DECEMBER 10, 2016 – WEEK TWO OF ADVENT – SATURDAY – THE NEW ELIJAH

(Matthew 17:10-13)

Prayer:   O Jesus, help me to see the Father’s saving plan.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus coming down the mountain with Peter, James and John.).

Context:

These three apostles have just seen the transfigured Jesus speaking with Moses and Elijah on the mountaintop. This experience leads them to bring up a popular religious question about Elijah, namely that he will return before the Messiah. Jesus’ answer is startling.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

As they were coming down the mountain, his disciples asked Jesus, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first? “ Jesus answered them, ‘Indeed, Elijah must come first and restore all things. However, I say to you that Elijah has already come and they did not recognize him. They did to him whatever they pleased.”

The disciples understood that Jesus was talking about John the Baptist.

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

  1. John the Baptist begins the timetable for Jesus’ ministry.
  2. The three apostles, as devout Jews, know the prophecy about Elijah returning before the coming of the Messiah.
  3. This mysterious figure “Elijah”, the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, was to proclaim the Messiah.
  4. By sending John the Baptist, the Father fulfilled this prophecy.
  5. The Jews made a mistake. They did not recognize John as the new Elijah.
  6. They will also fail to see Jesus as the Messiah.
  7. The disciples do not miss the point.       John was Elijah and Jesus is certainly the Messiah.

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

  1. O Father, all of my life is according to your timetable.
  2. You send messengers to me. These turn my heart to your spiritual world.
  3. Having heard them, my heart must receive Jesus.
  4. You leave no doubt. You make me certain. Jesus, you are the Messiah.
  5. O Jesus, I recognize you. I know who you are. I have full certainty. You are my Lord and God.
  6. I give myself to you in full confidence.

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

  1. I will use each day well because God has his divine plan.
  2. I will accept those whom God sends me to prepare my heart.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Elijah has already come and they did not recognize him!

DECEMBER 9, 2016 – WEEK TWO OF ADVENT – FRIDAY – THE CHILDREN SINGING AND DANCING IN THE MARKETPLACE

(Matthew 11:16-19)

Prayer:   O Jesus, open my heart to all the messengers you send to me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples).

Context:

This parable shows hostility toward Jesus. The children cannot agree, so their quarrels end their playtime. The cause is laziness. Some children expect others to do the strenuous part of dancing while they just sit around playing instruments. The Jews treated John and Jesus in the same way, complaining about their quite different ministries. This parable has a cutting edge of urgency.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Jesus said to the crowds, “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplace, complaining against other children. “We have piped you a tune and you have not danced. We have sung a sorrowful song and you have not mourned.”

In other words, John came fasting and you said, “He has a devil.” The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said, ‘Behold, a glutton and a wine-drinker, a friend of tax collectors and those outside the law’. Time will prove where wisdom lies.”

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

  1. God sends his messengers. He uses various personalities, trying to appeal to all.
  2. The lazy listeners do not respond. Instead, they criticize the messenger.
  3. Time runs out. Opportunities for repentance are lost.
  4. The decisive moment arrives, but no one is prepared.
  5. Jesus, God’s final messenger has come. The end is near and time is short.
  6. Time will prove who has acted wisely.

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

  1. O Lord, give me ears that are attentive to your gospel.
  2. Give me a listening heart so I hear your inner inspirations.
  3. The time is short, O Lord. Let me respond today, right now.
  4. If I repent, you will make me your disciple.
  5. Do not let me ruin my life and waste my years.

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

  1. God will send his messengers today. I will respond.
  2. I will see the fruits of repentance and ask for simplicity of heart.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Children sitting in the marketplace calling to their playmates.

DECEMBER 8, 2016 – WEEK TWO OF ADVENT – THURSDAY – THE GREATNESS OF JOHN

(Matthew 11:11-15)

Prayer:   O Jesus, prepare me for the greatness of your Kingdom.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus talking to his disciples about John.)

Context:

John is the greatest of the Old Testament prophets. Yet, because he did not live to see Jesus’ Kingdom, the least in Jesus’ Kingdom is greater than John. An extraordinary proclamation! Just as extraordinary is Jesus saying that he fulfills the prophecies about Elijah.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said, “I solemnly assure you, history has not known a man born of woman greater than John the Baptist. Yet the least born into the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it away. All of the prophets as well as the law spoke prophetically until John. If you are prepared to accept this, he is the Elijah who was certain to come. Heed carefully what you hear.”

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

  1. Jesus benefitted greatly from the preaching of John who stirred the crowds to religious fervor.
  2. Jesus sees all of Israel’s history and declares that John is the greatest “born of woman.”
  3. Jesus also sees the future Kingdom.       Surprisingly, even the least in that new Kingdom will surpass John.
  4. The Kingdom is yours. Don’t let the world use violence to steal it from you.
  5. God’s prophecies are fulfilled.
  6. Since John is the new Elijah, the forerunner, Jesus is the Messiah of Israel.

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

  1. Thank you, Lord, that I was born after you established your kingdom.
  2. O Jesus, how many prepared the way for me to know you.
  3. O Jesus, what is my place in history? Show me my role in your Kingdom.
  4. Do not let the world steal the Kingdom from my heart.
  5. Make me the least in your Kingdom. This is my greatest desire.
  6. All the prophecies are fulfilled. You are the true Messiah.

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

  1. I will thank God today for all who have prepared me for my Catholic faith.
  2. I will cherish being a member of the kingdom of heaven.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The least born into the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

DECEMBER 7, 2016 – WEEK TWO OF ADVENT – WEDNESDAY – THE EASY YOKE

(Matthew 11:28-30)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Help me to take up Jesus’ easy yoke and light burden.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus inviting all his disciples to come to him.)

Context:

The burdened are those who cannot seem to get out from under. Jesus is one of them. He carries the whole world on his shoulders. Jesus’ yoke is his submission to God’s will. This is the lightest possible burden. Why carry any other?

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

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

  1. How many labors and burdens do you carry?
  2. Jesus invites you. He promises you rest. Come to him.
  3. Put aside your other burdens. Then, you can take up Jesus’ yoke. This is your true task in life.
  4. If you know Jesus, you will think and feel like Jesus.
  5. You will find Him gentle and humble, and will experience peace.

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

  1. O Jesus, I have so many labors and so many burdens!
  2. Jesus, you say, “Come to me.” I am coming. I am coming quickly.
  3. Jesus, you are totally intent on helping me.
  4. Jesus, I will gladly carry your yoke and your burden.
  5. Your burdens are so much easier than what I now carry.
  6. In the world, I find restlessness. In your Kingdom I discover peace.
  7. You always speak the truth. You fulfill all your promises. I can trust your words.

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

  1. I will examine any worldly burdens which I have foolishly assumed.
  2. I will choose the tasks that Jesus has for me.       For these, I was created.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Come to me for my yoke is easy and my burden light.

DECEMBER 6, 2016 – WEEK TWO OF ADVENT – TUESDAY – THE LOST SHEEP

(Matthew 18:12-14)

Prayer: O Jesus, come and find me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

This parable is closely connected to the prodigal Son parable. A hundred sheep was a medium sized flock. The shepherd must have been poor and unable to pay a helper. Matthew’s gospel stresses the shepherd’s unwearied search and his great joy.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said to his disciples, “What do you think of this? A man had a hundred sheep and one of them went astray. Does he not leave the ninety-nine and go in search of the one? When he finds it, he rejoices more for the one than for the ninety-nine who did not go astray.

Even so, it is not my Father’s will. My Father in heaven does not want even one of the little ones to perish.”

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

  1. To leave ninety nine sheep in the desert is not a rational act. The shepherd thinks with his heart not his head.
  2. He is alone and does not want to lose the sheep.
  3. His joy is greater than having the others.
  4. This is not a temporary finding. The sheep is a symbol of heaven and an eternal union.
  5. This is exactly the Father’s plan, what he always wanted.

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

  1. God, I am precious to you. Your saints called you “mad”, in your unreasonable love for me.
  2. Search for me, Jesus, even as I keep wandering.
  3. I will stop running away and let you find me.
  4. O God, your joy will not be complete until our union is forever.
  5. You want me with you. That is your plan.

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

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

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

There will be rejoicing among the angels.

DECEMBER 5, 2016 – WEEK TWO OF ADVENT – MONDAY – FORGIVING SINS

(Luke 5:17-26)

Prayer – Come, Holy Spirit. Give me friends with great faith.

Imagination- (Picture Jesus healing the paralyzed man.)

Context:

These stories in Mark’s gospel are controversy stories. Each dispute allows Jesus to make some pronouncement. In this story, Jesus says that he is the Son of Man with divine authority.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus was at Capernaum, a crowd gathered around the house. Four men arrived, carrying a paralyzed man. Because of the crowd, they could not get him to Jesus. So, they uncovered the roof and lowered the man to Jesus. Seeing how much faith they had, Jesus said, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Some thought, “This is blasphemy. Only God can forgive sins.” Jesus asked them, “Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’, or ‘arise and walk?’ So that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, I say, “Arise, take up your bed and walk.”

He got up, took his bed and went away in the sight of all. The crowd was amazed and said, “We have never seen anything like this.”

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

  1. The heroes of this story are the four friends who love the paralytic.
  2. Against all odds, they do everything to bring him to Jesus.
  3. Because of their faith, Jesus forgives the man’s sins.
  4. Jesus then heals the paralyzed man to prove that he could forgive sins.
  5. As yet, the paralytic has done nothing.
  6. However, when Jesus tells him to get up, he shows great faith. He arises and picks up his mat.
  7. The event confounds the learned critics and delights the simple believers. They believe even more in Jesus’ powers.

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

  1. Lord, send me friends who believe in you.
  2. I will respond to their efforts to bring me to you.
  3. O Jesus, I want my sins to be forgiven. This is your greatest gift, (which I often do not seek.)
  4. Jesus, you have all power and authority in heaven and on earth.
  5. You heal everything – soul, mind, feelings, senses, intellect and will.
  6. Speak to me, Jesus. Tell me to rise from my sins.
  7. Lord, I will be a sign to others, so they also come to believe.

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

  1. I will choose my friends from those who believe in Jesus.
  2. I will let their faith bless me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Four men uncovered the roof and lowered the man to Jesus, who said, “Your sins are forgiven.”

DECEMBER 4, 2016 – WEEK TWO OF ADVENT – SUNDAY (A) – THE ADVENT PREACHER

(Matthew 3:1-12)

Prayer: O Jesus, awaken me. Your Kingdom is at hand.

Imagination: (Picture John preaching at the Jordan.)

Context:

John the Baptist is the Advent preacher. He shows up every year at this time and stays for two Sundays. He has one task – “to prepare the way of the Lord.” Then, he will step aside for Mary and Joseph who usher in the great Christmas mystery.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When John the Baptist made his appearance as a preacher in the desert, this was his theme, “Reform your lives. The reign of God is at hand.” Isaiah had spoken about John when he said, “A voice of one crying in the desert. Prepare ye the way of the Lord. Make straight his paths.”

John wore a garment of camel hair with a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People from Jerusalem and Judea and all the country around the Jordan went out to him. They were baptized in the Jordan, confessing their sins.

He said, “I baptize you in water for the sake of reform but the one who will follow me is stronger than I. His shoes I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire.”

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

  1. John was prepared by a life of prayer and fasting.
  2. When God’s word filled him, he knew exactly what to say.
  3. The people had to be made ready because the King was coming.
  4. They needed to repent, to be cleansed, to confess their sins and be baptized.
  5. His garments and his food show his total dedication to the Kingdom.
  6. The people easily believed when he said, “The reign of God is at hand.”
  7. Another preacher would come. Even stronger. He would baptize in the fire of the Holy Spirit.
  8. He would be so holy that even John would be unworthy.

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

  1. O Jesus, help me to prepare.
  2. Teach me to pray and fast, and to set aside the little comforts.
  3. You are the King. You are coming. You will not delay.
  4. O Jesus, I need to repent and to confess my sins. Let me do that now.
  5. Make me like John the Baptist, totally dedicated to the coming of your Kingdom.
  6. Jesus, you are the Strong One, able to send the Spirit’s fire upon me.
  7. Jesus, you are the Holy One who would make me holy.

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

  1. I will make this a prayerful Advent, especially in my home.
  2. I will bring faith to others, awakening them in his holy season.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

A voice crying in the desert, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.”

DECEMBER 12, 2015 – WEEK TWO OF ADVENT – SATURDAY – THE NEW ELIJAH

(Matthew 17:10-13) 

Prayer:   O Jesus, help me to see the Father’s saving plan.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus coming down the mountain with Peter, James and John.).

Context:

These three apostles have just seen the transfigured Jesus speaking with Moses and Elijah on the mountaintop. This experience leads them to bring up a popular religious question about Elijah, namely that he will return before the Messiah. Jesus’ answer is startling.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

As they were coming down the mountain, his disciples asked Jesus, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first? “ Jesus answered them, ‘Indeed, Elijah must come first and restore all things. However, I say to you that Elijah has already come and they did not recognize him. They did to him whatever they pleased.”

The disciples understood that Jesus was talking about John the Baptist.

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

  1. John the Baptist begins the timetable for Jesus’ ministry.
  2. The three apostles, as devout Jews, know the prophecy about Elijah returning before the coming of the Messiah.
  3. This mysterious figure “Elijah”, the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, was to proclaim the Messiah.
  4. By sending John the Baptist, the Father fulfilled this prophecy.
  5. The Jews made a mistake. They did not recognize John as the new Elijah.
  6. They will also fail to see Jesus as the Messiah.
  7. The disciples do not miss the point.       John was Elijah and Jesus is certainly the Messiah.

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

  1. O Father, all of my life is according to your timetable.
  2. You send messengers to me. These turn my heart to your spiritual world.
  3. Having heard them, my heart must receive Jesus.
  4. You leave no doubt. You make me certain. Jesus, you are the Messiah.
  5. O Jesus, I recognize you. I know who you are. I have full certainty. You are my Lord and God.
  6. I give myself to you in full confidence.

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

  1. I will use each day well because God has his divine plan.
  2. I will accept those whom God sends me to prepare my heart.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Elijah has already come and they did not recognize him!

DECEMBER 11, 2015 – WEEK TWO OF ADVENT – FRIDAY – THE CHILDREN SINGING AND DANCING IN THE MARKETPLACE

(Matthew 11:16-19)

Prayer:   O Jesus, open my heart to all the messengers you send to me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples).

Context:

This parable shows hostility toward Jesus. The children cannot agree, so their quarrels end their playtime. The cause is laziness. Some children expect others to do the strenuous part of dancing while they just sit around playing instruments. The Jews treated John and Jesus in the same way, complaining about their quite different ministries. This parable has a cutting edge of urgency.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Jesus said to the crowds, “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplace, complaining against other children. “We have piped you a tune and you have not danced. We have sung a sorrowful song and you have not mourned.”

In other words, John came fasting and you said, “He has a devil.” The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said, ‘Behold, a glutton and a wine-drinker, a friend of tax collectors and those outside the law’. Time will prove where wisdom lies.”

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

  1. God sends his messengers. He uses various personalities, trying to appeal to all.
  2. The lazy listeners do not respond.       Instead, they criticize the messenger.
  3. Time runs out. Opportunities for repentance are lost.
  4. The decisive moment arrives, but no one is prepared.
  5. Jesus, God’s final messenger has come. The end is near and time is short.
  6. Time will prove who has acted wisely.

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

  1. O Lord, give me ears that are attentive to your gospel.
  2. Give me a listening heart so I hear your inner inspirations.
  3. The time is short, O Lord. Let me respond today, right now.
  4. If I repent, you will make me your disciple.
  5. Do not let me ruin my life and waste my years.

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

  1. God will send his messengers today. I will respond.
  2. I will see the fruits of repentance and ask for simplicity of heart.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Children sitting in the marketplace calling to their playmates.

DECEMBER 10, 2015 – WEEK TWO OF ADVENT – THURSDAY – THE GREATNESS OF JOHN

(Matthew 11:11-15)

Prayer:   O Jesus, prepare me for the greatness of your Kingdom.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus talking to his disciples about John.)

Context:

John is the greatest of the Old Testament prophets. Yet, because he did not live to see Jesus’ Kingdom, the least in Jesus’ Kingdom is greater than John. An extraordinary proclamation! Just as extraordinary is Jesus saying that he fulfills the prophecies about Elijah.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said, “I solemnly assure you, history has not known a man born of woman greater than John the Baptist. Yet the least born into the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it away. All of the prophets as well as the law spoke prophetically until John. If you are prepared to accept this, he is the Elijah who was certain to come. Heed carefully what you hear.”

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

  1. Jesus benefitted greatly from the preaching of John who stirred the crowds to religious fervor.
  2. Jesus sees all of Israel’s history and declares that John is the greatest “born of woman.”
  3. Jesus also sees the future Kingdom.       Surprisingly, even the least in that new Kingdom will surpass John.
  4. The Kingdom is yours. Don’t let the world use violence to steal it from you.
  5. God’s prophecies are fulfilled.
  6. Since John is the new Elijah, the forerunner, Jesus is the Messiah of Israel.

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

  1. Thank you, Lord, that I was born after you established your kingdom.
  2. O Jesus, how many prepared the way for me to know you.
  3. O Jesus, what is my place in history? Show me my role in your Kingdom.
  4. Do not let the world steal the Kingdom from my heart.
  5. Make me the least in your Kingdom. This is my greatest desire.
  6. All the prophecies are fulfilled. You are the true Messiah.

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

  1. I will thank God today for all who have prepared me for my Catholic faith.
  2. I will cherish being a member of the kingdom of heaven.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The least born into the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

DECEMBER 9, 2015 – WEEK TWO OF ADVENT – WEDNESDAY – THE EASY YOKE

(Matthew 11:28-30)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Help me to take up Jesus’ easy yoke and light burden.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus inviting all his disciples to come to him.)

Context:

The burdened are those who cannot seem to get out from under. Jesus is one of them. He carries the whole world on his shoulders. Jesus’ yoke is his submission to God’s will. This is the lightest possible burden. Why carry any other?

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

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

  1. How many labors and burdens do you carry?
  2. Jesus invites you. He promises you rest. Come to him.
  3. Put aside your other burdens. Then, you can take up Jesus’ yoke. This is your true task in life.
  4. If you know Jesus, you will think and feel like Jesus.
  5. You will find Him gentle and humble, and will experience peace.

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

  1. O Jesus, I have so many labors and so many burdens!
  2. Jesus, you say, “Come to me.” I am coming. I am coming quickly.
  3. Jesus, you are totally intent on helping me.
  4. Jesus, I will gladly carry your yoke and your burden.
  5. Your burdens are so much easier than what I now carry.
  6. In the world, I find restlessness. In your Kingdom I discover peace.
  7. You always speak the truth. You fulfill all your promises. I can trust your words.

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

  1. I will examine any worldly burdens which I have foolishly assumed.
  2. I will choose the tasks that Jesus has for me.       For these, I was created.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Come to me for my yoke is easy and my burden light.

DECEMBER 8, 2015 – WEEK TWO OF ADVENT – TUESDAY – THE LOST SHEEP

(Matthew 18:12-14) 

Prayer: O Jesus, come and find me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

This parable is closely connected to the prodigal Son parable. A hundred sheep was a medium sized flock. The shepherd must have been poor and unable to pay a helper. Matthew’s gospel stresses the shepherd’s unwearied search and his great joy.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said to his disciples, “What do you think of this? A man had a hundred sheep and one of them went astray. Does he not leave the ninety-nine and go in search of the one? When he finds it, he rejoices more for the one than for the ninety-nine who did not go astray.

Even so, it is not my Father’s will. My Father in heaven does not want even one of the little ones to perish.”

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

  1. To leave ninety nine sheep in the desert is not a rational act. The shepherd thinks with his heart not his head.
  2. He is alone and does not want to lose the sheep.
  3. His joy is greater than having the others.
  4. This is not a temporary finding. The sheep is a symbol of heaven and an eternal union.
  5. This is exactly the Father’s plan, what he always wanted.

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

  1. God, I am precious to you. Your saints called you “mad”, in your unreasonable love for me.
  2. Search for me, Jesus, even as I keep wandering.
  3. I will stop running away and let you find me.
  4. O God, your joy will not be complete until our union is forever.
  5. You want me with you. That is your plan.

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

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

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

There will be rejoicing among the angels.

DECEMBER 7, 2015 – WEEK TWO OF ADVENT – MONDAY – FORGIVING SINS

(Luke 5:17-26)

Prayer – Come, Holy Spirit. Give me friends with great faith.

Imagination- (Picture Jesus healing the paralyzed man.)

Context:

These stories in Mark’s gospel are controversy stories. Each dispute allows Jesus to make some pronouncement. In this story, Jesus says that he is the Son of Man with divine authority.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus was at Capernaum, a crowd gathered around the house. Four men arrived, carrying a paralyzed man. Because of the crowd, they could not get him to Jesus. So, they uncovered the roof and lowered the man to Jesus. Seeing how much faith they had, Jesus said, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Some thought, “This is blasphemy. Only God can forgive sins.” Jesus asked them, “Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’, or ‘arise and walk?’ So that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, I say, “Arise, take up your bed and walk.”

He got up, took his bed and went away in the sight of all. The crowd was amazed and said, “We have never seen anything like this.”

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

  1. The heroes of this story are the four friends who love the paralytic.
  2. Against all odds, they do everything to bring him to Jesus.
  3. Because of their faith, Jesus forgives the man’s sins.
  4. Jesus then heals the paralyzed man to prove that he could forgive sins.
  5. As yet, the paralytic has done nothing.
  6. However, when Jesus tells him to get up, he shows great faith. He arises and picks up his mat.
  7. The event confounds the learned critics and delights the simple believers. They believe even more in Jesus’ powers.

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

  1. Lord, send me friends who believe in you.
  2. I will respond to their efforts to bring me to you.
  3. O Jesus, I want my sins to be forgiven. This is your greatest gift, (which I often do not seek.)
  4. Jesus, you have all power and authority in heaven and on earth.
  5. You heal everything – soul, mind, feelings, senses, intellect and will.
  6. Speak to me, Jesus. Tell me to rise from my sins.
  7. Lord, I will be a sign to others, so they also come to believe.

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

  1. I will choose my friends from those who believe in Jesus.
  2. I will let their faith bless me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Four men uncovered the roof and lowered the man to Jesus, who said, “Your sins are forgiven.”

DECEMBER 6, 2015 – WEEK TWO OF ADVENT – SUNDAY (C) – THE BAPTIST COMES ON THE SCENE

(Luke 3:1-6)

Prayer: Come Holy Spirit. Help me to prepare for Christmas.

Imagination: (Picture yourself at the Jordan with John.)

Context:

Luke has told the stories of Jesus infancy, ending with Jesus being lost in the temple. The next 18 years are Jesus’ hidden life. Now the drama opens and John the Baptist is the first actor on the scene. He is the perfect Advent preacher, preparing us for Jesus’ coming.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, the word of God came to John, son of Zechariah. He went to all the country around the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as is written in the Prophet Isaiah, “Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you to prepare the way before you. A voice of one crying in the desert, ‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’”

All from Judea and Jerusalem went out to him and were baptized in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. John was clothed with camel’s hair and a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild honey.

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

  1. Caesar and Pilate have political power, but John has the power of God.
  2. The “word came to John”. The Kingdom was coming and a religious revival was about to happen.
  3. The people sensed this movement of God’s Spirit, and made their journey to the Jordan.
  4. They repented of their sins and sought John’s Baptism.
  5. Prepared by their Jewish culture, they understood that John was the messenger, preparing the way for the Messiah.
  6. John’s clothing and food were signs of repentance, so the people quickly believed his preaching.

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

  1. Let your word come to me, O Lord.
  2. You have a timetable, a moment prepared for my conversion.
  3. Where do you dwell, O Lord? Where can I find you?
  4. Where do you stir? Where is your Spirit moving?
  5. I will seek you in daily Eucharist. Your Spirit dwells there.
  6. You have promised to come. I will wait for you.
  7. Jesus, I will seek forgiveness for my sins, and be ready for your coming.

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

  1. I will find personal solitude where I can hear God’s word.
  2. I will repent of my sins and make a good confession. That is the right place to begin, Advent.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Prepare ye the way of the Lord. Make straight his paths.