FEBRUARY 9, 2016 – WEEK FIVE – TUESDAY – SETTING ASIDE GOD’S COMMANDMENTS

(Mark 7:1-8)

Prayer – O Jesus, let my heart be set only on the heavenly father’s will.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus in this controversy with the Pharisees).

Context:

Jesus rejects the piety of the Pharisees, who have gone off course. This gospel contains two stories, washing of hands and declaring things sacred. Each story contains a pronouncement. The critics come from Jerusalem, and Mark has to explain the Jerusalem customs for his readers in Rome.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The Pharisees and some scribes from Jerusalem came to Jesus. They found fault with some who ate bread with unwashed hands. The Pharisees, indeed all Jews, do not eat without washing their hands according to the tradition of the elders. Also, they never eat anything from the marketplace without sprinkling it. They also observe many other customs, for example, washing cups and jugs and kettles.

Therefore, the Pharisees and the scribes questioned Jesus, “Why do your disciples not follow the traditions of the Ancestors but they eat bread without washing their hands. Jesus answered, “Well did Isaiah prophecy about you hypocrites when he wrote, “This people honor me with their lips but their heart is far from me. In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines what are merely human precepts.” You disregard God’s commandment and you cling to human tradition. You even set aside God’s commandments. For example, Moses said, “Honor your father and your mother”, but you declare to your parents, “Any support you had from me is dedicated to God (Korban)”. Then, you do nothing for your father and mother. You nullify God’s words.

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

  1. These Pharisees and scribes ignore Jesus’ great powers. They concern themselves with the disciples not washing their hands.
  2. They have a whole list of rules which they call “the tradition of the elders.”
  3. They attack Jesus based upon their views of religious practice.
  4. Jesus sees their misguided piety. Isaiah has already confronted this problem.
  5. They give their lips to God but not their hearts.
  6. They nullify God’s laws and teach as divine what are merely human laws.

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

  1. O Jesus, you are the center of my devotion. My eyes are always upon you.
  2. What others do is not important. My heart is only upon you.
  3. Let my heart remain simple, and my piety centered on you.
  4. O Mary, save me from misguided piety.
  5. Jesus, I will obey your divine commands – to forgive, to help, and to bless everyone. Your commands are in my heart.
  6. Teach me your ways, O Jesus, and I will follow.

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

  1. I will not judge others by my standards.
  2. I will give my heart to God’s important demands.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

FEBRUARY 8, 2016 – WEEK FIVE – MONDAY – TOUCHING HIS CLOAK

(Mark 6:53-56)

Prayer – Jesus, let me seek you, find you and be blessed by your power.

Imagination – (Picture the crowds pressing upon Jesus).

Context:

These crowds in Galilee are enthusiastic. In fact, by their lively faith they somewhat force Jesus to heal. He seems more comfortable in the solitude of prayer or in teaching the disciples.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When they landed on the shore at Gennesaret, the crowds immediately recognized him. Going throughout the whole countryside, they began to carry those who were sick to the place where they heard he was.

Wherever he went, into towns or villages or cities, they laid the sick on the streets and beseeched him that they be allowed to touch even the hem of his garment. As many as touched him, were made whole.

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

  1. Jesus attracts the crowds. They know his power and his kindness.
  2. They so desire to see Jesus that they find out where he is.
  3. The people’s gigantic faith spurs gigantic efforts. They gather up all the sick from the whole countryside.
  4. They do not ask Jesus to teach or even to lay hands. They only ask him to stay still until the sick touch his garment.
  5. The results are amazing. Everyone gets healed. No one is sent away disappointed.

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

  1. O Jesus, You are so kind. You do not limit your power.
  2. Give me gigantic faith! A fullness of belief! An overwhelming confidence!
  3. I will search for you, Jesus, all the days of my life.
  4. Just be still, Jesus. Let me come close to you. I will stay in your presence.
  5. Your power will go forth. You will strengthen me and I will serve you.

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

  1. Today, I will seek for Jesus, knowing that he will welcome me.
  2. My faith will move me to action.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Wherever he went, they asked if they could just touch his garment.

FEBRUARY 7, 2016 – WEEK FIVE – SUNDAY (C) – THE CATCH OF FISH

(Luke 5:4 -11)

Prayer – Let me see, O Lord, how unworthy I am to be your disciple.

Imagination – (Picture Peter kneeling at Jesus’ feet and proclaiming his own sinfulness.)

Context:

This miraculous catch of fish is but a prelude to the high point of the story. While seeing the miracle, Peter receives a great light which reveals his sins. At this repentant moment, Jesus confers upon Peter his lifelong vocation – to bring people into the Kingdom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and lower your nets for a catch”. Simon answered, “Master, we have labored all night and have caught nothing, but at your word, I will lower the net.” When they had done this, they caught such a great number of fish that their nets were breaking. So, they called to their partners in the other boat to come and help. They came and both boats were filled until they almost sank.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man”. He was totally amazed at the large catch of fish. Jesus said to Simon, “From now on you will catch men.” When they came to shore, they left everything to follow Jesus.

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

  1. Jesus can bestow these favors because Peter was obedient to him.
  2. Peter must overcome his natural feelings that this will be a useless task.
  3. The astonishing results open his eyes. He sees Jesus as God’s instrument.
  4. In the revealing light of Jesus’ holiness, Peter sees his sins.
  5. He calls Jesus “Lord” and knows that he is not worthy.
  6. Jesus sees things differently. He wants the humbled, repentant Peter to be with him always and to share in his task.

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

  1. O Jesus, I will always obey you. This opens the door to every blessing.
  2. O Jesus, help me to set aside my natural feelings so I can do your will.
  3. Open my eyes. Reveal to me your glory.
  4. In your holiness, I will see my sinfulness. What a gift!
  5. You are “Lord” and I am your unworthy servant.
  6. You have a task for me. Whatever it is, I will do it.
  7. Call me. Instruct me. I will be with you always.

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

  1. Where in my life do I not obey Jesus? I will change that decision.
  2. Today, I will listen for Jesus’ voice to direct my choices.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Seeing this catch of fish, Simon Peter fell to his knees.