WEEK THIRTY – THURSDAY – NOVEMBER 2, 2017 TRUE BREAD FROM HEAVEN (Jn 6:37-40)

Prayer: O Jesus, you are the true Bread of Life.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching the crowds.)

Context: In their debate with Jesus, the crowd talks about the great sign
of manna which God sent to Moses and the Israelites. (Ex 16:4) Jesus uses this Old Testament story to reveal that the manna came from his Father.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to them, “Amen, Amen, I say to you, Moses did not give you bread from heaven. My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. The bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. They said to him, “Lord, give us this bread always”. Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall not hunger. He who believes in me shall never thirst.

“But I told you that although you have seen me, you do not believe. All that the Father gives me shall come to me. Whoever comes to me, I will not cast out. I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.
This is the Father’s will. That I should lose nothing but raise it up again on the last day. ‘

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

  1. In the desert, the manna sustained human life for a short time.
  2. Now, the Father will give His Son, the Word made Flesh. This food grants eternal life.
  3. Although the crowd asks for this heavenly bread, they have no idea of what it is.
  4. First, they must believe in Jesus and come to him.
  5. To whoever comes, Jesus will give everlasting life. This is the Father’s plan.

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

  1. Heavenly Father, you have always sustained your creatures.
  2. Every blessing comes from Your hands.
  3. O Father, your greatest gift is Jesus, your only-begotten Son.
  4. O Jesus, give me the bread that comes down from heaven.
  5. O Jesus, hold me in your hands.
  6. Call me and I will come. Keep me and I will never stray.

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

  1. I will not delay any longer. This day, I will come to Jesus.
  2. I will let him hold me. I will not walk away from his grasp.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

“I will lose nothing but will raise him up on the last day.”

WEEK THIRTY – WEDNESDAY – NOVEMBER 1, 2017 Feast of All Saints THE FIRST FOUR BEATITUDES – PART 1 – (MT 5:1-5)

Prayer – O Jesus, call me to a special goodness and help me to be a faithful disciple.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus preaching to the disciples).

Context:
Matthew’s teachings are broken into five sections, (like the five books of Moses). The beatitudes are Jesus’ first major teaching. Matthew, seeing a decline in fervor in his church, sets a high level of morality. He calls this “the greater righteousness”. We will pray these beatitudes in 2 parts.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the mountain. After he sat down, his disciples gathered and he began to teach them.
Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the land.
Blessed are those who mourn; for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for holiness; they shall have their fill.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you).
1. Climbing the mountain and sitting down show the authority of Jesus in these teachings.
2. He teaches his disciples. They must know what is required of those seeking the Kingdom.
3. To be rich in the Kingdom, the disciples must be poor in their own spirit.
4. To gain everything, the disciples must not claim anything as their own.
5. To be comforted in a surprising way, they must be sorrowful when people do not accept the Kingdom.
6. To be made holy, they must hunger and thirst for Jesus’ new righteousness.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. O Jesus, use your authority. Establish your Kingdom in my heart.
2. Teach me, Jesus. I will listen attentively. I want to be your disciple.
3. To gain your Kingdom, I will leave everything behind.
4. If I claim nothing. You will give me every treasure of the Kingdom.
5. O Jesus, so many people reject you. What can I do to extend your Kingdom?
6. I want only to be close to you. What else should I seek? You are Jesus of Nazareth.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own)
1. I will say often, “Your Kingdom come.”
2. I will have only Jesus as my teacher.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
The disciples gathered around Jesus and he began to teach them.

WEEK THIRTY – TUESDAY – OCTOBER 31, 2017 THE SMALL BEGINNINGS (LK 13:18-21)

Prayer – O Jesus, plant your powerful Kingdom in my heart.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus preaching to the crowds)

Context:

These two little parables are excellent images of the reign of God. The mustard seed and the leaven are both small but powerful. As they are planted, people learn how forceful they are.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus asked, “What is the Kingdom of God like? What does it resemble?

It is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a great tree, so the birds of the air lodged in its branches.

Again he said, “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God? It is like yeast which a woman took and placed in three measures of
flour until the whole mass of dough began to rise.”

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

  1. These excellent images make the Kingdom of God easy to understand.
  2. God places the Kingdom in the baptized like a farmer places the mustard seed in the ground.
  3. The gigantic tree represents a symbol of the mature Christian.
  4. The woman also knows the power of the yeast. She places it in the flour.
  5. The whole mass of dough is expanded. The yeast changes everything. That is what the Kingdom does.
  6. Jesus’ Kingdom seems so small, yet it totally changes people’s lives.

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

  1. Jesus, place your Kingdom in my heart.
  2. Nothing is more real than your Kingdom. Thy Kingdom come!
  3. What power your Kingdom has. It bestows eternal life!
  4. O Jesus, Your Kingdom will change everything.
  5. I will seek first the Kingdom of God.
  6. By the power of your Kingdom, Jesus, all things are possible.

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

  1. I will place great faith in the power of God’s Kingdom.
  2. I will allow God’s power to act within my heart.

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

What does the Kingdom of God resemble? To what can I compare it?

It is like a mustard seed or like yeast.

WEEK THIRTY – MONDAY – OCTOBER 30, 2017 THE DAUGHTER OF ABRAHAM (LK 13: 10-17)

Prayer – O Jesus, stretch out your hand. With your power set me free.

Imagination 🙁 Picture Jesus in the synagogue.)

Context:

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus is about to proclaim that God’s Kingdom is open to all. He starts with the most humble, curing a stooped woman in a synagogue. The controversy that follows shows Jesus’ great regard for her.
She is a daughter of Abraham.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus was teaching in their synagogue on a sabbath. There was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years. She was stooped and incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her,
he called her to himself and said,
“Woman, you are free from your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her.
She stood straight up and began thanking God.

The ruler of the synagogue, being angry that Jesus healed on the sabbath,
said to the crowds, “There are six days for you to work. On those days,
come to be healed but not on the sabbath.”

The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites, does not every one of you on the
Sabbath day loose his ox or his ass from the manger and lead them to water?
Ought not this daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years,
be loosed from this illness on the sabbath day?” When he said this, all his adversaries grew ashamed and all the people rejoiced.

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

  1. Our needs get Jesus’ attention. Our afflictions call him close.
  2. Jesus is sure of his powers. He performs this total and immediate healing in everyone’s sight.
  3. The ruler does not confront Jesus. Instead, he turns to the crowd to support his position.
  4. Jesus reveals his feelings. This woman has a special dignity. She is a daughter of Abraham.
  5. Comparing the woman to an ox or an ass destroys the ruler’s reasoning.
  6. The crowd decides the winner. Jesus has won their hearts and their minds. They all rejoice.

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

  1. O Jesus, I present to you all my needs.
  2. You call me. You say, “Come here, close by me.”
  3. You stretch out your hand. You touch me.
  4. Your gift is immediate. You do not wait. You do not put me off.
  5. Even on the sabbath, you heal. You set aside everything for my benefit.
  6. O Jesus, I too am a child of Abraham, the dignity of my Baptism.
  7. I am precious to you. When I am with you, I rejoice.

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

  1. I will see my illnesses as doors to Jesus’ help.
  2. I will ponder this question, “How does Jesus see me?”

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Ought not this daughter of Abraham be loosed from her illness?

WEEK THIRTY – SUNDAY – A – OCTOBER 29, 2017 THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT (MT: 22:34-40)

Prayer – O Holy Spirit, send your divine fire to help me love God and my neighbor.

Imagination: (Pictures Jesus speaking to the Pharisees and the crowds.)

Context:

The rabbis had 613 commandments. Therefore, to ask what
commandment is the greatest was a usual question. However,
the Pharisees approach Jesus in a hostile way,
hoping to discredit him because he claimed the power to interpret and
even to change laws.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The Pharisees, seeing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, assembled
in a body, and one of them, a scholar of the law tested him by asking
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”

Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and
the first commandment. The second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets
depend on these two commandments.

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

  1. The Pharisees delight that Jesus has silenced their enemies, the Sadducees. Yet, they do not give him their hearts.
  2. They choose an intelligent spokesman to test Jesus.
  3. The question is a good one and Jesus has the perfect answer.
  4. Love underlies every commandment.
  5. Love for God must be total, involving every faculty.
  6. Love for neighbor must be equal to love for self.
  7. Love is the total foundation.
  8. The disciple must remember these words, and write them on his heart.

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

  1. Jesus, give me a simplicity of heart.
  2. Why should I test you? You died on the cross for me.
  3. O Jesus, I surrender my heart, my will, my affections, my desires.
  4. Jesus, my eternity will be love! I will begin now.
  5. O Jesus, if I truly love you, I will love my neighbor.
  6. Jesus, write these words on my heart.

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

  1. I will allow no sin in my heart.
  2. I will be consciously aware of loving my neighbor.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

On these two commandments, depend the whole law and the prophets.

OCTOBER 29, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY – SATURDAY – THE PLACES AT TABLE

(Luke 14:7-11)

Prayer: Dear Jesus, let me see suffering as a part of your saving plan for me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus trying to explain his future suffering to his disciples.)

Context:

Peter has just proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah. Because of his faith, Jesus has given to Peter the keys of the Kingdom of God. Now, Jesus explains that he will be a suffering Messiah. Peter cannot accept this. Jesus rebukes him for his all-too-human thinking.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

From that time on, Jesus began to show the disciples that he must go to Jerusalem, to suffer many things from the elders, the scribes, the chief priests and to be put to death and raised up on the third day.

Peter, taking him aside, began to rebuke him, saying, “Lord, no such thing will ever happen to you.” Turning to Peter, Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan, you are a scandal to me. You are not thinking as God does, but as human beings do.”

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

  1. Having revealed his identity as the Messiah, Jesus must also reveal his sufferings.
  2. None of the disciples believe that Jesus will suffer.
  3. Peter goes even further, claiming that these events just won’t happen. He even rebukes Jesus.
  4. Peter does not grasp the Kingdom. He becomes a scandal and an obstacle.
  5. Peter totally overlooks Jesus’ promise that he would be raised on the third day.
  6. Jesus wanted his disciples “to think as God does”. They all fail this test.

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

  1. Jesus, you want to reveal everything to me, even the secrets of your heart.
  2. I claim to be your disciple, but I reject suffering, the cross and persecution.
  3. I grasp so little. Help me to understand.
  4. Prepare me, Jesus. Teach me the mystery of suffering for you.
  5. I will accept the cross. In this way, I will rise with you.
  6. Open my eyes. Even your crosses are blessings planned for me.

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

  1. I will try to think as God does.
  2. I will unite today’s hardships with Jesus’ sufferings.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Jesus showed the disciples that he must suffer many things.

OCTOBER 28, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY – FRIDAY – ANOTHER SABBATH HEALING

(Luke 14: 1-6)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, heal my infirmities.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus at table with the Pharisees.)

Context:

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus spends much time at table. Usually, controversy erupts. Here, Jesus heals a man and the story focuses more on the controversy than on the healing.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus entered a house of one of the leading Pharisees to eat a meal on the Sabbath, they watched him closely. Right in front of him was a man with dropsy. Jesus asked the lawyers and the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day? But they were silent. He took the man, healed him and sent him off.

Then, he spoke to them, “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit and will not immediately rescue it on the Sabbath?” This they could not answer.

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

  1. Jesus enters the house in good will. Others came to attack him.
  2. Suddenly, an invalid has need of his healing powers.
  3. Jesus thinks of the others at table and invites them to share in this moment of healing.
  4. Their hearts are closed and they refuse to participate in this mighty work of God.
  5. Jesus moves ahead without them. He will not hold back the power of God.
  6. After healing the man, he confronts their closed hearts.
  7. Wouldn’t they open their hearts to an animal on the Sabbath?
  8. Jesus’ logic makes them fall silent.

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

  1. O Jesus, enter my house and bring all your powers.
  2. I come before you, sick and sinful.
  3. Heal me on any day and at any time!
  4. O Jesus, in you is the fullness of God’s powers.  Let all be released!
  5. I am silent before you. I am unworthy and sinful.
  6. O Jesus, I will never leave your presence.

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

  1. I will remain in Jesus’ presence today.
  2. I will give Jesus permission to do whatever he wants.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Right in front of Jesus was a man with dropsy.

OCTOBER 27, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY – THURSDAY – JESUS AND JERUSALEM

(Luke 13:31-35)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me follow you to Jerusalem.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus with his disciples and the Pharisees.)

Context:

Seemingly, the Pharisees are warning Jesus to leave Herod’s territory. Really, they want him to go to Jerusalem where they have more power. Jesus knows their plans and says that he will arrive in Jerusalem in time for his death.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

That same day, some Pharisees came and said to Jesus, “Depart from this place because Herod is thinking about killing you. Jesus replied, “Go and tell that fox that I cast out devils and heal today and tomorrow, and on the third day my purpose is accomplished.” Nevertheless, I must proceed on course, today and tomorrow and the following day, because no prophet can be allowed to die anywhere except in Jerusalem.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you. How often I would have gathered your children as a mother bird collects her young under her wing, and you refused me!

Your temple will be left abandoned and I say that you shall not see me until the time comes when you say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

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

  1. Jesus, the man of peace, experiences hostility from every side
  2. Jesus fears no one. He will continue his ministry until it is complete. Then he will leave.
  3. He knows the Father’s plan. He can only die in Jerusalem.
  4. Jesus loves Jerusalem. He weeps over the city. Shedding his blood will have little effect. Many will not believe.
  5. He would save Jerusalem from the Roman destruction.       Instead, their temple will be destroyed.
  6. He will come again when Israel will believe in him as Lord.

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

  1. O Jesus, in the middle of my turmoil, fill me with your peace.
  2. Let me be faithful to the work your Father has given to me.
  3. O Jesus, you know the place and time of my death. Be with me in that moment.
  4. You shed your blood for me. I will not let your sacrifice be in vain.
  5. You would gather me in and protect me in your arms. Hold me, Jesus.
  6. You are the King and you are coming again. I will await you.

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

  1. I will fulfill the task God gives me today.
  2. I will ask Jesus to pour his blood upon me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Jerusalem, Jerusalem. How I wanted to gather you like a mother hen gathers her young.

OCTOBER 26, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY – WEDNESDAY – THE CLOSED DOOR

(Luke 13:24-30)

Prayer – O Jesus, you are my Lord and Saviour

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

By this parable, Jesus confronts his hearers. They understand, all too well, what He means. He comes to their villages, preaches in their streets and eats with them. Yet, they do not accept his claims and cannot enter the Kingdom. Others, who never enjoyed the privilege of being near Jesus, will come from afar and enter the kingdom.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

A man asked Jesus, “Are there few who will be saved?” In response, Jesus said, “Strive to enter by the narrow gate. Many will seek to enter, but will not be able.”

When the master enters his house, he closes the door. Those outside knock at the door saying, “Lord, open for us.” The Master responds, “I do not know you nor where you are from.” They will say “We ate and drank with you. You taught in our streets.” He will repeat, “I do not know you or where you are from. Depart from me, you workers of evil.”

There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God but you are thrown out. They will come from East and West, North and South and sit down in the Kingdom of God. The last shall be first and the first will be last.

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

  1. The man has a serious question about the number to be saved.
  2. Jesus responds that the gate is narrow and many will not be able to enter the Kingdom (an answer which all need to hear).
  3. In fact, once the door is closed, no one can enter.
  4. The people who were locked out had no significant relationship to the master.
  5. They only “ate and drank” with Jesus and heard him “preach in their streets.”
  6. They are strangers. The master doesn’t even know where they are from.
  7. The consequences are stark. They are locked out while many from distant lands are inside.
  8. They missed what they could have had so easily.

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

  1. O Jesus, I so much want to be saved.
  2. Jesus, I will enter while the door is still open.
  3. I will not stay outside, enjoying my false freedoms.
  4. Jesus, my superficial religious practices are not enough.
  5. Conform me to your image. Then, you will know me.
  6. Your voice breaks through my deafness. Your light enters my darkness. You say,

“Come and know me.”

  1. Someday, someday, Jesus, I will dine with you forever.

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

  1. I will never take my salvation for granted.
  2. I will accept these warnings. They are needed helps for my salvation.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

They will come from East and West and North and South and sit down in the Kingdom.

OCTOBER 25, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY – TUESDAY – THE SMALL BEGINNINGS

(Luke 13:18-21)

Prayer – O Jesus, plant your powerful Kingdom in my heart.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus preaching to the crowds)

Context:

These two little parables are excellent images of the reign of God. The mustard seed and the leaven are both small but powerful. As they are planted, people learn how forceful they are.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus asked, “What is the Kingdom of God like? What does it resemble?

It is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a great tree, so the birds of the air lodged in its branches.

Again he said, “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God? It is like yeast which a woman took and placed in three measures of flour until the whole mass of dough began to rise.”

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

  1. These excellent images make the Kingdom of God easy to understand.
  2. God places the Kingdom in the baptized like a farmer places the mustard seed in the ground.
  3. The gigantic tree represents a symbol of the mature Christian.
  4. The woman also knows the power of the yeast. She places it in the flour.
  5. The whole mass of dough is expanded. The yeast changes everything. That is what the Kingdom does.
  6. Jesus’ Kingdom seems so small, yet it totally changes people’s lives.

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

  1. Jesus, place your Kingdom in my heart.
  2. Nothing is more real than your Kingdom. Thy Kingdom come!
  3. What power your Kingdom has. It bestows eternal life!
  4. O Jesus, Your Kingdom will change everything.
  5. I will seek first the Kingdom of God.
  6. By the power of your Kingdom, Jesus, all things are possible.

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

  1. I will place great faith in the power of God’s Kingdom.
  2. I will allow God’s power to act within my heart.

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

What does the Kingdom of God resemble? To what can I compare it?

It is like a mustard seed or like yeast.

OCTOBER 24, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY – MONDAY – THE DAUGHTER OF ABRAHAM

(Luke 13: 10-17)

Prayer – O Jesus, stretch out your hand. With your power set me free.

Imagination 🙁Picture Jesus in the synagogue.)

Context:

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus is about to proclaim that God’s Kingdom is open to all. He starts with the most humble, curing a stooped woman in a synagogue. The controversy that follows shows Jesus’ great regard for her. She is a daughter of Abraham.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus was teaching in their synagogue on a sabbath. There was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years. She was stooped and incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called her to himself and said, “Woman, you are free from your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her. She stood straight up and began thanking God.

The ruler of the synagogue, being angry that Jesus healed on the sabbath, said to the crowds, “There are six days for you to work. On those days, come to be healed but not on the sabbath.”

The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites, does not every one of you on the Sabbath day loose his ox or his ass from the manger and lead them to water? Ought not this daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this illness on the sabbath day?” When he said this, all his adversaries grew ashamed and all the people rejoiced.

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

  1. Our needs get Jesus’ attention. Our afflictions call him close.
  2. Jesus is sure of his powers. He performs this total and immediate healing in everyone’s sight.
  3. The ruler does not confront Jesus. Instead, he turns to the crowd to support his position.
  4. Jesus reveals his feelings. This woman has a special dignity. She is a daughter of Abraham.
  5. Comparing the woman to an ox or an ass destroys the ruler’s reasoning.
  6. The crowd decides the winner. Jesus has won their hearts and their minds. They all rejoice.

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

  1. O Jesus, I present to you all my needs.
  2. You call me. You say, “Come here, close by me.”
  3. You stretch out your hand. You touch me.
  4. Your gift is immediate. You do not wait. You do not put me off.
  5. Even on the sabbath, you heal. You set aside everything for my benefit.
  6. O Jesus, I too am a child of Abraham, the dignity of my Baptism.
  7. I am precious to you. When I am with you, I rejoice.

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

  1. I will see my illnesses as doors to Jesus’ help.
  2. I will ponder this question, “How does Jesus see me?”

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Ought not this daughter of Abraham be loosed from her illness?

OCTOBER 23, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY – SUNDAY (C) – THE PHARISEE AND THE TAX COLLECTOR

(Luke 18:9-14)

Prayer – O Lord, fill me with light that I would see my sinfulness.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples)

Context:

The two men both arrive at the hour of prayer (either 9:00AM or 3:00PM). Three aspects mark the Pharisee – his prominent position, the sins he has avoided and his good deeds which go beyond what is prescribed.

In contrast, the tax collector stands at a distance, is considered a robber (by respectable people) and recounts no good deeds. He strikes his heart (the source of all sin). His prayers and actions actually show a total helplessness of ever correcting his life. The parable is spoken to the religiously self-confident.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus spoke to those who trusted in themselves and despised others.

A Pharisee and a tax collector went up to the temple to pray. Standing, the Pharisee prayed, “I thank you, God, that I am not like the rest of men – greedy, dishonest and adulterers – as is this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give tithes on all that I possess.”

The tax collector stood afar off, not even raising his eyes to heaven. He struck his breast while saying, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”

I say to you that this tax collector returned to his home justified rather than the other.

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

  1. The parable has two scenes – one in the temple and one in heaven.
  2. The temple scene is familiar, two men praying.
  3. What happens in heaven, however, shocks his listeners. The tax collector is justified.
  4. The Pharisee sets the stage for the tax collector. He is the one who has the correct attitude and prayer.
  5. The tax collector is in total despair, locked into a disreputable lifestyle and, seemingly, has no ability to change.
  6. Seemingly, he has no good resolutions.
  7. However, he experiences the beginning step of conversion – a broken and contrite spirit.

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

  1. O God, I have absolutely nothing to offer you.
  2. I have no spiritual strength, no good deeds and no resolutions.
  3. Yet, I dare to enter your temple of prayer.
  4. I offer you only one gift – an empty heart and a broken spirit.
  5. But you accept this as the first steps on my new journey.
  6. Your words encourage me, “This man went home justified.”
  7. Your mercy is everywhere. Even I can hope.

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

  1. Even in my most sinful moments, I will turn to God for mercy.
  2. I will never allow the candle of my hope to go out.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

This man went home justified, but the other did not.

OCTOBER 31, 2015 – WEEK THIRTY – SATURDAY – THE PLACES AT TABLE

(Luke 14:7-11)

Prayer: Dear Jesus, let me see suffering as a part of your saving plan for me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus trying to explain his future suffering to his disciples.)

Context:

Peter has just proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah. Because of his faith, Jesus has given to Peter the keys of the Kingdom of God. Now, Jesus explains that he will be a suffering Messiah. Peter cannot accept this. Jesus rebukes him for his all-too-human thinking.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

From that time on, Jesus began to show the disciples that he must go to Jerusalem, to suffer many things from the elders, the scribes, the chief priests and to be put to death and raised up on the third day.

Peter, taking him aside, began to rebuke him, saying, “Lord, no such thing will ever happen to you.” Turning to Peter, Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan, you are a scandal to me. You are not thinking as God does, but as human beings do.”

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

  1. Having revealed his identity as the Messiah, Jesus must also reveal his sufferings.
  2. None of the disciples believe that Jesus will suffer.
  3. Peter goes even further, claiming that these events just won’t happen. He even rebukes Jesus.
  4. Peter does not grasp the Kingdom. He becomes a scandal and an obstacle.
  5. Peter totally overlooks Jesus’ promise that he would be raised on the third day.
  6. Jesus wanted his disciples “to think as God does”. They all fail this test.

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

  1. Jesus, you want to reveal everything to me, even the secrets of your heart.
  2. I claim to be your disciple, but I reject suffering, the cross and persecution.
  3. I grasp so little. Help me to understand.
  4. Prepare me, Jesus. Teach me the mystery of suffering for you.
  5. I will accept the cross. In this way, I will rise with you.
  6. Open my eyes. Even your crosses are blessings planned for me.

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

  1. I will try to think as God does.
  2. I will unite today’s hardships with Jesus’ sufferings.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Jesus showed the disciples that he must suffer many things.

OCTOBER 30, 2015 – WEEK THIRTY – FRIDAY – ANOTHER SABBATH HEALING

(Luke 14: 1-6)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, heal my infirmities.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus at table with the Pharisees.)

Context:

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus spends much time at table. Usually, controversy erupts. Here, Jesus heals a man and the story focuses more on the controversy than on the healing.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus entered a house of one of the leading Pharisees to eat a meal on the Sabbath, they watched him closely. Right in front of him was a man with dropsy. Jesus asked the lawyers and the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day? But they were silent. He took the man, healed him and sent him off.

Then, he spoke to them, “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit and will not immediately rescue it on the Sabbath?” This they could not answer.

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

  1. Jesus enters the house in good will. Others came to attack him.
  2. Suddenly, an invalid has need of his healing powers.
  3. Jesus thinks of the others at table and invites them to share in this moment of healing.
  4. Their hearts are closed and they refuse to participate in this mighty work of God.
  5. Jesus moves ahead without them. He will not hold back the power of God.
  6. After healing the man, he confronts their closed hearts.
  7. Wouldn’t they open their hearts to an animal on the Sabbath?
  8. Jesus’ logic makes them fall silent.

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

  1. O Jesus, enter my house and bring all your powers.
  2. I come before you, sick and sinful.
  3. Heal me on any day and at any time!
  4. O Jesus, in you is the fullness of God’s powers.   Let all be released!
  5. I am silent before you. I am unworthy and sinful.
  6. O Jesus, I will never leave your presence.

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

  1. I will remain in Jesus’ presence today.
  2. I will give Jesus permission to do whatever he wants.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Right in front of Jesus was a man with dropsy.

OCTOBER 29, 2015 – WEEK THIRTY – THURSDAY – JESUS AND JERUSALEM

(Luke 13:31-35)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me follow you to Jerusalem.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus with his disciples and the Pharisees.)

Context:

Seemingly, the Pharisees are warning Jesus to leave Herod’s territory. Really, they want him to go to Jerusalem where they have more power. Jesus knows their plans and says that he will arrive in Jerusalem in time for his death.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

That same day, some Pharisees came and said to Jesus, “Depart from this place because Herod is thinking about killing you. Jesus replied, “Go and tell that fox that I cast out devils and heal today and tomorrow, and on the third day my purpose is accomplished.” Nevertheless, I must proceed on course, today and tomorrow and the following day, because no prophet can be allowed to die anywhere except in Jerusalem.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you. How often I would have gathered your children as a mother bird collects her young under her wing, and you refused me!

Your temple will be left abandoned and I say that you shall not see me until the time comes when you say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

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

  1. Jesus, the man of peace, experiences hostility from every side
  2. Jesus fears no one. He will continue his ministry until it is complete. Then he will leave.
  3. He knows the Father’s plan. He can only die in Jerusalem.
  4. Jesus loves Jerusalem. He weeps over the city. Shedding his blood will have little effect. Many will not believe.
  5. He would save Jerusalem from the Roman destruction.       Instead, their temple will be destroyed.
  6. He will come again when Israel will believe in him as Lord.

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

  1. O Jesus, in the middle of my turmoil, fill me with your peace.
  2. Let me be faithful to the work your Father has given to me.
  3. O Jesus, you know the place and time of my death. Be with me in that moment.
  4. You shed your blood for me. I will not let your sacrifice be in vain.
  5. You would gather me in and protect me in your arms. Hold me, Jesus.
  6. You are the King and you are coming again. I will await you.

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

  1. I will fulfill the task God gives me today.
  2. I will ask Jesus to pour his blood upon me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Jerusalem, Jerusalem. How I wanted to gather you like a mother hen gathers her young.

OCTOBER 28, 2015 – WEEK THIRTY – WEDNESDAY – THE CLOSED DOOR

(Luke 13:24-30)

Prayer – O Jesus, you are my Lord and Saviour.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

By this parable, Jesus confronts his hearers. They understand, all too well, what He means. He comes to their villages, preaches in their streets and eats with them. Yet, they do not accept his claims and cannot enter the Kingdom. Others, who never enjoyed the privilege of being near Jesus, will come from afar and enter the kingdom.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

A man asked Jesus, “Are there few who will be saved?” In response, Jesus said, “Strive to enter by the narrow gate. Many will seek to enter, but will not be able.”

When the master enters his house, he closes the door. Those outside knock at the door saying, “Lord, open for us.” The Master responds, “I do not know you nor where you are from.” They will say “We ate and drank with you. You taught in our streets.” He will repeat, “I do not know you or where you are from. Depart from me, you workers of evil.”

There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God but you are thrown out. They will come from East and West, North and South and sit down in the Kingdom of God. The last shall be first and the first will be last.

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

  1. The man has a serious question about the number to be saved.
  2. Jesus responds that the gate is narrow and many will not be able to enter the Kingdom (an answer which all need to hear).
  3. In fact, once the door is closed, no one can enter.
  4. The people who were locked out had no significant relationship to the master.
  5. They only “ate and drank” with Jesus and heard him “preach in their streets.”
  6. They are strangers. The master doesn’t even know where they are from.
  7. The consequences are stark. They are locked out while many from distant lands are inside.
  8. They missed what they could have had so easily.

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

  1. O Jesus, I so much want to be saved.
  2. Jesus, I will enter while the door is still open.
  3. I will not stay outside, enjoying my false freedoms.
  4. Jesus, my superficial religious practices are not enough.
  5. Conform me to your image. Then, you will know me.
  6. Your voice breaks through my deafness. Your light enters my darkness. You say,

“Come and know me.”

  1. Someday, someday, Jesus, I will dine with you forever. 

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

  1. I will never take my salvation for granted.
  2. I will accept these warnings. They are needed helps for my salvation.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

They will come from East and West and North and South and sit down in the Kingdom

OCTOBER 27, 2015 – WEEK THIRTY – TUESDAY – THE SMALL BEGINNINGS

(Luke 13:18-21)

Prayer – O Jesus, plant your powerful Kingdom in my heart.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus preaching to the crowds)

Context:

These two little parables are excellent images of the reign of God. The mustard seed and the leaven are both small but powerful. As they are planted, people learn how forceful they are.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus asked, “What is the Kingdom of God like? What does it resemble?

It is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a great tree, so the birds of the air lodged in its branches.

Again he said, “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God? It is like yeast which a woman took and placed in three measures of flour until the whole mass of dough began to rise.”

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

  1. These excellent images make the Kingdom of God easy to understand.
  2. God places the Kingdom in the baptized like a farmer places the mustard seed in the ground.
  3. The gigantic tree represents a symbol of the mature Christian.
  4. The woman also knows the power of the yeast. She places it in the flour.
  5. The whole mass of dough is expanded. The yeast changes everything. That is what the Kingdom does.
  6. Jesus’ Kingdom seems so small, yet it totally changes people’s lives.

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

  1. Jesus, place your Kingdom in my heart.
  2. Nothing is more real than your Kingdom. Thy Kingdom come!
  3. What power your Kingdom has. It bestows eternal life!
  4. O Jesus, Your Kingdom will change everything.
  5. I will seek first the Kingdom of God.
  6. By the power of your Kingdom, Jesus, all things are possible.

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

  1. I will place great faith in the power of God’s Kingdom.
  2. I will allow God’s power to act within my heart.

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

What does the Kingdom of God resemble? To what can I compare it?

It is like a mustard seed or like yeast.

OCTOBER 26, 2015 – WEEK THIRTY – MONDAY – THE DAUGHTER OF ABRAHAM

(Luke 13: 10-17)

Prayer – O Jesus, stretch out your hand. With your power set me free.

Imagination 🙁Picture Jesus in the synagogue.)

Context:

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus is about to proclaim that God’s Kingdom is open to all. He starts with the most humble, curing a stooped woman in a synagogue. The controversy that follows shows Jesus’ great regard for her. She is a daughter of Abraham.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus was teaching in their synagogue on a sabbath. There was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years. She was stooped and incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called her to himself and said, “Woman, you are free from your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her. She stood straight up and began thanking God.

The ruler of the synagogue, being angry that Jesus healed on the sabbath, said to the crowds, “There are six days for you to work. On those days, come to be healed but not on the sabbath.”

The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites, does not every one of you on the Sabbath day loose his ox or his ass from the manger and lead them to water? Ought not this daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this illness on the sabbath day?” When he said this, all his adversaries grew ashamed and all the people rejoiced.

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

  1. Our needs get Jesus’ attention. Our afflictions call him close.
  2. Jesus is sure of his powers. He performs this total and immediate healing in everyone’s sight.
  3. The ruler does not confront Jesus. Instead, he turns to the crowd to support his position.
  4. Jesus reveals his feelings. This woman has a special dignity. She is a daughter of Abraham.
  5. Comparing the woman to an ox or an ass destroys the ruler’s reasoning.
  6. The crowd decides the winner. Jesus has won their hearts and their minds. They all rejoice.

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

  1. O Jesus, I present to you all my needs.
  2. You call me. You say, “Come here, close by me.”
  3. You stretch out your hand. You touch me.
  4. Your gift is immediate. You do not wait. You do not put me off.
  5. Even on the sabbath, you heal. You set aside everything for my benefit.
  6. O Jesus, I too am a child of Abraham, the dignity of my Baptism.
  7. I am precious to you. When I am with you, I rejoice.

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

  1. I will see my illnesses as doors to Jesus’ help.
  2. I will ponder this question, “How does Jesus see me?”

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Ought not this daughter of Abraham be loosed from her illness?

OCTOBER 25, 2015 – WEEK THIRTY – SUNDAY (B) – THE BLIND BEGGAR

(Mark 10:46-52)

Prayer: O Jesus, I cry out to you in great hope.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with the crowd and a beggar by the roadside.)

Context:

This journey to Jerusalem began with Jesus healing a blind man and culminates with another healing of blindness. This contrasts with the disciples’ growing blindness about Jesus’ death in Jerusalem. They do not grasp his predictions of his passion. This blind man became a true disciple. He saw and followed Jesus to Jerusalem.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples, a blind man, Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting by the wayside, begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he cried out, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me”. The crowd told him to be silent but he cried out even more, “Son of David, have mercy on me.”

Jesus commanded that he be brought near. The crowd said, “Take comfort. Arise. He is calling you.” He threw off his cloak, leaped up and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” asked Jesus. “Rabboni, that I may see” said the blind man. Jesus said, “Go your way, your faith has saved you.” He saw immediately and followed Jesus on the way.

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

  1. This beggar is at a severe disadvantage. He is blind, sits by the wayside, and does not even know what is happening.
  2. However, his blindness prepares him for this moment. He sees that Jesus is his only ray of hope.
  3. The crowd becomes his enemy, the wall between Jesus and himself.
  4. He refuses to stop. He won’t surrender his hope.
  5. When Jesus responds to his cries, the crowd changes its opinion. His crying out was the right thing to do.
  6. With his sight restored, he sees the face of Jesus and can follow him “up the road” to Jerusalem.
  7. What a day for Bartimaeus! A marginal, begging blind man becomes a disciple who follows Jesus.

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

  1. Lord, you will walk near to me this day.
  2. O Holy Spirit, whisper within my soul, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
  3. O Jesus, I will continue to cry out to you, O Lord.
  4. You will hear me, and call me to your side.
  5. You will ask, “What is it that I can do for you?”
  6. Do everything for me, Lord! Bless me and I will “follow you on the way.”

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

  1. I will be attentive today to the Spirit speaking in my heart.
  2. I will have great hope that Jesus will hear my every cry.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

He saw immediately and followed Jesus on the way.