WEEK TWENTY THREE – SATURDAY – SEPTEMBER 16, 2017 THE PARABLE OF THE TWO HOUSES (LK 6:47-49)

Prayer – O Jesus, I will put your word into practice so my house will always stand.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

Jesus chooses an example from the people’s daily experiences. In Israel, the rains come suddenly. A dry canal becomes quickly a raging stream.
This parable is an excellent example of the sudden, unexpected moment
of trial or judgment.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Everyone who hears my words and acts on them is like a wise man who built his
house on rock. The rains fell. The floods came. The winds blew against that house, but it did not fall for it was founded on rock.

Everyone who hears my words and does not act on them is like a foolish man
who built his house on sand. The rains fell. The floods came.
The winds blew against that house. It collapsed and its fall was total.

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

  1. Jesus speaks this parable to believers. All of these have heard his words.
  2. Some are wise enough to put the words into practice. Others are foolish
    and do not live out the words.
  3. Both houses are the same. The difference lies in their foundations of
    strong rock or of weak sand.
  4. The wind, the rains and the floodings are the moment of truth, the time of reckoning. Both houses experience the same destructive powers.
  5. The results are completely opposite. One remains unharmed. The other collapses. Jesus warning is stark and evident. You must build your life on God’s word.
  6. O Jesus, I have your word. I know your teaching. I will act. I will put into practice.

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

  1. Jesus, your word is abundant. I must act on it.
  2. O Lord, what do I build my life on? The rock of your teaching or the sand of my desires?
  3. Let your word, O Lord, penetrate my heart!
  4. How can I build my life on your word, unless I meditate on it daily!
  5. O Lord, if I live by your word, my life will not collapse.

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

  1. I will apply these meditations to my daily way of acting.
  2. I will honestly examine the parts of my life built upon sand.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The wise man built his house upon rock.

WEEK TWENTY THREE – FRIDAY – SEPTEMBER 15, 2017 Our Lady of Sorrows (LK 2:33-35, 41-51)

Prayer: Come, Holy Ghost. Help me to search for the True Heart of the Temple.

Imagination: (Picture Mary and Joseph hurrying to look for Jesus).

Context:
When Jesus was twelve years old, He, Mary and Joseph travelled with others to the temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Passover, a thanksgiving to God for His goodness and mercy.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud)
Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when He was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
1. In obedience, Jesus, Mary and Joseph kept the laws of their faith in celebrating the Passover at the temple in Jerusalem.
2. This required sacrifice, a long journey, and joining with others for safety in the caravan.
3. In the Temple, the House of our Father, Jesus teaches all who will listen that everything we think, say and do must be done for the Glory of the Father, especially bringing Him souls through the Merits of Jesus.
4. Mary and Joseph suffered anxiety, grief, and sorrow when they could not find Jesus, but persevered in their search until He was found.
5. They did not immediately understand Jesus’ actions, but Mary ‘kept these things in her heart’. This is the heart which was joined to her Son’s, the heart which was obedient to the Holy Spirit in all things, even without understanding.
6. Jesus returned home with Mary and Joseph in obedience and love.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. O Mary, to what temple am I travelling in haste? God’s or the world’s?
2. What am I searching for there? What have I lost that I hope to find?
3. Am I hoping to find a temple filled with success, honors, friends, money?
4. Am I hoping to find the true temple, filled with grace, mercy, hope, love?
5. O Mary, Jesus knew that He wanted to be in His Father’s house. You lived your life in the house of obedience and fidelity to the Father and the Holy Spirit.
6. Mary’s heart held the Spirit of her Son – in quiet contemplation, in sorrows, in joys, in obedience. May my heart take courage and strength from hers.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. I will ask Mary to give me her heart so that I can find her Son, Jesus.
2. I will search the temple of my heart to look for the true Treasure of Grace.
3. When I find the Heart of the Temple, I will not leave.
Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)
Mary and Joseph searched the temple made by hands, to find the Temple of Life, whose Word made all things.

WEEK TWENTY THREE – THURSDAY – SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS (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.

WEEK TWENTY THREE -WEDNESDAY – SEPTEMBER 13, 2017 BLESSINGS AND WOES (LK 6:20-26)

Prayer – O Jesus, let me seek your ever-abundant blessings.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.)

Context:

To understand the gospels, look carefully at the audience. When Jesus teaches the crowds, he is inviting them to join his Kingdom. When Jesus teaches his disciples, he explains the mysteries
and duties of the Kingdom. Here, he talks of the duties and blessings of the Kingdom, or,
the opposite, the evils for not choosing the Kingdom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Jesus raised his eyes to his disciples and said:

Blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God.

Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled.

Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

Blessed shall you be when men shall hate you, and ostracize you and
insult you and call you evil for the sake of the Son of Man. On the day they do so, rejoice and exult, for your reward shall be great in heaven. Thus it was that your fathers treated the prophets.

But woe to you rich, for your consolation is now.

Woe to you who are filled, for you shall hunger.

Woe to you who now laugh, for you shall mourn.

Woe to you when all speak well of you. Their fathers treated the false prophets in just that way.

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

  1. Notice the contrast between the present and the future.
    When the Kingdom comes everything is reversed.
  2. The poor become rich. The hungry are filled. The sorrowful laugh and the persecuted rejoice.
  3. The disciples will experience poverty, hunger, difficulties and criticism. They must see this as a road to the Kingdom’s blessings.
  4. Some disciples will reject Jesus and choose riches, comforts, merriment and praise. Jesus warns that these earthly favors will pass away.
  5. Jesus promises what is future. The disciples must believe and persevere.
  6. Others must be shaken out of their comforts. Otherwise, they will not find the Kingdom.

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

  1. Jesus, help me to sacrifice the present to gain a future glory.
  2. When I experience poverty I will think of the riches you have for me.
  3. When I experience hunger, I will think of my place at the heavenly banquet.
  4. When I weep because of injustice, I will think of the joy of being with you forever.
  5. When I am criticized because of you, I will think of your praise and your words, “Come into my Kingdom.”
  6. Jesus, never let me disappoint you.
  7. May I never hear a rebuke from your lips.

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

  1. I will make little sacrifices for Jesus today.
  2. I will think often of my heavenly reward. This will delight Jesus.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Your reward shall be great in heaven.

WEEK TWENTY THREE – TUESDAY – SEPTEMBER 12, 2017 PRAYER, SELECTION AND HEALING (LK 6:12-19)

Prayer – Lord Jesus, if you choose me, I will serve you with all my heart.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples and the crowds.)

Context:

This text has 3 different scenes. First, Jesus is alone in prayer.
Second, he is with his disciples. Third, he comes down the mountain
and the crowds join him. Each scene has an important teaching.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Jesus went up the mountain to pray, spending the night in communion with God. At day break, he called his disciples and selected twelve of them to be his apostles. Simon, whom he called Peter, and his brother, Andrew, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James, the son of
Alpheus, and Simon the Zealot, Jude, the brother of James and Judas Iscariot,
who betrayed him.

He came down to a level place where there were many disciples. A large crowd of people came to hear him and he healed them of their diseases. Also, those who were troubled by unclean spirits were cured. The whole crowd tried to touch him because power went out from him which cured all.

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

  1. Jesus was always in communion with his Father, but he climbed the
    mountain to spend hours in prayer.
  2. His prayer helps him to he make a vital decision, choosing twelve disciples
    to be his inner circle of apostles.
  3. At the lower level are more disciples and the crowds. These, too, will be blessed according to their capacity.
  4. The crowds have heard the stories. Filled with enthusiasm, they bring their sick.
  5. God’s power goes forth from Jesus’ humanity. Just touching him caused great healings.

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

  1. Jesus, teach me to pray. Give me the gift of communing with the Father.
  2. Let all my decisions come from prayer.
  3. Lord, call me to your side. Make me your special friend.
  4. Jesus, speak to my heart. Make me attentive. I want to hear you.
  5. I know all your healing stories, Jesus. I come to you in faith.
  6. Let me touch you. That is enough. Power will go forth and I will be made new.

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

  1. I will make time for prayer today.
  2. I will ask Jesus to give me tasks for his glory.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Power went out from him which healed all.

WEEK TWENTY THREE – MONDAY – SEPTEMBER 11, 2017 A HEALING ON THE SABBATH (LK 6:6-11)

Prayer – O Jesus, you have come that I might have life.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in the synagogue curing the man’s withered hand.)

Context:

Although Jesus heals the man’s withered hand, the healing seems
secondary to the confrontation. This reveals the unbelievable lack
of compassion of many hearts.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

On another sabbath, Jesus entered the synagogue and taught. A man with a
withered right hand was there. The scribes and
Pharisees watched to see if Jesus would heal on
the Sabbath so they could find a charge against him.
Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to the man, “Arise and stand here in front.”
He rose and stood.

Jesus said to them, “I ask you if it is lawful to do good on the
Sabbath or to do evil, preserve life or to destroy it?” Looking around at all of them, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was perfectly restored.

They became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.

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

  1. This story involves Jesus, the sick man, and Jesus’ opponents. All have different feelings.
  2. Jesus is filled with compassion, knowing that he has God’s power to heal.
  3. The man is filled with hope and expectation. The long years of his illness might come to an end.
  4. The opponents are filled with hardness of heart. They do not share Jesus’ compassion for the sick man’s suffering.
  5. Jesus works his miracle. The sick man experiences God’s healing. The opponents’ hearts are hardened even more.

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

  1. O Jesus make my feelings like yours.
  2. Fill me with compassion for all who suffer.
  3. Fill me with hope. You will do great wonders in me.
  4. You call me. You tell me to stand before you. I will stand there in faith.
  5. Break open my hardened heart. Too often I close my heart to others.
  6. When I am healed, what will I do for you? I will bring everyone to be healed.

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

  1. I will live in the deepest faith in Jesus’ powers.
  2. I will not harden my heart to those who are suffering.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

“Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and it was restored.

WEEK TWENTY THREE – SUNDAY – A – SEPTEMBER 10, 2017 IMPORTANCE OF GATHERING (MT 18:15-20)

Prayer: O Jesus, when I join with others, you are in our midst.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus gathered with his disciples.)

Context:

Jesus has just spoken of the shepherd seeking out wandering sheep. This sheep represents a disciple who has left the Church and the
Church must seek him out. This gospel tells the individual believer that he must seek out
someone who has sinned and try to reconcile him. In the final
verses of this passage, Jesus stresses the power of
communal prayer and his real presence in the Church assembly (two or three gathered).

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

If your brother offends you, go and point out his fault.
This will be between you and him. If he listens to you,
you have won your brother over.

If he does not listen, take one or two more, so that the word of two or
three witnesses shall stand. If he does not listen, tell the Church. If he does not listen to the Church, then treat him as you would a
Gentile or a tax collector.

I say to you. Whatever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven. Whatever you shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.

I say to you. If two or three of you join your voices about anything on earth,
it shall be granted by my Father in heaven. Where two or three gather in my name,
I am in their midst.

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

  1. Jesus always wants his disciples gathered together. A lonely disciple will not persevere.
  2. If a disciple strays, another must pint out his fault. Then he has gained his brother. The sheep is brought back.
  3. Sometimes, the errant disciple resists the invitation. The church can only declare him an outsider, hoping that he repents.
  4. The power of the church exists even in its smallest gatherings (two or three).
  5. When they gather in his name, Jesus is fully present.
  6. This gathering enjoys the full powers of heaven.

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

  1. Jesus, send me other believers. I will be of one heart with them.
  2. O Jesus, let me call back those who have lost their way.
  3. Help me to gather with others.
  4. I will join my voice with others and we will shake the heavens!
  5. You are with us, Jesus. You abide. You stay. You bless us.
  6. Help us to gather. Never let us scatter. O, Holy Spirit, make us one!

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

  1. I will commit myself to be together with others.
  2. I will try to seek out the strayed Catholic.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Where two or three gather, I am in their midst.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-THREE – SATURDAY – THE PARABLE OF THE TWO HOUSES

(Luke 6:47-49)

Prayer – O Jesus, I will put your word into practice so my house will always stand.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

Jesus chooses an example from the people’s daily experiences. In Israel, the rains come suddenly. A dry canal becomes quickly a raging stream. This parable is an excellent example of the sudden, unexpected moment of trial or judgment.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Everyone who hears my words and acts on them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rains fell. The floods came. The winds blew against that house, but it did not fall for it was founded on rock.

Everyone who hears my words and does not act on them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rains fell. The floods came. The winds blew against that house. It collapsed and its fall was total.

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

  1. Jesus speaks this parable to believers. All of these have heard his words.
  2. Some are wise enough to put the words into practice. Others are foolish and do not live out the words.
  3. Both houses are the same. The difference lies in their foundations of strong rock or of weak sand.
  4. The wind, the rains and the floodings are the moment of truth, the time of reckoning. Both houses experience the same destructive powers.
  5. The results are completely opposite. One remains unharmed. The other collapses. Jesus warning is stark and evident. You must build your life on God’s word.
  6. O Jesus, I have your word. I know your teaching. I will act. I will put into practice.

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

  1. Jesus, your word is abundant. I must act on it.
  2. O Lord, what do I build my life on? The rock of your teaching or the sand of my desires?
  3. Let your word, O Lord, penetrate my heart!
  4. How can I build my life on your word, unless I meditate on it daily!
  5. O Lord, if I live by your word, my life will not collapse.

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

  1. I will apply these meditations to my daily way of acting.
  2. I will honestly examine the parts of my life built upon sand.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The wise man built his house upon rock.

SEPTEMBER 9, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-THREE – FRIDAY – A BLINDED EYE

(Luke 6:39-42)

Prayer – O Lord, open my eyes to see the true path of devotion.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus speaking with his disciples.)

Context:

Jesus continues to instruct his disciples. They are blind and if they do not listen to him they will remain blind. Even worse, they will be blind to their own gigantic faults, while trying to remove faults in others.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Jesus spoke to his disciples in images. Can a blind man guide a blind man? Will they both not fall into a ditch? The disciple is not above his master but he will be perfect if he becomes like his master.

Why look at the splinter in your brother’s eye and miss the plank in your own? How can you say, “Brother, let me remove the splinter in your eye, and you do not see the plank in your own. Hypocrite, cast out first the plank in your own eye. Then you shall see clearly how to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”

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

  1. Without Jesus, we are all blind.
  2. We join with others who are also blind. Then, we wonder why we stray from Jesus’ path and fall into the pit.
  3. We are blind to our great faults and act as if we had none.
  4. To heal our blindness, we must listen to Jesus. Then, we will have his light.
  5. He will remove our faults so we can see perfectly. The plank will be out of our eye.

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

  1. Jesus, I am blind. I do not see. I do not understand. I choose poorly.
  2. Pour your light into my soul.
  3. If I listen to your words, I will become like you. Give me light and I will always choose the Kingdom.
  4. What gigantic planks I have in my eye. Remove them all, Jesus.
  5. When I see, I will help others and we will all see you.
  6. O Jesus, my days of being blind are over! Thank you.

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

  1. All during this day, I will ask for Jesus’ light in every decision.
  2. I will realize my own blindness.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The disciple will be perfect when he becomes like his master.

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-THREE – THURSDAY – THE DEMANDS OF DISCIPLESHIP

(Luke 6:27-36)

Prayer – O Lord, you demand so much but you reward so generously.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.)

Context:

Jesus does not give these commands to the crowds but to his disciples. He reveals what he expects of them. The demands are high but the reward is even greater.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Jesus said to his disciples, “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those that curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on the cheek, turn and offer him the other. If someone takes your cloak, offer him your coat, also.

Give to everyone who asks. When someone takes what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others as you would have them treat you. If you love those who love you, what thanks do you deserve? Sinners do the same. If you do good to those who do good to you, what thanks do you deserve? Sinners do the same. If you lend to those who will repay, what do you deserve? Sinners lend to sinners to be repaid.

Love your enemies and do good. Lend without expecting repayment. In this you’re your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and to the wicked. Be merciful, therefore, as your Father is merciful.

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

  1. These commands demand a drastic change in behavior.
  2. Jesus wants a total change in our relationships and a total rethinking of how we act.
  3. Frequently, he mentions what sinners do for their friends. The disciples are called to much more for everyone.
  4. God acts this way. He blesses sinners and gives them earthly goods. Should not the disciple imitate God.
  5. Jesus wants disciples who are as merciful as God is merciful.

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

  1. O Jesus, help me to pray for my enemies and to do good to those who hate me.
  2. Jesus, I will love those who do not deserve love. This will be my gift.
  3. Jesus, I am special to you. I am your disciple. You expect much more of me.
  4. I see clearly, Jesus. My heavenly Father acts this way and You reveal his heart.
  5. I will give and seek no reward. This is how you love me.
  6. O Lord, I will pour out my mercy upon all, no exceptions. I will imitate the Father who has mercy for all.

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

  1. I will examine how I treat the people in my life.
  2. I will make changes and ask God for help.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High.

SEPTEMBER 7, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-THREE – WEDNESDAY – BLESSINGS AND WOES

(Luke 6:20-26)

Prayer – O Jesus, let me seek your ever-abundant blessings.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.)

Context:

To understand the gospels, look carefully at the audience. When Jesus teaches the crowds, he is inviting them to join his Kingdom. When Jesus teaches his disciples, he explains the mysteries and duties of the Kingdom. Here, he talks of the duties and blessings of the Kingdom, or, the opposite, the evils for not choosing the Kingdom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Jesus raised his eyes to his disciples and said:

Blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God.

Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled.

Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

Blessed shall you be when men shall hate you, and ostracize you and insult you and call you evil for the sake of the Son of Man. On the day they do so, rejoice and exult, for your reward shall be great in heaven. Thus it was that your fathers treated the prophets.

But woe to you rich, for your consolation is now.

Woe to you who are filled, for you shall hunger.

Woe to you who now laugh, for you shall mourn.

Woe to you when all speak well of you. Their fathers treated the false prophets in just that way.

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

  1. Notice the contrast between the present and the future. When the Kingdom comes everything is reversed.
  2. The poor become rich. The hungry are filled. The sorrowful laugh and the persecuted rejoice.
  3. The disciples will experience poverty, hunger, difficulties and criticism. They must see this as a road to the Kingdom’s blessings.
  4. Some disciples will reject Jesus and choose riches, comforts, merriment and praise. Jesus warns that these earthly favors will pass away.
  5. Jesus promises what is future. The disciples must believe and persevere.
  6. Others must be shaken out of their comforts. Otherwise, they will not find the Kingdom.

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

  1. Jesus, help me to sacrifice the present to gain a future glory.
  2. When I experience poverty I will think of the riches you have for me.
  3. When I experience hunger, I will think of my place at the heavenly banquet.
  4. When I weep because of injustice, I will think of the joy of being with you forever.
  5. When I am criticized because of you, I will think of your praise and your words, “Come into my Kingdom.”
  6. Jesus, never let me disappoint you.
  7. May I never hear a rebuke from your lips.

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

  1. I will make little sacrifices for Jesus today.
  2. I will think often of my heavenly reward. This will delight Jesus.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Your reward shall be great in heaven.

SEPTEMBER 6, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-THREE – TUESDAY – NATIVITY OF OUR LADY

(Matthew 1:18-25)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Give to me Joseph’s fidelity to God’s plan.

Imagination: (Picture Joseph receiving the angel’s message).

Context:

Luke tells us about Mary accepting her role as Mother of God. In Matthew’s gospel, the infancy stories focus on Joseph’s dilemma. How does an upright Jewish man resolve the dilemma of a pregnant fiancé? Joseph is a just man.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, an upright man, unwilling to expose her to the law, decided to divorce her quietly.

Such was his intention, when an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in sleep. “Joseph, Son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, because the child has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. She shall have a son whom you will call Jesus. He will save many from their sins. All this happened to fulfill what the Lord said, “A virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall call him Emmanuel, meaning, ‘God is with us.’ Joseph did as the angel commanded and took Mary as his wife.

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

  1. By his human attraction for Mary, Joseph gets immersed in a divine mystery.
  2. Both Mary and Joseph had a dilemma.
  3. Mary could not explain to him what happened and Joseph had to live according to his beliefs.
  4. Joseph decides to take the most gentle action and divorce Mary quietly.
  5. Realize the greatness of Joseph. He could have had Mary killed.
  6. If he did, the Messiah would not have been born and the world would be in total darkness.
  7. An angel resolves the problem.
  8. In his darkest hour, Joseph always followed God’s light.

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

  1. O Jesus, in my dilemmas, send me your angel of light.
  2. Give me the faith of Mary and Joseph.
  3. Let all my decisions be gentle and thoughtful.
  4. Reveal my role in your Kingdom.
  5. Thank you, Joseph, for preserving the life of the Messiah.
  6. Jesus, you take away my sins.
  7. You are Emmanuel, God with us. How much I owe to you!

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

  1. I will enkindle a devotion to Joseph (a favorite patron of St. Teresa of Avila)
  2. I will seek God’s help in my dilemmas.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Joseph did as he angel commanded.

 

SEPTEMBER 5, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-THREE – MONDAY – A HEALING ON THE SABBATH

(Luke 6:6-11)

Prayer – O Jesus, you have come that I might have life.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in the synagogue curing the man’s withered hand.)

Context:

Although Jesus heals the man’s withered hand, the healing seems secondary to the confrontation. This reveals the unbelievable lack of compassion of many hearts.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

On another sabbath, Jesus entered the synagogue and taught. A man with a withered right hand was there. The scribes and Pharisees watched to see if Jesus would heal on the Sabbath so they could find a charge against him. Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to the man, “Arise and stand here in front.” He rose and stood.

Jesus said to them, “I ask you if it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath or to do evil, preserve life or to destroy it?” Looking around at all of them, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was perfectly restored.

They became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.

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

  1. This story involves Jesus, the sick man, and Jesus’ opponents. All have different feelings.
  2. Jesus is filled with compassion, knowing that he has God’s power to heal.
  3. The man is filled with hope and expectation. The long years of his illness might come to an end.
  4. The opponents are filled with hardness of heart. They do not share Jesus’ compassion for the sick man’s suffering.
  5. Jesus works his miracle. The sick man experiences God’s healing. The opponents’ hearts are hardened even more.

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

  1. O Jesus make my feelings like yours.
  2. Fill me with compassion for all who suffer.
  3. Fill me with hope. You will do great wonders in me.
  4. You call me. You tell me to stand before you. I will stand there in faith.
  5. Break open my hardened heart. Too often I close my heart to others.
  6. When I am healed, what will I do for you? I will bring everyone to be healed.

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

  1. I will live in the deepest faith in Jesus’ powers.
  2. I will not harden my heart to those who are suffering.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

“Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and it was restored.

SEPTEMBER 4, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY THREE – SUNDAY (C) – THE TOWER AND THE WAR

(Luke 14:28-32)

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

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching the crowds.)

Context:

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

Jesus’ kingdom involves tribulation. The disciple might turn away and lose the kingdom. Jesus uses these stories to insure the disciple’s firm determination.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The farmer and the king had to sit down.

SEPTEMBER 12, 2015 – WEEK TWENTY THREE – SATURDAY – THE PARABLE OF THE TWO HOUSES

(Luke 6:47-49)

Prayer – O Jesus, I will put your word into practice so my house will always stand.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

Jesus chooses an example from the people’s daily experiences. In Israel, the rains come suddenly. A dry canal becomes quickly a raging stream. This parable is an excellent example of the sudden, unexpected moment of trial or judgment.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Everyone who hears my words and acts on them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rains fell. The floods came. The winds blew against that house, but it did not fall for it was founded on rock.

Everyone who hears my words and does not act on them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rains fell. The floods came. The winds blew against that house. It collapsed and its fall was total.

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

  1. Jesus speaks this parable to believers. All of these have heard his words.
  2. Some are wise enough to put the words into practice. Others are foolish and do not live out the words.
  3. Both houses are the same. The difference lies in their foundations of strong rock or of weak sand.
  4. The wind, the rains and the floodings are the moment of truth, the time of reckoning. Both houses experience the same destructive powers.
  5. The results are completely opposite. One remains unharmed. The other collapses. Jesus warning is stark and evident. You must build your life on God’s word.
  6. O Jesus, I have your word. I know your teaching. I will act. I will put into practice.

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

  1. Jesus, your word is abundant. I must act on it.
  2. O Lord, what do I build my life on? The rock of your teaching or the sand of my desires?
  3. Let your word, O Lord, penetrate my heart!
  4. How can I build my life on your word, unless I meditate on it daily!
  5. O Lord, if I live by your word, my life will not collapse.

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

  1. I will apply these meditations to my daily way of acting.
  2. I will honestly examine the parts of my life built upon sand.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The wise man built his house upon rock.

SEPTEMBER 11, 2015 – WEEK TWENTY THREE – FRIDAY – A BLINDED EYE

(Luke 6:39-42)

Prayer – O Lord, open my eyes to see the true path of devotion.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus speaking with his disciples.)

Context:

Jesus continues to instruct his disciples. They are blind and if they do not listen to him they will remain blind. Even worse, they will be blind to their own gigantic faults, while trying to remove faults in others.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Jesus spoke to his disciples in images. Can a blind man guide a blind man? Will they both not fall into a ditch? The disciple is not above his master but he will be perfect if he becomes like his master.

Why look at the splinter in your brother’s eye and miss the plank in your own? How can you say, “Brother, let me remove the splinter in your eye, and you do not see the plank in your own. Hypocrite, cast out first the plank in your own eye. Then you shall see clearly how to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”

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

  1. Without Jesus, we are all blind.
  2. We join with others who are also blind. Then, we wonder why we stray from Jesus’ path and fall into the pit.
  3. We are blind to our great faults and act as if we had none.
  4. To heal our blindness, we must listen to Jesus. Then, we will have his light.
  5. He will remove our faults so we can see perfectly. The plank will be out of our eye.

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

  1. Jesus, I am blind. I do not see. I do not understand. I choose poorly.
  2. Pour your light into my soul.
  3. If I listen to your words, I will become like you. Give me light and I will always choose the Kingdom.
  4. What gigantic planks I have in my eye. Remove them all, Jesus.
  5. When I see, I will help others and we will all see you.
  6. O Jesus, my days of being blind are over! Thank you.

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

  1. All during this day, I will ask for Jesus’ light in every decision.
  2. I will realize my own blindness.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The disciple will be perfect when he becomes like his master.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2015 – WEEK TWENTY THREE – THURSDAY – THE DEMANDS OF DISCIPLESHIP

(Luke 6:27-36)

Prayer – O Lord, you demand so much but you reward so generously.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.)

Context:

Jesus does not give these commands to the crowds but to his disciples. He reveals what he expects of them. The demands are high but the reward is even greater.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Jesus said to his disciples, “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those that curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on the cheek, turn and offer him the other. If someone takes your cloak, offer him your coat, also.

Give to everyone who asks. When someone takes what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others as you would have them treat you. If you love those who love you, what thanks do you deserve? Sinners do the same. If you do good to those who do good to you, what thanks do you deserve? Sinners do the same. If you lend to those who will repay, what do you deserve? Sinners lend to sinners to be repaid.

Love your enemies and do good. Lend without expecting repayment. In this you’re your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and to the wicked. Be merciful, therefore, as your Father is merciful.

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

  1. These commands demand a drastic change in behavior.
  2. Jesus wants a total change in our relationships and a total rethinking of how we act.
  3. Frequently, he mentions what sinners do for their friends. The disciples are called to much more for everyone.
  4. God acts this way. He blesses sinners and gives them earthly goods. Should not the disciple imitate God.
  5. Jesus wants disciples who are as merciful as God is merciful.

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

  1. O Jesus, help me to pray for my enemies and to do good to those who hate me.
  2. Jesus, I will love those who do not deserve love. This will be my gift.
  3. Jesus, I am special to you. I am your disciple. You expect much more of me.
  4. I see clearly, Jesus. My heavenly Father acts this way and You reveal his heart.
  5. I will give and seek no reward. This is how you love me.
  6. O Lord, I will pour out my mercy upon all, no exceptions. I will imitate the Father who has mercy for all.

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

  1. I will examine how I treat the people in my life.
  2. I will make changes and ask God for help.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High.

SEPTEMBER 9, 2015 – WEEK TWENTY THREE -WEDNESDAY – BLESSINGS AND WOES

(Luke 6:20-26)

Prayer – O Jesus, let me seek your ever-abundant blessings.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.)

Context:

To understand the gospels, look carefully at the audience. When Jesus teaches the crowds, he is inviting them to join his Kingdom. When Jesus teaches his disciples, he explains the mysteries and duties of the Kingdom. Here, he talks of the duties and blessings of the Kingdom, or, the opposite, the evils for not choosing the Kingdom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Jesus raised his eyes to his disciples and said:

Blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God.

Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled.

Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

Blessed shall you be when men shall hate you, and ostracize you and insult you and call you evil for the sake of the Son of Man. On the day they do so, rejoice and exult, for your reward shall be great in heaven. Thus it was that your fathers treated the prophets.

But woe to you rich, for your consolation is now.

Woe to you who are filled, for you shall hunger.

Woe to you who now laugh, for you shall mourn.

Woe to you when all speak well of you. Their fathers treated the false prophets in just that way.

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

  1. Notice the contrast between the present and the future. When the Kingdom comes everything is reversed.
  2. The poor become rich. The hungry are filled. The sorrowful laugh and the persecuted rejoice.
  3. The disciples will experience poverty, hunger, difficulties and criticism. They must see this as a road to the Kingdom’s blessings.
  4. Some disciples will reject Jesus and choose riches, comforts, merriment and praise. Jesus warns that these earthly favors will pass away.
  5. Jesus promises what is future. The disciples must believe and persevere.
  6. Others must be shaken out of their comforts. Otherwise, they will not find the Kingdom.

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

  1. Jesus, help me to sacrifice the present to gain a future glory.
  2. When I experience poverty I will think of the riches you have for me.
  3. When I experience hunger, I will think of my place at the heavenly banquet.
  4. When I weep because of injustice, I will think of the joy of being with you forever.
  5. When I am criticized because of you, I will think of your praise and your words, “Come into my Kingdom.”
  6. Jesus, never let me disappoint you.
  7. May I never hear a rebuke from your lips.

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

  1. I will make little sacrifices for Jesus today.
  2. I will think often of my heavenly reward. This will delight Jesus.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Your reward shall be great in heaven.

SEPTEMBER 8, 2015 – WEEK TWENTY THREE – TUESDAY – NATIVITY OF OUR LADY

(Matthew 1:18-25)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Give to me Joseph’s fidelity to God’s plan.

Imagination: (Picture Joseph receiving the angel’s message).

Context:

Luke tells us about Mary accepting her role as Mother of God. In Matthew’s gospel, the infancy stories focus on Joseph’s dilemma. How does an upright Jewish man resolve the dilemma of a pregnant fiancé? Joseph is a just man.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, an upright man, unwilling to expose her to the law, decided to divorce her quietly.

Such was his intention, when an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in sleep. “Joseph, Son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, because the child has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. She shall have a son whom you will call Jesus. He will save many from their sins. All this happened to fulfill what the Lord said, “A virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall call him Emmanuel, meaning, ‘God is with us.’ Joseph did as the angel commanded and took Mary as his wife.

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

  1. By his human attraction for Mary, Joseph gets immersed in a divine mystery.
  2. Both Mary and Joseph had a dilemma.
  3. Mary could not explain to him what happened and Joseph had to live according to his beliefs.
  4. Joseph decides to take the most gentle action and divorce Mary quietly.
  5. Realize the greatness of Joseph. He could have had Mary killed.
  6. If he did, the Messiah would not have been born and the world would be in total darkness.
  7. An angel resolves the problem.
  8. In his darkest hour, Joseph always followed God’s light.

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

  1. O Jesus, in my dilemmas, send me your angel of light.
  2. Give me the faith of Mary and Joseph.
  3. Let all my decisions be gentle and thoughtful.
  4. Reveal my role in your Kingdom.
  5. Thank you, Joseph, for preserving the life of the Messiah.
  6. Jesus, you take away my sins.
  7. You are Emmanuel, God with us. How much I owe to you!

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

  1. I will enkindle a devotion to Joseph (a favorite patron of St. Teresa of Avila)
  2. I will seek God’s help in my dilemmas.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Joseph did as he angel commanded.

SEPTEMBER 7, 2015 – WEEK TWENTY THREE – MONDAY – A HEALING ON THE SABBATH

(Luke 6:6-11)

Prayer – O Jesus, you have come that I might have life.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in the synagogue curing the man’s withered hand.)

Context:

Although Jesus heals the man’s withered hand, the healing seems secondary to the confrontation. This reveals the unbelievable lack of compassion of many hearts.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

On another sabbath, Jesus entered the synagogue and taught. A man with a withered right hand was there. The scribes and Pharisees watched to see if Jesus would heal on the Sabbath so they could find a charge against him. Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to the man, “Arise and stand here in front.” He rose and stood.

Jesus said to them, “I ask you if it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath or to do evil, preserve life or to destroy it?” Looking around at all of them, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was perfectly restored.

They became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.

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

  1. This story involves Jesus, the sick man, and Jesus’ opponents. All have different feelings.
  2. Jesus is filled with compassion, knowing that he has God’s power to heal.
  3. The man is filled with hope and expectation. The long years of his illness might come to an end.
  4. The opponents are filled with hardness of heart. They do not share Jesus’ compassion for the sick man’s suffering.
  5. Jesus works his miracle. The sick man experiences God’s healing. The opponents’ hearts are hardened even more.

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

  1. O Jesus make my feelings like yours.
  2. Fill me with compassion for all who suffer.
  3. Fill me with hope. You will do great wonders in me.
  4. You call me. You tell me to stand before you. I will stand there in faith.
  5. Break open my hardened heart. Too often I close my heart to others.
  6. When I am healed, what will I do for you? I will bring everyone to be healed.

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

  1. I will live in the deepest faith in Jesus’ powers.
  2. I will not harden my heart to those who are suffering.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

“Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and it was restored.