JANUARY 23, 2016 – WEEK TWO – SATURDAY – A STARTLED FAMILY

(Mark 3-20-21)

Prayer – O Jesus, help me to stand firm.

Imagination: – (Picture Jesus surrounded by the crowd and his family.)

Context:

This text contrasts the crowds, and the relatives. The crowds hardly know Jesus, and yet they acclaim him. His relatives, who think they know him, have the wrong opinion. “The house” refers to the early believes who formed “house churches.”

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When they came to the house with his disciples, the crowds gathered, making it impossible for them to even eat. When his family heard of this, they came to lay hold of him saying, “He is out of his mind.”

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

  1. Jesus returns to the house, always trying to get out of the spotlight.
  2. His disciples act as a shield. With them he feels perfectly at home.
  3. The crowd’s feelings are evident. They believe that Jesus is a miracle-worker and they need his blessing.
  4. The relatives do not share the crowd’s enthusiasm. They reject faith and are blinded by their natural knowledge.
  5. They want to stop Jesus’ ministry because they are embarrassed.
  6. They concluded that Jesus is insane – “He is out of his mind”.       Nothing justifies that opinion.

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

  1. O Jesus, take me with you into the house of your heart.
  2. Come to me, Jesus. I welcome you. I am your disciple.
  3. Even if you hide yourself, I will find you.
  4. You are near and I will come to you.
  5. O Jesus, your relatives see, but they do not see. They know you, but they do not know you. Help me to see and to know!
  6. The opinions of others mean nothing to me. You alone, are all I want.

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

  1. I will live by faith today, believing that Jesus is near.
  2. I will not block Jesus’ actions in my life.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The crowds gathered around Jesus. His relatives tried to take charge.

JANUARY 22, 2016 – WEEK TWO – FRIDAY – CALLING THE TWELVE APOSTLES

(Mark 3:13-19)

Prayer – O Jesus, help me to respond to your call.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus on the mountain calling his twelve apostles.)

Context:

The mountain top symbolizes Jesus’ closeness to the Father and the great importance of this decision. These twelve apostles represent the new twelve tribes of Israel. Both the names of the tribes and the names of the twelve are inscribed in the heavenly Jerusalem. (Rev. 21:12 and 14). So, this call is decisive. After Jesus’ decision, these disciples form a new group, called “The Twelve.”

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him.

He appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. He appointed the twelve: Simon, whom he named Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James. (These he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder); Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, the son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

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

  1. The mountain symbolizes the importance of this call. Jesus made his decision in union with the Father.
  2. Jesus wants these Twelve to be his closest companions.
  3. They will have clear tasks, to preach the gospel and to drive out demons.
  4. They are important to the Early Church which carefully recorded their names.
  5. Jesus does not yet send them out. For now, they must stay with Jesus.

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

  1. O Jesus, how important is your call upon my life. From that call comes all your blessings.
  2. O Jesus, if I am faithful, you will draw me close. You will call and say “Come with me.”
  3. You want me to be your companion and to extend your Kingdom.
  4. You call my name. What a privilege to hear my name on your lips.
  5. Jesus, you will send me out. After I become your good friend, you will send me to your vineyard.

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

  1. Today, I will listen for Jesus’ call.
  2. I will offer my life to Jesus. I will step forward and give myself.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Jesus summoned those whom he decided on.

JANUARY 21, 2016 – WEEK TWO – THURSDAY – TRYING TO TOUCH JESUS

(Mark 3:7-12)

Prayer:  Draw near, O Lord, so I can touch you in faith.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus surrounded by the crowds who are healed as they touch him.)

Context:

In this section, Mark pauses. Jesus tries to get out of the limelight by spending time with his disciples. However, his fame has spread. He must get into the boat, because of the overwhelming crowd.

More important is the crowd’s desire to touch Jesus to be healed. Later (5:25), Mark will give a deeper teaching on the need for personal faith.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus left with his disciples, but a great crowd from Galilee and Judea followed him. They came even from Jerusalem and beyond the Jordan. Many from Tyre and Sidon came because they heard what he had done.

Jesus asked his disciples to have a fishing boat ready in case he was swarmed by the crowds. He healed so many that all who had illnesses pressed upon him so they could touch him.

When unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” He strictly commanded them not to make him known.

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

  1. Jesus does not exalt himself. He avoids the limelight and enjoys being hidden with his disciples.
  2. However, the people recognize his powers and they seek him out in great numbers.
  3. The need for the boat shows the size and enthusiasm of the crowds.
  4. Their faith is rewarded by miracles and casting out of demons.
  5. These demons have superb intellects. They know Jesus’ identity. However, they are subject to his power.

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

  1. O Jesus, you are truly meek and humble of heart.
  2. I recognize your great powers, and I come to you in faith.
  3. Nothing will hold me back. I will press in. I will touch you by faith.
  4. O Jesus, let your power go forth into my feelings, my desires, my body and my soul.
  5. Cast out all my demons of anxieties, depression, and self-hatred.
  6. By your power, make my inner voices be silent.

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

  1. Today, I will bring my greatest problem to Jesus.
  2. I will use Jesus’ name to take power over my inner anxieties.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

All who had illnesses pressed in to be healed.

JANUARY 20, 2016 – WEEK TWO – WEDNESDAY – THE MAN WITH THE WITHERED HAND

(Mark 3:1-6)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Give me faith in Jesus’ powers.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus healing the man with the withered hand.)

Context:

For a while, Jesus continues his ministry within the synagogue. Unfortunately, this great healing of a withered hand is overshadowed by a controversy. This leads to the pronouncement that “doing good” and “saving life” is more important than Sabbath laws.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus again entered the synagogue and there was a man with a withered hand. His enemies watched him to see if Jesus would heal on the Sabbath, so they might accuse him.

Jesus said to the man with the withered hand, “Stand up here.” Then he said to his enemies, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath or to do evil? To save life or to destroy it?” They did not respond.

Looking at them, he was filled with anger. He grieved because of the blindness of their hearts. He said to the man, “Stretch forth your hand.” As he stretched it forth, the hand was restored. His enemies went out and consulted with others how they might destroy him.

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

  1. Time and again, Jesus returns to the synagogue, so it would receive the new powers of the Kingdom.
  2. Jesus did many healings on the Sabbath because that was when the people gathered in the synagogue.
  3. Some reject his powers. They do not understand the greatness of his gift or the importance of his invitation.
  4. Fortunately, this man does believe. He stands up and stretches out his hand. By Jesus’ power, he becomes a living sign of the Kingdom.
  5. Jesus’ enemies still resist. This healing only hardens their hearts. Even miracles will not change them.

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

  1. Come to my synagogue Jesus. Restore my life! Pour out your blessings.
  2. O Jesus, I need your powers and I need your Kingdom.
  3. Jesus, turn your eyes to my afflictions. Let me hear you say “Stand up here.”
  4. Jesus, I will stretch out the withered hand of my emotional needs, my sinful tendencies and my ruined life. You will make me whole.
  5. I will be a sign to others. By my changed life, I will be your witness.
  6. Jesus, do not let me harden my heart to your invitations.

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

  1. I will always trust that Jesus will come, will enter my heart, and will heal me.
  2. I will not allow my critics to sway my decisions.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

As he stretched forth the hand, it was healed.

JANUARY 19, 2016 – WEEK TWO – TUESDAY – EATING GRAIN ON THE SABBATH

(Mark 2:23-28)

Prayer: O Jesus, be the Lord of my life.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples in the grain fields.)

Context:

This controversy is not about picking off heads of grain, (which was an accepted practice), but about picking them on the Sabbath. This controversy allows Jesus to pronounce that persons are more important than the law. Jesus goes further and proclaims that he is Lord even of the Sabbath (a divine attribute).

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

As Jesus and his disciples walked through a field of grain on the Sabbath, his disciples began to pull off the heads of grain. The Pharisees said to Jesus, “Why do they do what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

Jesus answered, “Have you not read what David did when he and his men were hungry? He went to the house of God under Abiathar, the high priest, and ate the holy bread which only the priests were allowed to eat?

Jesus said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. The Son of Man is lord, even of the sabbath.”

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

  1. The disciples are enjoying the new freedoms in Jesus’ Kingdom.
  2. The Pharisees are still outside the Kingdom, still judging by Old Testament standards.
  3. Jesus points to David’s freedom in using the sacred loaves. This prophetic action foreshadows the new Kingdom.
  4. Jesus makes his pronouncement. Man is the first object of God’s love. Everything in Jesus’ Kingdom is meant to bless man.
  5. Claiming that he is Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus reveals the great mystery. He is God and shares the Father’s authority.

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

  1. O Jesus, lead me into your new freedom. I will be an example to others.
  2. Free me from narrow-mindedness. Open me to your thoughts.
  3. Feed me the new Bread of Life. Give me to drink of your Blood. These are the food of eternal life.
  4. O Father, you made the whole world for me. I am the object of your infinite love.
  5. Jesus, you are God. You are Lord of the sabbath. You are my king. Everyone else is an imposter.

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

  1. Everywhere, I will seek my new freedom in Christ.
  2. I will make Jesus my Lord, fully serving his interests.

Thought for the day: (Recall this text during the day)

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

JANUARY 18, 2016 – WEEK TWO – MONDAY – SOME SURPRISE PRONOUNCEMENTS

(Mark 2:18-22)

Prayer: O Holy Spirit, make me a new creation.

Imagination: (Imagine Jesus with the disciples and the Pharisees.)

Context:

Jesus uses two images of cloth and wineskins to show that his Kingdom demands a totally new way of acting and thinking. Nobody sews new cloth on old garments or pours new wine into old wineskins.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees came to ask, “Why do we fast but your disciples do not fast?”

Jesus answered, “How can the guests at a wedding banquet fast when the bridegroom is still with them?” As long as he is there, they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them. Then, they will fast.

No one sews a piece of new cloth on an old garment because the new will pull away from the old, and the tear will get worse.

No one puts new wine into old wineskins. The wine will burst the skins and the wine will spill and the wineskins will be ruined. New wine must be put into new skins.

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

  1. Jesus does not allow his disciples to fast. His Kingdom is new and contains greater blessings.
  2. He reveals an astonishing mystery. He is the bridegroom, the presence of God in their midst.
  3. The Bridegroom’s presence precludes all fasting at his wedding.
  4. Both images (new cloth and new wine) carry the same message. Jesus is God’s new presence and the former response to God is inadequate.       Jesus’ Kingdom bursts these limited ideas.
  5. To be faithful to the Bridegroom, the disciples must seek the new wine of the Holy Spirit.

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

  1. Jesus, my faith is too small to receive you.
  2. You are such a gift. Why do I not rejoice always?
  3. You are the bridegroom, God in our midst. To you is all honor and glory.
  4. When you are present, I rejoice. Sorrow is cast out. Joy abounds.
  5. I will find new cloth, greater faith that can hold your blessings.
  6. Jesus, pour out the new wine of your Spirit.

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

  1. I will ask, “What must I do to receive Jesus’ gifts.”
  2. I will make Jesus my bridegroom. He wants to have everything.
  3. I will ask for greater faith so I gain every gift of God.

Thought: (Recall this text during the day)

How can the guests fast, when the bridegroom is still with them?

JANUARY 17, 2016 – WEEK TWO – SUNDAY (C) – MAKING NEW WINE

Prayer: O Mary, my mother, you help me in all my trials.

Imagination: (Picture Mary with Jesus at the wedding feast.)

Context:

This is an extremely important story because it spells out John’s theme. The hour of the passion, when Jesus sheds his blood, is the world-saving moment. The new wine is a preview of the heavenly feast. Notice that John never uses Mary’s name. She is always “the mother of Jesus”.

Gospel Text: (This will be somewhat shorter than the original)

On the third day, there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus, and his disciples, were also invited to the marriage. When the wine failed, his mother said to Jesus, “They have no wine.” Jesus responded, “Woman, what is this to you and me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the waiters, “Do whatever he tells you.
Jesus said to the waiters, “Fill the jars with water and take them to the waiter in charge”. When the headwater tasted the water made wine, he said to the groom, “People usually serve the choice wine first, but you have kept the choice wine until now.”

Jesus performed this first sign at Cana in Galilee. In this way, he revealed his glory and his disciples believed in him.

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

  1. “On the third day”, reminds us of Jesus’ resurrection.
  2. Mary wants to help the couple. Knowing the Father’s will, Jesus says that it is the wrong time.
  3. It is not yet “the hour”, the world-saving moment of his death and rising, when all will see his glory.
  4. At the Annunciation, Mary accepted the Father’s will. Now, she tells the waiters to accept Jesus’ will.
  5. The miracle happens. It is the best of wines, far beyond the hopes of the surprised bridegroom.
  6. Having seen his glory, the disciples begin to believe. They will see many more signs in the days ahead.

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

  1. O Jesus, wherever you are, there is the joy of the wedding.
  2. O Mary, you have a solution for every problem.
  3. Intercede for me, Mary. Jesus always listens to you.
  4. Jesus, pour out your glory. For this hour, you have come.
  5. Mary, teach me to do whatever Jesus wants.
  6. O Jesus, you give us the best of wines, the greatest blessings and delights.
  7. Jesus, reveal your glory in my life. Do great things in me.

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

  1. In every crisis, I will turn to Mary with the greatest confidence.
  2. Today, I will do only the will of Jesus.

Thought: (Recall this text during the day)

Woman, what is this to you and me? My hour has not yet come.