WEEK NINETEEN – SATURDAY – AUGUST 19, 2017 THE LITTLE CHILDREN (MT: 19:13-15)

Prayer: O Jesus, I must accept your Kingdom like a little child.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus surrounded by children and the disciples.)

Context:

After teaching on the permanency of marriage, Jesus welcomes children
(the purpose of marriage). When the disciples hinder them, Jesus grows
angry because a vital principal is at stake (infant Baptism).
Only Jesus decides who is worthy of the Kingdom.
No one else must hinder them.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

People were bringing children to Jesus so he might touch them but the disciples
scolded them for doing this. Jesus became indignant and said, “Let the little children
come to me and do not forbid them. For such is the Kingdom of God.”

Amen I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a
little child shall not enter it. Then he embraced them and blessed them,
laying his hands upon them.

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

  1. The parents realize all the blessings that Jesus can give, and want their children to receive.
  2. The disciples do not understand the Kingdom. All are welcome.
  3. Jesus becomes indignant. For all to enter the Kingdom is his constant concern.
  4. He speaks from his heart, “Let the little children come to me.”
  5. This is your invitation. Jesus speaks to you.
  6. Set aside your adult sophistication. You need a heavenly Father, just like everyone else.
  7. Go to Jesus. He will embrace you and you will be blessed as never before.

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

  1. Jesus, your blessings flow freely and are easily received.
  2. O Lord, let nothing hinder me. Sweep away all obstacles that stand between us.
  3. You speak to me. You say “Let them come”.
  4. You are like a king who wants his people to enter his palace.
  5. O Jesus, I need you. I need your presence. I need your help.
  6. Take me in your arms. Your hands are wounded and your arms are bloody – all for love of me.

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

  1. Today, I will seek Jesus’ presence.
  2. I will remove any obstacles that keep me from Jesus.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

He embraced them and blessed them.

WEEK NINETEEN – FRIDAY – AUGUST 18, 2017 LET NO MAN SEPARATE (MT 19:3-12)

Prayer: O Jesus, restore creation as it was in the beginning.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus explaining his ideals to his disciples.)

Context:

Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God was at hand. Through the power
of this Kingdom, all creation can be restored to God’s original plan.
Jesus believes that his Kingdom can remove the evil of divorce. His critics
cite Moses’ teaching about a decree of divorce. Moses’ decree was just an attempt to give some ordering to moral decay.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Some Pharisees came to test Jesus. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to
put away his wife?” Jesus replied, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a bill of divorce and put her away.” Jesus answered, “He gave this command because of the hardness of your heart. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason, a man shall leave his mother and father and shall cleave to his wife.
The two shall be one flesh. They are no longer two, but one flesh. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”

Later, he said to his disciples. “Whoever puts away his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her. If the wife puts away her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery.”

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

  1. The Pharisees question raises an important problem.
  2. Moses resolved the problem of divorce by a legal maneuver.
  3. Jesus faces the problem in its original cause.
  4. Jesus wants an ordered humanity, a world as it was at the beginning.
  5. In this new creation of the Kingdom, husband and wife cleave to each other in
    an ordered relationship.
  6. Even with a civil divorce, the union remains because God joined them.

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

  1. Lord, how confused and entangled human life has become.
  2. I seek you Lord. Only your grace can order my life.
  3. Your Kingdom is powerful, purifying my feelings and my decisions.
  4. Unite me to the Father and my life will be “as it was in the beginning.”
  5. With you, Jesus, all things are possible.
  6. Help me to live my life without compromise.

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

  1. I will be faithful to the Lord in all pre-marital and marital relationships.
  2. I will ask the Holy Spirit to help me live purely.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.

WEEK NINETEEN – THURSDAY – AUGUST 17, 2017 THE UNMERCIFUL SERVANT (MT 18:21-19:1)

Prayer: O Jesus, fill my heart with the Holy Spirit.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples)

Context:

The parable is about the Last Judgment and highlights the greatest demand
upon every disciple, learning how to forgive. The warning is serious. God, who has granted the disciple forgiveness, will revoke that forgiveness
if he does not extend forgiveness. Here everything is at stake.

The parable offers a unique comfort. If we forgive others, then God’s mercy extends beyond this world to the Final Judgment.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

(Scene 1) The Kingdom of heaven is like a King who decided to settle all his accounts. One servant owed him ten thousand talents. The King wanted his family and his goods
sold so payment could be made. The servant said, “Have patience with me and
I will pay everything.” Moved with pity, the king forgave the debt.

(Scene 2) When this servant left, he found his fellow-servant who owed him a hundred pence. Laying hands on him, he said, “Pay what you owe.” The fellow-servant, prostrating himself, said “Have patience with me, and I will pay you
everything.” However, he would not. Instead, he threw him into prison until the
debt was paid.

(Scene 3) The other servants were very grieved and told the King what had happened. He called the servant and said, “Wicked servant, I forgave you the entire debt
when you asked me. Should you not, then, have compassion on your fellow servant as I did on you? Filled with anger, he handed the servant over to the torturers until he paid all.
So shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you do not forgive all your brothers from
your heart.

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

  1. An “accounting” always represents the Final Judgment.
  2. For the true disciple, this Final Judgment will be filled with mercy.
  3. The first servant claims that he will repay the debt. However, the amount he owes is astounding.
  4. So, the King forgives the whole debt unconditionally.
  5. Although forgiven, the disciple does not imitate the King’s forgiving generosity.
  6. The other servants (disciples) know that this violates the King’s desires.
  7. The King is forced to reverse his decision. Mercy turns into Judgment.

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

  1. O Jesus, how much I owe you! I can never repay it.
  2. Lord, may the moment of my judgment be always before my eyes.
  3. I will give mercy so I can receive mercy.
  4. O Jesus, you have revealed the great secret.
  5. Teach me to “forgive from my heart.”
  6. Open my eyes to see how great is your patience with me.
  7. Inebriated by your mercy, I will forgive all who harm me.

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

  1. Today, I will think only of God’s patience and mercy to me.
  2. I will show forgiveness to everyone.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Moved with compassion, the King forgave the whole debt.

WEEK NINETEEN – WEDNESDAY- AUGUST 16, 2017 IMPORTANCE OF GATHERING (Mt 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.

WEEK NINETEEN – TUESDAY – AUGUST 15, 2017 FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY (LK 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. O Jesus, you begin immediately to save the world.
  2. O 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. O 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.

WEEK NINETEEN – MONDAY – AUGUST 14, 2017 PAYING THE TEMPLE TAX (Mt 17:23-27)

Prayer: O Jesus, you have made me a child of God and a citizen of heaven.

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

Context:

This is a unique little story, whose meaning can easily be lost.
In Jesus’ time, Roman citizens paid no taxes. Rome was supported by
non-citizens paying taxes. Jesus, as a son of God, claims freedom from the taxes and
extends that freedom even to his apostles. Because others do not yet
understand this new freedom, Jesus has Peter pay the tax to avoid scandal.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

When they entered Capernaum, those who collected the temple tax came to
Peter and said to him, “Does your Master pay the temple tax?” Peter replied, “Yes”.

When they got inside the house, without giving Peer time to speak, Jesus asked,
“What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth receive taxes? From their own sons or from foreigners? Peter replied, “From foreigners”.
Jesus said, “Then the sons are free.”

However, so we do not scandalize them, go to the sea, throw in a hook and
take out the first fish you catch. Open its mouth. Inside you will
discover a coin worth twice the temple tax.
Take it and give it to them for both you and me.

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

  1. The story deals with Jesus being obedient to Jewish rules.
  2. Christians are true Jews, true sons of Abraham.
  3. However, they are not under Jewish laws (symbolized by the taxes).
  4. Jesus has made them children of God.
  5. They enjoy the “freedom of sons and daughters”.
  6. To avoid scandal, Jesus and Peter will pay the tax. However, the heavenly
    Father provides the coin.

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

  1. O Jesus, you will lead me out from unnecessary burdens.
  2. Heavenly Father, I am your child, called to live with you forever.
  3. O Jesus, I am free. You have made me a child of God.
  4. O Lord, never let me scandalize anyone. Teach me to be sensitive to other’s beliefs.
  5. Father, you provide for all my needs.

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

  1. I will ponder the great freedom I enjoy in Christ.
  2. I will never misuse that freedom.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The sons are free. They need not pay the tax.

WEEK NINETEEN – SUNDAY – A – AUGUST 13, 2017 JESUS WALKS ON THE WATER (Mt 14:22-33)

Prayer: O Jesus, give me total faith in you.

Imagination: (Picture the disciples in their boat, surprised by Jesus’ visit.)

Context:

After multiplying food, Jesus orders his disciples to get in a boat. This prepares for the miracle of walking on the water. Jesus even communicates this power to Peter who enjoys the gift until
he stops believing. The miracle gets all the disciples to adore him.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

After feeding the five thousand, Jesus made his disciples get into their boat and
precede him to the other side. Jesus then went up the mountain where he spent
the evening alone in prayer. Meanwhile, the boat was tossed about by the waves
because the wind was against it.

Jesus came to them, walking upon the sea. When they saw him, they were troubled
and said, “It is a ghost.” Immediately, Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take courage.
It is I. Do not be afraid.” Peter answered, “Lord, if it is you, then tell me to
come to you on the water.” Jesus said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and walked upon the water to come to Jesus.

Seeing that the wind was strong, Peter grew afraid and began to sink. He cried out,
“Lord, save me.” Immediately, Jesus stretched out his hands, took hold of him and said,
“You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. All adored him and said, “Indeed, you are the Son of God.”

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

  1. Jesus deliberately set ups the entire event.
  2. After dismissing the crowds, He tells the disciples to go to the other side,
    while he spends hours in prayer.
  3. He also initiates their rescue, coming at just the right moment.
  4. The disciples cannot grasp what is happening. Even after Jesus speaks,
    they still doubt and fear.
  5. Peter is different. He is ready to join Jesus on the water.
  6. However, fear destroys Peter’s faith. Jesus takes control. He lifts up Peter, calms the storm and climbs into the boat.
  7. The miracle overwhelms the apostles who adore Jesus as the Son of God.

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

  1. O Lord, you arrange every event of my life. You are in full control.
  2. Rescue me, Jesus, from all my problems.
  3. Come to me in the difficult moments. Tell me, “Do not be afraid. It is I.”
  4. Embolden me. Invite me to “Come out onto the water” with you.
  5. Overcome my doubts. Extend your hand. Lift me up.
  6. Calm my storms. Get into my boat. I will adore you as the Son of God.

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

  1. I will believe that Jesus guides every day of my life.
  2. I will hear his voice in my soul, “Do not be afraid. It is I”.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Jesus stretched out his hand and said, “Why did you doubt?”

AUGUST 13, 2016 – WEEK NINETEEN – SATURDAY – THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY

(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.

AUGUST 12, 2016 – WEEK NINETEEN – FRIDAY – LET NO MAN SEPARATE

(Matthew 19:3-12)

Prayer: O Jesus, restore creation as it was in the beginning.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus explaining his ideals to his disciples.)

Context:

Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God was at hand. Through the power of this Kingdom, all creation can be restored to God’s original plan. Jesus believes that his Kingdom can remove the evil of divorce. His critics cite Moses’ teaching about a decree of divorce. Moses’ decree was just an attempt to give some ordering to moral decay.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Some Pharisees came to test Jesus. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife?” Jesus replied, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a bill of divorce and put her away.” Jesus answered, “He gave this command because of the hardness of your heart. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason, a man shall leave his mother and father and shall cleave to his wife. The two shall be one flesh. They are no longer two, but one flesh. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”

Later, he said to his disciples. “Whoever puts away his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. If the wife puts away her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

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

  1. The Pharisees question raises an important problem.
  2. Moses resolved the problem of divorce by a legal maneuver.
  3. Jesus faces the problem in its original cause.
  4. Jesus wants an ordered humanity, a world as it was at the beginning.
  5. In this new creation of the Kingdom, husband and wife cleave to each other in an ordered relationship.
  6. Even with a civil divorce, the union remains because God joined them.

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

  1. Lord, how confused and entangled human life has become.
  2. I seek you Lord. Only your grace can order my life.
  3. Your Kingdom is powerful, purifying my feelings and my decisions.
  4. Unite me to the Father and my life will be “as it was in the beginning.”
  5. With you, Jesus, all things are possible.
  6. Help me to live my life without compromise.

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

  1. I will be faithful to the Lord in all pre-marital and marital relationships.
  2. I will ask the Holy Spirit to help me live purely.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.

AUGUST 11, 2016 – WEEK NINETEEN – THURSDAY – THE UNMERCIFUL SERVANT

(Matthew 18:21-19:1)

Prayer: O Jesus, fill my heart with the Holy Spirit.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples)

Context:

The parable is about the Last Judgment and highlights the greatest demand upon every disciple, learning how to forgive. The warning is serious. God, who has granted the disciple forgiveness, will revoke that forgiveness if he does not extend forgiveness. Here everything is at stake.

The parable offers a unique comfort. If we forgive others, then God’s mercy extends beyond this world to the Final Judgment.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

(Scene 1) The Kingdom of heaven is like a King who decided to settle all his accounts. One servant owed him ten thousand talents. The King wanted his family and his goods sold so payment could be made. The servant said, “Have patience with me and I will pay everything.” Moved with pity, the king forgave the debt.

(Scene 2) When this servant left, he found his fellow-servant who owed him a hundred pence. Laying hands on him, he said, “Pay what you owe.” The fellow-servant, prostrating himself, said “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” However, he would not. Instead, he threw him into prison until the debt was paid.

(Scene 3) The other servants were very grieved and told the King what had happened. He called the servant and said, “Wicked servant, I forgave you the entire debt when you asked me. Should you not, then, have compassion on your fellow servant as I did on you? Filled with anger, he handed the servant over to the torturers until he paid all. So shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you do not forgive all your brothers from your heart.

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

  1. An “accounting” always represents the Final Judgment.
  2. For the true disciple, this Final Judgment will be filled with mercy.
  3. The first servant claims that he will repay the debt. However, the amount he owes is astounding.
  4. So, the King forgives the whole debt unconditionally.
  5. Although forgiven, the disciple does not imitate the King’s forgiving generosity.
  6. The other servants (disciples) know that this violates the King’s desires.
  7. The King is forced to reverse his decision. Mercy turns into Judgment.

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

  1. O Jesus, how much I owe you! I can never repay it.
  2. Lord, may the moment of my judgment be always before my eyes.
  3. I will give mercy so I can receive mercy.
  4. O Jesus, you have revealed the great secret.
  5. Teach me to “forgive from my heart.”
  6. Open my eyes to see how great is your patience with me.
  7. Inebriated by your mercy, I will forgive all who harm me.

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

  1. Today, I will think only of God’s patience and mercy to me.
  2. I will show forgiveness to everyone.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Moved with compassion, the King forgave the whole debt.

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.

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

(Matthew 18:12-14)

Prayer: O Jesus, come and find me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

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

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

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

There will be rejoicing among the angels.

AUGUST 8, 2016 – WEEK NINETEEN – MONDAY – PAYING THE TEMPLE TAX

(Matthew 17:23-27)

Prayer: O Jesus, you have made me a child of God and a citizen of heaven.

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

Context:

This is a unique little story, whose meaning can easily be lost. In Jesus’ time, Roman citizens paid no taxes. Rome was supported by non-citizens paying taxes. Jesus, as a son of God, claims freedom from the taxes and extends that freedom even to his apostles. Because others do not yet understand this new freedom, Jesus has Peter pay the tax to avoid scandal.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

When they entered Capernaum, those who collected the temple tax came to Peter and said to him, “Does your Master pay the temple tax?” Peter replied, “Yes”.

When they got inside the house, without giving Peer time to speak, Jesus asked, “What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth receive taxes? From their own sons or from foreigners? Peter replied, “From foreigners”. Jesus said, “Then the sons are free.”

However, so we do not scandalize them, go to the sea, throw in a hook and take out the first fish you catch. Open its mouth. Inside you will discover a coin worth twice the temple tax. Take it and give it to them for both you and me.

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

  1. The story deals with Jesus being obedient to Jewish rules.
  2. Christians are true Jews, true sons of Abraham.
  3. However, they are not under Jewish laws (symbolized by the taxes).
  4. Jesus has made them children of God.
  5. They enjoy the “freedom of sons and daughters”.
  6. To avoid scandal, Jesus and Peter will pay the tax. However, the heavenly Father provides the coin.

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

  1. O Jesus, you will lead me out from unnecessary burdens.
  2. Heavenly Father, I am your child, called to live with you forever.
  3. O Jesus, I am free. You have made me a child of God.
  4. O Lord, never let me scandalize anyone.       Teach me to be sensitive to other’s beliefs.
  5. Father, you provide for all my needs.

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

  1. I will ponder the great freedom I enjoy in Christ.
  2. I will never misuse that freedom.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The sons are free. They need not pay the tax.

AUGUST 7, 2016 – WEEK NINETEEN – SUNDAY (C) THE DOORKEEPER

(Luke 12:35-40)

Prayer: O Jesus, may you find me watching when you return.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

Jesus gives two crisis parables which emphasize the need for watchfulness. The master has many servants and all must keep watch. The second parable reverses the situation. The owner must keep watch to catch the thief.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Let your belts be fastened around your waists and your lamp burning ready. You must be like men waiting for their master’s return from the wedding, so when he comes and knocks, they open immediately.

Blessed are those servants whom the Lord when he returns finds watching. Amen, I say to you, he will put on an apron, make them sit down at table and will serve them.       If he comes in the second or third watch, those servants will be blessed.

But know this. If the owner of the house knew when the thief would come, he would surely watch and not allow his house to be broken into. You also must be ready because at an hour you least expect, the Son of Man will come.

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

  1. Belts buckled and lamps burning are symbols of great watchfulness.
  2. The Master expects a high level of service – no delay.
  3. Because the hour of return is uncertain, the demands are high.
  4. However, the reward is astounding. The Master does not eat. He will serve the servants.
  5. A thief also comes at an unknown hour. The owner must watch or lose his possessions.
  6. In both parables, the time is unknown, the demands are high, and much is at stake.

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

  1. O Jesus, how often I am not prepared for your coming.
  2. You expect much of me. Your demands are great.
  3. But how you reward me! You give me life without end.
  4. Jesus, I must watch every hour and every day.
  5. Jesus, how many thieves would rob me of eternal life.
  6. I will stand watch, avoiding all sin and occasions of sin.

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

  1. I will think of Jesus as a generous master.
  2. I will treasure my eternal life.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Blessed are those servants whom the master finds watching on his return.