.
  7. Come to my village, Jesus.

Resolutions: (Use one of these or make one of your own).

  1. I will have faith in Jesus’ powers.
  2. I will go to Jesus with my greatest difficulty.

Thought: (Recall this text during the day)

After sunset, they brought to Jesus all who were ill.

JANUARY 6, 2016 – WEDNESDAY AFTER EPIPHANY – WALKING ON THE WATER

(Mark 6:45-52)

Prayer: O Jesus, come to me when the waves threaten my boat.

Imagination: (Picture the disciples in the boat, seeing Jesus on the water.)

Context:

These early stories of Mark’s gospel reveal to the disciples who Jesus is. However, even as they see the miracles, they do not understand. For some reason, their minds are closed.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus told his disciples to get into the boat while he dismissed the crowds. Then he went up the mountain to pray. When it was late, the ship was in the middle of the sea and he was alone on the land. He saw them being tossed about while they were rowing, (for the wind was against them). About the fourth watch of the night, he came to them walking on the sea. He was going to pass them by. When they saw him walking on the water, they thought it was a ghost and they cried out because they all saw him and were troubled.

Immediately, he spoke to them saying, “Take courage and do not be afraid. It is I”. He got into the ship and the wind ceased. They were astonished. They did not understand the incident of the loaves because their hearts were hardened.

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

  1. Jesus brings about this situation by telling the disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee while he remains on land.
  2. Jesus’ supernatural powers are on full display.       By divine revelation, he knows they are struggling on the lake and where to find them.
  3. He is going to “pass them by.” This means “to come close enough to manifest himself”.
  4. By lack of faith, they mistake Jesus for a ghost.
  5. Fortunately, he identifies himself and overcomes their blindness.
  6. He gets into the boat and the wind dies down. (Another divine manifestation).
  7. In spite of all these signs, the disciples do not understand the mystery.
  8. They didn’t grasp the multiplication of loaves, either.

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

  1. O Jesus, you plan all the events of my life.
  2. Seeing my struggles, you come to me.
  3. You whisper in my heart, “Do not be afraid.       I am with you.”
  4. You “pass by”, close enough for me to experience your presence.
  5. O Jesus, you are not a ghost. You are my friend and companion.
  6. When you are in my boat, all is calm.

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

  1. I will obey Jesus and go wherever he wants.
  2. I will not miss his presence when he passes by today.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Take courage. It is I. Do not be afraid.

DECEMBER 16, 2015 – WEEK THREE OF ADVENT – WEDNESDAY – MESSENGERS FROM JOHN

(Luke 7:18-23)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me always believe in You.

Imagination: (Picture John’s disciples questioning Jesus.)

Context:

John preached repentance and confession of sins. He expected Jesus to be even more fiery in his preachings. Instead, Jesus eats with sinners and opens the Kingdom to tax collectors. John wonders whether Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus points to all the healings as proof of his divine call.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

John’s disciples came to him and told him all that was happening in Jesus’ ministry. John sent two of them to Jesus. When they arrived, they asked him, “Are you the one who is to come, or do we look for another?” At that very hour, Jesus was curing many people of their diseases, sufferings and evil spirits. He also gave sight to many who were blind.

Jesus said, “Go and tell John what you have heard and seen. The blind see. The lame walk. The lepers are made clean. The deaf hear. The dead rise. The poor have the gospel preached to them. Blessed is that person who finds no stumbling block in me.”

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

  1. John sits in prison, his life’s work almost completed.
  2. He is filled with doubts. Was he correct in pointing out Jesus as the Messiah?
  3. He has an important question. Are you the Messiah? Are you the one who is to come?
  4. Jesus presents all the evidence. He heals the blind, the lame and the lepers.   Even the dead rise and testify to Jesus.
  5. The gospel does not record the effect of these words upon John or his disciples.
  6. The story is meant to help us to believe.
  7. God will always do things God’s way. Do not be scandalized by God’s plan.

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

  1. Jesus, in my doubts, I will come to you.
  2. Jesus, You present all the evidence. I know you are the Messiah.
  3. You heal. You cure. You raise from the dead.
  4. I will be still. I will watch for you.
  5. When you finish your work in me, I will understand what you are doing.
  6. Do your work in me. I will await your touch.
  7. You are not a stumbling block. You are the way to the Father. I will not be scandalized.

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

  1. I will ponder the evidence in the gospels.
  2. I will believe in Jesus, no matter what happens.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Go and tell John all that you have seen and heard.

DECEMBER 9, 2015 – 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.

DECEMBER 2, 2015 – 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 25, 2015 – 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 18, 2015 – 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 11, 2015 – 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 4, 2015 – 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.