FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER – THURSDAY – MAY 23, 2019 REMAINING IN THE VINE (Jn 15:6-11)

Prayer:  O Jesus, stay with me, and my life will produce good fruit.

Imagination:  (Picture Jesus teaching at the Last Supper).

Context:  Jesus’ first priority is his unity with his disciples.  From this oneness comes all blessings, both for the disciples and for the world.  The disciples must make a choice to stay with Jesus.  This decision is filled with frightening consequences.  They will either be cast out into the fire or bear fruit.

Gospel Text:  (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

If anyone does not remain in me, he will be cast out and become a withered branch.  They shall gather him up and cast him into the burning fire.

If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask whatever you want and it shall be done for you.  In this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

As the Father has loved me, I also have loved you.  Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love, as I have kept the Father’s commandments and abide in his love.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.

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

Jesus highlights the disciple’s decision. Although chosen by Jesus, the disciple must freely decide to remain in him.
The wrong choice is devastating. Like everyone else, they will be cast out into the fire of hell.
Making the right choice merits the greatest blessings – complete access to God.
The Father himself initiates their union with Jesus. He loves Jesus and Jesus loves the disciple.
The union is completed by the disciple keeping the Father’s commandments.
Abiding in Jesus brings an indescribable joy.

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

O Jesus, I give you my consent. Claim me for yourself.
Losing you, Jesus is an unthinkable disaster. Never let it happen.
You attract me. You entice me. You call me to yourself.
You offer me the Father’s love and say, “This is yours if you want it.”
O Jesus, place your commands in my heart. They are the doors to the Father.
You pour out your joy – complete and total – earthly and heavenly – for now and forever.

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

I will recall that the Father’s love for Jesus can be mine, also.
I will struggle to keep the commandments, never growing discouraged by my                                sins.

Thought for the Day:  (To recall your meditation)

“That my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”

FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER – WEDNESDAY – MAY 22, 2019 THE VINE AND THE BRANCHES (Jn 15:1-5)

Prayer:   Bring forth your fruits in me.

Imagination:   (Picture Jesus at the Last Supper)

Context:  Jesus begins a long discourse, which the apostles do not interrupt by any questions.  In this text, Jesus uses the imagery of vine and branches, highlighting the necessity of the disciples being one with Jesus.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

I am the true vine. My Father is the vinedresser. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit.  A branch that bears fruit, he will prune, so that it bears more fruit. You are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.

Abide in me and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in me.  I am the vine.  You are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him bears much fruit. Without me you can do nothing.

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

Jesus seeks the fruit of a devout life that brings forth prayer and virtues.
If a soul brings forth good works the Father prunes it.
The Father (the vinedresser) does everything to gain more fruit from the vine.
Every branch must “abide”. A cut-off branch can bring forth no fruit.
Jesus says it perfectly, “I am the vine. You are the branches.”
His conclusion is self-evident. “Whoever abides in me brings forth much fruit.”

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

Jesus, you alone are the vine that gives life. I will abide in you.
I once was a dead branch, but you have grafted me onto yourself. Now, I bear fruit.
Father, prune away all that is lifeless in me.
Jesus, I want to bring forth greater virtues, pleasing to you.
Jesus, I only need to abide in you. You do the rest.
With you, all things are possible. This is the secret of staying with you.

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

I will abide with Jesus by thinking of him often today.
I will dedicate this whole day to Jesus.

Thought for the Day:   (To recall your meditation)

Whoever abides in me and I in him bears much fruit.

FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER – TUESDAY – MAY 21, 2019 JESUS’ FAREWELL GIFT (Jn 14:27-31)

Prayer: O Jesus, fill me with your total peace.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples at the Last Supper).

Context:
This gospel concludes Jesus’ teaching at the Last Supper. He tries to prepare the apostles in two ways. First, he promises to place a lasting peace in their hearts. Second, he explains that his death results from his battle with Satan, the prince of this world. Jesus suffers because he is obedient to the Father.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give. Let not your heart be troubled or be afraid. You have heard me say to you, I go away and I come back to you. If you loved me you indeed would be glad, because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
I have told you this before it happens, so that when it does happen, you will believe. I will not go on saying many things. For the prince of this world comes and he has no hold on me. However, the world must know that I love the Father and I do as the Father commanded.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
1. The heart of Jesus is broken. Obeying the Father entails leaving the apostles in great distress.
2. He tries to soften this hardship by filling their hearts with peace.
3. His “going away” is just for “a little while”, the three days in the tomb.
4. He will come back. Only Jesus could do that.
5. They must try to enter into Jesus’ joy. He will be returning to the Father.
6. He prophesies all these events, so that they believe.
7. He must stop speaking. The battle is at hand, the eternal combat between Jesus and Satan.
8. His death on the cross will prove to the whole world that he loves the Father.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. O Jesus, your heart is always broken for me in all my trials.
2. Fill me with your peace.
3. O Jesus, for a little while you have “gone away”.
4. Come back, Jesus. Return soon.
5. By your words, I know you live within me.
6. O Jesus, all your words have proven true. I believe.
7. I see your arms, extended on the cross, in obedience to your Father.
8. You have destroyed my adversary, Satan. You have won the victory for me.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. I will try to understand Jesus’ infinite love for me.
2. I will seek his peace so I can serve him.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)
The Prince of this world has no control over me.

FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER – MONDAY – MAY 20, 2019 REVEALED TO THE DISCIPLES (Jn 14:21-26)

Prayer:  O Jesus, send me the Holy Spirit who will teach me all things.

Imagination:  (Picture Jesus at the Last Supper with his apostles.)

Context:

Jesus has promised that the apostles would see him.  In this text, he explains that this seeing will not be an external manifestation, but an internal, religious experience.  These gifts are new and the Spirit will explain them.  For now, they must be at peace.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Judas (not the Iscariot) said, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us and not to the world?”  Jesus answered, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word and my Father will love him.  We will come to him and make our abode with him.

These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you.  But the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring all things to your mind, whatever I have told you.

Peace I leave with you.  My peace I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled or be afraid.”

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

This is an important question, “Why does not the whole world see Jesus?  Why does Jesus reveal himself only to these disciples?”
Jesus and the Father are revealed internally.  Only a disciple who loves God can receive this revelation.
Keeping the commandments prepares the disciple’s heart to be God’s dwelling place.
After coming to the disciple, Jesus will send the “Paraclete”, the Holy Spirit.
This Spirit will teach and remind the disciples of Jesus’ teaching.
The final result is a peace, which removes all fear from their hearts.

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

O Jesus, what a great mystery!  You manifest yourself to me but not to the world.
If I love you, you and the Father will come and abide with me.
O Jesus, send your Spirit into my heart.  He will teach me.
O Jesus, let your peace burst forth and flood my whole being.
O Holy Spirit, how can I grow troubled when you abide with me?

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

I will treasure the presence of Father, Son and Spirit in my soul.
I will seek quiet moments, so the Spirit can teach me.

Thought for the Day:   (To recall your meditation)

My Father and I will come and abide with him.

FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER – C– MAY 19, 2019  JUDAS ISCARIOT (Jn 13:31-35)

Prayer:  O Jesus, I will glorify you by my love for others.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus at the Last Supper.)

Context:

Judas has just left the Last Supper. Only the eleven apostles remain.  Jesus speaks of two great realities – he will glorify God by his obedient death and the apostles must love one another so all the world sees that they belong to Jesus.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

After Judas had left the Upper Room, Jesus said, “Now is the son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him.  If God is glorifies in him, God also will glorify him in himself and immediately he will glorify him.

Little children, I will not be with you much longer.  A new commandment I give to you.  That you love one another. As I have loved you, you must also love one another.  By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love for one another.”

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

When Judas left to betray him, Jesus knew that his death was inevitable.
His obedient death is the way he will give glory to the Father.
The Father will reciprocate. He will glorify Jesus in the resurrection.
While all these events are happening, the disciples will feel abandoned.
For a “little while” Jesus will be taken from them. He cannot do anything to avoid that suffering.
They are ready for the greatest commandment, far beyond loving each other as they love themselves.
They must love as Jesus loved them.
This is the great sign to the whole world.

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

Jesus, teach me obedience to the Father.
O Father, I, too, will glorify you and you will glorify me.
O Jesus, how dark it is when you are absent.
Let it be “just a little while”. Come back soon!
Jesus, give me your Holy Spirit so I can love as you loved.
Your love can change me and the whole world.

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

I will imitate Jesus’ obedience to the Father.
I will love everyone with Jesus’ love.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

I will not be with you much longer.

FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER – SATURDAY – MAY 18, 2019 SEEING THE FATHER (Jn 14:7-10)

Prayer:  O Jesus, I will know you so I can know the Father.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching at the Last Supper

Context:  In this text, Jesus describes two different periods of time, before the resurrection (when the disciples do not really know Jesus) and after the resurrection (when they did know him).

Philip’s question allows Jesus to expand upon what he has said.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said, “If you had known me, then you would also have known my Father.  From now on, you do know him and you have seen him.  Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus said, “Have I been with you so long a time and still you do not know me? Philip, he who sees me, sees the Father also.  How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me?”

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

Jesus expands his glory to the disciples. They will know Jesus and see the Father.
Philip grows excited and blurts out the unthinkable request, “Show us the Father” (whom none have ever seen.)
Jesus is disappointed.  Philip has not yet understood.
Philip already experiences the Father by seeing Jesus.
This extraordinary blessing comes through Mary who gave Jesus his body.
Philip must do just one thing – believe that Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Jesus.

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

O Jesus, I know you. You are the Father’s only son.
When I speak to you, I speak also to the Father.
When I see you, Jesus, I see the Father.  When I am close to you, Jesus, I am close to the Father.
O Jesus, you and the Father cannot be separated. You are bound together by the Holy Spirit of love.
O Jesus, how long will I be with you and still not understand? You and the Father are one.

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

I will spend this day in Jesus’ presence.
I will thank the Father for sending Jesus.

Thought for the Day:   (To recall your meditation)

Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.

FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER – FRIDAY – MAY 17, 2019 THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE (Jn 14:1-6)

Prayer:  Jesus, bring me to the heavenly mansion which you have prepared for me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching at the Last Supper)

Context:  The scene now shifts dramatically.  Jesus is still in Jerusalem but no longer teaching the crowds.  He has just completed the Last Supper and gives these extensive teachings only to his apostles.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house, there are many mansions.  If not, would I have told you that I go and prepare a place for you?  I will come back and take you to myself, so that where I am, you also may be.  Where I am going, you know the way.”

Thomas said, “Lord, we do not even know where you are going, how can we know the way?  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father, except through me.”

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

After speaking about his death, Jesus tries to calm the disciples’ fears.
Jesus never wants our “hearts to be troubled.”
The apostles must believe that his death will be their door into glory.
Jesus has a place for them in heaven and he will come back for them.
Without realizing it, they even know the way.
Thomas’ question brings out the full revelation. Jesus is the way into the Father’s glory.

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

O Jesus, how I need you to calm my fears.
You always whisper in my heart, ‘Do not be troubled. Do not be troubled.”
O Jesus, you have entered into glory. Carry me there in your heart.
You will come back for me. I await you with great hope.
I can even set out, because I know the way.
You are the way and I will follow you.
You are the fullness of all reality. You are all in all.

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

In difficult moments, I will walk by faith’s light.
I will refuse to take any other road. Jesus is truth.  All else is false.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Have faith in me.

 FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER – THURSDAY – MAY 16, 2019 AFTER WASHING THE FEET (Jn 13:16-20)

Prayer:  Jesus, I will follow your example.

Imagination:  (Picture Jesus with his apostles at the Last Supper.)

Context:

After washing the apostles’ feet, Jesus makes clear what that action meant.  He has served the Apostles and they must serve others.  Even here, the betrayal by Judas claims Jesus’ attention.  He predicts the betrayal so the apostles are not scandalized by that action.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Amen, amen I say to you.  The servant is not greater than the master.  Nor is the apostle greater than the one who sent him.  If you know these things, then you will be blessed if you put them into practice.

I do not speak to all of you.  I know whom I have chosen.  My purpose is to fulfill the scripture, “The one who eats bread with me, shall lift up his heel against me.”  I tell you this now, before it happens, so that when it does happen, you may believe that I am.

Amen, amen I say to you, “Whoever receives the one whom I send, receives me.  Whoever receives me, receives the one who sent me.”

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

Jesus renounced all of his privileges to serve mankind.
He expects his disciples to do the same.
If the disciple imitates Jesus, the gospel message will be clear.
We are blessed only by imitating Jesus.
Jesus worrying about Judas’ betrayal will affect the others. Jesus predicts the event to soften the blow.
Jesus describes the greatness of a disciple.  Whoever receives them, receives Jesus and the Father.

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

O Jesus, my greatest dignity is to serve with you.
O Jesus, I will think like you, speak like you, act like you.
O Jesus, with all my faults, you have chosen me.
You worry about me.  You are concerned.  You ease my every sorrow.
Send me.  Wherever I go as your apostle, you will go with me.

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

I will imitate Jesus’ spirit of service.
I will recall moments when Jesus softened my hardships.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Blessed are you if you put these things into practice.

FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER – WEDNESDAY – MAY 15, 2019 A RECAPITULATION (Jn 12:44-50)

Prayer:  O Jesus, do not let me stay in darkness.

Imagination:  (Picture Jesus teaching in the Temple)

Context:  Jesus is about to leave the temple to go into hiding.  His public teaching ministry is over.  These verses in John’s gospel are a summary of his main themes, an overview of all that Jesus has taught.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me, does not just believe in me, but also in the one who sent me.

I have come into the world as light so whoever believes in me does not stay in darkness.

If any man hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him because I have not come to judge the world.  Whoever despises my words is judged by the word I have spoken.   I did not speak on my own but the Father, who sent me, told me what to say and I know that his commandment is eternal life.

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

These verses provide an excellent review of the Jesus’ teachings.
To believe in Jesus is to believe in the Father.
Jesus is the light of the world.
He alone can lead us out of darkness.
Therefore, when we hear Jesus’ words, we must take them to heart.
If we do this, Jesus will not judge us.
His words will give us everlasting life.

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

O Jesus, your teaching is clear, easy to grasp.
O Jesus, I will walk only in your light.
You call me out of darkness.
You unite me to the Father.
You give me eternal life.
O Jesus, I embrace your words. They lead me to eternal, abundant life.

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

I will reflect on the great gift. Jesus unites me with the Father.
I will accept my responsibility to keep Jesus’ word.

Thought for the Day:  (To recall your meditation)

The Father who sent me told me what to say.

FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER – TUESDAY – MAY 14, 2019 NOW CALLED FRIENDS (Jn 15:12-16/ Jn 15:9-17))

Prayer:  O Jesus, I seek only to be your friend.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching at the Last Supper)

Context:    After showering his own love upon the disciples, Jesus asks that they love one another.  Before asking for this love, he has made them his friends and has chosen them for an important task.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love than this no man has, that a man lay down his life for his friend.  You are my friends, if you do what I command you.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know what his lord does.  I have called you friends because I have made known to you all that I have heard from the Father.

You have not chosen me.  I have chosen you and have appointed you to go and bring forth abiding fruit, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.

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

Loving others as you love yourself is no longer enough.  Jesus gives a new commandment.
You must love others as Jesus loves you.
In his total love, Jesus is willing to lay down his life.
Jesus has raised you to a new level. You are no longer his servant. You are his friend.
You are his friend simply because he chose you.
Because you are his friend, he reveals all his mysteries.
You have one task – to fulfill God’s purpose in your life.

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

Jesus, you loved me before I loved you.
Help me to love others even before they love me.
O Jesus, “I will lay down my life for you”. (Jn 13:37)
What a gift – to be your friend!
Reveal all your secrets to me, Jesus.   I will be attentive and listen closely.
O Jesus, you have a task for me. Speak, Lord, I am listening.

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

I will value my new status of being a friend of Jesus.
Being Jesus’ friend, I will seek to know what he wants of me.

Thought for the Day:   (To recall your meditation)

I no longer call you servants, because I have revealed my mysteries to you.  I call you friends.