WEEK TWENTY FOUR – SATURDAY – SEPTEMBER 23, 2017 THE SOWER (LK 8:4-15)

Prayer – Jesus, plant the powerful seed of your Kingdom in my heart.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus preaching to the crowds).

Context:

This parable contrasts the difficult beginning of the Kingdom
and its glorious fulfillment. The beginning has multiple frustrations.
The end has a gigantic harvest.

Jesus’ ministry is experiencing many obstacles. The disciples see
failures, desertions and hostility. Jesus, however, sees that God’s
work is doing quite well.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

“A farmer went out to plant seeds. Some seed fell by the wayside
and the birds of the air ate it.

Some seed fell on rocky ground and grew quickly because the soil was not deep. When the sun rose, it was scorched for lack of roots.

Some fell among thorns. The thorns grew and choked it and it did not yield grain.

Some fell upon good ground and brought forth abundant fruit that yielded thirty,
sixty or a hundred fold. He who has ears, let him hear.

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

  1. God scatters these abundant seeds of his power in your heart.
  2. Some seeds you miss entirely. These invitations fall “by the wayside”.
  3. Other seeds you resist by the hardness of your heart. They do not take root.
  4. You mix some seeds with your other worldly concerns. Unfortunately, these never
    produce any worthwhile fruit.
  5. But some seeds you receive without compromise. You give them fertile soil. They produce abundant fruit and you rejoice.

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

  1. Lord, sow the seeds of your kingdom and of eternal life in my heart.
  2. O God, I see those times when I was not receptive to your Kingdom.
  3. Jesus, why did I resist your kingdom? Why was my heart like rocky ground?
  4. O Lord, when I mix your seeds with my human desires, they bring forth no fruit.
  5. Jesus, my life can still be glorious. There is still time for an abundant harvest.

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

  1. I will believe that the seeds of God’s Kingdom are abundant and powerful within me.
  2. I will clear the soil, so the seeds can grow.

Thought for the day (To recall your meditation)

The harvest was thirty, sixty and a hundredfold.

WEEK TWENTY FOUR – FRIDAY – SEPTEMBER 22, 2017 THE SPECIAL DISCIPLES (LK 8:1-3)

Prayer – O Jesus, let me accompany you all the days of my life

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with these special disciples, both men and women.)

Context:

Only Luke has this section which highlights the role of women in a
ministering role for the Kingdom. Jesus had helped each of these women.
After being blessed by Jesus, they were invited to travel with the group.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus travelled through the cities and towns, preaching and proclaiming
the good news of the Kingdom. With him were the Twelve as
well as certain women who had been healed of
evil spirits and infirmities. Mary, called Magdalen,
from whom seven devils were cast out. And Joanna, the wife of Herod’s
steward Chusa, Susanna and many
others who were assisting Jesus out of their means.

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

  1. This short summary contains many individual stories. First, the Twelve who are so tightly bonded to Jesus.
  2. Then the three women whom Luke says were healed. (Chusa is probably
    the royal official whose son was healed. No wonder he let his wife travel with Jesus).
  3. Finally, “many others”. All of whom had received some blessing.
  4. Their gratitude led to full-time service and even using their money for the Kingdom.
  5. Luke writes that “the women who had followed him from Galilee
    “were at Jesus death and burial” (24:49 and 55).They were faithful to the end.

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

  1. O Jesus, what a privilege to be always in your company.
  2. By your favors and blessings you bond me to you.
  3. You share your work. You give me a task. What more can I ask?
  4. Jesus, wherever you go, I will go.
  5. Lord, I will use my money for your Kingdom.
  6. Even at Calvary, I will be there for you.

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

  1. I will recall the special blessings of Jesus.
  2. In my gratitude, I will do everything I can for his Kingdom, today.

Thought for the day (To recall your meditation)

The Twelve were with Jesus, as were certain women.

WEEK TWENTY FOUR – THURSDAY – SEPTEMBER 21, 2017 Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle 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. This leads to the pronouncement 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 came and sat with Jesus. Some Pharisees saw this and asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such people?” Jesus heard them and said, “Those who are well do not need the doctor. The sick do. Learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ I came to call sinners, not the righteous.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
1. Matthew never searched for Jesus. He just 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. O 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? Who do I not “get up and follow you?”
6. In the quiet of this prayer, I hear your voice. 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 TWENTY FOUR – WEDNESDAY – SEPTEMBER 20, 2017 THE CHILDREN IN THE MARKETPLACE (LK 7:31-35)

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.

WEEK TWENTY FOUR – TUESDAY – SEPTEMBER 19, 2017 THE GRIEVING WIDOW (LK 7:11-17)

Prayer – Lord, in your compassion, give me life.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus standing with the widow by the funeral)

Context:

Luke regularly stresses Jesus’ compassion and care for women. Naim is located just 3 miles away from Nazareth with a cemetery
that has been used for centuries. The story obviously looks
forward to Jesus’ resurrection.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

When Jesus went to Naim with his disciples and a large crowd,
he met a dead man being carried out, the only son of a widowed mother.
A large crowd was with her.

When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity and said to her, “Weep not”.
Then he came near, touched the bier. Those carrying it stood still. He said,
“Young man I say to you ‘arise’”. The dead man sat up and began to speak.
Jesus gave him to his mother.

A fear came upon all and they glorified God saying, “A great prophet has
arisen among us” and “God has visited his people”. This report spread
throughout Judea and all the countryside.

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

  1. Two large crowds meet. One is a crowd of death, on the way to a burial. The other is a crowd of life, on the way to Jesus’ resurrection.
  2. Jesus stops the burial procession in its tracks. It will go no farther.
  3. He is filled with pity. He sees in the widow a foreshadowing of his own mother’s sorrows.
  4. He would normally contract ritual impurity by touching a dead body.
    However, his power destroys death.
  5. Jesus says “arise”, a word he will say to billions on the day of Judgment.
  6. The results are clear. The young man speaks, totally restored.
  7. Jesus gains the victory and all rejoice in a young life restored.
  8. Faith spreads like wildfire. Jesus is the prophet and God has visited his people. Faith spreads like wildfire. Jesus is the prophet and God has visited his people. How fortunate that Jesus was there at the right time.

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

  1. Jesus, without you I am filled with death. With you, I have fullness of life.
  2. Stop the forces of death in my heart and soul. Infuse your divine life.
  3. Your compassion is great, coming to me in my every need.
  4. Touch me, Jesus. Touch me and make me whole.
  5. When you say “Arise”, I come back to divine life.
  6. Win the victory, Lord, and we will all rejoice.

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

  1. I will bring my deadly sins to Jesus. He will remove them.
  2. I will listen for Jesus’ word – “Arise”.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

To the widow, Jesus said “Weep not”. To her son, He said, “Arise”.

WEEK TWENTY FOUR – MONDAY – SEPTEMBER 18, 2017 NO NEED TO ENTER MY HOUSE (LK 7:1-10)

Prayer – Lord, fill me with faith in your power.

Imagination: (Picture the centurion showing great faith in Jesus’ power to heal.)

Context:

The Gentile centurion sends Jewish friends to seek the favor. As Jesus approaches, this Gentile is concerned that Jesus would
contract ritual impurity if he entered his house. Jesus notes that he had not found this faith among the Israelites. The Early Church especially loved this miracle which Jesus performed
at a distance for a Gentile.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

When Jesus returned to Capernaum, the beloved servant of a centurion was
sick to the point of death. Hearing of Jesus,
he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to
come and save his servant’s life. These elders asked Jesus, saying that the
centurion was worthy of this.
“He loves our nation and has built us a synagogue”.

Jesus went with them. When he was near the house, the centurion sent some friends to say,
“Lord, do not trouble yourself. I am not worthy that you should come under my roof. For this reason, I did not see myself worthy to come to you. Say but the
word and my servant shall be healed.” Jesus marveled at this and said to the crowd, “I have not found such great faith in Israel.” When the messengers returned home, they found the servant well.

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

  1. From the very beginning, the centurion sees himself as unworthy. Therefore, he sends Jewish friends to ask.
  2. His long years of charity have won him a place in these Jewish hearts.
  3. Seeing the man’s worthiness, Jesus sets out immediately.
  4. The man is caught in a dilemma. He wants the servant healed but he does not want Jesus defiled by entering his house.
  5. Faith provides an alternative. The centurion believes that Jesus can heal from a distance.
  6. Jesus praises his great faith and performs the miracle.
  7. How many virtues the centurion has – humility, love for Jewish friends, love for his servant and unbounded faith.

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

  1. O Jesus, how unworthy I am to receive your favors.
  2. Lord, I will be kind to the needy. They will speak to you on my behalf.
  3. O Jesus, you do not delay. You come quickly.
  4. Give me unbounded faith. You can do anything, anywhere, at any time.
  5. O Jesus, say but the word and my soul will be healed.

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

  1. I will care for the needy, day in and day out.
  2. I will have unbounded faith. Jesus can do anything.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

I have not found such faith in Israel.

WEEK TWENTY FOUR – SUNDAY – A – SEPTEMBER 17, 2017 THE UNMERCIFUL SERVANT (MT 18:23-35)

Prayer: O Jesus, fill my heart with the Holy Spirit of mercy towards others.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples.)

Context:

The parable is about the Last Judgment and highlights the deepest
secret of discipleship, the need to forgive. The warning is serious. God, who has granted the disciple forgiveness will revoke that forgiveness
if the disciple does not forgive others. Everything is at stake.

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

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

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

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

So shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.

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

  1. An “accounting” always represents the Final Judgment. For the true disciple, this Final Judgment will be filled with mercy.
  2. The first disciple claims that he will repay the master. However, the amount he owes is so astounding that he will never be able to gather the money.
  3. He seeks only a reprieve, a postponement of the accounting. Instead, the King forgives the whole debt unconditionally.
  4. Although forgiven, the disciple does not imitate the King’s forgiving generosity.
  5. Jesus’ conclusion is clear. The Final Judgment will be a time without mercy unless “You forgive your brother from your heart.”

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

  1. Jesus, You have revealed the great secret of receiving mercy on Judgment Day.
  2. Lord, may the moment of that judgment be always before my eyes.
  3. Lord, what I owe to you I can never repay.
  4. Teach me to forgive from my heart.
  5. Open my eyes! You are always patient with me and your compassion overflows.
  6. Jesus, let me hold no one in my debt. Then, I will also be set free.

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

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

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Moved with compassion, the King forgave the whole debt.

SEPTEMBER 17, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-FOUR – SATURDAY – THE SOWER

(Luke 8:4-15)

Prayer – Jesus, plant the powerful seed of your Kingdom in my heart.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus preaching to the crowds).

Context:

This parable contrasts the difficult beginning of the Kingdom and its glorious fulfillment. The beginning has multiple frustrations. The end has a gigantic harvest.

Jesus’ ministry is experiencing many obstacles. The disciples see failures, desertions and hostility. Jesus, however, sees that God’s work is doing quite well.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

“A farmer went out to plant seeds. Some seed fell by the wayside and the birds of the air ate it.

Some seed fell on rocky ground and grew quickly because the soil was not deep. When the sun rose, it was scorched for lack of roots.

Some fell among thorns. The thorns grew and choked it and it did not yield grain.

Some fell upon good ground and brought forth abundant fruit that yielded thirty, sixty or a hundred fold. He who has ears, let him hear.

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

  1. God scatters these abundant seeds of his power in your heart.
  2. Some seeds you miss entirely. These invitations fall “by the wayside”.
  3. Other seeds you resist by the hardness of your heart. They do not take root.
  4. You mix some seeds with your other worldly concerns. Unfortunately, these never produce any worthwhile fruit.
  5. But some seeds you receive without compromise. You give them fertile soil. They produce abundant fruit and you rejoice.

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

  1. Lord, sow the seeds of your kingdom and of eternal life in my heart.
  2. O God, I see those times when I was not receptive to your Kingdom.
  3. Jesus, why did I resist your kingdom? Why was my heart like rocky ground?
  4. O Lord, when I mix your seeds with my human desires, they bring forth no fruit.
  5. Jesus, my life can still be glorious. There is still time for an abundant harvest.

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

  1. I will believe that the seeds of God’s Kingdom are abundant and powerful within me.
  2. I will clear the soil, so the seeds can grow.

Thought for the day (To recall your meditation)

The harvest was thirty, sixty and a hundredfold.

SEPTEMBER 16, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-FOUR – FRIDAY – THE SPECIAL DISCIPLES

(Luke 8:1-3)

Prayer – O Jesus, let me accompany you all the days of my life

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with these special disciples, both men and women.)

Context:

Only Luke has this section which highlights the role of women in a ministering role for the Kingdom. Jesus had helped each of these women. After being blessed by Jesus, they were invited to travel with the group.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus travelled through the cities and towns, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom. With him were the Twelve as well as certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities. Mary, called Magdalen, from whom seven devils were cast out. And Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chusa, Susanna and many others who were assisting Jesus out of their means.

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

  1. This short summary contains many individual stories.       First, the Twelve who are so tightly bonded to Jesus.
  2. Then the three women whom Luke says were healed. (Chusa is probably the royal official whose son was healed. No wonder he let his wife travel with Jesus).
  3. Finally, “many others”. All of whom had received some blessing.
  4. Their gratitude led to full-time service and even using their money for the Kingdom.
  5. Luke writes that “the women who had followed him from Galilee “were at Jesus death and burial” (24:49 and 55). They were faithful to the end.

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

  1. O Jesus, what a privilege to be always in your company.
  2. By your favors and blessings you bond me to you.
  3. You share your work. You give me a task. What more can I ask?
  4. Jesus, wherever you go, I will go.
  5. Lord, I will use my money for your Kingdom.
  6. Even at Calvary, I will be there for you.

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

  1. I will recall the special blessings of Jesus.
  2. In my gratitude, I will do everything I can for his Kingdom, today.

Thought for the day (To recall your meditation)

The Twelve were with Jesus, as were certain women.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-FOUR – THURSDAY – THE PARABLE OF THE TWO DEBTORS

(Luke 7:36-50)

Prayer – O Jesus, even though I am a sinner, I will approach you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus at table with the woman at his feet.)

Context:

The central figure is the creditor who forgives both debtors. Where can such a man be found? He is God with his inconceivable goodness. The woman understands this goodness. Simon does not and, therefore, cannot accept Jesus allowing the woman to cleanse his feet.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

A certain Pharisee, named Simon, invited Jesus to dine with hm. A woman learned of this and brought a vase of perfumed oil. Her tears fell upon his feet and she wiped them with her hair.

Jesus’ host thought, “If this man were a prophet he would know that this woman is a sinner.” Jesus said to his host, “Simon, a certain creditor had two debtors. One owed him five hundred days’ wages and another fifty. Since neither could pay, he forgave both. Who loved him more?

Simon said, “The one who was forgiven more.” Jesus replied, “When I entered your house, you gave me no water to wash my feet. She washed them with her tears. You gave me no kiss. She has kissed my feet. You did not anoint my head. She has anointed my feet. I say, “Many sins are forgiven her because she has loved much.”

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

  1. Before this happened, Jesus had already forgiven the woman’s sins.
  2. The greatness of her sins leads to her great thankfulness.
  3. She expresses this gratitude totally with her perfume, her tears and her hair.
  4. She desires only to thank Jesus, God’s instrument of forgiveness.
  5. The whole scene puzzles the Pharisee. He cannot comprehend the woman’s total thankfulness or Jesus’ total acceptance of her.
  6. Jesus clarifies what has happened. Her love is as deep as her sins used to be. She sinned totally. She was forgiven totally. She now loves totally.

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

  1. O Lord, you have forgiven all my sins. Why do I not love you totally?
  2. O Jesus, where my sins have been total, my love will be total.
  3. Jesus, you have redeemed me, and bought me back. You own me.
  4. How can I repay you? I cannot!
  5. What a blessing to weep at your feet!
  6. I will anoint you with deepest feelings.

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

  1. I will see my past sins as a cause for thanking God for his mercy.
  2. I will thank God for saving me from hell.

Thought for the day (To recall your meditation)

Which of these loved him most?

SEPTEMBER 14, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-FOUR – WEDNESDAY – THE CHILDREN IN THE MARKETPLACE

(Luke 7:31-35)

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.

SEPTEMBER 13, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-FOUR – TUESDAY – THE GRIEVING WIDOW

(Luke 7:11-17)

Prayer – Lord, in your compassion, give me life.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus standing with the widow by the funeral)

Context:

Luke regularly stresses Jesus’ compassion and care for women. Naim is located just 3 miles away from Nazareth with a cemetery that has been used for centuries. The story obviously looks forward to Jesus’ resurrection.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

When Jesus went to Naim with his disciples and a large crowd, he met a dead man being carried out, the only son of a widowed mother. A large crowd was with her.

When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity and said to her, “Weep not”. Then he came near, touched the bier. Those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man I say to you ‘arise’”. The dead man sat up and began to speak. Jesus gave him to his mother.

A fear came upon all and they glorified God saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us” and “God has visited his people”. This report spread throughout Judea and all the countryside.

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

  1. Two large crowds meet. One is a crowd of death, on the way to a burial. The other is a crowd of life, on the way to Jesus’ resurrection.
  2. Jesus stops the burial procession in its tracks. It will go no farther.
  3. He is filled with pity. He sees in the widow a foreshadowing of his own mother’s sorrows.
  4. He would normally contract ritual impurity by touching a dead body. However, his power destroys death.
  5. Jesus says “arise”, a word he will say to billions on the day of Judgment.
  6. The results are clear. The young man speaks, totally restored.
  7. Jesus gains the victory and all rejoice in a young life restored.
  8. Faith spreads like wildfire. Jesus is the prophet and God has visited his people. How fortunate that Jesus was there at the right time.

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

  1. Jesus, without you I am filled with death. With you, I have fullness of life.
  2. Stop the forces of death in my heart and soul. Infuse your divine life.
  3. Your compassion is great, coming to me in my every need.
  4. Touch me, Jesus. Touch me and make me whole.
  5. When you say “Arise”, I come back to divine life.
  6. Win the victory, Lord, and we will all rejoice.

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

  1. I will bring my deadly sins to Jesus. He will remove them.
  2. I will listen for Jesus’ word – “Arise”.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

To the widow, Jesus said “Weep not”. To her son, He said, “Arise”.

SEPTEMBER 12, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-FOUR – MONDAY – EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS

(John 3:16-21)

Prayer: O Jesus, you were lifted up on the cross to save me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching Nicodemus)

Context:

This gospel contains the famous John 3:16 verse about God so loving the world. It explains that god’s motive was to save, not to condemn. However, anyone who rejects this light is subject to God’s judgment.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up so that whoever believes in him may not perish, but may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in him may not perish but may have everlasting life.   God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved by him.

Whoever believes in him, will not be condemned but whoever does not believe in him is already condemned because he does not believe in the name of God’s only Son.

The Judgment is this. The light came into the world and men loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.       Everyone who practices evil hates the light. He does not come near it so his deeds are not exposed. But whoever acts in truth comes into the light so his works can be clearly seen as done in the light.

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

  1. When the Israelites in the desert disobeyed God, they grew sick from a serpent’s bite.
  2. God provided the remedy. When Moses nailed a bronze serpent to a cross, whoever gazed on it was saved. (Numbers C21)
  3. This story prefigured Jesus being lifted up on the cross to save us.
  4. God sent Jesus because “he so loved the world”.
  5. Through faith in Jesus, all can be saved.
  6. Jesus is the eternal light.
  7. Evil people do not want this light. It reveals their deeds.
  8. Good people rejoice to have their deeds revealed. They act in truth.

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

  1. Jesus, you were lifted up on the cross for me.
  2. Only your cross can save me from eternal death.
  3. Father, loving me so much, you sacrificed your Son to save me.
  4. I believe. I accept you, Jesus. You are the Father’s only begotten Son.
  5. Come Jesus. Reveal my heart. Make me a child of light.
  6. Open my heart to light and truth.

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

  1. I will thank Jesus for dying on the cross.
  2. I will bring all my sins into Jesus’ light.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.

SEPTEMBER 11, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY FOUR – SUNDAY (C) – 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 day of Judgment.

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

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

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

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

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

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

There will be rejoicing among the angels.

SEPTEMBER 19, 2015 – WEEK TWENTY FOUR – SATURDAY – THE SOWER

(Luke 8:4-15)

Prayer – Jesus, plant the powerful seed of your Kingdom in my heart.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus preaching to the crowds).

Context:

This parable contrasts the difficult beginning of the Kingdom and its glorious fulfillment. The beginning has multiple frustrations. The end has a gigantic harvest.

Jesus’ ministry is experiencing many obstacles. The disciples see failures, desertions and hostility. Jesus, however, sees that God’s work is doing quite well.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

“A framer went out to plant seeds. Some seed fell by the wayside and the birds of the air ate it.

Some seed fell on rocky ground and grew quickly because the soil was not deep. When the sun rose, it was scorched for lack of roots.

Some fell among thorns. The thorns grew and choked it and it did not yield grain.

Some fell upon good ground and brought forth abundant fruit that yielded thirty, sixty or a hundred fold. He who has ears, let him hear.

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

  1. God scatters these abundant seeds of his power in your heart.
  2. Some seeds you miss entirely. These invitations fall “by the wayside”.
  3. Other seeds you resist by the hardness of your heart. They do not take root.
  4. You mix some seeds with your other worldly concerns. Unfortunately, these never produce any worthwhile fruit.
  5. But some seeds you receive without compromise. You give them fertile soil. They produce abundant fruit and you rejoice.

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

  1. Lord, sow the seeds of your kingdom and of eternal life in my heart.
  2. O God, I see those times when I was not receptive to your Kingdom.
  3. Jesus, why did I resist your kingdom? Why was my heart like rocky ground?
  4. O Lord, when I mix your seeds with my human desires, they bring forth no fruit.
  5. Jesus, my life can still be glorious. There is still time for an abundant harvest.

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

  1. I will believe that the seeds of God’s Kingdom are abundant and powerful within me.
  2. I will clear the soil, so the seeds can grow.

Thought for the day (To recall your meditation)

The harvest was thirty, sixty and a hundredfold.

SEPTEMBER 18, 2015 – WEEK TWENTY FOUR – FRIDAY – THE SPECIAL DISCIPLES

(Luke 8:1-3)

Prayer – O Jesus, let me accompany you all the days of my life

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with these special disciples, both men and women.)

Context:

Only Luke has this section which highlights the role of women in a ministering role for the Kingdom. Jesus had helped each of these women. After being blessed by Jesus, they were invited to travel with the group.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus travelled through the cities and towns, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom. With him were the Twelve as well as certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities. Mary, called Magdalen, from whom seven devils were cast out. And Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chusa, Susanna and many others who were assisting Jesus out of their means.

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

  1. This short summary contains many individual stories.       First, the Twelve who are so tightly bonded to Jesus.
  2. Then the three women whom Luke says were healed. (Chusa is probably the royal official whose son was healed. No wonder he let his wife travel with Jesus).
  3. Finally, “many others”. All of whom had received some blessing.
  4. Their gratitude led to full-time service and even using their money for the Kingdom.
  5. Luke writes that “the women who had followed him from Galilee “were at Jesus death and burial” (24:49 and 55).They were faithful to the end.

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

  1. O Jesus, what a privilege to be always in your company.
  2. By your favors and blessings you bond me to you.
  3. You share your work. You give me a task. What more can I ask?
  4. Jesus, wherever you go, I will go.
  5. Lord, I will use my money for your Kingdom.
  6. Even at Calvary, I will be there for you.

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

  1. I will recall the special blessings of Jesus.
  2. In my gratitude, I will do everything I can for his Kingdom, today.

Thought for the day (To recall your meditation)

The Twelve were with Jesus, as were certain women.

SEPTEMBER 17, 2015 – WEEK TWENTY FOUR – THURSDAY – THE PARABLE OF THE TWO DEBTORS

(Luke 7:36-50)

Prayer – O Jesus, even though I am a sinner, I will approach you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus at table with the woman at his feet.)

Context:

The central figure is the creditor who forgives both debtors. Where can such a man be found? He is God with his inconceivable goodness. The woman understands this goodness. Simon does not and, therefore, cannot accept Jesus allowing the woman to cleanse his feet.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

A certain Pharisee, named Simon, invited Jesus to dine with hm. A woman learned of this and brought a vase of perfumed oil. Her tears fell upon his feet and she wiped them with her hair.

Jesus’ host thought, “If this man were a prophet he would know that this woman is a sinner.” Jesus said to his host, “Simon, a certain creditor had two debtors. One owed him five hundred days’ wages and another fifty. Since neither could pay, he forgave both. Who loved him more?

Simon said, “The one who was forgiven more.” Jesus replied, “When I entered your house, you gave me no water to wash my feet. She washed them with her tears. You gave me no kiss. She has kissed my feet. You did not anoint my head. She has anointed my feet. I say, “Many sins are forgiven her because she has loved much.”

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

  1. Before this happened, Jesus had already forgiven the woman’s sins.
  2. The greatness of her sins leads to her great thankfulness.
  3. She expresses this gratitude totally with her perfume, her tears and her hair.
  4. She desires only to thank Jesus, God’s instrument of forgiveness.
  5. The whole scene puzzles the Pharisee. He cannot comprehend the woman’s total thankfulness or Jesus’ total acceptance of her.
  6. Jesus clarifies what has happened. Her love is as deep as her sins used to be. She sinned totally. She was forgiven totally. She now loves totally.

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

  1. O Lord, you have forgiven all my sins. Why do I not love you totally?
  2. O Jesus, where my sins have been total, my love will be total.
  3. Jesus, you have redeemed me, and bought me back. You own me.
  4. How can I repay you? I cannot!
  5. What a blessing to weep at your feet!
  6. I will anoint you with deepest feelings.

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

  1. I will see my past sins as a cause for thanking God for his mercy.
  2. I will thank God for saving me from hell.

Thought for the day (To recall your meditation)

Which of these loved him most?

SEPTEMBER 16, 2015 – WEEK TWENTY FOUR – WEDNESDAY – THE CHILDREN IN THE MARKETPLACE

(Luke 7:31-35) 

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.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2015 – WEEK TWENTY FOUR – TUESDAY – THE GRIEVING WIDOW

(Luke 7:11-17)

Prayer – Lord, in your compassion, give me life.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus standing with the widow by the funeral)

Context:

Luke regularly stresses Jesus’ compassion and care for women. Naim is located just 3 miles away from Nazareth with a cemetery that has been used for centuries. The story obviously looks forward to Jesus’ resurrection.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

When Jesus went to Naim with his disciples and a large crowd, he met a dead man being carried out, the only son of a widowed mother. A large crowd was with her.

When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity and said to her, “Weep not”. Then he came near, touched the bier. Those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man I say to you ‘arise’”. The dead man sat up and began to speak. Jesus gave him to his mother.

A fear came upon all and they glorified God saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us” and “God has visited his people”. This report spread throughout Judea and all the countryside.

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

  1. Two large crowds meet. One is a crowd of death, on the way to a burial. The other is a crowd of life, on the way to Jesus’ resurrection.
  2. Jesus stops the burial procession in its tracks. It will go no farther.
  3. He is filled with pity. He sees in the widow a foreshadowing of his own mother’s sorrows.
  4. He would normally contract ritual impurity by touching a dead body. However, his power destroys death.
  5. Jesus says “arise”, a word he will say to billions on the day of Judgment.
  6. The results are clear. The young man speaks, totally restored.
  7. Jesus gains the victory and all rejoice in a young life restored.
  8. Faith spreads like wildfire. Jesus is the prophet and God has visited his people. How fortunate that Jesus was there at the right time.

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

  1. Jesus, without you I am filled with death. With you, I have fullness of life.
  2. Stop the forces of death in my heart and soul. Infuse your divine life.
  3. Your compassion is great, coming to me in my every need.
  4. Touch me, Jesus. Touch me and make me whole.
  5. When you say “Arise”, I come back to divine life.
  6. Win the victory, Lord, and we will all rejoice.

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

  1. I will bring my deadly sins to Jesus. He will remove them.
  2. I will listen for Jesus’ word – “Arise”.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

To the widow, Jesus said “Weep not”. To her son, He said, “Arise”.

WEEK TWENTY FOUR – WEDNESDAY September 14, 2016 EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS SENT INTO THE WORLD (Jn 3:16-21)

Prayer: O Jesus, you were lifted up on the cross to save me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching Nicodemus)

Context:
This gospel contains the famous John 3:16 verse about God so loving the world. It explains that God’s motive was to save, not to condemn. However, anyone who rejects this light is subject to God’s judgment.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)
Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up so that whoever believes in him may not perish, but may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in him may not perish but may have everlasting life. God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved by him.
Whoever believes in him, will not be condemned but whoever does not believe in him is already condemned because he does not believe in the name of God’s only Son.
The Judgment is this. The light came into the world and men loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who practices evil hates the light. He does not come near it so his deeds are not exposed. But whoever acts in truth comes into the light so his works can be clearly seen as done in the light.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)
1. When the Israelites in the desert disobeyed God, they grew sick from a serpent’s bite.
2. God provided the remedy. When Moses nailed a bronze serpent to a cross, whoever gazed on it was saved. (Numbers C21)
3. This story prefigured Jesus being lifted up on the cross to save us.
4. God sent Jesus because “he so loved the world”.
5. Through faith in Jesus, all can be saved.
6. Jesus is the eternal light.
7. Evil people do not want this light. It reveals their deeds.
8. Good people rejoice to have their deeds revealed. They act in truth.
Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. Jesus, you were lifted up on the cross for me.
2. Only your cross can save me from eternal death.
3. Father, loving me so much, you sacrificed your Son to save me.
4. I believe. I accept you, Jesus. You are the Father’s only begotten Son.
5. Come Jesus. Reveal my heart. Make me a child of light.
6. Open my heart to light and truth.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. I will thank Jesus for dying on the cross.
2. I will bring all my sins into Jesus’ light.
Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.