WEEK TWENTY TWO – SATURDAY – SEPTEMBER 9, 2017 LORD OF THE SABBATH (LK 6:1-5)

Prayer – O Jesus, you are God, Lord even of the sabbath.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples being confronted by the Pharisees).

Context:

These confrontation stories highlight Jesus’ authority, bring out new
aspects of Christian life and most important, reveal Jesus’ identity. This story uses the powerful Sabbath regulation to reveal Jesus’ divinity
and the disciples’ freedom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

On the sabbath, Jesus and his disciples went through a field of standing grain. The disciples picked the grain and ate it. Some Pharisees saw them and said, “Why do you do what is not awful on the sabbath?”

Jesus answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his men were hungry? He entered God’s house and took and ate the holy bread and gave it to his men,
even though only the priests are allowed to eat it. Then, he said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord even of the sabbath.”

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

  1. Jewish law permits the disciples to pick the grain. The Pharisees object to their doing this on the Sabbath.
  2. In the Old Testament, King David assumed a new freedom to help his soldiers.
  3. David acted correctly. His men’s welfare was more important than the law.
  4. Jesus invokes the same freedom for his disciples. God always puts man’s welfare first.
  5. Jesus goes much further. He reveals that He is the Son of Man. He is Lord and has divine power which is greater than the sabbath law.

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

  1. Jesus, when I walk with you, all creation serves my needs.
  2. You give me new freedom and lead me to joy.
  3. You always place me first, Jesus. I am always the center of your attention.
  4. I know who you are. You are God. You are Lord. You are the Son of Man, with all power and authority.
  5. You love me, call me, and want me to be with you forever.

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

  1. By faith in Jesus, I will try to experience true freedom.
  2. In my heart this day, I will constantly proclaim Jesus as Lord.

Thought for Today: (To recall your Meditation)

The Son of Man is Lord, even of the sabbath.

WEEK TWENTY TWO – FRIDAY – SEPTEMBER 8, 2017 NATIVITY OF OUR LADY (MT 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 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. Realize the greatness of Joseph. He could have had Mary killed.
  5. If he did, the Messiah would not have been born and the world would be in total darkness.
  6. An angel resolves the problem.
  7. 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. O 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 the angel commanded.

WEEK TWENTY TWO – WEDNESDAY – SEPTEMBER 6, 2017 HEALING, PRAYING AND TRAVELING (LK 4:38-44)

Prayer: O Jesus, use your powers for me. Then, I will follow you wherever you go.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus healing the sick.)

Context:

This text manifests Jesus’ great powers but it also shows his desire to avoid
the limelight and to preach in other towns to complete his mission.
The crowds want Jesus to stay with them.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus left the synagogue he came to Peter’s house. His mother-in-law had a high fever and they interceded for her. Standing over her
he commanded the fever and it left her. Rising immediately, she waited on them.

When the sun went down, all who had people sick with a variety of
diseases brought them to Jesus. He laid his hands and healed all of them. The devils departed from many. They cried out, “You are the Son of God.” Jesus rebuked them and did not allow them to speak, for they knew he was the Messiah.

In the morning he went to a desert place but the crowds searched and found him,
asking him not to depart from them. He said, “I must preach the Kingdom
of God to other cities. This is why I am sent. And he preached in the synagogue of Galilee.

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

  1. The disciples have caught on. Jesus can heal. So they plead with
    him to heal Simon’s mother-in-law.
  2. Jesus stands over her in complete authority and rebukes the fever,
    as if the disease were an evil spirit which has no right to possess the woman.
  3. Having heard the stories of Jesus, the crowds have great faith. At sundown, (after returning from work), they bring the sick.
  4. Jesus’ power heals all and drives out the evil spirits. His victory
    is complete and total.
  5. The crowd wants these blessings to continue, but Jesus realizes that he must
    go to all the synagogues of Galilee.

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

  1. O Jesus, remove the fever of my disordered passions.
  2. In your authority, cast from me every evil. I will bring you all of my anxieties.
  3. I know these stories of your powers. Like the crowds, I will come to you with my weaknesses.
  4. Make your victory complete. Touch my whole life. Touch my body and soul, my past and present.
  5. The Father sent you to the whole world. You go everywhere. You even come to me.

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

  1. I will have total faith in Jesus’ love for me.
  2. I will hold nothing back from his touch.

Thought for today: (To recall your meditation)

I must preach the Kingdom of God to other cities.

WEEK TWENTY TWO – TUESDAY – SEPTEMBER 5, 2017 ASTONISHING POWER (LK 4:31-37)

Prayer: O Jesus, use your power to cleanse me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in the synagogue.)

Context:

Rejected by the people of Nazareth, Jesus establishes his new base at Capernaum. The people receive him and, upon entering the synagogue, he casts out
an unclean spirit. The people praise him and spread his fame throughout the whole region.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus went to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and he taught on the sabbath. All were astonished at his teaching because his words had power.

In the synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit who cried out in a loud voice,
‘Let us alone. What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you
come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”

Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be still and come out of him”. After the devil had thrown him on the floor, he left him and did him no harm. Awe came upon everyone and they asked, “What is the power of his words? He commands the unclean spirit with authority and power, and they leave.” His fame kept spreading throughout the whole region.

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

  1. The people sense Jesus’ authority in the power of his teaching.
  2. Jesus’ holiness forces the unclean spirit to reveal himself. He will soon
    lose his hold upon the man.
  3. Satan’s keen intellect sees quickly. Jesus is the Holy One and he can destroy the devil.
  4. The devil is powerless. He throws the man to the floor but that is all he can do. The man is free forever.
  5. The people were already in awe. After seeing Jesus’ cast out the demon, their enthusiasm spills over to the whole countryside.

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

  1. O Jesus, I see your power and authority. You are the Christ.
  2. O Jesus, cleanse and purify. Set me free of my hidden evils.
  3. Jesus, You are the Holy One who comes to save, not to destroy.
  4. Set me free, Jesus and I will be free forever.
  5. I will tell everyone of your power. You can free them, also.
  6. Jesus, set the whole world free from the Evil One.

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

  1. I will bring to Jesus all my inner evils.
  2. I will seek the freedom given to the children of God.

Thought for the today: (To recall your meditation)

He commands the unclean spirits with authority and power.

WEEK TWENTY TWO – MONDAY – SEPTEMBER 4, 2017 THOSE WHO REJECTED JESUS (LK 4:14-30)

Prayer: O Jesus, never let me reject you and lose your blessing.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching in the synagogue of Nazareth.)

Context:

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus works some early miracles in Capernaum. Then, He returns to Nazareth and goes to the synagogue. He gives his inaugural speech, outlining all he hopes to accomplish.
The reception is violent but Jesus escapes.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

After preaching in Capernaum, Jesus returned to Nazareth where He was raised. He entered the synagogue and was given the book of Isaiah to read. He unrolled the scroll and read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; to heal the brokenhearted;
to deliver the captives, to give sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed,
and to declare a year acceptable to the Lord.”

Sitting down, he said, “Today, this scripture passage is fulfilled in your ears.”
The hearers were impressed. However, some said, “Is this not the son of Joseph?” Jesus replied, “I am sure you are saying, ‘Do here all the things
that you have done in Capernaum’. A prophet is never welcomed in his own town.”

The hearers were filled with anger and they tried to throw him off the hill. He, however, passed through their midst.

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

  1. Jesus explains the source of his divine power, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.”
  2. He helps the marginal people – the poor, the sick, the captives, the oppressed.
  3. His ministry will bring about “a time of favor to the Lord.”
  4. Unfortunately, his hearers refuse to accept Jesus’ claim that God has anointed him.
  5. They lose all his blessings. They have no faith and he can do nothing for them.
  6. They attempt to kill Jesus, but only the heavenly Father will determine the hour of his death.

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

  1. Jesus, you are the anointed one of God. The Father sent you. Let me not reject you.
  2. Lord, you love me because I am poor, sick, oppressed, blind and captive to my sins.
  3. Your powers change me permanently. They give me a life which is “acceptable to the Father.”
  4. If I accept you, I will receive all of your blessings and favors.
  5. Jesus, come to my synagogue, today. Proclaim your word in my heart. Work your wonders in my soul.

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

  1. I will not lose Jesus’ blessings today.
  2. I will ask Jesus to anoint me with his Holy Spirit.

Thought for Today: (To recall your meditation)

“The spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me.”

WEEK TWENTY TWO – SUNDAY – A- SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 PREDICTING THE PASSION (Mt 16:21-23)

Prayer: Dear Jesus, let me accept suffering with great faith.

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

Context:

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Jesus showed the disciples that he must suffer many things.

WEEK TWENTY TWO – THURSDAY – SEPTEMBER 7, 2017 PETER’S CALL (LK 5:1-11)

Prayer – O Jesus, call me to serve you.

Imagination: (See Peter on his knees before Jesus in the boat.)

Context:

Peter has witnessed many of Jesus’ miracles but this miracle
is unique. Peter is a fisherman. He knows that filling both boats with fish
is impossible in the daylight.
This is the perfect miracle. It drives Peter to his knees.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said to Peter, “Go out into the deep waters and lower your nets.” Peter replied, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing. However, at your command, I will lower the nets.”

When they did this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets broke. They called to their partners in the other boat. They filled both boats so
that they were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me,
Lord, for I am a sinful man.”

Great astonishment at the catch of fish seized him and all who were with him. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching men.” Bringing their ships to land, they left everything and followed Jesus.

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

  1. Peter’s boat and Peter’s heart were empty before Jesus acted.
  2. After catching the fish, Peter experiences a fullness which he cannot explain.
  3. Jesus of Nazareth stands at the center of this story. He has brought about the great catch of fish.
  4. Peter realizes that he is “a sinful man”. Wanting to resolve his pain, he asks Jesus to depart.
  5. Jesus has a better solution. He invites Peter into a new holiness and a new task.
  6. Peter will be a “fisher of men”. This great call gets the disciples to leave everything behind.

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

  1. O Lord, I am empty. I have fished all night and caught nothing.
  2. My world, my career and my human goals do not fill me.
  3. I will obey you and put out deeper into the devout life.
  4. Suddenly, my little boat has your abundant fullness.
  5. O Lord, I cannot handle all my feelings. Depart from me.
  6. As I kneel at your feet, Jesus, I hear you call me to serve your Kingdom.
  7. For you, everything is left behind. Everything!

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

  1. For a few minutes today, I will take my boat into the ocean of prayer.
  2. I will accept God’s holy light, no matter what it reveals.

Thought for Today: (To recall your meditation)

Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man.

SEPTEMBER 3, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-TWO – SATURDAY – LORD OF THE SABBATH

(Luke 6:1-5) 

Prayer – O Jesus, you are God, Lord even of the sabbath.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples being confronted by the Pharisees).

Context:

These confrontation stories highlight Jesus’ authority, bring out new aspects of Christian life and most important, reveal Jesus’ identity. This story uses the powerful Sabbath regulation to reveal Jesus’ divinity and the disciples’ freedom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

On the sabbath, Jesus and his disciples went through a field of standing grain. The disciples picked the grain and ate it. Some Pharisees saw them and said, “Why do you do what is not awful on the sabbath?”

Jesus answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his men were hungry? He entered God’s house and took and ate the holy bread and gave it to his men, even though only the priests are allowed to eat it. Then, he said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord even of the sabbath.”

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

  1. Jewish law permits the disciples to pick the grain. The Pharisees object to their doing this on the Sabbath.
  2. In the Old Testament, King David assumed a new freedom to help his soldiers.
  3. David acted correctly. His men’s welfare was more important than the law.
  4. Jesus invokes the same freedom for his disciples. God always puts man’s welfare first.
  5. Jesus goes much further. He reveals that He is the Son of Man. He is Lord and has divine power which is greater than the sabbath law.

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

  1. Jesus, when I walk with you, all creation serves my needs.
  2. You give me new freedom and lead me to joy.
  3. You always place me first, Jesus. I am always the center of your attention.
  4. I know who you are. You are God. You are Lord. You are the Son of Man, with all power and authority.
  5. You love me, call me, and want me to be with you forever.

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

  1. By faith in Jesus, I will try to experience true freedom.
  2. In my heart this day, I will constantly proclaim Jesus as Lord.

Thought for Today: (To recall your Meditation)

The Son of Man is Lord, even of the sabbath.

SEPTEMBER 2, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-TWO – FRIDAY – IMAGES OF JESUS’ KINGDOM

(Luke 5:33-39)

Prayer – O Jesus, give me faith which accepts your new Covenant.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus surrounded by his disciples and his opponents.)

Context:

In this text, Jesus uses three images, the bridegroom, the new coat and the new wine. They all reveal the new powers of the Kingdom. Jesus’ opponents are holding on to the old and see no need to accept Jesus.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The scribes and the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Why do John’s disciples fast and offer prayers. The disciples of the Pharisees do the same. Yours, on the contrary, eat and drink quite freely.” Jesus responded, “Can the guests of the bridegroom fast while the groom is still with them? When the groom is taken away, they shall fast.”

Jesus proposed a figure. No one uses a piece of a new coat to patch an old one. The old coat will tear and the new piece will not match.

No one puts new wine into old skins. The new wine will break the old skins and all will be lost. New wine should be poured into fresh skins.

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

  1. Jesus deliberately does not allow his disciples to fast. Their freedom highlights the newness of his Kingdom.
  2. He is the bridegroom and the wedding will soon begin.
  3. He uses this confrontation to preach his message. The Kingdom is a totally new gift of God.
  4. Any attempt to join the old with the new will destroy everything.
  5. The new wine is too powerful for the old wineskins.
  6. Jesus prepares his disciples for divine favors which their Jewish faith cannot imagine.

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

  1. Jesus, how limited is my faith, unable to grasp your favors.
  2. Jesus, You are the bridegroom. The wedding has begun. You are in our midst.
  3. I will put aside my old way of life and receive all you will give.
  4. How powerful is your new wine. I will drink it fully and it will change me.
  5. Give me new faith, Jesus. My present faith cannot receive all you want for me.

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

  1. I will ask for greater faith.
  2. I will set aside my old habits that limit Jesus’ power.

Thought for Today: (To recall your Meditation)

The guests of the bridegroom cannot fast while the bridegroom is present.

SEPTEMBER 1, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-TWO – THURSDAY – PETER’S CALL

(Luke 5:1-11)

Prayer – O Jesus, call me to serve you.

Imagination: (See Peter on his knees before Jesus in the boat.)

Context:

Peter has witnessed many of Jesus’ miracles but this miracle is unique. Peter is a fisherman. He knows that filling both boats with fish is impossible in the daylight. This is the perfect miracle. It drives Peter to his knees.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said to Peter, “Go out into the deep waters and lower your nets.” Peter replied, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing. However, at your command, I will lower the nets.”

When they did this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets broke. They called to their partners in the other boat. They filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”

Great astonishment at the catch of fish seized him and all who were with him. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching men.” Bringing their ships to land, they left everything and followed Jesus.

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

  1. Peter’s boat and Peter’s heart were empty before Jesus acted.
  2. After catching the fish, Peter experiences a fullness which he cannot explain.
  3. Jesus of Nazareth stands at the center of this story. He has brought about the great catch of fish.
  4. Peter realizes that he is “a sinful man”. Wanting to resolve his pain, he asks Jesus to depart.
  5. Jesus has a better solution. He invites Peter into a new holiness and a new task.
  6. Peter will be a “fisher of men”. This great call gets the disciples to leave everything behind.

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

  1. O Lord, I am empty. I have fished all night and caught nothing.
  2. My world, my career and my human goals do not fill me.
  3. I will obey you and put out deeper into the devout life.
  4. Suddenly, my little boat has your abundant fullness.
  5. O Lord, I cannot handle all my feelings. Depart from me.
  6. As I kneel at your feet, Jesus, I hear you call me to serve your Kingdom.
  7. For you, everything is left behind. Everything!

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

  1. For a few minutes today, I will take my boat into the ocean of prayer.
  2. I will accept God’s holy light, no matter what it reveals.

Thought for Today: (To recall your meditation)

Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man.

AUGUST 31, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-TWO – WEDNESDAY – HEALING, PRAYING, AND TRAVELING

(Luke 4:38-44)

Prayer: O Jesus, use your powers for me. Then, I will follow you wherever you go.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus healing the sick.)

Context:

This text manifests Jesus’ great powers but it also shows his desire to avoid the limelight and to preach in other towns to complete his mission. The crowds want Jesus to stay with them.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus left the synagogue he came to Peter’s house. His mother-in-law had a high fever and they interceded for her. Standing over her he commanded the fever and it left her. Rising immediately, she waited on them.

When the sun went down, all who had people sick with a variety of diseases brought them to Jesus. He laid his hands and healed all of them. The devils departed from many. They cried out, “You are the Son of God.” Jesus rebuked them and did not allow them to speak, for they knew he was the Messiah.

In the morning he went to a desert place but the crowds searched and found him, asking him not to depart from them. He said, “I must preach the Kingdom of God to other cities. This is why I am sent. And he preached in the synagogue of Galilee.

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

  1. The disciples have caught on. Jesus can heal. So they plead with him to heal Simon’s mother-in-law.
  2. Jesus stands over her in complete authority and rebukes the fever, as if the disease were an evil spirit which has no right to possess the woman.
  3. Having heard the stories of Jesus, the crowds have great faith. At sundown, (after returning from work), they bring the sick.
  4. Jesus’ power heals all and drives out the evil spirits. His victory is complete and total.
  5. The crowd wants these blessings to continue, but Jesus realizes that he must go to all the synagogues of Galilee.

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

  1. O Jesus, remove the fever of my disordered passions.
  2. In your authority, cast from me every evil. I will bring you all of my anxieties.
  3. I know these stories of your powers. Like the crowds, I will come to you with my weaknesses.
  4. Make your victory complete. Touch my whole life. Touch my body and soul, my past and present.
  5. The Father sent you to the whole world. You go everywhere. You even come to me.

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

  1. I will have total faith in Jesus’ love for me.
  2. I will hold nothing back from his touch.

Thought for today: (To recall your meditation)

I must preach the Kingdom of God to other cities.

AUGUST 30, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-TWO – TUESDAY – ASTONISHING POWER

(Luke 4:31-37)

Prayer: O Jesus, use your power to cleanse me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in the synagogue.)

Context:

Rejected by the people of Nazareth, Jesus establishes his new base at Capernaum. The people receive him and, upon entering the synagogue, he casts out an unclean spirit. The people praise him and spread his fame throughout the whole region.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus went to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and he taught on the sabbath. All were astonished at his teaching because his words had power.

In the synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit who cried out in a loud voice, ‘Let us alone. What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”

Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be still and come out of him”. After the devil had thrown him on the floor, he left him and did him no harm. Awe came upon everyone and they asked, “What is the power of his words? He commands the unclean spirit with authority and power, and they leave.” His fame kept spreading throughout the whole region.

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

  1. The people sense Jesus’ authority in the power of his teaching.
  2. Jesus’ holiness forces the unclean spirit to reveal himself. He will soon lose his hold upon the man.
  3. Satan’s keen intellect sees quickly. Jesus is the Holy One and he can destroy the devil.
  4. The devil is powerless. He throws the man to the floor but that is all he can do. The man is free forever.
  5. The people were already in awe. After seeing Jesus’ cast out the demon, their enthusiasm spills over to the whole countryside.

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

  1. O Jesus, I see your power and authority. You are the Christ.
  2. O Jesus, cleanse and purify. Set me free of my hidden evils.
  3. Jesus, You are the Holy One who comes to save, not to destroy.
  4. Set me free, Jesus and I will be free forever.
  5. I will tell everyone of your power. You can free them, also.
  6. Jesus, set the whole world free from the Evil One.

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

  1. I will bring to Jesus all my inner evils.
  2. I will seek the freedom given to the children of God.

Thought for the today: (To recall your meditation)

He commands the unclean spirits with authority and power.

AUGUST 29, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-TWO – MONDAY – THOSE WHO REJECTED JESUS

(Luke 4:14-30)

Prayer: O Jesus, never let me reject you and lose your blessing.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching in the synagogue of Nazareth.)

Context:

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus works some early miracles in Capernaum. Then, He returns to Nazareth and goes to the synagogue. He gives his inaugural speech, outlining all he hopes to accomplish. The reception is violent but Jesus escapes.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

After preaching in Capernaum, Jesus returned to Nazareth where He was raised. He entered the synagogue and was given the book of Isaiah to read. He unrolled the scroll and read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; to heal the brokenhearted; to deliver the captives, to give sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, and to declare a year acceptable to the Lord.”

Sitting down, he said, “Today, this scripture passage is fulfilled in your ears.” The hearers were impressed. However, some said, “Is this not the son of Joseph?” Jesus replied, “I am sure you are saying, ‘Do here all the things that you have done in Capernaum’. A prophet is never welcomed in his own town.”

The hearers were filled with anger and they tried to throw him off the hill. He, however, passed through their midst.

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

  1. Jesus explains the source of his divine power, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.”
  2. He helps the marginal people – the poor, the sick, the captives, the oppressed.
  3. His ministry will bring about “a time of favor to the Lord.”
  4. Unfortunately, his hearers refuse to accept Jesus’ claim that God has anointed him.
  5. They lose all his blessings. They have no faith and he can do nothing for them.
  6. They attempt to kill Jesus, but only the heavenly Father will determine the hour of his death.

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

  1. Jesus, you are the anointed one of God. The Father sent you. Let me not reject you.
  2. Lord, you love me because I am poor, sick, oppressed, blind and captive to my sins.
  3. Your powers change me permanently. They give me a life which is “acceptable to the Father.”
  4. If I accept you, I will receive all of your blessings and favors.
  5. Jesus, come to my synagogue, today. Proclaim your word in my heart. Work your wonders in my soul.

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

  1. I will not lose Jesus’ blessings today.
  2. I will ask Jesus to anoint me with his Holy Spirit.

Thought for Today: (To recall your meditation)

“The spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me.”

AUGUST 28, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY TWO – SUNDAY C (PART TWO) – WHO GETS INVITED?

(Luke 14:12-14)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me help those who cannot repay me.

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

Context:

Jesus asks for a great holiness. His disciples must bless others with no hope of any return. Their reward will come at the resurrection.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to the leading Pharisee who had invited him to dinner, “When you have a dinner or a supper, do not invite your friends and your brothers or your relatives and wealthy neighbors. They might invite you in return and repay you. Instead, when you have a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind. You will be blessed because they cannot repay you, and you will be repaid in the resurrection of the just.”

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

  1. The Pharisee’s table guests are friends and wealthy neighbors.       This is the human approach to a banquet.
  2. The Pharisee’s purpose is to ingratiate himself so his guests will bless him.
  3. Jesus expects his disciples to act quite differently.
  4. The disadvantaged and outcasts are usually not invited because they cannot repay the favor.
  5. To invite the poor is to act like God. We can never repay his kindness.
  6. The disciple’s reward will be from heaven. God pours out his rewards on those who help the poor.

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

  1. O Jesus, lift my heart above earthly goods.
  2. O Lord, remove my self-serving motives that do not flow from true charity.
  3. O Jesus, you expect more from me.
  4. Open my eyes! Let me see the blessings in serving the poor.
  5. I will act like you, Jesus, blessing those who can never repay.
  6. Touch my heart, Jesus. Make it like yours.

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

  1. I will examine my motives. Am I charitable to all, even those with nothing to repay me?
  2. I will ask Jesus for his heart so I can love the outcast.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

You will be repaid in the resurrection of the just.

AUGUST 28, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY TWO – SUNDAY – C (PART ONE) – THE PLACES AT TABLE

(Luke 14:7-11)

Prayer – O Jesus, let me sit at your heavenly table.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus at the banquet)

Context:

In Jesus’ time, the most important guests would arrive last. If someone took too high a place they would have to move down to the lower places.

Jesus uses this teaching on taking the last place at table, to highlight God exalting the disciple on the last day. The parable calls for self-abasement so the disciple can sit in an important place at the heavenly banquet.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus saw that the invited guests chose the first seats at table, he said, “When you are invited to a wedding, do not sit down in the first place. Someone more important than you might be invited.

Then the host will say to you, “Give this man your place. Then, you would go, with great shame, to the lowest place.

Instead, when you are invited, go and sit at the lowest place. When the host comes and says, “Friend, go up higher”, you shall enjoy great honor among all those at table.

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

  1. The wedding banquet is the final judgment. The host is Jesus himself. The guest is a disciple.
  2. Jesus is not teaching the disciple how to look good by taking the lowest seat. He describes the attitude the disciple must have to enter heaven.
  3. Whoever who feels they deserve a high place in the Kingdom is self-righteous, trusts in his own abilities and will be humbled on the last day.
  4. The one who thinks little of his accomplishments and believes that he belongs among the marginal and lowly, will be told by Jesus “to go up higher” on the last day.
  5. In the Kingdom, the disciple does not choose his place.       The Father already has it ready.

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

  1. O God, you want to exalt me, to send me higher and higher in your Kingdom.
  2. O Jesus, your favors are everywhere. They are abundant and flowing over. You have seats for all the guests.
  3. I will take the lowest seat. However, I know your secret. You will lift me higher.
  4. Your plan is perfect for me. You have already arranged everything. Please help me to follow your ways.
  5. How joyfully I will hear your words, “Enter into my Kingdom” and then “Go up higher.”

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

  1. I will think all day of Jesus’ great generosity.
  2. I will humble myself, knowing that God will exalt me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

When you go up higher, you shall enjoy great honor in the sight of others.

SEPTEMBER 5, 2015 – WEEK TWENTY TWO – SATURDAY – LORD OF THE SABBATH

(Luke 6:1-5)

Prayer – O Jesus, you are God, Lord even of the sabbath.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples being confronted by the Pharisees).

Context:

These confrontation stories highlight Jesus’ authority, bring out new aspects of Christian life and most important, reveal Jesus’ identity. This story uses the powerful Sabbath regulation to reveal Jesus’ divinity and the disciples’ freedom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

On the sabbath, Jesus and his disciples went through a field of standing grain. The disciples picked the grain and ate it. Some Pharisees saw them and said, “Why do you do what is not awful on the sabbath?”

Jesus answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his men were hungry? He entered God’s house and took and ate the holy bread and gave it to his men, even though only the priests are allowed to eat it. Then, he said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord even of the sabbath.”

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

  1. Jewish law permits the disciples to pick the grain. The Pharisees object to their doing this on the Sabbath.
  2. In the Old Testament, King David assumed a new freedom to help his soldiers.
  3. David acted correctly. His men’s welfare was more important than the law.
  4. Jesus invokes the same freedom for his disciples. God always puts man’s welfare first.
  5. Jesus goes much further. He reveals that He is the Son of Man. He is Lord and has divine power which is greater than the sabbath law.

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

  1. Jesus, when I walk with you, all creation serves my needs.
  2. You give me new freedom and lead me to joy.
  3. You always place me first, Jesus. I am always the center of your attention.
  4. I know who you are. You are God. You are Lord. You are the Son of Man, with all power and authority.
  5. You love me, call me, and want me to be with you forever.

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

  1. By faith in Jesus, I will try to experience true freedom.
  2. In my heart this day, I will constantly proclaim Jesus as Lord.

Thought for Today: (To recall your Meditation)

The Son of Man is Lord, even of the sabbath.

SEPTEMBER 4, 2015 – WEEK TWENTY TWO – FRIDAY – IMAGES OF JESUS’ KINGDOM

(Luke 5:33-39)

Prayer – O Jesus, give me faith which accepts your new Covenant.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus surrounded by his disciples and his opponents.)

Context:

In this text, Jesus uses three images, the bridegroom, the new coat and the new wine. They all reveal the new powers of the Kingdom. Jesus’ opponents are holding on to the old and see no need to accept Jesus.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The scribes and the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Why do John’s disciples fast and offer prayers. The disciples of the Pharisees do the same. Yours, on the contrary, eat and drink quite freely.” Jesus responded, “Can the guests of the bridegroom fast while the groom is still with them? When the groom is taken away, they shall fast.”

Jesus proposed a figure. No one uses a piece of a new coat to patch an old one. The old coat will tear and the new piece will not match.

No one puts new wine into old skins. The new wine will break the old skins and all will be lost. New wine should be poured into fresh skins.

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

  1. Jesus deliberately does not allow his disciples to fast. Their freedom highlights the newness of his Kingdom.
  2. He is the bridegroom and the wedding will soon begin.
  3. He uses this confrontation to preach his message. The Kingdom is a totally new gift of God.
  4. Any attempt to join the old with the new will destroy everything.
  5. The new wine is too powerful for the old wineskins.
  6. Jesus prepares his disciples for divine favors which their Jewish faith cannot imagine.

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

  1. Jesus, how limited is my faith, unable to grasp your favors.
  2. Jesus, You are the bridegroom. The wedding has begun. You are in our midst.
  3. I will put aside my old way of life and receive all you will give.
  4. How powerful is your new wine. I will drink it fully and it will change me.
  5. Give me new faith, Jesus. My present faith cannot receive all you want for me.

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

  1. I will ask for greater faith.
  2. I will set aside my old habits that limit Jesus’ power.

Thought for Today: (To recall your Meditation)

The guests of the bridegroom cannot fast while the bridegroom is present.

SEPTEMBER 3, 2015 – WEEK TWENTY TWO – THURSDAY – PETER’S CALL

(Luke 5:1-11)

Prayer – O Jesus, call me to serve you.

Imagination: (See Peter on his knees before Jesus in the boat.)

Context:

Peter has witnessed many of Jesus’ miracles but this miracle is unique. Peter is a fisherman. He knows that filling both boats with fish is impossible in the daylight. This is the perfect miracle. It drives Peter to his knees.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said to Peter, “Go out into the deep waters and lower your nets.” Peter replied, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing. However, at your command, I will lower the nets.”

When they did this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets broke. They called to their partners in the other boat. They filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”

Great astonishment at the catch of fish seized him and all who were with him. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching men.” Bringing their ships to land, they left everything and followed Jesus.

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

  1. Peter’s boat and Peter’s heart were empty before Jesus acted.
  2. After catching the fish, Peter experiences a fullness which he cannot explain.
  3. Jesus of Nazareth stands at the center of this story. He has brought about the great catch of fish.
  4. Peter realizes that he is “a sinful man”. Wanting to resolve his pain, he asks Jesus to depart.
  5. Jesus has a better solution. He invites Peter into a new holiness and a new task.
  6. Peter will be a “fisher of men”. This great call gets the disciples to leave everything behind.

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

  1. O Lord, I am empty. I have fished all night and caught nothing.
  2. My world, my career and my human goals do not fill me.
  3. I will obey you and put out deeper into the devout life.
  4. Suddenly, my little boat has your abundant fullness.
  5. O Lord, I cannot handle all my feelings. Depart from me.
  6. As I kneel at your feet, Jesus, I hear you call me to serve your Kingdom.
  7. For you, everything is left behind. Everything!

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

  1. For a few minutes today, I will take my boat into the ocean of prayer.
  2. I will accept God’s holy light, no matter what it reveals.

Thought for Today: (To recall your meditation)

Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man.

SEPTEMBER 2, 2015 – WEEK TWENTY TWO – WEDNESDAY – HEALING, PRAYING AND TRAVELING

(Luke 4:38-44)

Prayer: O Jesus, use your powers for me. Then, I will follow you wherever you go.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus healing the sick.)

Context:

This text manifests Jesus’ great powers but it also shows his desire to avoid the limelight and to preach in other towns to complete his mission. The crowds want Jesus to stay with them.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus left the synagogue he came to Peter’s house. His mother-in-law had a high fever and they interceded for her. Standing over her he commanded the fever and it left her. Rising immediately, she waited on them.

When the sun went down, all who had people sick with a variety of diseases brought them to Jesus. He laid his hands and healed all of them. The devils departed from many. They cried out, “You are the Son of God.” Jesus rebuked them and did not allow them to speak, for they knew he was the Messiah.

In the morning he went to a desert place but the crowds searched and found him, asking him not to depart from them. He said, “I must preach the Kingdom of God to other cities. This is why I am sent. And he preached in the synagogue of Galilee.

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

  1. The disciples have caught on. Jesus can heal. So they plead with him to heal Simon’s mother-in-law.
  2. Jesus stands over her in complete authority and rebukes the fever, as if the disease were an evil spirit which has no right to possess the woman.
  3. Having heard the stories of Jesus, the crowds have great faith. At sundown, (after returning from work), they bring the sick.
  4. Jesus’ power heals all and drives out the evil spirits. His victory is complete and total.
  5. The crowd wants these blessings to continue, but Jesus realizes that he must go to all the synagogues of Galilee.

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

  1. O Jesus, remove the fever of my disordered passions.
  2. In your authority, cast from me every evil. I will bring you all of my anxieties.
  3. I know these stories of your powers. Like the crowds, I will come to you with my weaknesses.
  4. Make your victory complete. Touch my whole life. Touch my body and soul, my past and present.
  5. The Father sent you to the whole world. You go everywhere. You even come to me. 

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

  1. I will have total faith in Jesus’ love for me.
  2. I will hold nothing back from his touch.

Thought for today: (To recall your meditation)

I must preach the Kingdom of God to other cities.

SEPTEMBER 1, 2015 – WEEK TWENTY TWO – TUESDAY – ASTONISHING POWER

(Luke 4:31-37)

Prayer: O Jesus, use your power to cleanse me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in the synagogue.)

Context:

Rejected by the people of Nazareth, Jesus establishes his new base at Capernaum. The people receive him and, upon entering the synagogue, he casts out an unclean spirit. The people praise him and spread his fame throughout the whole region.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus went to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and he taught on the sabbath. All were astonished at his teaching because his words had power.

In the synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit who cried out in a loud voice, ‘Let us alone. What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”

Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be still and come out of him”. After the devil had thrown him on the floor, he left him and did him no harm. Awe came upon everyone and they asked, “What is the power of his words? He commands the unclean spirit with authority and power, and they leave.” His fame kept spreading throughout the whole region.

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

  1. The people sense Jesus’ authority in the power of his teaching.
  2. Jesus’ holiness forces the unclean spirit to reveal himself. He will soon lose his hold upon the man.
  3. Satan’s keen intellect sees quickly. Jesus is the Holy One and he can destroy the devil.
  4. The devil is powerless. He throws the man to the floor but that is all he can do. The man is free forever.
  5. The people were already in awe. After seeing Jesus’ cast out the demon, their enthusiasm spills over to the whole countryside.

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

  1. O Jesus, I see your power and authority. You are the Christ.
  2. O Jesus, cleanse and purify. Set me free of my hidden evils.
  3. Jesus, You are the Holy One who comes to save, not to destroy.
  4. Set me free, Jesus and I will be free forever.
  5. I will tell everyone of your power. You can free them, also.
  6. Jesus, set the whole world free from the Evil One.

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

  1. I will bring to Jesus all my inner evils.
  2. I will seek the freedom given to the children of God.

Thought for the today: (To recall your meditation)

He commands the unclean spirits with authority and power.