NOVEMBER 5, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-ONE – SATURDAY – SERVING GOD OR MONEY?

(Luke 16:9-15)

Prayer: O Jesus, let my heart be totally set upon you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus instructing his disciples.)

Context:

Jesus has just told the parable of the dishonest steward. Now, he speaks of how a believer should use his money to gain God’s blessings. The second part contains a serious warning. No one can serve God and money.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

I say to you, “Make friends for yourselves through your use of this world’s goods, so that when they fail you, a lasting reception will be yours. If you can trust a man in little things, you can also trust him in greater. Anyone who is unjust in little things is also unjust in greater. If you have not been faithful with unjust wealth, who will trust you with what is true? If you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s money, who will give you your own?

No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be attentive to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. The Pharisees, who were avaricious, heard this and derided him. Jesus said, “You justify yourselves in the eyes of men but God reads your hearts. What man sees as important, God holds in contempt.

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

  1. Money always fails to secure true life. Disciples must use their money to gain eternal life.
  2. Jesus compares earthly money (little things) to heavenly riches (greater things). A person trustworthy with earthly money can be trusted with heavenly powers.
  3. This leads up to the great teaching “No man can serve two masters.”
  4. The human heart cannot go in two directions.       To love money is to turn away from God.
  5. These words cut the hearts of the Pharisees. They pretend to serve God but they really serve money.
  6. Jesus declares that God sees where their hearts are.

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

  1. O Jesus, all my money belongs to you.       I will use it to gain everlasting life.
  2. Make me faithful in the little things of earthly life.
  3. Trust me, Jesus, with heavenly powers and I will bring others to your Kingdom.
  4. Jesus, I renounce a divided heart that seeks anything else but you.
  5. Free me of greed, O Lord. Bestow upon me a generous spirit which blesses others.
  6. Search my heart, O God. Cleanse whatever must be purified.

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

  1. I will always use ten percent of my income for God.
  2. I will be consistently generous.

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

You cannot serve two masters.

NOVEMBER 4, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-ONE – FRIDAY – THE UNJUST STEWARD

(Luke 16:1-8)

Prayer: O Jesus, wake me up to the imminence of the Kingdom, so I respond fully.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples)

Context:

The parable uses real-life details. Rich owners often lived at a distance and depended on stewards who held promissory oaths of debtors. The steward wants the changes put into the original handwriting of the debtors (so the deception goes undetected).

The master’s surprising praise of his unjust steward has puzzled many but Jesus uses the parable to shock us into action in our crisis of the imminent judgment. The unjust steward was caught in this personal crisis. He sized up the situation, came up with a solution and acted decisively. Jesus wants to shock us into decisive action concerning our personal salvation.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

A rich man had a steward who had wasted his goods. He said to him, “What is this I hear of you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can be steward no longer.”

The steward thought to himself, “What shall I do because my master will take away my stewardship. To dig, I am not able. To beg, I am ashamed. I know what I will do so that after I am removed from my stewardship, they might receive me into their houses.” He called in his master’s debtors. To the first he asked, “How much do you owe my master? He said, “A hundred barrels of oil”. The steward said, “Take your bill and quickly write fifty”. He said to another, “How much do you owe?” He replied, “A hundred bushels of wheat”. The steward said, “Take your bill and write eighty.”

The Lord commended the unjust steward for he had acted wisely. For the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.”

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

  1. The crux of the parable is that disaster is imminent. The Master will fire the steward.
  2. The steward knows he must act while he still has access to his master’s debtors.
  3. He acts quickly and effectively. He is able to ingratiate himself with those who have much money.
  4. By commending this action, Jesus says to the crowd, “You, also, are in imminent trouble. The judgment is at the door. Imitate the man’s quickness and cleverness.”
  5. The parable has a shock value. By the surprise ending, Jesus accuses the crowds of their failure to realize that the crisis of judgment is imminent.

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

  1. Let me not delay, O Lord. Losing my soul is an eternal disaster.
  2. Let me not say, “Tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow.” (St. Augustine)
  3. O Jesus, my obligations are serous. These are weighty matters.
  4. Let me move quickly. Let me take the steps.
  5. O Lord, the Kingdom is mine if I act. You will receive me into an eternal dwelling.
  6. Lord, if you need to shock me, you have my permission. Awaken me from my lethargy.

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

  1. I will examine my life to see my situation clearly and to do what is needed.
  2. I will act quickly and not delay.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Jesus commended the steward for acting wisely.

NOVEMBER 3, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-ONE – THURSDAY – THE LOST SHEEP AND THE LOST COIN

(Luke 15:1-10)

Prayer: O Jesus, show me how precious I am to you.

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. 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)

Tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. At this, the Pharisees and scribes murmured, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So, Jesus told this parable. 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.

Does not a woman having ten coins and losing one coin, light a candle, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? Then she calls her friends and neighbors and says, “Rejoice with me. I have found my lost coin.” In just the same way, I tell you that there will be more joy before the angels of God for one sinner doing penance.

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 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. God, I am precious to you. Your love for me is totally beyond reason.
  2. Let me repent, so you and your angels can rejoice.
  3. Thank you, O Lord. You searched 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.

NOVEMBER 2, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-ONE – WEDNESDAY – THE TOWER AND THE WAR

(Luke 14:28-32)

Prayer: O Jesus, help me to persevere until the finish line.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching the crowds.)

Context:

Jesus is dealing here with enthusiastic disciples who cannot see the tremendous hardships that lie ahead. So, Jesus gives two examples which entail great difficulties. A farmer needs a tower for his grain, but the extensive foundation is costly. A king must wage war but has fewer soldiers than the other king.

Because of difficulties, the disciple might turn away and lose the kingdom. Jesus wants his determination to be firm.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Which of you thinks of building a tower and does not sit down first and reckon the necessary costs to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, after laying the foundation, he cannot complete it and all laugh at him, saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.”

Or, what king about to go to war with another king, does not first sit down and think whether he is able, with ten thousand men, to meet with a king having twenty thousand? Otherwise, while he is still far off, he will send a delegation seeking the conditions of peace.

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

  1. Jesus says that both the farmer and the king must “sit down”. Their decision is momentous and they cannot rush in.
  2. Their present situation (outside of the Kingdom) is not good. However, their second state (abandoning discipleship) would be even worse.
  3. Jesus invites all to discipleship. He wants a mature decision that sees the costs.
  4. The farmer has to find more resources. The king must find more men.
  5. The disciples’ commitment must be complete, total, creative and persevering.
  6. More than any other, this parable unveils the cost and sacrifice of discipleship.

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

  1. Lord, I have been a superficial disciple, unaware of what is involved.
  2. Let me sit down and consider the depth of my commitment.
  3. No longer will I leave my spiritual tasks unfinished and my spiritual wars unfought.
  4. I will rise up from my table of prayer with renewed commitment.
  5. You will join me and say, “Let us begin again.”

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

  1. I will see clearly my failures in being a disciple.
  2. I will ask for unbounded hope that I can complete the tasks.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The farmer and the king had to sit down.

NOVEMBER 1, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-ONE – TUESDAY – THE GREAT SUPPER

(Luke 14:15-24)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me respond now to your banquet invitation.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

In Jesus’ time, a popular, story told about a tax collector who decided to invite all the prominent people to a banquet. Naturally, these prominent people did not want to attend. The tax-collector then decided to fill his house with the poor. When the house is filled, he makes certain that those originally invited will never get in.   Jesus applies this story to the Kingdom. Some things are out of God’s control. God prepares the Kingdom and sends the messengers. Yet, each person is free. No matter what God does, some will never taste “the bread of the Kingdom.”

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

A man who heard the parable of inviting the poor to supper said to Jesus, “Blessed is the man who shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God”. Jesus told him this parable.

A man had a great supper and invited many. He sent his servant at the hour of the supper to say to those who were invited that they should come because everything was ready. They began all at once to make excuses. The first said, “I have bought a farm and must go to see it.” The second said, “I have bought four yoke of oxen and I want to try them. Please hold me excused.” The third said, “I have married a wife and cannot come.”

When the servant told his master these things, he grew angry and said, “Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor, the sick, the blind, and the lame. The servant returned and said, “Lord, it is done as you commanded and still there is room. The master said, “Go into the highways and the byways and compel them to come in, so my house shall be filled. But, I say to you, “None that were invited, shall taste of my supper.”

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

  1. The parable presents a great warning. Many people have heard the gospel but reject Jesus.
  2. They even group together and support each other in their rejection.
  3. They have more important tasks than to respond to the kingdom.
  4. The host reacts with anger, sending his servant to invite the marginal people.
  5. These do not need two invitations.
  6. They feel unworthy and must be taken by the hand to accept.
  7. There is no last minute reprieve. The house has no room left for those invited first.
  8. Some will never taste “the bread of the Kingdom.”

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

  1. O God, you call. You invite. But, I must say “yes”.
  2. O Jesus, no tasks are more important than accepting your kingdom.
  3. O Lord, I see all who are entering the banquet. Why should I remain outside?
  4. It’s not too late. Your parable warns me to accept now.
  5. You will not reject me. I can still eat the bread of the Kingdom.

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

  1. I will treasure Jesus’ invitation to the banquet more than anything else in the world.
  2. I will thirst for the bread of the Kingdom.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

“None of those invited shall taste of my supper.”

OCTOBER 31, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-ONE – MONDAY – FEAST OF ALL SOULS

(John 6:37-40)

Prayer – O Jesus, prepare me for the moment when you come to me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples)

Context:

Besides proclaiming salvation, the parables warn us of judgment and call us to repentance. This parable has the cutting edge of urgency.

This parable shows hostility toward Jesus. Because the children cannot agree, their quarrels end their playtime. The cause is laziness. Some children expect others to do the strenuous part of dancing while they just sit around playing instruments.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplace, complaining against other children. “We have piped you a tune and you have not danced. We have sung a sorrowful song and you have not mourned.”

John came fasting and you said, “He has a devil.” The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said, “Behold, a glutton and a wine-drinker, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Wisdom is vindicated by her children.

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

  1. God sends his messengers, using various personalities to appeal to everyone.
  2. The people are lazy and do not respond. Instead, they criticize both John and Jesus.
  3. Opportunities to accept the Kingdom are lost, and time runs out.
  4. The decisive moment arrives, but no one is prepared.
  5. Jesus is God’s final messenger. The Father has sent his only Son.

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

  1. How many opportunities will you give me, O Lord?
  2. Speak now and give me a listening heart.
  3. Jesus, the time is short. Let me respond right now.
  4. I will repent, change my life and walk a new path.
  5. Do not let me ruin my life.
  6. Send your messengers. I will listen

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

  1. I believe God will send his messengers today. I will respond.
  2. I will seek the fruits of repentance.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Children complaining in the marketplace about God’s anointed messengers.

OCTOBER 30, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY ONE – SUNDAY (C) THE MAN UP IN THE TREE

(Luke 19:1-10)

Prayer: O Jesus, come and stay in my house this day.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus finding Zaccheus in a tree.)

Context:

Zaccheus is the second wealthy man to receives an invitation from Jesus. He accepts the gift and uses his wealth to restore justice. This story highlights Jesus as the saviour of all, even of rich people and their families.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Upon entering Jericho, Jesus passed through the city. There lived a wealthy man there named Zaccheus, the chief tax collector. He wanted to see Jesus but being small of stature, he could not, because of the crowd. So, he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree which was along Jesus’ route. When Jesus reached that place, he looked up and said, “Zaccheus, come down quickly, for today I must stay in your house.” He came down and received him with joy.

When this was seen, many complained, “He is going to the house of a sinner.” Zaccheus stood his ground and said to the Lord. “I will give half of my belongings to the poor and if I have cheated anyone in the least I will return it four-fold.” Jesus said, “Today, salvation has come to this house, for this is what it means to be a son of Abraham. The Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”

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

  1. As a tax collector, Zaccheus works for Rome.       However, his desires are for Jesus’ Kingdom.
  2. Zaccheus had only one chance, one moment.       Jesus was just “passing by”.
  3. His small stature helps him. Zaccheus climbs a tree where Jesus easily sees him.
  4. When Jesus says, “I must stay in your house”, Zaccheus understands the great gift.
  5. He holds his ground and does not allow the crowd to steal the Kingdom.
  6. Instead, he repents, “I give half my possessions to the poor and I will repay four times over any money I have extorted.”
  7. His conversion is lasting. He joined the early church. We know his name and his story.

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

  1. O Jesus, today you will come.
  2. Lord, I am entangled, but I want to be set free.
  3. O Jesus, when you pass by today I will not miss my chance.
  4. You will see me and call my name.
  5. Yes, Jesus, come and stay in my house.
  6. I will change whatever needs to be changed.
  7. Jesus, you will rejoice. I am lost and you will save me.

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

  1. I will be alert for those moments when Jesus will “pass by today.”
  2. When Jesus says, “I shall stay in your house”, I will open my heart.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Zaccheus would not allow the crowd to rob him of the Kingdom.

NOVEMBER 7, 2015 – WEEK THIRTY ONE – SATURDAY – SERVING GOD OR MONEY?

(Luke 16:9-15)

Prayer: O Jesus, let my heart be totally set upon you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus instructing his disciples.)

Context:

Jesus has just told the parable of the dishonest steward. Now, he speaks of how a believer should use his money to gain God’s blessings. The second part contains a serious warning. No one can serve God and money.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

I say to you, “Make friends for yourselves through your use of this world’s goods, so that when they fail you, a lasting reception will be yours. If you can trust a man in little things, you can also trust him in greater. Anyone who is unjust in little things is also unjust in greater. If you have not been faithful with unjust wealth, who will trust you with what is true? If you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s money, who will give you your own?

No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be attentive to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. The Pharisees, who were avaricious, heard this and derided him. Jesus said, “You justify yourselves in the eyes of men but God reads your hearts. What man sees as important, God holds in contempt.

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

  1. Money always fails to secure true life. Disciples must use their money to gain eternal life.
  2. Jesus compares earthly money (little things) to heavenly riches (greater things). A person trustworthy with earthly money can be trusted with heavenly powers.
  3. This leads up to the great teaching “No man can serve two masters.”
  4. The human heart cannot go in two directions.       To love money is to turn away from God.
  5. These words cut the hearts of the Pharisees. They pretend to serve God but they really serve money.
  6. Jesus declares that God sees where their hearts are.

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

  1. O Jesus, all my money belongs to you.       I will use it to gain everlasting life.
  2. Make me faithful in the little things of earthly life.
  3. Trust me, Jesus, with heavenly powers and I will bring others to your Kingdom.
  4. Jesus, I renounce a divided heart that seeks anything else but you.
  5. Free me of greed, O Lord. Bestow upon me a generous spirit which blesses others.
  6. Search my heart, O God. Cleanse whatever must be purified.

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

  1. I will always use ten percent of my income for God.
  2. I will be consistently generous.

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

You cannot serve two masters.

NOVEMBER 6, 2015 – WEEK THIRTY ONE – FRIDAY – THE UNJUST STEWARD

(Luke 16:1-8)

Prayer: O Jesus, wake me up to the imminence of the Kingdom, so I respond fully.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples)

Context:

The parable uses real-life details. Rich owners often lived at a distance and depended on stewards who held promissory oaths of debtors. The steward wants the changes put into the original handwriting of the debtors (so the deception goes undetected).

The master’s surprising praise of his unjust steward has puzzled many but Jesus uses the parable to shock us into action in our crisis of the imminent judgment. The unjust steward was caught in this personal crisis. He sized up the situation, came up with a solution and acted decisively. Jesus wants to shock us into decisive action concerning our personal salvation.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

A rich man had a steward who had wasted his goods. He said to him, “What is this I hear of you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can be steward no longer.”

The steward thought to himself, “What shall I do because my master will take away my stewardship. To dig, I am not able. To beg, I am ashamed. I know what I will do so that after I am removed from my stewardship, they might receive me into their houses.” He called in his master’s debtors. To the first he asked, “How much do you owe my master? He said, “A hundred barrels of oil”. The steward said, “Take your bill and quickly write fifty”. He said to another, “How much do you owe?” He replied, “A hundred bushels of wheat”. The steward said, “Take your bill and write eighty.”

The Lord commended the unjust steward for he had acted wisely. For the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.”

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

  1. The crux of the parable is that disaster is imminent. The Master will fire the steward.
  2. The steward knows he must act while he still has access to his master’s debtors.
  3. He acts quickly and effectively. He is able to ingratiate himself with those who have much money.
  4. By commending this action, Jesus says to the crowd, “You, also, are in imminent trouble. The judgment is at the door. Imitate the man’s quickness and cleverness.”
  5. The parable has a shock value. By the surprise ending, Jesus accuses the crowds of their failure to realize that the crisis of judgment is imminent.

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

  1. Let me not delay, O Lord. Losing my soul is an eternal disaster.
  2. Let me not say, “Tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow.” (St. Augustine)
  3. O Jesus, my obligations are serous. These are weighty matters.
  4. Let me move quickly. Let me take the steps.
  5. O Lord, the Kingdom is mine if I act. You will receive me into an eternal dwelling.
  6. Lord, if you need to shock me, you have my permission. Awaken me from my lethargy.

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

  1. I will examine my life to see my situation clearly and to do what is needed.
  2. I will act quickly and not delay.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Jesus commended the steward for acting wisely.

NOVEMBER 5, 2015 – WEEK THIRTY ONE – THURSDAY – THE LOST SHEEP AND THE LOST COIN

(Luke 15:1-10)

Prayer: O Jesus, show me how precious I am to you.

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. 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)

Tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. At this, the Pharisees and scribes murmured, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So, Jesus told this parable. 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.

Does not a woman having ten coins and losing one coin, light a candle, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? Then she calls her friends and neighbors and says, “Rejoice with me. I have found my lost coin.” In just the same way, I tell you that there will be more joy before the angels of God for one sinner doing penance.

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 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. God, I am precious to you. Your love for me is totally beyond reason.
  2. Let me repent, so you and your angels can rejoice.
  3. Thank you, O Lord. You searched 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.

NOVEMBER 4, 2015 – WEEK THIRTY ONE – WEDNESDAY – THE TOWER AND THE WAR

(Luke 14:28-32)

Prayer: O Jesus, help me to persevere until the finish line.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching the crowds.)

Context:

Jesus is dealing here with enthusiastic disciples who cannot see the tremendous hardships that lie ahead. So, Jesus gives two examples which entail great difficulties. A farmer needs a tower for his grain, but the extensive foundation is costly. A king must wage war but has fewer soldiers than the other king.

Because of difficulties, the disciple might turn away and lose the kingdom. Jesus wants his determination to be firm.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Which of you thinks of building a tower and does not sit down first and reckon the necessary costs to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, after laying the foundation, he cannot complete it and all laugh at him, saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.”

Or, what king about to go to war with another king, does not first sit down and think whether he is able, with ten thousand men, to meet with a king having twenty thousand? Otherwise, while he is still far off, he will send a delegation seeking the conditions of peace.

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

  1. Jesus says that both the farmer and the king must “sit down”. Their decision is momentous and they cannot rush in.
  2. Their present situation (outside of the Kingdom) is not good. However, their second state (abandoning discipleship) would be even worse.
  3. Jesus invites all to discipleship. He wants a mature decision that sees the costs.
  4. The farmer has to find more resources. The king must find more men.
  5. The disciples’ commitment must be complete, total, creative and persevering.
  6. More than any other, this parable unveils the cost and sacrifice of discipleship.

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

  1. Lord, I have been a superficial disciple, unaware of what is involved.
  2. Let me sit down and consider the depth of my commitment.
  3. No longer will I leave my spiritual tasks unfinished and my spiritual wars unfought.
  4. I will rise up from my table of prayer with renewed commitment.
  5. You will join me and say, “Let us begin again.”

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

  1. I will see clearly my failures in being a disciple.
  2. I will ask for unbounded hope that I can complete the tasks.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The farmer and the king had to sit down.

NOVEMBER 3, 2015 – WEEK THIRTY ONE – TUESDAY – THE GREAT SUPPER

(Luke 14:15-24)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me respond now to your banquet invitation.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

In Jesus’ time, a popular, story told about a tax collector who decided to invite all the prominent people to a banquet. Naturally, these prominent people did not want to attend. The tax-collector then decided to fill his house with the poor. When the house is filled, he makes certain that those originally invited will never get in.   Jesus applies this story to the Kingdom. Some things are out of God’s control. God prepares the Kingdom and sends the messengers. Yet, each person is free. No matter what God does, some will never taste “the bread of the Kingdom.”

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

A man who heard the parable of inviting the poor to supper said to Jesus, “Blessed is the man who shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God”. Jesus told him this parable.

A man had a great supper and invited many. He sent his servant at the hour of the supper to say to those who were invited that they should come because everything was ready. They began all at once to make excuses. The first said, “I have bought a farm and must go to see it.” The second said, “I have bought four yoke of oxen and I want to try them. Please hold me excused.” The third said, “I have married a wife and cannot come.”

When the servant told his master these things, he grew angry and said, “Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor, the sick, the blind, and the lame. The servant returned and said, “Lord, it is done as you commanded and still there is room. The master said, “Go into the highways and the byways and compel them to come in, so my house shall be filled. But, I say to you, “None that were invited, shall taste of my supper.”

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

  1. The parable presents a great warning. Many people have heard the gospel but reject Jesus.
  2. They even group together and support each other in their rejection.
  3. They have more important tasks than to respond to the kingdom.
  4. The host reacts with anger, sending his servant to invite the marginal people.
  5. These do not need two invitations.
  6. They feel unworthy and must be taken by the hand to accept.
  7. There is no last minute reprieve. The house has no room left for those invited first.
  8. Some will never taste “the bread of the Kingdom.”

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

  1. O God, you call. You invite. But, I must say “yes”.
  2. O Jesus, no tasks are more important than accepting your kingdom.
  3. O Lord, I see all who are entering the banquet. Why should I remain outside?
  4. It’s not too late. Your parable warns me to accept now.
  5. You will not reject me. I can still eat the bread of the Kingdom.

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

  1. I will treasure Jesus’ invitation to the banquet more than anything else in the world.
  2. I will thirst for the bread of the Kingdom.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

“None of those invited shall taste of my supper.”

NOVEMBER 2, 2015 – WEEK THIRTY ONE – MONDAY – FEAST OF ALL SOULS

(John 6:37-40)

Prayer – O Jesus, prepare me for the moment when you come to me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples)

Context:

Besides proclaiming salvation, the parables warn us of judgment and call us to repentance. This parable has the cutting edge of urgency.

This parable shows hostility toward Jesus. Because the children cannot agree, their quarrels end their playtime. The cause is laziness. Some children expect others to do the strenuous part of dancing while they just sit around playing instruments.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplace, complaining against other children. “We have piped you a tune and you have not danced. We have sung a sorrowful song and you have not mourned.”

John came fasting and you said, “He has a devil.” The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said, “Behold, a glutton and a wine-drinker, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Wisdom is vindicated by her children.

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

  1. God sends his messengers, using various personalities to appeal to everyone.
  2. The people are lazy and do not respond. Instead, they criticize both John and Jesus.
  3. Opportunities to accept the Kingdom are lost, and time runs out.
  4. The decisive moment arrives, but no one is prepared.
  5. Jesus is God’s final messenger. The Father has sent his only Son.

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

  1. How many opportunities will you give me, O Lord?
  2. Speak now and give me a listening heart.
  3. Jesus, the time is short. Let me respond right now.
  4. I will repent, change my life and walk a new path.
  5. Do not let me ruin my life.
  6. Send your messengers. I will listen

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

  1. I believe God will send his messengers today. I will respond.
  2. I will seek the fruits of repentance.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Children complaining in the marketplace about God’s anointed messengers.

NOVEMBER 1, 2015 – WEEK THIRTY ONE – SUNDAY (B) – FEAST OF ALL SAINTS

(Matthew 5:1-12) 

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Form my heart according to Jesus’ teaching.

Imagination:   (Picture Jesus teaching the crowds.)

Context:

Jesus calls various groups “blessed”. However, anyone can choose to belong to these groups. A person can be poor in spirit, meek, mourning over the world’s sins, and hungering for justice. So, the door is open to everyone. In all four situations, the person is promised heaven (under different figures of speech).

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Seeing the crowd, Jesus went up the mountain. When he sat down, his disciples came to him and he taught them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice.

They shall have their fill.

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

  1. When Jesus speaks to the crowds, he invites them into the Kingdom.       Here, he speaks to disciples who are already members of his Kingdom.
  2. Because their hearts are set upon the Kingdom, they can understand Jesus’ teaching.
  3. A person is “Blessed” by being a member of the Kingdom.
  4. A person becomes a member by a personal decision to be poor in spirit, to mourn for the Kingdom, to be merciful, and to hunger for justice.
  5. If they persevere in these dispositions, they will receive the full reward of blessedness, an eternal kingdom.

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

  1. O Jesus, you invite me into your Kingdom.
  2. O Lord, I accept your offer.
  3. Reveal to me the Kingdom’s secrets, so I can embrace them.
  4. O Jesus, if I persevere in my decision, I will be blessed eternally.
  5. Right now, I give you my heart, my choices, and all my decisions.
  6. O Spirit of Jesus, form me. Form me in poverty of spirit, meekness, sorrow for the Kingdom and mercy for all.

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

  1. I will allow these teachings to form my thinking.
  2. I will rejoice that Jesus calls me “Blessed.”

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The disciples came to Jesus and he taught them.