WEEK TWENTY – SATURDAY – AUGUST 26, 2017 THE HYPOCRISY OF THE PHARISEES: (MT: 23:1-12)

Prayer: O Jesus, give me the heart of a servant.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus instructing His disciples in humility.)

Context:

Jesus does not criticize the teaching of the scribes and Pharisees
(although he alludes to moral rigorism). Instead, he attacks their
practices of seeking honor and gaining title. This conflicts with Jesus’
teaching that disciples must serve others
and take the last place.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus told the crowds and his disciples, “The scribes and Pharisees have
succeeded Moses as teacher. Therefore, do all that they say, but do not follow
their example. For they bind heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they
do not lift a finger to help them.

They do their works to be seen by men. They widen their phylacteries
and wear huge tassels. They love first place at feasts and first place in the synagogues. They like to be greeted in the marketplace and be called “Rabbi”. You are to
avoid the title “Rabbi”. Only one among you is the teacher. The rest are learners.

Do not call anyone on earth “Father”. Only one is your Father, the One in heaven.
Avoid being called “Teacher”. Only one is your teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you is the one who serves the rest. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

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

  1. A hypocrite wants to be seen as good without being good.
  2. Jesus despises this false devotion.
  3. He does not want the disciples to seek the praise of others.
  4. He does not want them to seek honors.
  5. He wants them to love each other as equals.
  6. He expects them to serve and to take the lowest place.
  7. For the disciples, Jesus, alone, is the Master and Messiah.

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

  1. O Jesus, I will live my devout life in truth.
  2. Remove everything that is false in me.
  3. Jesus, place everyone in my heart. I will be a servant to all.
  4. Make me your disciple and I will be a true sign to the world.
  5. I will seek no worldly praise, only your glory.
  6. You alone, are my Christ, my Master, my Lord.
  7. Do not let me ruin your work by my pride.

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

  1. Today, I will serve others.
  2. I will avoid all ostentatious behavior so the gospel can spread.

WEEK TWENTY – FRIDAY – AUGUST 25, 2017 THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT (MT: 22:34-40)

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

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

Context:

The Rabbis had 613 commandments, and a common question was,
“Which is the greatest?” The Pharisees approach Jesus in a hostile way,
testing him because he claimed the power to interpret and even to change laws.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The Pharisees, seeing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, came to him. A scholar of the law tested him by asking “Teacher, which commandment in
the law is the greatest?”

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

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

  1. The Pharisees delight that Jesus has silenced their enemies, the Sadducees.
  2. Unfortunately, the Pharisees test Jesus instead of following him.
  3. Their question is a good one and Jesus has the perfect answer.
  4. Love is the very heart of Jesus’ Kingdom.
  5. Our first love is for God and it must be total.
  6. Our love for God must embrace everyone else.
  7. Remember these words, and write them on your heart.

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

  1. O Jesus, I surrender my heart, my will, my affections, my desires.
  2. Jesus, you give total love and you expect total love.
  3. My eternity will be love! I must begin now.
  4. Jesus, help me to love you.
  5. I cannot love just you. Give me a tender heart, open to others.
  6. Jesus, everything depends on these commands.

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

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

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

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

WEEK TWENTY – THURSDAY – AUGUST 24, 2017 FEAST OF ST. BARTHOLOMEW, APOSTLE (JN 1:43-51)

Prayer: O Jesus, call me into your presence.
Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his early disciples.)

Context:
Peter, Andrew, Philip and Nathaniel are all from Bethsaida. Philip leads Nathaniel to Jesus. This dialogue reveals much of Jesus’ identity. It alludes to Jacob who was filled with guile (Nathaniel has none). Jacob saw angels ascending and descending on a ladder. (Nathaniel will see Jesus with angels). Nathaniel is called Bartholomew in the listing of the twelve apostles.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)
The next day, Jesus decided to go to Galilee, where he found Philip. Jesus said, “Follow me”. Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathaniel and said, “We have found the one whom Moses wrote about in the law and prophets, Jesus the son of Joseph of Nazareth.”Nathaniel said, “Can anything of good come from Nazareth?” Philip said, “Come and see”.
Jesus saw Nathaniel coming to him and said, “Behold a true Israelite in whom there is no guile.” Nathaniel asked, “How do you know me?” Jesus said, “Before Philip called you I saw you under a fig tree.” Nathaniel said, “Rabbi, you are the son of God. You are the King of Israel.”
Jesus said, “You believe because I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than these. Amen, amen I say to you, you shall see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)
1. It seems like just a chance happening. Jesus on his way to Galilee comes upon Philip.
2. Their meeting has eternal results for Philip and Nathaniel.
3. Philip desperately wants Nathaniel to share his faith in Jesus.
4. Nazareth is never mentioned in the Old Testament, so Nathaniel must trust Philip’s faith.
5. Nathaniel is a true Israelite, without guile (not like Jacob who was full of guile).
6. When Jesus uses his prophetic power, Nathaniel believes immediately (he is without guile).
7. Jesus promises greater revelations. Nathaniel will see angels accompanying the Son of Man in glory.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. O Jesus, let me meet you today.
2. What a blessing to hear your words, “Come, follow me.”
3. O Jesus, I will bring others to you.
4. Remove my sophistication and make me a person without guile.
5. Jesus, you know everything about me. You see me at every moment.
6. Someday, I will see you with your angels.
7. You are the messiah coming again in glory. I await you.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. I will believe in Jesus and bring others into that belief.
2. I will think today of Jesus coming with his angels.
Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)
Philip sought out Nathaniel, “We have found the Messiah.”

WEEK TWENTY – TUESDAY – AUGUST 22, 2017 RECEIVING THE HUNDRED-FOLD (MT: 19:23-30)

Prayer – O Jesus, teach me to set aside everything for love of you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus surrounded by his disciples.)

Context:

After the rich young man walked away, Jesus commented on the difficulty of the rich
entering the Kingdom of God. In today’s text, Peter is a model disciple and
Jesus spells out the rewards for all who follow.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Peter said to Jesus, “We have put everything aside to follow you. What can we expect?
“ Jesus responded, “I give you my solemn word,
in the new age when the Son of Man takes his seat upon a throne befitting his glory,
you who have followed me shall likewise take
your places on twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel.

Moreover, everyone who has left brothers or sisters, or fathers or mothers or children
or lands for my sake will receive many times more and will inherit everlasting life. Many who are first shall be last and the last shall come first.

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

  1. Peter states the truth. He and the other apostles have left everything behind.
  2. Jesus proclaims a new age, when he will come in glory.
  3. The new believers were already experiencing these blessings. By sharing their properties,
    they had access to many homes.
  4. Leaving behind their natural family, they discover so many others in God’s family.
  5. The great rewards would be “in the age to come”, everlasting life with Jesus and a sharing
    in his resurrection.

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

  1. Jesus, teach me how to leave everything behind and follow you.
  2. You give peace of soul and freedom from sins.
  3. Other believers become my brothers and sisters, the great blessing of faith relationships.
  4. Teach me to be a brother and sister to others.
  5. What will my life be “in the age to come?”
  6. Jesus, what is it like to live with you forever? Don’t let me lose your eternal gift.

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

  1. I will make a sincere effort to detach myself today from some material goods.
  2. I will think about Jesus’ promises. (He always keeps his word.)

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

And in the age to come, everlasting life.

WEEK TWENTY – TUESDAY – AUGUST 22, 2017 FEAST OF THE QUEENSHIP OF BLESSED VIRGIN MARY (MT: 19:23-30)

Prayer: O Jesus, You are a generous employer. Let me serve you faithfully.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples.)

Context:

This parable is about the Kingdom. As the day goes on, the men grow discouraged.
They stop seeking work and “sit around idle.” The owner’s constant going to the marketplace shows the importance of the Kingdom.

Paying the last workers first, reveals the parable’s meaning – the unbelievable
generosity of God. The important sentence is, “Are you envious because I am generous?” (20:15) Notice that all the workers, first and last, are present at the final scene. This is the final Judgment when the undeserving (but repentant) people are admitted
to the kingdom. The parable reveals how God acts.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

The kingdom of heaven is like an owner who went out early in the morning
to hire workers for his vineyard. After agreeing upon the daily wage, he sent
them into his vineyard. He went out at the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did likewise. At the eleventh hour, he found others. “Why are you standing idle?” They said,
“No one has hired us.” He said, “You also, go into my vineyard.”

When evening came he told the steward to call the workers and pay them, beginning
with the last ones. These received a full day’s wages. The first also received a day’s wages but felt they should receive more. So, they murmured against the owner, saying that they had suffered the heat of the day.

The owner replied, “Friend, I do you no wrong because I agreed on a day’s wages. Cannot I give to the last what I give to you? Or, are you jealous because I am generous?”

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

  1. The owner continually goes to the marketplace. He wants everyone to have a chance to work in the vineyard.
  2. He surprises everyone by the generous gift of a full day’s pay.
  3. He has no interest in making a profit. The vineyard exists to bless the unemployed and helpless.
  4. Should not all rejoice that every worker had money for his family?
  5. This parable portrays Judgment Day, when all come before the Master of the Vineyard and each will
    realize how little they have worked.
  6. All the elect will hear Jesus’ words, “Enter into the Kingdom.”
  7. The parable reveals heaven. At the Final Judgment all will see the generosity of God.

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

  1. You search for me, Lord, all day and every day.
  2. In my youth, in my middle years and even in my final days, you say, “Go into my vineyard.”
  3. Jesus, why are you so zealous for me? What do you see in me that I do not see?
  4. You arrange everything for my salvation. Nothing is left to chance.
  5. At the end of my life, You will say, “You have done enough.” (when really I have done so little).
  6. O Jesus, you will reward me beyond all my expectations.
  7. “Who is like to you, O Lord?”
  8. You search for me because you want me to be with you.

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

  1. I will listen for God’s special words, “Go into my vineyard.”
  2. I will imitate God’s generosity, rewarding others beyond what I owe them.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Am I not free to be generous with my money?

WEEK TWENTY – MONDAY – AUGUST 21, 2017 THE RICH YOUNG MAN (MT: 19:16-22)

Prayer – O Jesus, I will sacrifice everything to follow you.

Imagination: (Picture the young man asking Jesus about eternal life.)

Context:

The man’s “kneeling down” shows great piety and his question is excellent. He wants what Jesus offers, eternal life. In responding to his question, Jesus mentions only commandments which deal
with other people. Jesus makes the goal more definite. Jesus invites him “to follow”. Because Jesus is on a journey to Jerusalem, worldly possessions are an obstacle.
So, the man “must sell what you have.”

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

A certain man ran up, knelt before Jesus and asked him, “Good Master, what shall
I do to gain everlasting life?” Jesus answered, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good except God alone.” You know the commandments, “Do not commit adultery.
Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Do not defraud. Honor your
father and your mother.” He answered, “Master, I have observed all these things since my youth.”

Jesus, looking on him, loved him and said, “One thing is lacking to you. Go, sell whatever you have and give to the poor and you shall have treasure in heaven.
Then, come follow me.” Upon hearing this, the man grew sad and went away sorrowful,
for he had great possessions.

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

  1. The story begins with great hope. The man asks a fervent question, recounts a history of good moral behavior and seeks eternal life.
  2. Jesus affirms his reply and looks upon him with love.
  3. Jesus goes further and offers his greatest gift. He invites the man to follow.
  4. Jesus even motivates the man. He will have treasure in heaven.
  5. Instead of following Jesus, he turns back. His possessions keep him a captive.
  6. We will all meet him at the Last Judgment and discover the end of the story.

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

  1. Jesus, what more do I need to do to gain eternal life?
  2. Jesus, you love me and want me to succeed.
  3. You invite me higher. You stir within and lead me further.
  4. O Jesus, what are my possessions compared to the treasure in heaven?
  5. All that I own is a small price to purchase the Kingdom.
  6. Turning away from you is emptiness. Following you is fullness.
  7. Wait for me, Jesus. I am coming right now.

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

  1. Today, I will ask Jesus, “Lord, what must I do to gain eternal life?”
  2. I will help the poor.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Sell all and give to the poor. Your treasure in heaven will be great.

WEEK TWENTY – SUNDAY – A- AUGUST 20, 2017 THE QUICK-WITTED MOTHER (MT 15:21-28)

Prayer – O Jesus, let me persevere in seeking your blessings.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus confronted by this mother.)

Context:

This story occurs in Gentile territory with a Gentile mother. It shows that the
Kingdom will break out of its Jewish beginnings and spread to the whole world.
Jesus allows the Mother to win the debate so he can free her daughter.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. A Caananite woman presented herself, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have pity on me! My daughter is terribly troubled by a demon.” He did not answer her. His disciples
told him, “Send her away. She is always crying out.” Jesus answered, “I was only
sent to the lost sheep of Israel.”

She came and adored him, “Lord, help me.” Jesus answered, “It is not good to give the
children’s food to the dogs.” She replied, “Do not the dogs eat from the crumbs falling
from the master’s table?”

Jesus answered, “O woman, great is your faith. Let it be done as you will.”
Her daughter was cured at that hour.

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

  1. The mother realizes her special opportunity.
  2. This is her moment. Jesus has come to her area.
  3. Jesus turns her away, saying that his ministry is meant for the Jewish people.
  4. She cleverly twists his words and touches the heart of Jesus.
  5. Even the Gentiles should share in the Jewish banquet.
  6. Jesus’ great powers drives out the demon from afar.
  7. When the woman discovers the healing, she believes in Jesus and tells her story.
    That is how Mark knows it.

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

  1. Jesus, You are always near. I always have my special opportunity.
  2. I will look for you. When I find you, I will pour out my heart.
  3. I have many needs! You have many powers!
  4. All my words touch your heart. You hear every one of them.
  5. You delay only so I can ask again.
  6. O Jesus, how great are your powers. You can change everything.

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

  1. I will see the closeness of Jesus.
  2. I will believe in his powers.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
Her daughter was cured at that hour.

AUGUST 20, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY – SATURDAY – THE HYPOCRISY OF THE PHARISEES

(Matthew 23:1-12)

Prayer: O Jesus, give me the heart of a servant.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus instructing His disciples in humility.)

Context:

Jesus does not criticize the teaching of the scribes and Pharisees (although he alludes to moral rigorism). Instead, he attacks their practices of seeking honor and gaining title. This conflicts with Jesus’ teaching that disciples must serve others and take the last place.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus told the crowds and his disciples, “The scribes and Pharisees have succeeded Moses as teacher. Therefore, do all that they say, but do not follow their example. For they bind heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they do not lift a finger to help them.

They do their works to be seen by men. They widen their phylacteries and wear huge tassels. They love first place at feasts and first place in the synagogues. They like to be greeted in the marketplace and be called “Rabbi”. You are to avoid the title “Rabbi”. Only one among you is the teacher. The rest are learners.

Do not call anyone on earth “Father”. Only one is your Father, the One in heaven. Avoid being called “Teacher”. Only one is your teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you is the one who serves the rest. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

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

  1. A hypocrite wants to be seen as good without being good.
  2. Jesus despises this false devotion.
  3. He does not want the disciples to seek the praise of others.
  4. He does not want them to seek honors.
  5. He wants them to love each other as equals.
  6. He expects them to serve and to take the lowest place.
  7. For the disciples, Jesus, alone, is the Master and Messiah.

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

  1. O Jesus, I will live my devout life in truth.
  2. Remove everything that is false in me.
  3. Jesus, place everyone in my heart. I will be a servant to all.
  4. Make me your disciple and I will be a true sign to the world.
  5. I will seek no worldly praise, only your glory.
  6. You alone, are my Christ, my Master, my Lord.
  7. Do not let me ruin your work by my pride.

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

  1. Today, I will serve others.
  2. I will avoid all ostentatious behavior so the gospel can spread.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The greatest among you must be the servant of all.

AUGUST 19, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY – FRIDAY – THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT

(Matthew 22:34-40) 

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

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

Context:

The Rabbis had 613 commandments, and a common question was, “Which is the greatest?” The Pharisees approach Jesus in a hostile way, testing him because he claimed the power to interpret and even to change laws.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The Pharisees, seeing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, came to him. A scholar of the law tested him by asking “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”

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

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

  1. The Pharisees delight that Jesus has silenced their enemies, the Sadducees.
  2. Unfortunately, the Pharisees test Jesus instead of following him.
  3. Their question is a good one and Jesus has the perfect answer.
  4. Love is the very heart of Jesus’ Kingdom.
  5. Our first love is for God and it must be total.
  6. Our love for God must embrace everyone else.
  7. Remember these words, and write them on your heart.

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

  1. O Jesus, I surrender my heart, my will, my affections, my desires.
  2. Jesus, you give total love and you expect total love.
  3. My eternity will be love! I must begin now.
  4. Jesus, help me to love you.
  5. I cannot love just you. Give me a tender heart, open to others.
  6. Jesus, everything depends on these commands.

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

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

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

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

AUGUST 18, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY – THURSDAY – THE INVITED GUESTS

(Matthew 22:1-14)

Prayer – O Jesus, may I always respond to your invitations.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus confronting his enemies.)

Context:

The time is Holy Week. In the days before his capture, Jesus confronts his opponents in Jerusalem. In this parable, the invited guests are the Jerusalem leaders who refuse to come, even when the servants invite them a second time. The banquet is filled but those initially invited are excluded.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus spoke to the chief priests and elders by using parables. “The Kingdom of heaven is like a king who had a wedding feast for his son. He sent his servants to call the invited but they would not come. He sent other servants who said, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner. My bullocks and cattle are killed. All is ready. Come to the feast.

But some ignored the invitation and went on their way, to their farm or to their business. Others insulted the servants and killed them. When the king heard this, he was angry and sent his army to destroy those murderers and burn their city.

Then he said to his servants, “The banquet is ready but those invited to come are not worthy. Go into the byroads and invite to the wedding whomever you might find. The servants went into the byroads and drew in all whom they found, the bad as well as the good. This filled the wedding hall with banqueters.

When the king came in to greet the guests, he saw a man not properly dressed for the wedding. He said, “My friend, how is it that you came not properly dressed?” The man had nothing to say. The king said, “Put him out into the night”. The invited are many. The elect are few.

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

  1. The invited guests were the Jewish leaders who rejected Jesus’ invitation to the Kingdom.
  2. The King destroying their city (Jerusalem) is the Roman army (70 A.D.)
  3. The leader’s rejection opens the banquet to the whole world.
  4. God uses every possible means to bring people into his banquet.
  5. The owner is like God, who wants his churches filled with believers.
  6. The man without a wedding garment is a baptized person who does not keep God’s commandments.
  7. All are freely invited but they must clothe themselves in virtue.

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

  1. O Jesus, how many invitations you give me.
  2. I will set aside everything else. Nothing will come before your Kingdom.
  3. O Jesus, you invite all. You want heaven to be filled to overflowing. I will be there with you.
  4. O Jesus, thank you for my Catholic faith, which invites me to your Kingdom.
  5. Only one thing do I fear – that I would miss out on the banquet of heaven.

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

  1. I will listen carefully today to God’s many invitations – in my heart and through others.
  2. I will thank God for my Catholic faith.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

They went everywhere to fill the wedding hall with banqueters.

AUGUST 17, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY – WEDNESDAY – THE GOOD EMPLOYER

(Matthew 20:1-16)

Prayer: O Jesus, You are a generous employer. Let me serve you faithfully.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples.)

Context:

This parable is about the Kingdom. As the day goes on, the men grow discouraged. They stop seeking work and “sit around idle.” The owner’s constant going to the marketplace shows the importance of the Kingdom.

Paying the last workers first, reveals the parable’s meaning – the unbelievable generosity of God. The important sentence is, “Are you envious because I am generous?” (20:15) Notice that all the workers, first and last, are present at the final scene. This is the final Judgment when the undeserving (but repentant) people are admitted to the kingdom. The parable reveals how God acts.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

The kingdom of heaven is like an owner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. After agreeing upon the daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. He went out at the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did likewise. At the eleventh hour, he found others. “Why are you standing idle?” They said, “No one has hired us.” He said, “You also, go into my vineyard.”

When evening came he told the steward to call the workers and pay them, beginning with the last ones. These received a full day’s wages. The first also received a day’s wages but felt they should receive more. So, they murmured against the owner, saying that they had suffered the heat of the day.

The owner replied, “Friend, I do you no wrong because I agreed on a day’s wages. Cannot I give to the last what I give to you? Or, are you jealous because I am generous?”

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

  1. The owner continually goes to the marketplace. He wants everyone to have a chance to work in the vineyard.
  2. He surprises everyone by the generous gift of a full day’s pay.
  3. He has no interest in making a profit. The vineyard exists to bless the unemployed and helpless.
  4. Should not all rejoice that every worker had money for his family?
  5. This parable portrays Judgment Day, when all come before the Master of the Vineyard and each will realize how little they have worked.
  6. All the elect will hear Jesus’ words, “Enter into the Kingdom.”
  7. The parable reveals heaven. At the Final Judgment all will see the generosity of God.

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

  1. You search for me, Lord, all day and every day.
  2. In my youth, in my middle years and even in my final days, you say, “Go into my vineyard.”
  3. Jesus, why are you so zealous for me? What do you see in me that I do not see?
  4. You arrange everything for my salvation. Nothing is left to chance.
  5. At the end of my life, You will say, “You have done enough.” (when really I have done so little).
  6. O Jesus, you will reward me beyond all my expectations.
  7. “Who is like to you, O Lord?”
  8. You search for me because you want me to be with you.

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

  1. I will listen for God’s special words, “Go into my vineyard.”
  2. I will imitate God’s generosity, rewarding others beyond what I owe them.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Am I not free to be generous with my money?

AUGUST 16, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY – TUESDAY – RECEIVING THE HUNDRED-FOLD

(Matthew 19:23-30)

Prayer – O Jesus, teach me to set aside everything for love of you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus surrounded by his disciples.)

Context:

After the rich young man walked away, Jesus commented on the difficulty of the rich entering the Kingdom of God. In today’s text, Peter is a model disciple and Jesus spells out the rewards for all who follow.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Peter said to Jesus, “We have put everything aside to follow you. What can we expect? “ Jesus responded, “I give you my solemn word, in the new age when the Son of Man takes his seat upon a throne befitting his glory, you who have followed me shall likewise take your places on twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel.

Moreover, everyone who has left brothers or sisters, or fathers or mothers or children or lands for my sake will receive many times more and will inherit everlasting life. Many who are first shall be last and the last shall come first.

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

  1. Peter states the truth. He and the other apostles have left everything behind.
  2. Jesus proclaims a new age, when he will come in glory.
  3. The new believers were already experiencing these blessings. By sharing their properties, they had access to many homes.
  4. Leaving behind their natural family, they discover so many others in God’s family.
  5. The great rewards would be “in the age to come”, everlasting life with Jesus and a sharing in his resurrection.

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

  1. Jesus, teach me how to leave everything behind and follow you.
  2. You give peace of soul and freedom from sins.
  3. Other believers become my brothers and sisters, the great blessing of faith relationships.
  4. Teach me to be a brother and sister to others.
  5. What will my life be “in the age to come?”
  6. Jesus, what is it like to live with you forever? Don’t let me lose your eternal gift.

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

  1. I will make a sincere effort to detach myself today from some material goods.
  2. I will think about Jesus’ promises. (He always keeps his word.)

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

And in the age to come, everlasting life.

AUGUST 15, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY – MONDAY – THE RICH YOUNG MAN

(Matthew 19:16-22)

Prayer – O Jesus, I will sacrifice everything to follow you.

Imagination: (Picture the young man asking Jesus about eternal life.)

Context:

The man’s “kneeling down” shows great piety and his question is excellent. He wants what Jesus offers, eternal life. In responding to his question, Jesus mentions only commandments which deal with other people. Jesus makes the goal more definite. Jesus invites him “to follow”. Because Jesus is on a journey to Jerusalem, worldly possessions are an obstacle. So, the man “must sell what you have.”

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

A certain man ran up, knelt before Jesus and asked him, “Good Master, what shall I do to gain everlasting life?” Jesus answered, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” You know the commandments, “Do not commit adultery. Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Do not defraud. Honor your father and your mother.” He answered, “Master, I have observed all these things since my youth.”

Jesus, looking on him, loved him and said, “One thing is lacking to you. Go, sell whatever you have and give to the poor and you shall have treasure in heaven. Then, come follow me.” Upon hearing this, the man grew sad and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

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

  1. The story begins with great hope. The man asks a fervent question, recounts a history of good moral behavior and seeks eternal life.
  2. Jesus affirms his reply and looks upon him with love.
  3. Jesus goes further and offers his greatest gift. He invites the man to follow.
  4. Jesus even motivates the man. He will have treasure in heaven.
  5. Instead of following Jesus, he turns back. His possessions keep him a captive.
  6. We will all meet him at the Last Judgment and discover the end of the story.

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

  1. Jesus, what more do I need to do to gain eternal life?
  2. Jesus, you love me and want me to succeed.
  3. You invite me higher. You stir within and lead me further.
  4. O Jesus, what are my possessions compared to the treasure in heaven?
  5. All that I own is a small price to purchase the Kingdom.
  6. Turning away from you is emptiness. Following you is fullness.
  7. Wait for me, Jesus. I am coming right now.

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

  1. Today, I will ask Jesus, “Lord, what must I do to gain eternal life?”
  2. I will help the poor.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Sell all and give to the poor. Your treasure in heaven will be great.

AUGUST 14, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY – SUNDAY (C) ENKINDLING A FIRE

(Luke 12:49-53)

Prayer: O Jesus, light your fire in my heart.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.)

Context:

This text contains two separate sayings of Jesus. The first shows his greatest desire – to cast the fire of the Holy Spirit upon all believers. The second speaks about the problems which will arise when people embrace Jesus’ Kingdom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to his disciples, “I have come to cast fire upon the earth. How I wish the blaze was ignited! I have a baptism by which I must be baptized. What anguish I feel until it is over.

Do you think that I have come to bring peace to this earth? The contrary is true. I have come for division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three. The father will be divided against his son and the son against his father. The daughter against the mother and the mother against the daughter. Mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.

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

  1. Jesus can no longer hold back. He speaks very personally of his deepest desires.
  2. He wants to cast a purifying fire upon the whole earth, making the disciples ready for the Kingdom.
  3. He will pay a heavy price for this gift. His baptism will be a bath of suffering.
  4. He even admits to his great anguish before it is accomplished.
  5. He also sees the sufferings of his disciples. They cannot have peace at any price.
  6. The disciples who are eager for the Kingdom will encounter family opposition.
  7. The opposition will arise from their closest relatives because they will not accept Jesus.

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

  1. O Jesus, your desires are so deep and so selfless.
  2. Send your fire. Purify me. Refine me. Prepare me for your Kingdom.
  3. What a price you paid! You were in anguish about your death on the cross.
  4. Should I not be eager for your Kingdom? Am I not your disciple?
  5. Let nothing hold me back from you, Jesus. What is the cost of being your disciple? I will pay it.

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

  1. Ask Jesus to place a divine fire in your heart.
  2. What obstacles hold you back from a total commitment?

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

I have come to cast fire on the earth.