JANUARY 16, 2016 – WEEK ONE – SATURDAY – EATING WITH LEVI’S FRIENDS

(Mark 2:13-17)

Prayer: O Jesus, call me into your Kingdom because I am a sinner.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus at table with Levi and his friends.)

Context:

Having heard Jesus call him, Levi calls others. When they sit at table, some religious people complain. This allows Jesus to announce that he is a physician who ministers to sinners. Jesus shatters the social conventions that have banished sinners from the community.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

As Jesus passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alpheus, sitting at his tax collector’s post. He said to him, “Follow me.” Levi got up and followed him.

When he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.

Seeing that he ate with tax collectors and sinners, the scribes who were Pharisees asked his disciples, “Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus overheard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a doctor, but those who are sick do. I have not come to call the just, but sinners.”

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

  1. Exteriorly, Levi performed a task despised by the Jews. Interiorly, his heart was open to Jesus’ invitation.
  2. Levi is a “fisher of men”, quickly gathering his friends to hear Jesus.
  3. Jesus enjoys the company of tax collectors and sinners. They are written on his heart.
  4. This shatters the usual procedures. Jesus’ enemies see only the exterior and never understand his heart.
  5. The final sentence contains Mark’s real purpose in telling this story. Jesus’ mission is to sinners. He wants to bring them into his Kingdom.

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

  1. O Jesus, call me. I will leave everything to follow you.
  2. I will be your evangelist and bring others to you.
  3. O Jesus, You are welcome in my house and at my table.
  4. You can touch the heart of anyone, good or bad.
  5. You do not judge by appearances. You see my heart. You know me inside and out.
  6. You are the physician. I am the sick person. You have come to earth for me.

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

  1. At every moment, in every situation, I will listen for Jesus’ voice.
  2. I will accept my own sinfulness, knowing that Jesus has come for me.

Thought: (Recall this text during the day)

Only the sick need the doctor.

JANUARY 15, 2016 – FIRST WEEK – FRIDAY – THE PARALYZED MAN

(Mark 2:1-12)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Give me friends with great faith.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus healing the paralyzed man.)

Context:

The next five stories contain controversies which allow Jesus to make a solemn pronouncement (the high point of each story). This reveals Jesus’ prerogatives. In this story, Jesus proclaims that he has the power to forgive sins.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus was at Capernaum, a crowd gathered around the house. Four men arrived, carrying a paralyzed man. Because of the crowd, they could not get him to Jesus. So, they uncovered the roof and lowered the man to Jesus. Seeing how much faith they had, Jesus said, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Some thought, “This is blasphemy. Only God can forgive sins.” Jesus asked them, “Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’, or ‘arise and walk’? “ So that you may know that I have the power to forgive sins, I say, “Arise, take up your bed and walk.”

He got up, took his bed and went away in the sight of all. The crowd was amazed and said, “We have never seen anything like this.”

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

  1. The heroes are the four friends who love the paralytic. Against all odds, they make sure that he comes to Jesus.
  2. Because of their faith, Jesus forgives the man’s sins. (The gospel never mentions the paralytic’s faith).
  3. To prove that the sins were really forgiven, Jesus heals the paralyzed man.
  4. In all of this, the paralytic remains totally passive.
  5. However, when Jesus tells him to get up, he obeys. He rises and picks up his mat.
  6. The event confounds the learned critics and delights the simple believers who believe in Jesus’ powers.

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

  1. Lord, send me friends who believe in you. Let their efforts bring me to you.
  2. What is it like to come close to you and to see you, face to face?
  3. Forgive my sins. This is your greatest gift, (which I often do not seek.)
  4. You heal everything – soul, mind, feelings, senses, intellect and will.
  5. You say, “Arise, take up your mat and walk”, and your power lifts me up.
  6. Lord, do your work in me and I will be a sign to others.       They also will come to believe.

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

  1. I will choose my friends from those who believe in Jesus.
  2. I will seek forgiveness in the sacrament of Confession.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The four men uncovered the roof and lowered the man to Jesus.

JANUARY 14, 2016 – WEEK ONE – THURSDAY – CLEANSING A LEPER

(Mark 1:40-45)

Prayer:   Come, Holy Spirit. Help me to believe that Jesus can cleanse me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus cleansing the leper)

Context:

Mark provides no geographical setting for this miracle. His goal is to show Jesus’ power and how his fame quickly spreads. Jesus tries to avoid this publicity.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

A leper came to Jesus. Kneeling down he said, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Jesus had compassion on him. He stretched out his hand and, touching him, said, “I do will it. Be made clean.”

The leprosy left him immediately and he was made clean. Warning him strictly, Jesus said to him, “Tell no one. Go, show yourself to the high priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed. That will be proof for them.”

However, the leper went away and told everyone. When the news went forth, Jesus could not go openly into a town. He stayed outside in deserted places. Yet, they came to him from everywhere.

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

  1. Having seen others who were healed, the leper believes totally.
  2. Jesus shows deep human feelings of compassion for the leper’s condition.
  3. Jesus comes close. He touches the leper and makes himself ritually unclean.
  4. His power goes forth quickly. He uses just a simple word, “Be clean.”
  5. The leper cannot control his joy. He tells everyone the story.
  6. The crowds find Jesus even when he remains in deserted places. They know the power of God is in their midst.

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

  1. Lord Jesus, I know you have power. I have read the gospel stories.
  2. I ask with all my heart, “Please make me clean.”
  3. Jesus, you always have compassion for me.
  4. You come close. You touch me. You make me whole.
  5. After you cleanse me, I can begin a new life.
  6. My tongue will not be silent. I will tell everyone. I will claim your mighty deeds.
  7. By my words, others will believe in you and search for you.

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

  1. No matter what my illness (moral or physical) I will believe that Jesus can make me clean.
  2. I will be God’s witness, telling others of Jesus’ compassion for them.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

If you will it, you can make me clean.

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 12, 2016 – WEEK ONE – TUESDAY – AN EXORCISM IN THE SYNAGOGUE

(Mark 1:21-28) 

Prayer: Come Holy Spirit. Set me free from the Kingdom of Darkness.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in a synagogue setting the man free from the unclean spirit.)

Context:

Mark groups his stories by geography. The next few stories take place at Capernaum, and provide a quick overview of Jesus’ activities. Jesus’ ministry begins in the Jewish culture and in their place of religious worship – the synagogue.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

In Capernaum, Jesus entered the synagogue on the sabbath and began to teach. The people were spellbound by his teaching because he taught with authority and not like the scribes. In the synagogue, there was a man with an unclean spirit who cried out, “What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet! Come out of the man.” The unclean spirit convulsed him. Then crying out with a loud voice, the spirit left him.

All were amazed and asked among themselves, “What is this? What is this new teaching with authority? He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him. His fame spread over the whole region of Galilee.

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

  1. The man had attended the synagogue for years, but the synagogue had no power over his unclean spirit.
  2. When Jesus enters, the demon can no longer stay hidden.
  3. The demon faces a powerful new enemy and realizes that Jesus has come to destroy him.
  4. The demons know well that Jesus is “the Holy One” come from the Father.
  5. Jesus acts quickly so the unclean spirit can do little harm.
  6. This was never heard of before. The people have never seen such power. The word about Jesus spreads quickly.

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

  1. O Jesus, how many hidden forces come against me.
  2. Without you, O Lord, these forces would control my life and I would be in complete darkness.
  3. Jesus, you are the demons’ powerful enemy. To me, you are a mighty friend.
  4. Cast out from me any powers of darkness that dwell within me.
  5. Come to my synagogue, O Jesus – to my heart which needs your cleansing.
  6. Never have I seen such power as yours, and you always use it for my benefit.

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

  1. Does the demon have any power over me? I will examine my conscience.
  2. If involved in occult practices, I will confess them and seek total freedom.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

He commands even the evil spirits and they obey him.

JANUARY 11, 2016 – WEEK ONE – MONDAY – JESUS FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE

(Mark 1:14-20)

Prayer – Lord Jesus, invite me today to be your disciple.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus calling his first disciples along the Sea of Galilee.)

Context

This gospel text begins “After John was arrested” and it records Jesus’ first homily of his public ministry. He repeats John’s teaching that the reign of God has come and gathers his four most important helpers.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

After John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, saying, “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel.

Passing by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother, Andrew, casting nets into the sea, for they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately, they left their net and followed him.

Going a little farther, he saw James, the son of Zebedee and his brother, John. They were mending their nets in the ship. He called them, also. They left Zebedee in the ship with his hired men and followed him.

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

  1. Jesus follows his heavenly Father’s timetable. While John is preaching, he remains silent. When John is arrested, Jesus knows to begin.
  2. These are the most important years in world history, as Jesus begins to save all mankind.
  3. Jesus says that the Kingdom is at hand. God’s power will break into human history.
  4. Everyone must be ready. So, Jesus tells everyone to turn away from evil and believe in him.
  5. The two sets of brother are the first to hear the message. They respond immediately.
  6. Peter and Andrew leave their boats behind. James and John leave their father and friends. These four are perfect models for all believers.

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

  1. Heavenly Father, what is your timetable for my life? When is the time for me to act?
  2. Jesus, I believe. This is the hour, the time of fulfillment. I will not delay.
  3. I believe. I accept your Kingdom. I repent. I turn to you and hear your voice.
  4. Jesus, you want to come into my heart.
  5. I hear your call. I will follow you, forever and ever.
  6. O Jesus, You are the gift of the Father. What else compares with your friendship? I will leave everything to be your friend.

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

  1. I will learn God’s timetable. What does he expect today?
  2. When Jesus invites me today, I will answer immediately.

Thought: (Recall this text during the day)

Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.