WEEK ONE – THURSDAY – JANUARY 17, 2019 CLEANSING A LEPER (MK 1:40-45)

Prayer:   Come, Holy Spirit. Help me to believe that Jesus can cleanse me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus cleansing the leper)

Context:

Mark provides no geographical setting for this miracle. His goal is to show Jesus’ power and how his fame quickly spreads.  Jesus tries to avoid this publicity.

Gospel Text:  (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

A leper came to Jesus.  Kneeling down he said, “If you will, you can make me clean.”  Jesus had compassion on him.  He stretched out his hand and, touching him, said, “I do will it.  Be made clean.”

The leprosy left him immediately and he was made clean.  Warning him strictly, Jesus said to him, “Tell no one.  Go, show yourself to the high priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed.  That will be proof for them.”

However, the leper went away and told everyone.  When the news went forth, Jesus could not go openly into a town.  He stayed outside in deserted places.  Yet, they came to him from everywhere.

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

  1. Having seen others who were healed, the leper believes totally.
  2. Jesus shows deep human feelings of compassion for the leper’s condition.
  3. Jesus comes close. He touches the leper and makes himself ritually unclean.
  4. His power goes forth quickly. He uses just a simple word, “Be clean.”
  5. The leper cannot control his joy. He tells everyone the story.
  6. The crowds find Jesus even when he remains in deserted places. They know the power of God is in their midst.

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

  1. Lord Jesus, I know you have power. I have read the gospel stories.
  2. I ask with all my heart, “Please make me clean.”
  3. Jesus, you always have compassion for me.
  4. You come close. You touch me. You make me whole.
  5. After you cleanse me, I can begin a new life.
  6. My tongue will not be silent. I will tell everyone.  I will claim your mighty deeds.
  7. By my words, others will believe in you and search for you.

Resolutions: (Use one of these or make one of your own).

  1. No matter what my illness (moral or physical) I will believe that Jesus can make me clean.
  2. I will be God’s witness, telling others of Jesus’ compassion for them.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

If you will it, you can make me clean.

WEEK ONE -WEDNESDAY – JANUARY 16,2019 MULTIPLE HEALINGS (MK 1:29-39)

Prayer:  O Jesus, let me experience your healing power.

Imagination:  (Picture Jesus surrounded by the sick seeking to be healed.)

Context:

Jesus’ powers are diverse. He heals many illnesses and casts out all kinds of demons.  They do not shout out because Jesus quiets them.  When his work is finished, He walks away from the acclaim, because much work lies ahead.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

When they left the synagogue, they came to the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.  Simon’s mother-in-law was sick with a fever.  They immediately told him about her.

He took her by the hand and lifted her up.  Immediately, the fever left her and she waited on them.

When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill and possessed with demons.  All the city was gathered at the door.  He healed many with various diseases and he cast out demons, not allowing them to speak because they knew who he was.

Rising early before dawn, he went out to a deserted place to pray.  Simon, and those with him, followed Jesus.  When they found him, they said, “Everybody is looking for you”.  Jesus said, “Let us go to the neighboring towns and villages, that I may preach there, also.  For this purpose I have come.” So, he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout Galilee.

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

  1. These apostles have quickly come to believe. They know that Jesus can heal the mother-in-law’s illness.
  2. The crowds also have great faith. At sunset (as soon as the workers are home), they bring everyone to Jesus.
  3. Jesus does not disappoint their simple faith.  His power goes forth to all.
  4. Jesus’ pace is hectic.  From the synagogue, to the house and to the crowds after sunset.
  5. The final scene is important.  The disciples want to bask in the popularity.  Jesus wants to go elsewhere.  He is interested only in doing the Father’s work.
  6. Jesus senses an urgency.  He must visit all the towns.

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

  1. O Jesus, lift my heart to a highest level of faith.  Then, do your wonders in my soul.
  2. If the crowds, who hardly knew you, believe, why do I not have greater faith?
  3. O Jesus, fill me with zeal.  Let me not rest until I complete your work.
  4. O Jesus, your power is always going forth.  At every moment, You are always blessing me.
  5. I will bring you all my worries, my hopes and my burdens, laying them at your feet.
  6. You will complete your task.  You will visit me and I will receive you.
  7. Come to my village, Jesus.

Resolutions:  (Use one of these or make one of your own).

  1. I will have faith in Jesus’ powers.
  2. I will go to Jesus with my greatest difficulty.

Thought:  (Recall this text during the day)

After sunset, they brought to Jesus all who were ill.

WEEK ONE – TUESDAY – JANUARY 15, 2019 AN EXORCISM IN THE SYNAGOGUE (MK 1:21-28)

Prayer:Come Holy Spirit.  Set me free from the Kingdom of Darkness.

Imagination:(Picture Jesus in a synagogue setting the man free from the unclean spirit.)

Context:

Mark groups his stories by geography.  The next few stories take place at Capernaum, and provide a quick overview of Jesus’ activities.  Jesus’ ministry begins in the Jewish culture and in their place of religious worship – the synagogue.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

In Capernaum, Jesus entered the synagogue on the sabbath and began to teach. The people were spellbound by his teaching because he taught with authority and not like the scribes.  In the synagogue, there was a man with an unclean spirit who cried out, “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, saying, “Be quiet! Come out of the man.”  The unclean spirit convulsed him.  Then crying out with a loud voice, the spirit left him.

All were amazed and asked among themselves, “What is this?  What is this new teaching with authority? He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.  His fame spread over the whole region of Galilee.

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

  1. The man had attended the synagogue for years, but the synagogue had no power over his unclean spirit.
  2. When Jesus enters, the demon can no longer stay hidden.
  3. The demon faces a powerful new enemy and realizes that Jesus has come to destroy him.
  4. The demons know well that Jesus is “the Holy One” come from the Father.
  5. Jesus acts quickly so the unclean spirit can do little harm.
  6. This was never heard of before.  The people have never seen such power.  The word about Jesus spreads quickly.

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

  1. O Jesus, how many hidden forces come against me.
  2. Without you, O Lord, these forces would control my life and I would be in complete darkness.
  3. Jesus, you are the demons’ powerful enemy. To me, you are a mighty friend.
  4. Cast out from me any powers of darkness that dwell within me.
  5. Come to my synagogue, O Jesus – to my heart which needs your cleansing.
  6. Never have I seen such power as yours, and you always use it for my benefit.

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

  1. Does the demon have any power over me? I will examine my conscience.
  2. If involved in occult practices, I will confess them and seek total freedom.

Thought for the Day:(To recall your meditation)

He commands even the evil spirits and they obey him.

 

WEEK ONE- MONDAY – JANUARY 14, 2019 JESUS FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE (MK 1:14-20)

Prayer – Lord Jesus, invite me today to be your disciple.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus calling his first disciples along the Sea of Galilee.)

Context

This gospel text begins “After John was arrested” and it records Jesus’ first homily of his public ministry.  He repeats John’s teaching that the reign of God has come and gathers his four most important helpers.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

After John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, saying, “This is the time of fulfillment.  The Kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent and believe the gospel.

Passing by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother, Andrew, casting nets into the sea, for they were fishermen.  Jesus said to them, “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.”  Immediately, they left their net and followed him.

Going a little farther, he saw James, the son of Zebedee and his brother, John.  They were mending their nets in the ship.  He called them, also.  They left Zebedee in the ship with his hired men and followed him.

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

  1. Jesus follows his heavenly Father’s timetable. While John is preaching, he remains silent.  When John is arrested, Jesus knows to begin.
  2. These are the most important years in world history, as Jesus begins to save all mankind.
  3. Jesus says that the Kingdom is at hand. God’s power will break into human history.
  4. Everyone must be ready. So, Jesus tells everyone to turn away from evil and believe in him.
  5. The two sets of brother are the first to hear the message. They respond immediately.
  6. Peter and Andrew leave their boats behind. James and John leave their father and friends.  These four are perfect models for all believers.

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

  1. Heavenly Father, what is your timetable for my life?  When is the time for me to act?
  2. Jesus, I believe.  This is the hour, the time of fulfillment.  I will not delay.
  3. I believe.  I accept your Kingdom. I repent. I turn to you and hear your voice.
  4. Jesus, you want to come into my heart.
  5. I hear your call. I will follow you, forever and ever.
  6. O Jesus, You are the gift of the Father.  What else compares with your friendship?  I will leave everything to be your friend.

Resolutions: (Use one of these or make your own)

  1. I will learn God’s timetable. What does he expect today?
  2. When Jesus invites me today, I will answer immediately.

Thought:(Recall this text during the day)

Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.

SUNDAY (C) – JANUARY 13, 2019 BAPTISM OF THE LORD BAPTIZING WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT (LK 3:15-16; 21-22)

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, pour out your fire.

Imagination:(Picture Jesus after his baptism.)

Context:

In Luke, the crowds play a large role.  They are filled with anticipation.  Also, they get baptized before Jesus does. The two central points are Jesus’ power to baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire, and the heavenly manifestations of the Spirit and the Father.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The crowd was wondering, thinking in their hearts that John perhaps might be the Messiah.  John answered, saying to all, “I, indeed, baptize with water, but there shall come someone mightier than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to tie.  He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire.

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus was at prayer after he had been baptized, the heavens were opened.  The Holy Spirit descended in the visible form of a dove.  A voice came from heaven saying, “You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

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

  1. John turns the spotlight away from himself.
  2. His task is to prepare for Jesus.
  3. He minimizes his own power to baptize with water.
  4. He promises a more powerful person who will baptize in the Spirit.
  5. According to God’s plan, Jesus comes to the Jordan as god had planned.
  6. After his Baptism, the Holy Spirit remains on Jesus as a permanent anointing.
  7. The Father’s voice confirms Jesus as his beloved.

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

  1. Jesus, prepare my heart for you.
  2. Pour out your Spirit upon me.
  3. Teach me to know and follow the Father’s plan.
  4. When You open the heavens all your graces fall on me.
  5. Spirit, remain upon me.
  6. Father, I also will exalt your Son.

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

  1. I will ask for the Holy Spirit.
  2. I will try to be the Father’s beloved child.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The Spirit descended and remained on him.

SATURDAY – JANUARY 12, 2019 THE BAPTIST COMES ON THE SCENE (JN 3:22-30)

Prayer: Come Holy Spirit. Help me to prepare to increase my life in Jesus.

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.

Gospel Text:  (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea, where he spent some time with them baptizing. John was also baptizing near Salim, because there was an abundance of water there, and people came to be baptized. Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John about ceremonial washings. So they came to John and said, “Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.” John answered and said, “No one can receive anything except what has been given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Messiah, but that I was sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom, the best man, who stands and listens to him; rejoices greatly at the bridgroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete. He must increase, I must decrease.

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.

FRIDAY –  JANUARY 11, 2019 CLEANSING A LEPER (LK 5:12-16)

Prayer – Come, Holy Spirit.  Help me to believe that Jesus can cleanse me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus cleansing the leper)

Context:

In these early stages of Jesus’ ministry, Mark wants to show his great power.  There is no controversy surrounding the healing because Jesus has not made any enemies as yet.

Although the man disobeys Jesus’ orders, he is a perfect model for the newly converted person. After Baptism, everyone should tell the world about Jesus.

Gospel Text:  (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

A leper came to Jesus.  Kneeling down, he said, “If you will, you can make me clean.”  Jesus had compassion on him.  He stretched out his hand and, touched him, saying, “I will.  Be made clean.”

When Jesus had said these words, the leprosy left and the man was made clean.  Jesus said to him very strictly, “Tell no one.  Go, show yourself to the high priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed.  That will be proof for them.”

However, the leper went out and told everyone.  So, the word went forth.  As a result, Jesus could not go openly into a city, but he stayed in desert places.  Yet, they came to him from everywhere.

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

  1. The leper believes in Jesus. Having seen others healed, he is stirred to faith.
  2. Jesus shows deep human feelings. He has compassion on the leper’s condition.
  3. Jesus comes close. He touches the leper and makes himself ritually unclean.
  4. His power goes forth quickly. He uses just a simple word, “Be clean.”
  5. The leper cannot contain his joy. He tells everyone.
  6. Hearing the story, the crowds seek Jesus. They know the power of God is in their midst.

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

  1. Jesus, I know you have power. I have read the gospel stories.I believe.
  2. I ask with all my heart, “Please make me clean.”
  3. Jesus, you always have compassion for me.
  4. You come close. You touch me.  You make me whole.
  5. After you cleanse me, I will begin a new life.
  6. Jesus, my tongue will not be silent. I will tell everyone.  I will proclaim your mighty deeds.
  7. By my words, others will believe in you and search for you.

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

  1. No matter what my illness (moral or physical) I will believe that Jesus can make me clean.
  2. I will be God’s witness, telling others of Jesus’ compassion for them.

Thought for the Day:(To recall your meditation)

If you will it, you can make me clean.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2019 IN THE NAZARETH SYNAGOGUE (LK 4:14-30)

Prayer – O Jesus, send the Spirit of the Father upon me.

Imagination:(Picture Jesus teaching in the synagogue.)

Context:

Having overcome Satan’s three temptations, Jesus begins his public ministry. Other gospels record this visit to the synagogue but Luke gives it preeminence. This is Jesus’ inauguration address and highlights all the themes of his preaching.

Gospel Text:  (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee and his reputation spread throughout the region.  He taught in their synagogue and was praised by all.

Jesus came to Nazareth where he had been raised and, entering the synagogue on the Sabbath, as he was accustomed, he got up to read.  The book of the prophet, Isaiah, was given to him and he found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.  He has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners.  To preach a year of favor from the Lord.”

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down.  All the eyes of the synagogue were upon him.  He said to them, “This day, this reading is fulfilled in your hearing.”

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

  1. Jesus loved to preach in the synagogue where good people, eager for God’s word, gathered.
  2. Jesus explains the source of his power. The Holy Spirit has come upon him.
  3. Because his reputation had spread, all eyes were on him.
  4. He chooses a text which outlines his work. He will preach and set free.
  5. Every group (the poor, the captives, the blind) will receive the favors.
  6. His coming establishes an extended time of God’s favor for all Israel.

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

  1. Jesus, I know your reputation and I desire your favor.
  2. The Spirit of the Lord is upon you. You are the Holy One.
  3. I am poor. Preach your gospel to me.  I am a captive. Set me free.
  4. I am blind. Help me to see.
  5. Your time of favor extends to all the years of my life.
  6. I will not delay. I will not put off accepting you as my King.

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

  1. I will be faithful to my reading of Scripture.
  2. Today, I will ask Jesus for the Holy Spirit.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.  He has anointed me.

WEDNESDAY – JANUARY 9,2019 WALKING ON THE WATER (MK 6:45-52)

Prayer: O Jesus, come to me when the waves threaten my boat.

Imagination: (Picture the disciples in the boat, seeing Jesus on the water.)

Context:

These early stories of Mark’s gospel reveal to the disciples who Jesus is.  However, even as they see the miracles, they do not understand.  For some reason, their minds are closed.

Gospel Text:  (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus told his disciples to get into the boat while he dismissed the crowds.  Then he went up the mountain to pray.  When it was late, the ship was in the middle of the sea and he was alone on the land.  He saw them being tossed about while they were rowing, (for the wind was against them).  About the fourth watch of the night, he came to them walking on the sea.  He was going to pass them by.  When they saw him walking on the water, they thought it was a ghost and they cried out because they all saw him and were troubled.

Immediately, he spoke to them saying, “Take courage and do not be afraid.  It is I”.  He got into the ship and the wind ceased.  They were astonished.  They did not understand the incident of the loaves because their hearts were hardened.

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

  1. Jesus brings about this situation by telling the disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee while he remains on land.
  2. Jesus’ supernatural powers are on full display.  By divine revelation, he knows they are struggling on the lake and where to find them.
  3. He is going to “pass them by.”  This means “to come close enough to manifest himself”.
  4. By lack of faith, they mistake Jesus for a ghost.
  5. Fortunately, he identifies himself and overcomes their blindness.
  6. He gets into the boat and the wind dies down. (Another divine manifestation).
  7. In spite of all these signs, the disciples do not understand the mystery.
  8. They didn’t grasp the multiplication of loaves, either.

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

  1. O Jesus, you plan all the events of my life.
  2. Seeing my struggles, you come to me.
  3. You whisper in my heart, “Do not be afraid.  I am with you.”
  4. You “pass by”, close enough for me to experience your presence.
  5. O Jesus, you are not a ghost.  You are my friend and companion.
  6. When you are in my boat, all is calm.

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

  1. I will obey Jesus and go wherever he wants.
  2. I will not miss his presence when he passes by today.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Take courage.  It is I. Do not be afraid.

 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 8, 2019 FEEDING THE FIVE THOUSAND (MK 6:34-44)

Prayer:  Come, Holy Spirit. Multiply your gifts within me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus feeding the crowds.)

Context:

This is the first of two multiplications of food in Mark’s gospel. (This one is for a Jewish crowd and the other is for Gentiles).  This miracle is told in all four gospels and six times altogether, because it prefigures Jesus’ gift of Eucharist.  Epiphany means manifestation and these gospels are Jesus’ manifesting himself.

Gospel Text:  (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved to compassion for they were like sheep without a shepherd.  He began to teach them at great length.  When the day was far spent, his disciples said, “This is a deserted place and the hour is late.  Send them away to the nearby villages where they can buy something to eat.”

Jesus answered, “You give them something to eat.”  They replied, “It would cost two hundred days of wages for bread to feed them all.”  Jesus said, “Go, and see how many loaves you have.”  They said, “We have five loaves and two fish.”

When they sat down, Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish.  Looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke the loaves and gave them to his disciples to distribute.  The two fishes he divided among them all.  All ate and had their fill. The disciples gathered up twelve baskets of fragments.  Those who ate were five thousand.

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

  1. As Jesus begins to teach them, the crowd responds.
  2. They pass the whole day with Jesus, heedless of their need to eat.
  3. Jesus responds to their faith and He will provide a great abundance.
  4. Jesus looks up to heaven, blesses and beaks the bread. He will do this again at the Last Supper.  This miracle is just a preview.
  5. Jesus invites the disciples to help him.  The bread multiplies as they distribute it
  6. Jesus brings all to completion.  The people have their fill and twelve baskets are left over for us.

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

  1. Speak to me, O Lord.   I will hear your voice, and you will be my shepherd.
  2. O Lord, I will stay with you during the whole day of my life.
  3. O Jesus, your plans for me are beyond my greatest dreams.
  4. O Jesus, I will help you with your tasks.
  5. Every day, you multiply the bread from heaven.  Help me to love the Eucharist.
  6. I will eat your flesh and drink your blood, so you can complete your work in me.

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

  1. Today, I will seek out Jesus’ teachings.
  2. My heart will seek the Bread of Life.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The disciples said, “Send them away.”  Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.”