WEEK THIRTEEN – SATURDAY – JULY 8, 2017 TRUSTING THE FATHER (MT 9:14-17)

Prayer: Come, Holy Ghost. Help me to seek first the Kingdom of heaven.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching His disciples about the Father’s care for them.)

Context:

In this gospel, Jesus speaks only to his disciples. Since they have given themselves to the Kingdom, Jesus promises that the
Father will provide. Since the Father provides for disciples, they must not
grow anxious.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

“Oh, you of little faith. Do not worry and say “What are we to eat?” or
“What are we to drink?” or “What are we to wear?” All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will
be given you besides.

Do not worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for
each day is the evil thereof.

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

  1. To worry about food, drink and clothing is quite normal. Everyone does this, even pagans who have no faith.
  2. Jesus explains that the heavenly Father knows and cares for those who are disciples.
  3. Then, he demands that disciples have a total faith in God’s Providence.
  4. The disciple must do one thing, they must seek first the Kingdom. Then, they will have all the food, drink and clothing that you need.
  5. The disciple must avoid one thing, worry about a tomorrow (which never comes). The Father provides for each day’s challenges.

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

  1. O Jesus, when I have little faith, I am anxious. When I have great faith, I am at peace.
  2. Lord, calm my inner questions.
  3. Father, why do I not trust you? Did you not create me? Did you not make me a disciple?
  4. Jesus, I have one task. I must seek first your Kingdom.
  5. Jesus, make me a child. To trust. To live one day at a time. To believe that God will give me my daily bread.

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

  1. I will examine my anxieties and why I grow fearful.
  2. I will place greater trust in my heavenly Father.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Your heavenly Father knows that you need all of these.

WEEK THIRTEEN – FRIDAY – JULY 7, 2017 MATTHEW THE TAX COLLECTOR (MT 9:9-13)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Let me respond quickly to Jesus’ call.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus at table in Matthew’s house).

Context:

This text has 2 parts. First, Matthew responds to Jesus’ call and then he
invites Jesus to his house. Since Matthew is a sinner (collecting taxes for Romans)
his friends are also
“sinners”, so the dinner becomes a controversy story, which shows us that Jesus
came to call sinners, not the righteous.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s post. He said to him,
“Follow me.” He got up and followed him.

Later, while Jesus was at table in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and those
known as sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. Some Pharisees saw this and asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax
collectors and those who disobey the law?” Jesus heard them and said, “People who are well do not need the doctor. Sick people do. Learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ I have come to
call sinners, not the self-righteous.”

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

  1. Matthew never searched for Jesus. He went to work one day and Jesus found him.
  2. What a special day! Matthew began as a tax collector (working for the Roman Empire). He ends the day as Jesus’ disciple (working for the Kingdom.)
  3. Everything happened so quickly. Jesus saw him and invited him. Matthew left
    his post and followed.
  4. If he had hesitated or doubted, he would have missed his call.
  5. He accepts Jesus completely, opening his home and inviting the other sinners.
  6. The Pharisees try to exclude Matthew and his friends from the Kingdom.
    Jesus would have none of that.
  7. Jesus proclaims that they are the very ones he is calling.

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

  1. Jesus, today is so important! You will come. You will pass by. You will say, “Follow me.”
  2. Do not let me say “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” (like St. Augustine)
  3. When you call, I will follow.
  4. Come for me! I am a sinner and your Father sent you to sinners.
  5. Why do I wait? Why do I continue to sit at my tax collector’s post? Why am I afraid? Why do I not “get up and follow you?”
  6. As I hear your voice in the quiet of this prayer, I respond, “Wait, Jesus, I am coming.”

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

  1. I will be vigilant today.
  2. I will open my whole house to Jesus.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Seeing Matthew at his post, Jesus said, “Follow me.”

WEEK THIRTEEN – THURSDAY – JULY 6, 2017 THE PARALYZED MAN (MT 9:1-8)

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

Imagination- (Picture Jesus healing the paralyzed man.)

Context:

The stories in this section are controversy stories, which allow Jesus to make
some pronouncement. The pronouncement in this story is that Jesus is the Son of
Man with divine authority.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

People brought to him a paralyzed man lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, your sins are forgiven.” At that, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming. Jesus knew what they were thinking and said, “Why do you harbor such thoughts. Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘Rise and walk?’

But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins-
he then said to the paralyzed man, “Stand up. Roll up your mat and go home.”

The man stood up and went home. At the sight, a feeling of awe came over the crowd and
they praised God for giving
such authority to man.

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

  1. The people love the paralyzed man. They, also, have faith in Jesus.
  2. Their first thought is to place him at Jesus’ feet.
  3. Because of their faith, Jesus forgives the man’s sins.
  4. Jesus then heals the paralyzed man to prove that he could forgive sins.
  5. The paralyzed man keeps receiving all these favors.
  6. When Jesus tells him to get up, he shows great faith. He arises and picks up his mat.
  7. The event confounds the learned critics and delights the simple believers. They believe even more in Jesus’ powers.

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

  1. Lord, send me friends who believe in you.
  2. Teach me to accept the advice of others.
  3. O Jesus, I want my sins to be forgiven. This is your greatest gift (which I often do not seek).
  4. Jesus, you have all power and authority in heaven and on earth.
  5. You heal everything – soul, mind, feelings, senses, intellect and will.
  6. Speak to me Jesus. Tell me to rise from my sins.
  7. Lord, make me a new creation. I will be a sign to others.

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

  1. I will look for friends who believe in Jesus.
  2. I will let their faith bless me.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The people brought him to Jesus.

WEEK THIRTEEN – WEDNESDAY – JULY 5, 2017 POSSESSED MEN AND A DUMB CITY (MT 8:28-34)

Prayer: O Jesus, how great is your power to free me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples as he frees the two possessed men.)

Context:

Matthew takes this story from Mark’s gospel (5:1-20) but he shortens Mark’s story. In doing so, he highlights Jesus’ power. Unfortunately, the people ask him to leave.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

As Jesus approached the Gadarene boundary, two men possessed by demons came
out of the tombs. They were so fierce that no one could walk that road. They cried out, “What have we to do with you, Jesus, Son of God. Are you here to torment us before the appointed time?”

Some distance away a large herd of swine was feeding. The devils asked him, “If you expel us, send us into this herd of swine.”
He said, ‘Out with you.” They came out and entered the swine. The whole herd rushed down the hill into the sea and they were drowned.

The swineherds fled into the city and told everything that had happened concerning
the possessed men. The whole city went out to meet Jesus. When they saw him they asked him to depart from their city.

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

  1. The demons love death and they lead possessed people to seek refuge among the tombs.
  2. Jesus changed that. Cemeteries are no longer a place of death. They are a place of sleeping where the dead await their rising.
  3. The two men possess the fierce, destructive powers of the demons, chasing others away.
  4. The demons know that Jesus’ power will chase them away.
  5. The time of their ouster is at hand. They thought they had a permanent place of rest.
  6. With one phrase, Jesus expels them and frees the two men.
  7. Their destructive forces turn against the swine. They die in the sea which Jesus
    has just calmed. (He has power there, also).
  8. The people make a terrible decision. They ask Jesus to leave. How many more miracles he would have done!

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

  1. O Jesus, you have conquered death. I no longer fear the tomb.
  2. All is changed. I will sleep in peace, waiting for you to say, “Arise”.
  3. O Jesus, cast out all destructive forces in my life.
  4. You have greater power. You are the victor and I am your spoils.
  5. You shorten the time. You come for me early. Come, Lord Jesus.
  6. Free me, Jesus, like you freed these two men.
  7. Stay in my life and be King of my soul.

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

  1. I will stay away from all demonic powers.
  2. I will invite Jesus to stay with me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

They asked him to leave their city.

WEEK THIRTEEN – TUESDAY – JULY 4, 2017 POWER OVER THE SEA (MT 8:23-27)

Prayer – O Jesus, calm the storms in my own life.

Imagination: (Picture the fearful disciples and Jesus calming the sea.)

Context:

Matthew very much follows Mark’s story when Jesus sleeps in the boat. The miracle causes awe and wonder in the apostles.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus got into a boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a violent storm came up on the lake, and the boat began to
be swamped with waves, but he was asleep.

They came and woke him saying, “Lord, save us. We are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” then he got up
and rebuked the winds and the sea and there was great calm. The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this that even the words and
the sea obey him?”

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

  1. There were many boats but Jesus travels with his disciples. He wants them to be the primary witnesses of his power.
  2. The wind and the unruly sea are symbols of demonic chaos which destroys our
    lives as disciples.
  3. The disciples have some faith. They wake Jesus up, believing he can save them.
  4. Jesus expected more faith. His being in their boat, awake or asleep, would have saved them.
  5. Jesus rebukes the wind and the sea, just as he rebuked Satan who possessed people.
  6. The apostles understand that only God can tame the wind and sea. If so, “Who is this Jesus?”

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

  1. O Jesus, travel in my boat. You are always welcome.
  2. Chaos and evil surround me. You are my only safeguard.
  3. Jesus, when I awaken you, you always help me.
  4. Give me greater faith. Even when you seem to sleep, I will trust you.
  5. Waking or sleeping, you always guard me.
  6. You are Lord. You are God. You are Saviour. You are Redeemer. You are all in all.

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

  1. I will never begin a task without Jesus in my boat.
  2. I will always believe that his power can do all things.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Even the wind and the sea obey him.

WEEK THIRTEEN – MONDAY – JULY 3, 2017 Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle THOMAS THE DOUBTER (Jn 20:24-29)

Prayer: Jesus, remove all my doubts so I can proclaim you as Lord and God.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus offering Thomas the opportunity to touch his wounds.)

Context:
This is the high point of the gospel. John has put forth all the evidence to show Jesus has come from the Father. He has told many stories of people accepting Jesus. In this text, Thomas gives the clearest and greatest expression of faith in Jesus, “My Lord and my God.”

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
When the disciples told Thomas that they had seen the Lord, he said, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
A week later, Jesus came, even though the doors were locked. He said, “Peace be with you.” Then, he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Bring your hand and put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving but believe.” Thomas answered, “My Lord and my God.”
Jesus said “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)
1. Even a week later, the doors are still locked from fear.
2. Thomas’ doubts have closed his mind to faith.
3. Jesus overcomes both the locked doors and the closed mind.
4. To gain Thomas heart, Jesus accedes to his requests.
5. Thomas’ story, (more than any other), shows that Jesus’ body was truly risen.
6. Thomas’ faith goes beyond the other disciples. He is the first to proclaim Jesus as “Lord and God.”
7. Jesus praises us. We believe without seeing his risen body.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. Enter my heart, Jesus. Do not let my closed doors keep you away.
2. You arrange everything to bring me to faith.
3. Jesus, let me touch your hands and enter your open heart.
4. O Lord, let me experience you. Come in your fullness.
5. You are “Lord, God, Saviour, Redeemer” – my all!

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. I will ask Jesus to come to me.
2. I will believe even though I do not see.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.

WEEK THIRTEEN – SUNDAY – A (PART ONE) – JULY 2, 2017 CONDITIONS OF DISCIPLESHIP (MT 10:37-39)

Prayer: Come, O Jesus, help me to find true life.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus explaining to his disciples what is required of them.)

Context:

Matthew, Mark and Luke all record this saying of Jesus that a disciple must
“take up his cross.” Obviously, these important words are an excellent summary
of being a disciple.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life, will lose it and whoever loses his life for my sake, will find it.

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

  1. In Israel, family relationships had the highest priority.
  2. Jesus changes that. Even family relationships must not be an obstacle
    between the disciple and Jesus.
  3. “Taking up the cross’ means accepting the difficulties of Jesus’ missionary apostolate. The Kingdom must be preached and obstacles set aside.
  4. The disciple’s final sacrifice is life itself.
  5. How can Jesus make such demands? He is God and offers you eternal life.

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

  1. Jesus, how can I love anyone (even myself) more than you?
  2. I trust you, Jesus. I believe your word and your promises.
  3. You come first, Jesus. No one else is King and Lord of my life.
  4. I am coming, Jesus. I will follow you no matter what the cost.
  5. I give you my life. My whole life. Every moment. Every day. A total giving.
  6. In losing my life, I find a reason to be alive.
  7. Jesus, what do you give me? Everything!

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

  1. I will entrust my life, with all its decision, into Jesus’ hands.
  2. Today, I will accept the sacrifices needed to follow Jesus.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

WEEK THIRTEEN – SUNDAY – A (PART 2) – JULY 2, 2017 THE CROSS AND HOSPITALITY (MT 10:37-42)

Prayer: Come, O Jesus, help me to find true life.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus explaining to his disciples what is required of them.)

Context:

Matthew, Mark and Luke all record this saying of Jesus that a disciple must
“take up his cross.” Obviously, these important words are an excellent summary
of being a disciple. The second part of this text turns to the daily duty of
kindness and hospitality

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever saves
his life, will lose it. Whoever loses his life for me shall find it.

Whoever receives you, receives me. Whoever receives me, receives him who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet’s reward. Whoever receives a holy man because he is a holy man, shall receive a holy man’s reward.

And I promise you that whoever gives a cup of cold water to one of these lowly
ones because he is a disciple, shall not lose his reward.

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

  1. Jesus has warned his followers that becoming disciples can cause family
    problems. Now he goes further. Proclaiming the gospel, might cost them their very lives.
  2. The disciples face a gigantic dilemma. If they deny the gospel to save their physical life, they will lose Jesus.
  3. However, if they surrender their physical life, they will gain Jesus.
  4. Those who hear the gospel also face a gigantic decision. To receive Jesus,
    they must help the preacher do his task.
  5. Those preaching the gospel need material assistance and anyone who
    helps them, shares in their reward.
  6. The disciple is rewarded because he sees by faith that the holy man
    is important to the Church.
  7. The “cup of cold water” means good example and solid teachings. A “little one” is a new convert, who needs support to persevere in his decision.

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

  1. O Jesus, even if others misunderstand me, I still want to be your disciple.
  2. Having you forever! What else can I seek? What price is too great?
  3. O Jesus, let me accept those whom you send to me, the pastors, evangelists, and missionaries.
  4. I will help all who serve you and gain an equal reward.
  5. O Jesus, how precious are the new believers. I will help them to persevere.

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

  1. I will proclaim the gospel today.
  2. I will be supportive of others who work for the gospel.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Whoever loses his life for me, will save it.

JULY 2, 2016 – WEEK THIRTEEN – SATURDAY – TRUSTING THE FATHER

(Matthew 9:14-17)

Prayer: Come, Holy Ghost. Help me to seek first the Kingdom of heaven.

Imagination: ( Picture Jesus teaching His disciples about the Father’s care for them.)

Context:

In this gospel, Jesus speaks only to his disciples. Since they have given themselves to the Kingdom, Jesus promises that the Father will provide. Since the Father provides for disciples, they must not grow anxious.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

“Oh, you of little faith. Do not worry and say “What are we to eat?” or “What are we to drink?” or “What are we to wear?”   All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.

Do not worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for each day is the evil thereof.

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

  1. To worry about food, drink and clothing is quite normal. Everyone does this, even pagans who have no faith.
  2. Jesus explains that the heavenly Father knows and cares for those who are disciples.
  3. Then, he demands that disciples have a total faith in God’s Providence.
  4. The disciple must do one thing, they must seek first the Kingdom. Then, they will have all the food, drink and clothing that you need.
  5. The disciple must avoid one thing, worry about a tomorrow (which never comes). The Father provides for each day’s challenges.

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

  1. O Jesus, when I have little faith, I am anxious. When I have great faith, I am at peace.
  2. Lord, calm my inner questions.
  3. Father, why do I not trust you? Did you not create me? Did you not make me a disciple?
  4. Jesus, I have one task. I must seek first your Kingdom.
  5. Jesus, make me a child. To trust. To live one day at a time. To believe that God will give me my daily bread.

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

  1. I will examine my anxieties and why I grow fearful.
  2. I will place greater trust in my heavenly Father.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Your heavenly Father knows that you need all of these.

JULY 1, 2016 – WEEK THIRTEEN – FRIDAY – MATTHEW THE TAX COLLECTOR

(Matthew 9:9-13)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Let me respond quickly to Jesus’ call.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus at table in Matthew’s house).

Context:

This text has 2 parts. First, Matthew responds to Jesus’ call and then he invites Jesus to his house. Since Matthew is a sinner (collecting taxes for Romans) his friends are also “sinners”, so the dinner becomes a controversy story, which shows us that Jesus came to call sinners, not the righteous.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s post. He said to him, “Follow me.” He got up and followed him.

Later, while Jesus was at table in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and those known as sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. Some Pharisees saw this and asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and those who disobey the law?” Jesus heard them and said, “People who are well do not need the doctor. Sick people do. Learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ I have come to call sinners, not the self-righteous.”

 

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

  1. Matthew never searched for Jesus. He went to work one day and Jesus found him.
  2. What a special day! Matthew began as a tax collector (working for the Roman Empire). He ends the day as Jesus’ disciple (working for the Kingdom.)
  3. Everything happened so quickly. Jesus saw him and invited him. Matthew left his post and followed.
  4. If he had hesitated or doubted, he would have missed his call.
  5. He accepts Jesus completely, opening his home and inviting the other sinners.
  6. The Pharisees try to exclude Matthew and his friends from the Kingdom. Jesus would have none of that.
  7. Jesus proclaims that they are the very ones he is calling.

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

  1. Jesus, today is so important! You will come. You will pass by. You will say, “Follow me.”
  2. Do not let me say “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” (like St. Augustine)
  3. When you call, I will follow.
  4. Come for me! I am a sinner and your Father sent you to sinners.
  5. Why do I wait? Why do I continue to sit at my tax collector’s post? Why am I afraid? Why do I not “get up and follow you?”
  6. As I hear your voice in the quiet of this prayer, I respond, “Wait, Jesus, I am coming.”

 

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

  1. I will be vigilant today.
  2. I will open my whole house to Jesus.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Seeing Matthew at his post, Jesus said, “Follow me.”

JUNE 30, 2016 – WEEK THIRTEEN – THURSDAY – THE PARALYZED MAN

(Matthew 9:1-8)

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

Imagination- (Picture Jesus healing the paralyzed man.)

Context:

The stories in this section are controversy stories, which allow Jesus to make some pronouncement.   The pronouncement in this story is that Jesus is the Son of Man with divine authority.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

People brought to him a paralyzed man lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, your sins are forgiven.” At that, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming. Jesus knew what they were thinking and said, “Why do you harbor such thoughts. Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘Rise and walk?’

But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins- he then said to the paralyzed man, “Stand up. Roll up your mat and go home.”

The man stood up and went home. At the sight, a feeling of awe came over the crowd and they praised God for giving such authority to man.

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

  1. The people love the paralyzed man. They, also, have faith in Jesus.
  2. Their first thought is to place him at Jesus’ feet.
  3. Because of their faith, Jesus forgives the man’s sins.
  4. Jesus then heals the paralyzed man to prove that he could forgive sins.
  5. The paralyzed man keeps receiving all these favors.
  6. When Jesus tells him to get up, he shows great faith. He arises and picks up his mat.
  7. The event confounds the learned critics and delights the simple believers. They believe even more in Jesus’ powers.

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

  1. Lord, send me friends who believe in you.
  2. Teach me to accept the advice of others.
  3. O Jesus, I want my sins to be forgiven. This is your greatest gift (which I often do not seek).
  4. Jesus, you have all power and authority in heaven and on earth.
  5. You heal everything – soul, mind, feelings, senses, intellect and will.
  6. Speak to me Jesus. Tell me to rise from my sins.
  7. Lord, make me a new creation. I will be a sign to others.

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

  1. I will look for friends who believe in Jesus.
  2. I will let their faith bless me.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The people brought him to Jesus.

JUNE 29, 2016 – WEEK THIRTEEN – WEDNESDAY – POSSESSED MEN AND A DUMB CITY

(Matthew 8:28-34)

Prayer: O Jesus, how great is your power to free me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples as he frees the two possessed men.)

Context:

Matthew takes this story from Mark’s gospel (5:1-20) but he shortens Mark’s story. In doing so, he highlights Jesus’ power. Unfortunately, the people ask him to leave.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

As Jesus approached the Gadarene boundary, two men possessed by demons came out of the tombs. They were so fierce that no one could walk that road. They cried out, “What have we to do with you, Jesus, Son of God. Are you here to torment us before the appointed time?”

Some distance away a large herd of swine was feeding. The devils asked him, “If you expel us, send us into this herd of swine.” He said, ‘Out with you.” They came out and entered the swine. The whole herd rushed down the hill into the sea and they were drowned.

The swineherds fled into the city and told everything that had happened concerning the possessed men. The whole city went out to meet Jesus. When they saw him they asked him to depart from their city.

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

  1. The demons love death and they lead possessed people to seek refuge among the tombs.
  2. Jesus changed that. Cemeteries are no longer a place of death. They are a place of sleeping where the dead await their rising.
  3. The two men possess the fierce, destructive powers of the demons, chasing others away.
  4. The demons know that Jesus’ power will chase them away.
  5. The time of their ouster is at hand. They thought they had a permanent place of rest.
  6. With one phrase, Jesus expels them and frees the two men.
  7. Their destructive forces turn against the swine. They die in the sea which Jesus has just calmed. (He has power there, also).
  8. The people make a terrible decision. They ask Jesus to leave. How many more miracles he would have done!

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

  1. O Jesus, you have conquered death. I no longer fear the tomb.
  2. All is changed.       I will sleep in peace, waiting for you to say, “Arise”.
  3. O Jesus, cast out all destructive forces in my life.
  4. You have greater power. You are the victor and I am your spoils.
  5. You shorten the time. You come for me early. Come, Lord Jesus.
  6. Free me, Jesus, like you freed these two men.
  7. Stay in my life and be King of my soul.

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

  1. I will stay away from all demonic powers.
  2. I will invite Jesus to stay with me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

They asked him to leave their city.

JUNE 28, 2016 – WEEK THIRTEEN – TUESDAY – POWER OVER THE SEA

(Matthew 8:23-27)

Prayer – O Jesus, calm the storms in my own life.

Imagination: (Picture the fearful disciples and Jesus calming the sea.)

Context:

Matthew very much follows Mark’s story when Jesus sleeps in the boat. The miracle causes awe and wonder in the apostles.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus got into a boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a violent storm came up on the lake, and the boat began to be swamped with waves, but he was asleep.

They came and woke him saying, “Lord, save us. We are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea and there was great calm. The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this that even the words and the sea obey him?”

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

  1. There were many boats but Jesus travels with his disciples. He wants them to be the primary witnesses of his power.
  2. The wind and the unruly sea are symbols of demonic chaos which destroys our lives as disciples.
  3. The disciples have some faith. They wake Jesus up, believing he can save them.
  4. Jesus expected more faith. His being in their boat, awake or asleep, would have saved them.
  5. Jesus rebukes the wind and the sea, just as he rebuked Satan who possessed people.
  6. The apostles understand that only God can tame the wind and sea. If so, “Who is this Jesus?”

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

  1. O Jesus, travel in my boat. You are always welcome.
  2. Chaos and evil surround me. You are my only safeguard.
  3. Jesus, when I awaken you, you always help me.
  4. Give me greater faith.   Even when you seem to sleep, I will trust you.
  5. Waking or sleeping, you always guard me.
  6. You are Lord. You are God. You are Saviour. You are Redeemer. You are all in all.

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

  1. I will never begin a task without Jesus in my boat.
  2. I will always believe that his power can do all things.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Even the wind and the sea obey him.

JUNE 27, 2016 – WEEK THIRTEEN – MONDAY – THE WOULD BE DISCIPLES

(Matthew 8:18-22)

Prayer: O Jesus, make me your true disciple, ready to pay any price.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with the crowd, challenging people to be his disciples.)

Context:

This gospel is Matthew’s version of the reluctant disciple. From this story, we get a clear picture that some people followed Jesus regularly. The two mentioned here are somewhat initiated into discipleship. Yet, they lack something. Jesus uses their statements to outline the requirements of full discipleship.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus saw the great crowd gathering, he gave orders to go to the other side. A certain scribe said to him, “Master, I will follow you wherever you shall go.” Jesus said to him, “The foxes have their lairs and the birds of the air have their nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Another of his disciples said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father”. But Jesus said to him, “Follow me and let the dead bury their dead.”

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

  1. The scribe is sincere. He wants to follow, but sees that he does not comprehend the difficulties involved.
  2. Jesus describes his own total commitment. The foxes and the birds have more conveniences than Jesus does.
  3. Jesus is the “Son of Man” and he will return in glory. For now, he sacrifices everything for us.
  4. The second disciple realizes his limitations. He has an elderly father and wants to postpone his commitment.
  5. Jesus shifts this man’s priorities. Others can care for his father. He must not lose this unique moment. His call to discipleship should come first.
  6. The two little dialogues reveal this truth. Jesus’ call takes first place because nothing else equals his gift.

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

  1. O Jesus, let your call sweep away all my hesitations.
  2. O Jesus, what you have done for me? You have accepted the most difficult life on earth to bring me the Kingdom.
  3. You are the Son of Man who will come in glory. Now, you are searching for me. I will await you!
  4. O Jesus, how many excuses I use to postpone my commitment.
  5. Open my eyes. Change my goals. Sweep away what does not matter.
  6. I will follow you, Jesus, wherever you go. Even if I have nowhere to lay my head.

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

  1. I will not postpone my response to Jesus’ call.
  2. I will examine my own priorities. What do I put first that should not be first?

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Follow me and let the dead bury their dead.

JUNE 26, 2016 – WEEK THIRTEEN – SUNDAY (C) – THREE WOULD BE DISCIPLES

(Luke 9:51-62)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me not hold back my commitment to you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus speaking to the crowds.)

Context:

This gospel begins Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, a serious undertaking that will result in his death. Many are attracted to Jesus and want to follow him. He invites many to do so but he has to warn them of the costs of being his disciple. Mark gives three examples of an inadequate response.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

As Jesus journeyed toward Jerusalem, a man cried out, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus said to him, “The foxes have dens. The birds of the air have nests. But the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Jesus said to another man, “Follow me.” He replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their dead. You go and preach the Kingdom of God.”

Another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me go home and say farewell to my family.” Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back, is ready for the Kingdom of God.”

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

  1. Jesus is on a journey. There is no time to waste. All three men must decide quickly.
  2. Preaching the Kingdom demands a minimum of material comforts and provides no stable place to lay your head. The disciple must accept that commitment.
  3. “Burying the dead” means waiting years until the person dies. Preaching the Kingdom will not wait. People must hear the news immediately.
  4. A person who plows a field and looks back will do a poor job.       The Kingdom demands all of our attention.
  5. O child of God, Jesus is calling you and you are finding multiple delays. Cut the strings. Jesus’ call is the opportunity of your lifetime.
  6. Do not forget. Jesus moves quickly – like the days of your life which slip by so unnoticed.

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

  1. O Jesus, if you say, “Come, follow me”, I will follow.
  2. I will put your Kingdom above all my other desires.
  3. Jesus, if I look back, I will hesitate. If I hesitate, I will doubt.
  4. If I doubt, then I will not follow you. If I do not follow you, I will lose everything.
  5. O Jesus, your Kingdom is at hand and your call is now.

Resolutions:

  1. I will not fear the radical demands of Jesus’ Kingdom.
  2. I will cherish his words, “Come, follow me.”

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.)

No one who looks back is ready for the Kingdom of God.