MARCH 19, 2016 – WEEK FIVE OF LENT – SATURDAY – PLOTTING TO KILL HIM

(John 11:45-57)

Prayer: Jesus, you died to save me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha.)

Context:

Jesus has just raised Lazarus from the dead. By giving Lazarus new life, Jesus seals his own death. Raising Lazarus leads the Sanhedrin to decide to kill Jesus, no matter what the repercussions.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Many of the Jews, who had come to visit Mary, saw what Jesus did and put their faith in him. Some, however, went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. The chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and asked, “What are we to do because this man works many miracles? If we let him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away our temple and our nation.”

One of them named Caiaphas, the high priest of that year, said, “You know nothing. Nor do you see that it is expedient that one man should die for the people, so the whole nation does not perish.” (He did not say this by himself but he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation, not only for the nation, but to gather together the dispersed children of God.)

From that day on, they were determined to put him to death. So, Jesus did not walk openly among them.

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

  1. After seeing this miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus, the people begin to believe.
  2. The chief priests and Pharisees agree that Jesus is performing miracles, and that the whole world will believe. Yet, they do not believe.
  3. Having opposed Jesus from the beginning, all of his miracles mean nothing. Their hearts are hardened.
  4. They fear that their temple and nation will be destroyed (exactly what happened because they did not believe).
  5. Caiaphas even prophesies that “one man should die for the good of the nation”. This is exactly what Jesus did.
  6. Their hatred limits Jesus. He cannot teach openly and the people are deprived of his words.

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

  1. O Jesus, I will always respond to you.
  2. Jesus, how can you perform miracles and people not believe?
  3. How much evil happens because people do not believe in your teachings!
  4. O Lord, how many blessings I lose when I do not believe.
  5. O Jesus, You have died for the whole world and for me.
  6. Jesus, do not hide yourself from me.

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

  1. I will open my heart to all the signs of God’s power.
  2. I will be aware of the destructive power in my own heart.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Many saw what Jesus did and placed their faith in him.

MARCH 18, 2016 – WEEK FIVE OF LENT – FRIDAY – MAKING HIMSELF GOD

(John 10:31-39)

Prayer: O Jesus, you are truly God and truly man.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching in the Temple)

Context:   The Jews understand clearly that Jesus is making himself equal to God. So they try to stone Jesus, claiming that he commits blasphemy. When Jesus preaches, the Jewish believes do not understand because they refuse to believe that he came from the Father.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The Jews picked up rocks to stone him. Jesus asked, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?” The Jews replied, “We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God.” Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”? If scripture calls those gods to whom the word of God came, can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, “I am the Son of God”?

“If I do not perform the Father’s works, then do not believe me. However, if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works. In this way, you may realize that the Father is in me and I am in the Father”. They tried again to arrest him, but he escaped from their power.

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

  1. The story begins and ends with attempted violence against Jesus. His preaching has no effect upon the listeners.
  2. Jesus constantly stresses the central point. His works show that he is one with the Father.
  3. Jesus reveals new truths. If all who receive God’s words are, in some sense, called gods, then he, who was consecrated by the Father, certainly has the right to call himself “Son of God.”
  4. Jesus presents an “either-or”. If he performs the Father’s works, they should believe. If he does not, then they do not need to believe.
  5. Jesus always points to the same truth. “The Father is in me and I am in the Father.”

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

  1. O Jesus, let your words change me.
  2. You always say to me, “Trust me, I am one with the Father”.
  3. How great are your works in me! How many changes come about when I open my heart to you.
  4. Thank you for making me a child of God.
  5. You are consecrated to the Father. Consecrate me, Jesus. I am Yours.

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

  1. I will ponder all that Jesus has done for me.
  2. I will meditate on Jesus making me a child of God.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The Father is in me and I am in the Father.

MARCH 17, 2016 – WEEK FIVE OF LENT – THURSDAY – GREATER THAN ABRAHAM

(John 8:51-59)

Prayer: Jesus, help me never to taste eternal death.

Imagination: Picture Jesus teaching in the Temple

Context:   Jesus makes even stronger claims. Not only is he greater than Abraham but Abraham “rejoiced to see my day.” On the natural level, this is impossible. Jesus is certainly less than fifty. However, he invites his listeners to the supernatural level where they will believe that Jesus always existed. He is I AM.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word he shall never see death. The Jews said, “Now we know you have a devil. Abraham is dead and the prophets are dead. Yet, you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word he will never taste death.’   Are you greater than Abraham who is dead? Or the prophets who are dead? Who do you make yourself out to be?”

Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is as nothing. It is the Father who glorifies me. Of him, you say, ‘He is our God.’ You have not known him, but I have known him. Abraham, your father, rejoiced to see my day. He saw it and was glad”

They said, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” Jesus said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.”

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

  1. The crowd turns hostile, claiming that Jesus has a devil.
  2. Jesus claims no glory for himself. All his glory comes from the Father.
  3. However, the crowd is ignorant of the Father (although he is their God) and cannot understand the Son.
  4. Only at the end does Jesus make his greatest revelation.
  5. When the crowd asks “Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus reveals his inmost secret.
  6. He is eternal. Before Abraham was even created, Jesus existed. “I AM”, he says.
  7. They shake their heads in disbelief.

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

  1. O Jesus, your works, your miracles, and your healings only hint at who you are.
  2. You existed forever and you freely chose to enter history. To help me!
  3. You were with the Father and you came down to earth. To save me!
  4. Filled with heavenly glory, you emptied yourself. To bless me!
  5. You were obedient unto death. To raise me up!
  6. My mind cannot grasp these truths. Your love overwhelms me.

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

  1. I will try to realize that the Father has loved me in Christ from all eternity.
  2. I will receive Communion often because I AM is my food and drink.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Abraham saw my day and was glad. You are not yet fifty years old.

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 15, 2016 – WEEK FIVE OF LENT – TUESDAY – “I AM”

(John 8:21-30)

Prayer: O Jesus, enlighten me and reveal your fullness.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in the temple.)

Context:

In this text, Jesus does not say “I am the light of the world” but simply “I am”. In fact, he says it twice. By using these words, he claims equality with the Father, who said ‘I AM” when speaking to Moses at the burning bush.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said, “I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. You belong to what is below. I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.

When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own. I say only what the Father has taught me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him. Because Jesus spoke this way, many came to believe in him.

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

  1. The Father calls himself “I AM” to Moses at the burning bush.   Jesus uses the same words to identify himself.
  2. The people reject this truth. They refuse to believe that Jesus is God, sent by the Father and equal to the Father.
  3. Rejecting this truth means that they will die in their sins.
  4. When Jesus was lifted up on the cross, the Father revealed Jesus’ divinity.
  5. The Father did not “leave him alone.” He raised Jesus from the dead, so all would realize that Jesus is “I AM.”

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

  1. O Jesus, I worship you. You are truly God.
  2. I adore you. You always existed from the beginning.
  3. When You were lifted up, stretched out on the cross between earth and heaven, the Father revealed you.
  4. He did not leave you alone. He raised you up.
  5. You are the source of my everlasting life.
  6. Jesus, you will not let me die in my sins. You will come for me.
  7. You are “I AM”. You lack nothing. All power and glory is yours.

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

  1. I will live this day in the presence of Jesus, “I AM”.
  2. I will lift Jesus up in my own heart.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

When you lift me up you will realize that I AM.

MARCH 14, 2016 – WEEK FIVE OF LENT – MONDAY – THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

(John 8:12-20)

Prayer: O Jesus, flood me with divine light.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in the temple.)

Context:

After saving the woman caught in adultery from being stoned to death, Jesus calls himself “The light of the world”. He is challenged to produce witnesses. He claims that the Father is his witness, but the crowd knows neither the Father nor Jesus.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. The Pharisees said, “You testify on your own behalf.” Jesus said, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony can be verified because I know where I come from and where I am going. I testify on my behalf and so does the Father who sent me. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.

He said these words in the temple area. But no one arrested him because his hour had not yet come.

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

  1. John has already told us that Jesus “was the light of the human race” (1:3) and that the Baptist had come to testify to that light.
  2. Now, Jesus himself proclaims his prerogative, that he is the “light of the world.”
  3. The Pharisees challenge his claim, saying that he does not have the two witnesses demanded by the law.
  4. Jesus correctly states that if God is the witness, only one is needed.
  5. They, of course, are ignorant of the Father and of Jesus’ divine origins, even though he clearly says, “I am.”
  6. Knowing Jesus and knowing the Father go together. Ignorance of one causes ignorance of the other.

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

  1. Jesus, You are divine. You are God’s eternal Word. You are equal to the Father. You became flesh and lived among us.
  2. I know you, Jesus. I know you are the world’s only true light.
  3. Jesus, if you are my light, I will not walk in darkness.
  4. Jesus, I am a child of the light and a child of the promise.
  5. I will not choose the darkness or even the twilight. My inheritance is the fullness of light.

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

  1. I will leave behind all the darkness of my past life.
  2. I will live always in the light of truth.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me does not walk in darkness.

MARCH 13, 2016 – WEEK FIVE OF LENT – SUNDAY – C – THE WOMAN CAUGHT IN ADULTERY

(John 8:1-11)

Prayer: O Jesus, forgive me and set me free from all my accusers.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in the temple with the accused woman before him.)

Context:

This story fulfills Jesus’ statement “You judge by appearances, but I do not judge anyone.” (Jn 8:15) Jesus teaching in the temple and people getting up early to hear him is attested by Luke (21:38). This story follows the usual pattern of Jesus’ enemies trying to entrap him. Jesus extends God’s mercy so the woman can turn away from evil.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Early in the morning, Jesus came to the temple and all the people came to hear him. He sat down while he taught. The scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman caught in adultery and placed her in his presence. They said, “Master, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now, in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such a person. What do you say?” They said this to tempt him, so they might accuse him. But Jesus, bowing down, wrote on the ground with his finger.

As they continued to ask him, Jesus looked up and said, “Whoever is without sin, let him cast the first stone.” He, then, bent down and again wrote on the ground. Hearing this, they walked away, one by one, beginning with the elders.

Jesus was alone with the woman standing before him. Looking up, Jesus said, “Woman, where are those who accused you? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” Jesus said, “Neither will I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.”

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

  1. The people were so anxious to hear Jesus that they rose early in the morning.
  2. The Jewish leaders had no interest in Jesus’ teaching. They wanted only to entrap him.
  3. For these leaders, the adulterous woman is only an instrument they can use. For Jesus, she is a person whom he can forgive.
  4. As Jesus writes on the ground, the accusers recognize their sins.
  5. His challenge to be without sin is too great for them and they leave.
  6. The woman is relieved that these sinful accusers are gone.
  7. Jesus, the sinless one, refuses to condemn her. He invites her to become sinless, also.

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

  1. O Jesus, make me anxious to learn your word.
  2. O Jesus, to you I am a person, the most important person in your Kingdom.
  3. I have many sins but you are my Saviour.
  4. When I am in your presence, I am filled with peace.
  5. You never condemn me Jesus, unless I refuse to repent.
  6. Help me to sin no more.

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

  1. I will examine my own conscience and ask Jesus’ forgiveness.
  2. I will treat every person as Jesus treated this woman.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Has no one condemned you? Then, neither do I.