Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Sunday Readings

The following is a meditation on the liturgical readings for thenext Sunday.  The references are given so you can read them in your Bible or directly from the Roman Misal.  Direct quotes from the Readings are in bold print.  The meditation is geared toward the call to practice a contemplative form of prayer as part of a response to the full life of Christ we share within the Church. 

Fourth Sunday in Lent; Cycle A, March 26, 2017

Readings:  1st Book of Samuel 16. 1, 6-7, 10-13;  Ephesians 5.8-14;  John 9.1-41

 

***Meditation Summary:

 

Notice the themes and events of the First Reading and of the Gospel Reading.

 

Each of the events of these two Readings is in a day’s passing yet they are related to the wisdom and power of God’s working in particulars of life as eternal dimensions unite the happening to the eternal mystery of the Kingdom.  More even than philosophy, the tenets of the drama of our lives are the templates to understand God’s work of salvation.

 

In the First Reading Samuel is instructed in the interior life:  Not as man, does God see  because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.  The beginning and end of all our actions is the center place of our hearts.  The heart is the most inner sanctuary of our intentions, of our motivation.  It is here that our personhood is its most spiritual.  It here that we are most in the image of God, willing in freedom by our behavior to become who we are meant to be in God’s plan.

 

We must not be enslaved by the apparent condition of our humanity. Whatever are the conditions of our life, of the levels of education, of class, of physical and intellectual abilities, even of our past sins and the disorientation of our inherited nature, these conditions are the material of God’s saving glory.  It was no sin, either of this man or of his parents.  Rather it was to let God’s works show forth in him (Gospel Reading).

 

The Gospel Reading: Jesus’ work is to be the light of our innermost being.  Whatever is the blindness of our created and inherited selves, Jesus anoints us with his saving light, so that darkness gives way to the light of intentional love.  The night comes on when no one can work.  While I am in the world I am the light of the world (Gospel Reading). 

 

The story of our life in seeking God through prayer is that of the man born blind.  It is in our fidelity to the prayer practice that we can experience by the gift of God the Light who is Jesus and the gift of ourselves to him in the Spirit and his gift to us in the Father.

 

Each of us is the man born blind.  However different our life stories may be, the stories all can come together in a happy ending.  The ending and the beginning are our response to the call of Christ and to the action of the Spirit who anoints us with the light of Christ.  There was a time when you were in darkness, but now you are the light in the Lord.  Well, then, live as children of light (the Second Reading).

 

***Full Meditation:

 

Notice the themes and events of the First Reading and of the Gospel Reading.  God’s wisdom and power are working amid all the dramatic events described in these narratives.  Yet they touch the most ordinary of people.  Therefore, where do we find our life with God?  Our life with God is made real in our reaction to daily circumstances, i.e. to the relationships and to events that make up our concrete existence.

 

Our life of prayer is not an escape from the particulars of daily life.  Events demand responses from us.  Our decisions affect the lives of others.  The sons of Jesse take the stage with Samuel the prophet.  David, at first is not recognized because he was the youngest.  David first had to enter into an encounter with Samuel.  The prophet was completely attentive to the process of God’s revelation.  Then after the interaction with Samuel, David is anointed as the chosen one.

 

In the Gospel narrative, the blind man sits begging.  Some disciples ask theological questions of the Lord about the relationship of evil to illness. Beyond these academic questions Jesus lives in the constant reality of his Father’s glory.  Jesus anoints the eyes of the blind man and cures him.  The Temple leadership is in a quandary over the actions and words of Jesus.  The blind man’s parents are summoned out of their obscurity and quickly run back to it.  The blind man is courageous in his newly found faith. 

 

Each of the events of these two Readings is in a day’s passing yet they are related to the wisdom and power of God’s working in particulars of life as eternal dimensions unite the happening to the eternal mystery of the Kingdom.  More even than philosophy, the tenets of the drama of our lives are the templates to understand God’s work of salvation.

 

The other essential ingredient of our daily life is the center point of our souls:  the heart, the intention, the motivation, the movement of love as response to God in faith and in hope.  In other words, grace gives us a share in the spiritual life of God:

  • through our knowledge infused with hope,
  • through our understanding infused with faith,
  • and through our wills elevated into the love-intentionality of God’s Triune inner life.

 

In the First Reading Samuel is instructed in the interior life:  Not as man does God see  because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.  The beginning and end of all our actions is the center place, some mystics call our ground of being, here it is referred to as our hearts.  The heart is the most inner sanctuary of our intentions, of our motivation.  It is here that our personhood is its most spiritual.  It here that we are most in the image of God, willing in freedom by our behavior to become who we are meant to be in God’s plan.

 

In our vocation to follow upon Christ’s contemplative path, we are like David, chosen to be of God.  We have experienced vividly this choice in the anointing of our baptism.  It is not that we have chosen God but that God has chosen us.  Then Samuel with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and from that day on, the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David (the First Reading).

 

We must not be enslaved by the apparent condition of our humanity. Whatever are the conditions of our life, of the levels of education, of class, of physical and intellectual abilities, even of our past sins and the disorientation of our inherited nature, these conditions are the material of God’s saving glory.  It was no sin, either of this man or of his parents.  Rather it was to let God’s works show forth in him (Gospel Reading).

 

Jesus’ work is to be the light of our innermost being.  Whatever is the blindness of our created and inherited selves, Jesus anoints us with his saving light, so that darkness gives way to the light of intentional love.  The night comes on when no one can work.  While I am in the world I am the light of the world (Gospel Reading). 

 

The man born blind, made to see, is the type of all those who experience the grace of Baptism in contemplative prayer.  Jesus reveals himself to us, person to person, in light.  Our response is total love, adoration, and obedience to Jesus, the All in his total fullness as Son of God, Savior, Messiah, the final destiny of all peoples, now and on the last day.  This consecration by faith in Baptism is the surrender in the deepest regions of our intentionality. 

 

The Holy Spirit gives us the call from the Father in the words of Jesus:  “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  He answered, “Who is he, Sir, that I may believe in him?  “You have seen him,”  Jesus replied.  “He is speaking to you now.”  “I do believe, Lord,” he said, and bowed down to worship him (the Gospel Reading).

 

The story of our contemplative life is that of the man born blind.  It is in our fidelity to the prayer practice that we can experience by the gift of God the Light who is Jesus and the gift of ourselves to him in the Spirit and his gift to us in the Father.

 

The challenge is to remain faithful.  For we live in a world that does not accept the light of Christ and will not support our life of prayer.  Our culture is opposed to the light.  I came into this world to divide it, to make the sightless see and the seeing blind (the Gospel Reading).

 

Each of us is the man born blind.  However different our life stories may be, the stories all can come together in a happy ending.  The ending and the beginning are our response to the call of Christ and to the action of the Spirit who anoints us with the light of Christ.  There was a time when you were in darkness, but now you are the light in the Lord.  Well, then, live as children of light (the Second Reading).

 

We must not return to the darkness.  Made to see, let us not become blind.  Be correct in your judgment of what pleases the Lord.  Take no part in vain deeds done in darkness, rather, condemn them (Second Reading). 

 

We are judgmental when we delight in the feeling of being superior to others as we measure ourselves against others.  We see the splinter in their eyes and not seeing the plank in our own.  We must, however, judge behavior so that we do not fall into the darkness.  We must be clear in seeing the path God calls us to enter.

 

Each day we hear this invitation: Awake, O sleeper, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light (the Second Reading).  Christ will enlighten us.  That is the hope that moves us into the faith life of divine love each day in all the particulars of daily life.  Each participation in the Holy Eucharist is a sharing the faith, adoration, and confession of the man born blind who became enlightened in his faith.  Our Eucharistic celebration has the power to enlighten us and transform us into image of the Word as He is the image of the Father.

 

--William C.. Fredrickson, Obl.OSB, D.Min.


For questions, comments or other communication, please contact:
William Frederickson
Fredrickson46@msn.com