WEEK TWENTY ONE – SATURDAY – SEPTEMBER 2, 2017 THE SERVANTS ENTRUSTED WITH MONEY (Mt 25:14-30)

Prayer: O Jesus, make me your faithful servant to whom you can entrust your blessings.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching His disciples.)

Context:

This parable is directed to the scribes. Surprisingly,
the emphasis is upon the third servant
(a symbol of the scribes). He has received the word
of God but has neglected the gift. This is a crisis parable. Jesus attempts to awaken us to the importance of each moment
and the suddenness of his unexpected return.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

A man going on a journey called in his three servants. To one he gave five talents, to another two and to another, one.
Each received according to his ability. The first man traded and gained five more. The second traded and gained two more. The third hid his one talent in the earth.

After a long time, the master returned and asked for an accounting. Hearing that the first had gained five more, he said, “Well done,
good and faithful servant. I will place you over many things because
you have been faithful with the few. Enter into the Lord’s joy.” The same thing happened with the second servant who had gained two more.
He also was placed over many things.

However, the servant with one talent said, “I know you are a hard man,
reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you did not scatter.
Being afraid, I hid my talent. Now I return it to you.”

The man said, “Wicked and lazy servant. You should have put my money in
the bank and, on my return, I would have
received my money back with interest. Take away this talent away from him
and give it to the others.”

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

  1. The center of the parable is the day of accounting. (The Final Judgment)
  2. Each is asked to produce “according to their ability”.
    (God does not expect extraordinary accomplishments.)
  3. The two servants who worked hard enter into the Master’s joy.
  4. The third servant is “worthless and lazy” and does not share his master’s joy.
  5. The contrast is stark. Two have overwhelming blessings. The third is cast out into the darkness.

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

  1. O Lord, I must use every day for your Kingdom.
  2. O Lord, You give me talents. I will use them for you.
  3. You give me time and ask me not to be lazy.
  4. You want to reward me with your joy and glory.
  5. O Jesus, I will work for your kingdom and welcome your return.
  6. O Lord, return soon. I await you.

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

  1. I will ask, “What talents has the Lord given me?”
  2. I will use today for the Lord.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Enter into the joy of your Lord.

WEEK TWENTY ONE – FRIDAY – SEPTEMBER 1, 2017 THE TEN VIRGINS (MT 25:1-13)

Prayer: O Jesus, I will go out to meet you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

In Jesus’ time, because marriages were delayed for hours
until all the arrangements were worked out. Therefore,
there were many midnight processions by torchlight with the
bridegroom arriving unexpectedly. In this parable, all ten virgin fall asleep. However, some are prepared and others are not.
This results in a separation. The foolish are cut off from the wise.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Scene 1

The Kingdom of heaven is like ten virgins who awaited the coming of the bridegroom.
Because his coming was delayed, they all slept. Finally, at midnight, they heard a cry,
“The bridegroom is coming, go out to meet him.”

As they arose, the five foolish virgins (who had no oil) said to the others,
“Give us some of yours.” The wise virgins responded,
“Since there might not be enough for you and us,
you must go and buy some.”

So, the foolish virgins went off to buy the oil. The wise virgins met the
bridegroom and went to the marriage. Then the door was shut.

Scene 2

When the foolish virgins arrived, they wanted to enter. They cried out,
‘Lord, Lord, open to us.” The Lord answered, “I do not know you.” Jesus said, “Watch, therefore, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

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

  1. All ten virgins fell asleep and all have brought their lamps. Only the wise have brought oil.
  2. All hear the same invitation. “Go out to meet the Bridegroom.”
  3. At this point, some virgins realize they were foolish.
  4. They need oil to meet the bridegroom and go into the marriage banquet.
  5. The wise always knew the value of the oil. They were careful to bring it and wise enough not to share it.
  6. The foolish lose out. They awaken too late to their spiritual situation.

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

  1. At Baptism, you gave me the oil of the Kingdom. I must value it.
  2. O Jesus, at my death, your angel will say, “Go out to meet the Bridegroom.”
  3. Will I still have oil for my lamp, or will I have lost my oil?
  4. O Lord, I will buy oil again by repentance and a good confession.
  5. What is it like to see you? How greatly I will rejoice to “go out and meet the bridegroom.”
  6. O God, heaven is forever. Once I enter, you will never throw me out.

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

  1. I will always treasure my Baptismal grace.
  2. If I have lost my oil, I will regain it immediately by Confession, (my “second Baptism”).

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Some day, I will hear the words, “Go out and meet the Bridegroom.”

WEEK TWENTY ONE – THURSDAY – AUGUST 31, 2017 NEED FOR WATCHFULNESS (MT 24:42-51)

Prayer: O Jesus, I will watch for your return.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in the Jerusalem Temple with his disciples.)

Context:

This text contains two parables. The first likens God to a thief who
breaks in at an unexpected time. The second is a servant.
He can be faithful to his work or he can get
drunk because the master delays his return.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to his disciples, “Stay awake because you do not know the
hour in which the Lord will return. Know this. If the owner of the house knew at what hour the thief would come, he
would certainly watch and not allow his house to be broken into. In the same way, you must be ready, for you do not know when the Son of Man will come.

Who is the faithful, far-sighted servant whom the Lord will
appoint over his family to give them food at the right time? Blessed is that servant whom the Lord shall find at work when he returns. “Amen”, I say to you, “he will place him over all his property.

But if the evil servant says in his heart, “My master is delayed in coming”, and begins to beat his fellow servants and eat and get drunk, the master of
that servant shall return on a day when he is not ready and when he least expects him. The master will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites
where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

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

  1. We do not know when Jesus will return for us. Time is very uncertain.
  2. The disciple must always watch and pray.
  3. One servant faithfully serves the meals. The other gets drunk.
  4. For both, Jesus will come, to reward the first and to punish the second.
  5. The faithful servant will be exalted and placed over the whole household.
  6. The other will be totally cast outside, always lamenting the position that he lost.

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

  1. O Jesus, I will watch faithfully.
  2. For you, I will stay awake.
  3. You come like a thief in the night. I will catch you and you will be mine forever.
  4. I will not count the hours of service. I will not think “My master delays”.
  5. If I had to serve you for 1,000 years, it would be as one day.
  6. O Jesus, never let me be separated from you, or cast out of the Father’s house.

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

  1. I will be faithful to my daily devotions.
  2. Today, I will do the works intended by my heavenly Father.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

You must be ready, because you do not know when the Son of Man will come.

WEEK TWENTY ONE – WEDNESDAY – AUGUST 30, 2017 THE CULTURAL EVIL (MT 23:29-36)

Prayer: O Jesus, free me from my blindness. Let me see the truth.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus confronting his contemporaries.)

Context:
This is the longest of seven woes pronounced by Jesus. He prophesies his
own death and the persecution of the Early Church.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. You build the tombs of
the prophets and adorn the monuments of the just. You say,
“Had we lived in our ancestors’ time, we would not have shed the
prophets’ blood.” You witness against yourselves that you are sons
of those who murdered the prophets. You fill up what your ancestors measured out.
You generation of vipers, how will you flee from the judgment of hell?
I send you prophets and wise men and scribes. Some you put to death and crucify.
Others you scourge in your synagogues. Others you persecute from city to city.

Thoughts (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
Jesus challenges the present generation which claimed they were more enlightened than their ancestors.
In reality, nothing had changed. They and their ancestors have the same hatred for God’s messengers.
The killing will continue. Both Jesus and all who preach his name will suffer.
They are a blind, perverse generation, totally unaware of their evil culture.
Jesus would save them from this evil, but they reject him.

Affections. (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
O Jesus, I share in the guilt of my culture and participate in its sins.
Only you can save me. Open my eyes!
Only you point out a different road and say, “Follow me.”
I am coming, Jesus. I will flee the coming judgment.
Snatch me out of the pervasive evil. You are my Saviour.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
I will bring a repentant heart.
I will accept radical changes in my attitudes.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)
You witness against yourselves. You fill up the evil of your ancestors.

WEEK TWENTY ONE – TUESDAY – AUGUST 29, 2017 PASSION OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST (MK 6:14-29)

Prayer – Lord Jesus, let me not be swerved by the opinions of others.

Imagination – (Picture Herod with his party guests)

Context:
This section is an interlude, which Mark inserts between the sending of the Twelve and their return. It is the only story that does not focus on Jesus and his disciples and is written to complete the story of John the Baptist. The text will shorten the lengthy reading.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
Jesus’ reputation grew and people were saying that John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. Others said that he is Elijah or a prophet equal to any of the prophets. Herod thought he was John the Baptist, whom he killed, raised from the dead.
Herod had John imprisoned because he said, “It is not right for you to live with your brother’s wife”. Herodias harbored a grudge and wanted to kill John but was unable to do so.
Herodias had her chance when Herod held a birthday dinner for his court officers, military officers and leading men of Galilee. Herodias’ daughter did a dance which pleased the King so much that he told the girl, “Ask for anything you want, even to half of my kingdom, and I will give it to you.” Herodias told her to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter.
The King regretted his offer but due to the presence of his guests, he sent an executioner to bring back the Baptist’s head. When John’s disciples heard of his death, they buried his body in a tomb.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
1. Everything in this story is distorted, and out of kilter. The three opinions about Jesus have no basis in reality.
2. Herod is filled with fears and believes John has been raised from the dead.
3. His passions are out of order, both in his marriage and at this birthday party.
4. He makes terrible blunders, promising a dancing girl whatever she wanted.
5. His wife is also filled with evil, always trying to kill John the Baptist.
6. These evils accumulate and result in an unthought-of event. John is beheaded.
7. Only his disciples act with thoughtfulness and dignity.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. O Jesus, you alone save me from superstition, absurdity and darkness.
2. Cast out all my fears. By your power, I can live in light and peace.
3. Quiet my passions. Cool my evil desires. By your Spirit, I will practice self-control.
4. O Jesus, how many blunders I have made. No more. I will walk in your light.
5. Do not let evil grow. Let me repent quickly of all my sinful decisions. You will make me firm again.
6. I will be your disciple, with a life full of good deeds and kindly acts.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. I will examine the disorders in my life. What actions should I take?
2. I will quickly repent of every sinful action.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
The king regretted his offer but he was fearful about what his guests would think.

WEEK TWENTY ONE – MONDAY – AUGUST 28, 2017 THE PHARISEES’ FALSE ZEAL (MT 23:13-23)

Prayer: O Jesus, enlighten my path and lead my steps.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus denouncing hypocrisy.)

Context:

Jesus is preaching in the temple during Holy Week. There, he meets
severe opposition and must denounce false religious practices
(which only increases the crowd’s anger). Jesus had given Peter the keys
to open the Kingdom. Jesus’ opponents use their keys to close the Kingdom.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees because you shut the kingdom of heaven to
others. You yourselves do not enter and you do not allow others to enter.

You devour the fortunes of widows, and as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers.
You will receive a severe judgment.

You go by land and sea to make one convert. When this happens, you make him a
child of Gehenna, twice as much as yourselves.

You pay tithes, but neglect the more important parts of the law, like judgment,
mercy and faith. These things you should have done without neglecting the others.

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

  1. Jesus highlights four problems of the Pharisees.
  2. They teach about heaven but actually block the entrance.
  3. They use religion as a pretext to gain people’s money.
  4. They bring a convert into a way of life that doesn’t lead to heaven but to hell.
  5. They stress the small commandments, and forget about the important obligations.
  6. They are a fast-moving train on the wrong tracks to the wrong goals.

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

  1. O Jesus, bathe my life in your truth.
  2. Only you open heaven to me.
  3. O Lord, pour out your religious experiences. I will use them well.
  4. Guide me by the Church’s wisdom and my spiritual director.
  5. O Lord, I will obey all the commandments, big and small.
  6. Purify my inner motives.
  7. Enlighten my zeal so I lead everyone to you.

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

  1. I will study all the aspects of the Church’s Devout Life.
  2. I will lead my friends to Jesus and to the Church.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

You do not enter and you do not allow others to enter.

WEEK TWENTY ONE – SUNDAY – A- AUGUST 27, 2017 PETER’S REVELATION (Mt 16:13-20)

Prayer: O Jesus, You are the Messiah, the son of God.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with Peter and the apostles.)

Context:

This text begins with questions about Jesus’ identity. By a revelation from the Father, Peter recognizes that Jesus is the Messiah.
Because of this revelation, Jesus changes Simon’s name to Peter (meaning rock),
makes him the foundation of his Church, and gives him the Keys of the Kingdom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus asked the apostles, “Who do people say I am?” They responded,
“Some say John the Baptist. Others say Elijah. Others say Jeremiah or
one of the prophets.” He then asked, “Whom do you say that I am.” Peter said, “You are the Christ, Son of the Living God.”

Jesus exclaimed, “Blessed are you, Simon, son of John, because flesh and blood
has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. I say to you, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church and the
gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you bind on
earth will be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

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

  1. Jesus is anxious to reveal his identity. So, he takes the initiative in the questioning.
  2. The wrong answers come from people without faith.
  3. Peter experiences a heavenly revelation and expresses a truth far beyond his natural capacity.
  4. Peter, bonded with the other disciples, shall resist the powers of hell.
  5. Having been touched by God, Peter can receive greater power – the Keys of the Kingdom.
  6. This fisherman will be Jesus’ foundation for the whole Church.
  7. The Kingdom comes to earth and Heaven will bind and loose whatever the Church binds and looses.

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

  1. Lord, you ask me, “Who do you say I am?”
  2. You give me faith, Jesus, and I can respond correctly.
  3. “You are the Christ”, I exclaim, “Son of the living God.”
  4. You even reveal your Kingdom to me.
  5. O Jesus, you give me a task on earth. I will serve others in Your name.
  6. O Lord, show me all the mysteries of the Kingdom.
  7. Anointed with your powers, I will touch heaven and earth.

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

  1. I will be sensitive to God’s revealing Spirit.
  2. I will ask God to reveal my new name and my true identity.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

“And you, who do you say I am?”

You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

AUGUST 27, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-ONE – SATURDAY – THE SERVANTS ENTRUSTED WITH MONEY

(Matthew 25:14-30)

Prayer: O Jesus, make me your faithful servant to whom you can entrust your blessings.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching His disciples.)

Context:

This parable is directed to the scribes. Surprisingly, the emphasis is upon the third servant (a symbol of the scribes). He has received the word of God but has neglected the gift. This is a crisis parable. Jesus attempts to awaken us to the importance of each moment and the suddenness of his unexpected return.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

A man going on a journey called in his three servants. To one he gave five talents, to another two and to another, one. Each received according to his ability. The first man traded and gained five more. The second traded and gained two more. The third hid his one talent in the earth.

After a long time, the master returned and asked for an accounting. Hearing that the first had gained five more, he said, “Well done, good and faithful servant. I will place you over many things because you have been faithful with the few. Enter into the Lord’s joy.” The same thing happened with the second servant who had gained two more. He also was placed over many things.

However, the servant with one talent said, “I know you are a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you did not scatter. Being afraid, I hid my talent. Now I return it to you.”

The man said, “Wicked and lazy servant. You should have put my money in the bank and, on my return, I would have received my money back with interest. Take away this talent away from him and give it to the others.”

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

  1. The center of the parable is the day of accounting. (The Final Judgment)
  2. Each is asked to produce “according to their ability”. (God does not expect extraordinary accomplishments.)
  3. The two servants who worked hard enter into the Master’s joy.
  4. The third servant is “worthless and lazy” and does not share his master’s joy.
  5. The contrast is stark. Two have overwhelming blessings. The third is cast out into the darkness.

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

  1. O Lord, I must use every day for your Kingdom.
  2. O Lord, You give me talents. I will use them for you.
  3. You give me time and ask me not to be lazy.
  4. You want to reward me with your joy and glory.
  5. O Jesus, I will work for your kingdom and welcome your return.
  6. O Lord, return soon. I await you.

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

  1. I will ask, “What talents has the Lord given me?”
  2. I will use today for the Lord.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Enter into the joy of your Lord.

AUGUST 26, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-ONE – FRIDAY – THE TEN VIRGINS

(Matthew 25:1-13)

Prayer: O Jesus, I will go out to meet you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

In Jesus’ time, because marriages were delayed for hours until all the arrangements were worked out. Therefore, there were many midnight processions by torchlight with the bridegroom arriving unexpectedly. In this parable, all ten virgin fall asleep. However, some are prepared and others are not. This results in a separation. The foolish are cut off from the wise.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Scene 1

The Kingdom of heaven is like ten virgins who awaited the coming of the bridegroom. Because his coming was delayed, they all slept. Finally, at midnight, they heard a cry, “The bridegroom is coming, go out to meet him.”

As they arose, the five foolish virgins (who had no oil) said to the others, “Give us some of yours.” The wise virgins responded, “Since there might not be enough for you and us, you must go and buy some.”

So, the foolish virgins went off to buy the oil. The wise virgins met the bridegroom and went to the marriage. Then the door was shut.

Scene 2

When the foolish virgins arrived, they wanted to enter. They cried out, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us.” The Lord answered, “I do not know you.” Jesus said, “Watch, therefore, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

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

  1. All ten virgins fell asleep and all have brought their lamps. Only the wise have brought oil.
  2. All hear the same invitation. “Go out to meet the Bridegroom.”
  3. At this point, some virgins realize they were foolish.
  4. They need oil to meet the bridegroom and go into the marriage banquet.
  5. The wise always knew the value of the oil.       They were careful to bring it and wise enough not to share it.
  6. The foolish lose out. They awaken too late to their spiritual situation.

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

  1. At Baptism, you gave me the oil of the Kingdom. I must value it.
  2. O Jesus, at my death, your angel will say, “Go out to meet the Bridegroom.”
  3. Will I still have oil for my lamp, or will I have lost my oil?
  4. O Lord, I will buy oil again by repentance and a good confession.
  5. What is it like to see you? How greatly I will rejoice to “go out and meet the bridegroom.”
  6. O God, heaven is forever. Once I enter, you will never throw me out.

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

  1. I will always treasure my Baptismal grace.
  2. If I have lost my oil, I will regain it immediately by Confession, (my “second Baptism”).

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Some day, I will hear the words, “Go out and meet the Bridegroom.”

AUGUST 25, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-ONE – THURSDAY – NEED FOR WATCHFULNESS

(Matthew 24:42-51)

Prayer: O Jesus, I will watch for your return.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in the Jerusalem Temple with his disciples.)

Context:

This text contains two parables. The first likens God to a thief who breaks in at an unexpected time. The second is a servant. He can be faithful to his work or he can get drunk because the master delays his return.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to his disciples, “Stay awake because you do not know the hour in which the Lord will return. Know this. If the owner of the house knew at what hour the thief would come, he would certainly watch and not allow his house to be broken into. In the same way, you must be ready, for you do not know when the Son of Man will come.

Who is the faithful, far-sighted servant whom the Lord will appoint over his family to give them food at the right time? Blessed is that servant whom the Lord shall find at work when he returns. “Amen”, I say to you, “he will place him over all his property.

But if the evil servant says in his heart, “My master is delayed in coming”, and begins to beat his fellow servants and eat and get drunk, the master of that servant shall return on a day when he is not ready and when he least expects him. The master will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

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

  1. We do not know when Jesus will return for us. Time is very uncertain.
  2. The disciple must always watch and pray.
  3. One servant faithfully serves the meals. The other gets drunk.
  4. For both, Jesus will come, to reward the first and to punish the second.
  5. The faithful servant will be exalted and placed over the whole household.
  6. The other will be totally cast outside, always lamenting the position that he lost.

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

  1. O Jesus, I will watch faithfully.
  2. For you, I will stay awake.
  3. You come like a thief in the night. I will catch you and you will be mine forever.
  4. I will not count the hours of service. I will not think “My master delays”.
  5. If I had to serve you for 1,000 years, it would be as one day.
  6. O Jesus, never let me be separated from you, or cast out of the Father’s house.

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

  1. I will be faithful to my daily devotions.
  2. Today, I will do the works intended by my heavenly Father.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

You must be ready, because you do not know when the Son of Man will come.

AUGUST 24, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-ONE – WEDNESDAY – THE CULTURAL EVIL

(Matthew 23:29-36)

Prayer: O Jesus, free me from my blindness. Let me see the truth.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus confronting his contemporaries.)

Context:

This is the longest of seven woes pronounced by Jesus. He prophesies his own death and the persecution of the Early Church.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the just. You say, “Had we lived in our ancestors’ time, we would not have shed the prophets’ blood.” You witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. You fill up what your ancestors measured out.

You generation of vipers, how will you flee from the judgment of hell? I send you prophets and wise men and scribes. Some you put to death and crucify. Others you scourge in your synagogues. Others you persecute from city to city.

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

  1. Jesus challenges the present generation which claimed they were more enlightened than their ancestors.
  2. In reality, nothing had changed. They and their ancestors have the same hatred for God’s messengers.
  3. The killing will continue. Both Jesus and all who preach his name will suffer.
  4. They are a blind, perverse generation, totally unaware of their evil culture.
  5. Jesus would save them from this evil, but they reject him.

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

  1. O Jesus, I share in the guilt of my culture and participate in its sins.
  2. Only you can save me. Open my eyes!
  3. Only you point out a different road and say, “Follow me.”
  4. I am coming, Jesus. I will flee the coming judgment.
  5. Snatch me out of the pervasive evil. You are my Saviour.

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

  1. I will bring a repentant heart.
  2. I will accept radical changes in my attitudes.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

You witness against yourselves. You fill up the evil of your ancestors.

AUGUST 23, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-ONE – TUESDAY – CLEANSING THE INSIDE

(Matthew 23:35-37)

Prayer: O Jesus, send your Holy Spirit, the fire of true repentance.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching inner holiness.)

Context:

Jesus continues to confront his opponents about their false teachings which lead many astray. “The cup and the dish” are people who follow the Pharisees. They are not taught to purify their hearts. In Jesus’ time, tombs were whitewashed so people could avoid them and not contract ritual impurity. Inside, however, there were decaying bodies, a symbol of outward religious practice that does not cleanse the heart.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but within you are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisees, first make clean the inside of the cup so that the outside might also be clean.

You are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful to men but within are full of dead men’s bones and all kinds of filth. Outwardly, you appear just to men, but inwardly are full of hypocrisy and evil.”

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

  1. A hypocrite is someone who is evil and has no desire to change but wants people to think that he is a good person.
  2. The Pharisees stress external religious devotions, but have no desire to cleanse their hearts.
  3. Cleansing thoughts, feelings and actions is the difficult religious task.
  4. To “plunder” is to take advantage of others.
  5. To “self-indulge” is to place no restraint on inner desires.
  6. To “whitewash” is to cover over the real problem.
  7. Outwardly the person seems alive. Inwardly, they are dead.
  8. Jesus challenges the disciples to make serious, inner changes.

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

  1. Change me completely, Lord. I give you my permission.
  2. Send your Spirit of truth so I do not fool myself.
  3. Jesus, I will not take advantage of others.
  4. O Lord, help me to restrain my desires.
  5. Send your inner fire down from heaven.
  6. Burn away all that is evil, so I might live in you.

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

  1. I will ask for light to know all my faults.
  2. I will seek to restrain my sinful desires.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Clean first the inside of the cup, that the outside might also be clean.

AUGUST 22, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-ONE – MONDAY – THE PHARISEES’ FALSE ZEAL

(Matthew 23:13-23)

Prayer: O Jesus, enlighten my path and lead my steps.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus denouncing hypocrisy.)

Context:

Jesus is preaching in the temple during Holy Week. There, he meets severe opposition and must denounce false religious practices (which only increases the crowd’s anger). Jesus had given Peter the keys to open the Kingdom. Jesus’ opponents use their keys to close the Kingdom.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees because you shut the kingdom of heaven to others. You yourselves do not enter and you do not allow others to enter.

You devour the fortunes of widows, and as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. You will receive a severe judgment.

You go by land and sea to make one convert. When this happens, you make him a child of Gehenna, twice as much as yourselves.

You pay tithes, but neglect the more important parts of the law, like judgment, mercy and faith. These things you should have done without neglecting the others.

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

  1. Jesus highlights four problems of the Pharisees.
  2. They teach about heaven but actually block the entrance.
  3. They use religion as a pretext to gain people’s money.
  4. They bring a convert into a way of life that doesn’t lead to heaven but to hell.
  5. They stress the small commandments, and forget about the important obligations.
  6. They are a fast-moving train on the wrong tracks to the wrong goals.

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

  1. O Jesus, bathe my life in your truth.
  2. Only you open heaven to me.
  3. O Lord, pour out your religious experiences. I will use them well.
  4. Guide me by the Church’s wisdom and my spiritual director.
  5. O Lord, I will obey all the commandments, big and small.
  6. Purify my inner motives.
  7. Enlighten my zeal so I lead everyone to you.

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

  1. I will study all the aspects of the Church’s Devout Life.
  2. I will lead my friends to Jesus and to the Church.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

You do not enter and you do not allow others to enter.

AUGUST 21, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-ONE – SUNDAY (C) – THE CLOSED DOOR

(Luke 13:24-30)

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

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

By these parables, 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. Others, (who never enjoyed Jesus’ nearness), enter the kingdom because they will use the narrow gate of discipleship

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. Many 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 good question about the number to be saved. Jesus responds that many will not enter the Kingdom (an answer which all need to hear.)
  2. In fact, once the door is closed no one else can enter.
  3. Those asking to get in had no significant relationship to Jesus.
  4. They just “ate and drank” with him and heard him “preach in their streets.”
  5. Jesus doesn’t even know them or where they are from.
  6. In contrast, many Gentiles from distant lands enter the Kingdom and join the Jewish Patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
  7. Those who should have been first became the last and are locked out.

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

  1. O Jesus, how important that I be saved.
  2. I will not stay outside Your Kingdom to enjoy false freedoms.
  3. I will choose to enter while the door is still open.
  4. I must be your disciple so you will know me.
  5. Your voice breaks through my deafness.       Your light enters my darkness.       You say, “Come and know me.”
  6. 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)

Many are in the Kingdom and I can be among them!