WEEK TWENTY – SUNDAY C – AUGUST 18, 2019 ENKINDLING A FIRE (LK 12:49-53)

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

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.)

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

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)
Jesus said to his disciples, “I have come to cast fire upon the earth. How I wish the blaze was ignited! I have a baptism by which I must be baptized. What anguish I feel until it is over.
Do you think that I have come to bring peace to this earth? The contrary is true. I have come for division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three. The father will be divided against his son and the son against his father. The daughter against the mother and the mother against the daughter.Mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.

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

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

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. Ask Jesus to place a divine fire in your heart.
2. What obstacles hold you back from a total commitment?

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)
I have come to cast fire on the earth.

WEEK NINETEEN – SATURDAY – AUGUST 17, 2019 THE LITTLE CHILDREN (MT: 19:13-15)

Prayer: O Jesus, I must accept your Kingdom like a little child.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus surrounded by children and the disciples.)

Context:
After teaching on the permanency of marriage, Jesus welcomes children (the purpose of marriage). When the disciples hinder them, Jesus grows angry because a vital principal is at stake (infant Baptism). Only Jesus decides who is worthy of the Kingdom. No one else must hinder them.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
People were bringing children to Jesus so he might touch them but the disciples scolded them for doing this. Jesus became indignant and said, “Let the little children come to me and do not forbid them. For such is the Kingdom of God.”
Amen I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child shall not enter it. Then he embraced them and blessed them, laying his hands upon them.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)
1. The parents realize all the blessings that Jesus can give, and want their children to receive.
2. The disciples do not understand the Kingdom. All are welcome.
3. Jesus becomes indignant. For all to enter the Kingdom is his constant concern.
4. He speaks from his heart, “Let the little children come to me.”
5. This is your invitation. Jesus speaks to you.
6. Set aside your adult sophistication. You need a heavenly Father, just like everyone else.
7. Go to Jesus. He will embrace you and you will be blessed as never before.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. Jesus, your blessings flow freely and are easily received.
2. O Lord, let nothing hinder me. Sweep away all obstacles that stand between us.
3. You speak to me. You say “Let them come”.
4. You are like a king who wants his people to enter his palace.
5. O Jesus, I need you. I need your presence. I need your help.
6. Take me in your arms. Your hands are wounded and your arms are bloody – all for love of me.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. Today, I will seek Jesus’ presence.
2. I will remove any obstacles that keep me from Jesus.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
He embraced them and blessed them.

WEEK NINETEEN–FRIDAY- AUGUST 16, 2019 LET NO MAN SEPARATE (MT 19:3-12)

Prayer: O Jesus, restore creation as it was in the beginning.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus explaining his ideals to his disciples.)

Context:
Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God was at hand. Through the power of this Kingdom, all creation can be restored to God’s original plan. Jesus believes that his Kingdom can remove the evil of divorce. His critics cite Moses’ teaching about a decree of divorce. Moses’ decree was just an attempt to give some ordering to moral decay.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
Some Pharisees came to test Jesus. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife?” Jesus replied, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a bill of divorce and put her away.” Jesus answered, “He gave this command because of the hardness of your heart. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason, a man shall leave his mother and father and shall cleave to his wife. The two shall be one flesh. They are no longer two, but one flesh. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”
Later, he said to his disciples. “Whoever puts away his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. If the wife puts away her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)
1. The Pharisees question raises an important problem.
2. Moses resolved the problem of divorce by a legal maneuver.
3. Jesus faces the problem in its original cause.
4. Jesus wants an ordered humanity, a world as it was at the beginning.
5. In this new creation of the Kingdom, husband and wife cleave to each other in an ordered relationship.
6. Even with a civil divorce, the union remains becauseGod joined them.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. Lord, how confused and entangled human life has become.
2. I seek you Lord. Only your grace can order my life.
3. Your Kingdom is powerful, purifying my feelings and my decisions.
4. Unite me to the Father and my life will be “as it was in the beginning.”
5. With you, Jesus, all things are possible.
6. Help me to live my life without compromise.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. I will be faithful to the Lord in all pre-marital and marital relationships.
2. I will ask the Holy Spirit to help me live purely.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.

WEEK NINETEEN – THURSDAY– AUGUST 15, 2019 FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY (LK 1:39-56)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Fill me with your joy.

Imagination: (Picture Mary entering Zechariah’s house).

Context:
This story contains many truths. First, Jesus begins his sanctifying ministry. Second, John begins his ministry, pointing out Jesus to his mother. Third, this is an early picture of Pentecost. All are filled with the Holy Spirit.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
Mary went quickly into the hill country of Judea, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and cried out in a loud voice: “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”
Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For the moment that your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you, for you have believed that the Lord’s words to you would be fulfilled.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)
1.Jesus begins immediately to sanctify the world. Mary is his first missionary.
2.John the Baptist begins his ministry, pointing out the Christ to his mother.
3.Pentecost comes early. All are filled with the Holy Spirit.
4Many years later, the apostles will gather with Mary and receive the Spirit at Pentecost.
5..By prophetic revelation, Elizabeth knows that Mary is the mother of God.
6.These two women hold all of history in their wombs.
7.Elizabeth has the Precursor and Mary has the Saviour.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1.O Jesus, you begin immediately to save the world.
2.O Mary, bring Jesus quickly to me.
3.Holy Spirit, fill me with joy.
4.Mary, invite me into your womb, the new garden of Eden, where Jesus has placed every treasure.
5.Mary, help me to believe God’s word.
6.O Mary, share with me the Spirit of Pentecost.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1.Today, I will use Elizabeth’s words to praise Mary, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”
2.I will ponder the mystery that God placed all human history in Mary’s womb.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
Blessed are you who believed that the Lord’s words to you would be fulfilled.

WEEK NINETEEN – WEDNESDAY – AUGUST 14, 2019 IMPORTANCE OF GATHERING (Mt 18:15-20)

Prayer: O Jesus, always join me with others so you will be in our midst.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus gathered with his disciples.)

Context:
Jesus has just spoken of the shepherd seeking out the wandering sheep. This sheep represents a disciple who has left the church and the Church must seek him out. In today’s text, the individual believer must also seek out anyone who has sinned and try to reconcile him. If unsuccessful, the Church must get involved. The final two verses stress the power of communal prayer and the real presence of Jesus in the Church assembly (two or three gathered).

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).
If your brother offends you, go and point out his fault. This will be between you and him. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. If he does not listen, take one or two more, so that the word of two or three witnesses shall stand. If he does not listen, tell the Church. If he does not listen to the Church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
I say to you. Whatever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven. Whatever you shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.
I say to you that if two or three of you join your voices about anything on earth, it shall be granted by my Father in heaven. Where two or three gather in my name, I am in their midst.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
1. Jesus wants his disciples gathered together. A lonely disciple will not persevere.
2. If a disciple strays, another must go and point out his fault.
3. If he listens, the disciple has regained his brother for the church.
4. If the strayed disciple is unrepentant, the church must declare him an outsider, hoping that he sees and repents.
5. The power of the church exists even in its smallest gathering (2 or 3).
6. When gathered in Jesus’ name, these groups have all the powers of heaven.
7. Even more, Jesus will be present in their midst.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. O Jesus, send me other disciples so I can be one with them.
2. O Jesus, I will call back those who have lost interest.
3. I will be like you, Jesus, a shepherd who seeks the strayed sheep.
4. O Jesus, what powers you give us when we gather in your name
5. I believe Jesus. Whatever I ask in your name will be given.
6. You are with us. You abide in our midst. You stay. You bless us.
7. Let me always gather with others. Do not let us scatter.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. I will commit myself to gather with others.
2. I will try to seek out the strayed Catholic.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
Where two or three gather, I am in their midst.

WEEK NINETEEN -TUESDAY – AUGUST 13, 2019 THE LOST SHEEP (Mt 18:12-14)

Prayer: O Jesus, come and find me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:
These twin parables are closely connected to the prodigal Son parable. A hundred sheep was a medium sized flock. The shepherd must have been poor, unable to pay a helper. Matthew’s gospel stresses the shepherd’s unwearied search. Here, Luke’s gospel centers on God’s joy on the last day.
The parable of the lost coin has the same focus. The ten coins are the woman’s dowry, which she always carried in her headdress. She rejoices in the finding because each coin is so precious to her.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
Jesus told this parable to the Pharisees and the scribes. If a man with a hundred sheep loses one, does he not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and search for the lost until he finds it? When he does find it, he places it on his shoulder rejoicing. On coming home, he gathers his friends and neighbors and says to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my lost sheep.” I will tell you that, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need repentance.

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.
2. The woman, also, treasures this special coin. For years, she has carried this coin of her dowry in her headdress.
3. Their joys cannot be contained. Friends and neighbors must share the abundance.
4. This is not a temporary finding. The sheep and the coin are symbols of heaven and an eternal union.
5. God’s joy overflows to the angels. The soul that was lost for a time is now found for an eternity.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. O God, I am precious to you. Your saints called you “mad”, in your unreasonable love for me.
2. Let me repent, so you and your angels can rejoice.
3. Thank you, O Lord, for coming in search for me when I was lost.
4. O God, your joy will not be complete until our union is forever.
5. You give your angels charge over me. They, too, rejoice at my return.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. I will stop running from God. In this way, 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.

WEEK NINETEEN -MONDAY – AUGUST 12, 2019 PAYING THE TEMPLE TAX (Mt 17:23-27)

Prayer: O Jesus, you have made me a child of God and a citizen of heaven.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples, privately in a house.)

Context:
This is a unique little story, whose meaning can easily be lost. In Jesus’ time, Roman citizens paid no taxes. Rome was supported by non-citizens paying taxes. Jesus, as a son of God, claims freedom from the taxes and extends that freedom even to his apostles. Because others do not yet understand this new freedom, Jesus has Peter pay the tax to avoid scandal.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)
When they entered Capernaum, those who collected the temple tax came to Peter and said to him, “Does your Master pay the temple tax?” Peter replied, “Yes”.
When they got inside the house, without giving Peer time to speak, Jesus asked, “What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth receive taxes? From their own sons or from foreigners? Peter replied, “From foreigners”. Jesus said, “Then the sons are free.”
However, so we do not scandalize them, go to the sea, throw in a hook and take out the first fish you catch. Open its mouth. Inside you will discover a coin worth twice the temple tax. Take it and give it to them for both you and me.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
1. The story deals with Jesus being obedient to Jewish rules.
2. Christians are true Jews, true sons of Abraham.
3. However, they are not under Jewish laws (symbolized by the taxes).
4. Jesus has made them children of God.
5. They enjoy the “freedom of sons and daughters”.
6. To avoid scandal, Jesus and Peter will pay the tax. However, the heavenly Father provides the coin.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. O Jesus, you will lead me out from unnecessary burdens.
2. Heavenly Father, I am your child, called to live with you forever.
3. O Jesus, I am free. You have made me a child of God.
4. O Lord, never let me scandalize anyone. Teach me to be sensitive to other’s beliefs.
5. Father, you provide for all my needs.

Resolution: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. I will ponder the great freedom I enjoy in Christ.
2. I will never misuse that freedom.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)
The sons are free. They need not pay the tax.

WEEK NINETEEN – SUNDAY – C – AUGUST 11, 2019 THE DOORKEEPER (Lk 12:35-40)

Prayer: O Jesus, may you find me watching when you return.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:
Jesus gives two crisis parables which emphasize the need for watchfulness. The master has many servants and all must keep watch. The second parable reverses the situation. The owner must keep watch to catch the thief.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
Let your belts be fastened around your waists and your lamp burning ready. You must be like men waiting for their master’s return from the wedding, so when he comes and knocks, they open immediately.
Blessed are those servants whom the Lord when he returns finds watching. Amen, I say to you, he will put on an apron, make them sit down at table and will serve them. If he comes in the second or third watch, those servants will be blessed.
But know this. If the owner of the house knew when the thief would come, he would surely watch and not allow his house to be broken into. You also must be ready because at an hour you least expect, the Son of Man will come.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
1. Belts buckled and lamps burning are symbols of great watchfulness.
2. The Master expects a high level of service – no delay.
3. Because the hour of return is uncertain, the demands are high.
4. However, the reward is astounding. The Master does not eat. He will serve the servants.
5. A thief also comes at an unknown hour. The owner must watch or lose his possessions.
6. In both parables, the time is unknown, the demands are high, and much is at stake.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. O Jesus, how often I am not prepared for your coming.
2. You expect much of me. Your demands are great.
3. But how you reward me! You give me life without end.
4. Jesus, I must watch every hour and every day.
5. Jesus, how many thieves would rob me of eternal life.
6. I will stand watch, avoiding all sin and occasions of sin.

Resolution: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. I will think of Jesus as a generous master.
2. I will treasure my eternal life.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)
Blessed are those servants whom the master finds watching on his return.

WEEK EIGHTEEN – SATURDAY – AUGUST 10, 2019 THE GRAIN OF WHEAT (Jn 12:20-26)

Prayer: O Jesus, help me to die with you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching in the Temple)

Context: When Jesus enters Jerusalem for the final time, some sincere Greek-speaking Jews ask to see him. Their appearance is a sign to Jesus that his death, (the hour of glorification) is at hand.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)
Some Greeks had come to Jerusalem for the feast and they said to Philip, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus”. Jesus answered them, “The hour is coming when the Son of Man is to be glorified. Amen, Amen, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit.
Whoever loves his life, shall lose it. Whoever hates his life in this world, will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me, must follow me, so that where I am, he also might be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
1. These Greeks have excellent desires. They want to see Jesus.
2. They represent all the people whom Jesus will die for.
3. Jesus is a grain of wheat which must die to bring forth a harvest.
4. By dying, Jesus does not “remain alone.” The whole human race can rise with glory.
5. The seed gives us a lesson. By clinging to our worldly life, we remain alone. Sacrificing our worldly life, we gain eternity.
6. If we follow Jesus to the cross, the Father will honor us. What a reward1

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. O Jesus, I want to see you.
2. O Jesus, you died for the whole human race. We are your harvest.
3. Unless I die with you, I can only remain alone and sterile.
4. If I die with you, I will live with you.
5. Jesus, I will not cling to a worldly life that passes so quickly.
6. I will seek your life that lasts forever.
7. O Jesus, if I serve you and the Father will honor me.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. Today I will die to my selfish desires.
2. I will seek the glory which the Father gives.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
The hour is coming when the Son of Man will be glorified.

WEEK EIGHTEEN – FRIDAY – AUGUST 9, 2019 PREDICTING THE PASSION (Mt 16:24-28)

Prayer: Dear Jesus, let me accept suffering with great faith.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus trying to explain his future suffering to his disciples.)

Context:
Peter has just proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah. Because of his faith, Jesus has given to Peter the keys of the Kingdom of God. Now, Jesus explains that he will be a suffering Messiah. Peter cannot accept this. Jesus rebukes him for his all-too-human thinking.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).
From that time on, Jesus began to show the disciples that he must go to Jerusalem, to suffer many things from the elders, the scribes, the chief priests and to be put to death and raised up on the third day.
Peter, taking him aside, began to rebuke him, saying, “Lord, no such thing will ever happen to you.” Turning to Peter, Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan, you are a scandal to me. You are not thinking as God does, but as human beings do.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
1. Having revealed his identity as the Messiah, Jesus must also reveal his sufferings.
2. None of the disciples believe that Jesus will suffer.
3. Peter goes even further, claiming that these events just won’t happen. He even rebukes Jesus.
4. Peter does not grasp the Kingdom. He becomes a scandal and an obstacle.
5. Peter totally overlooks Jesus’ promise that he would be raised on the third day.
6. Jesus wanted his disciples “to think as God does”. They all fail this test.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
1. O Jesus, you will to reveal everything to me, even the secrets of your heart.
2. I am your disciple. I will accept suffering, the cross and persecution.
3. I grasp so little. Help me to understand.
4. Prepare me, Jesus. Teach me the mystery of suffering for you.
5. I will accept the cross. In this way, I will rise with you.
6. Open my eyes. Even your crosses are really blessings.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
1. I will try to think as God does.
2. I will unite today’s hardships with Jesus’ sufferings.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)
Jesus showed the disciples that he must suffer many things.