Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Sunday Readings


Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time; Cycle C, July 21, 2019

Readings: Genesis 18.1-10; Colossians 1.24-28;  Luke 10.38-42


The Meditation

The words, hospitality,  hospice. and hospital come from the Latin word, hospes, which means both host and guest.
Hospitality is the welcoming of a person into your home to share shelter, food, and drink.  It is an ancient and sacred act.  Hospitality is at the basis of a loving and caring society.  It recognizes that everyone is a traveler at times in his or her life.  Offering a place of shelter is to extend the blessings of society to one who would be otherwise outside.  In our general experience hospitality is the opening of our home to friends.

In today’s Gospel Reading, Jesus who “does not have a place of his own wherein to lay his head” is welcomed in hospitality by Martha and Mary into their home. 
Jesus on his part receives Mary and Martha into the abode of the Word that He is, one with the Father in the Holy Spirit.  Mary chooses the better part to be at the feet of Jesus to receive him into her soul as the Word in this mutual hospitality. 

Martha must learn the deeper realities of hospitality from the eternal host and guest, Jesus.  Jesus teaches divine hospitality which consists in our being received as a guest through the Holy Spirit into the Word Who is in the bosom of the Father.   That is the better part which shall not be taken away: we are the guests; Jesus is the host in his Word and Sacrament within the Church.

In the First Reading, Abraham extends hospitality and receives God as a guest into his tent in the figures of the three angels visiting him from God.  The Russian iconographer, Rublev, captures the scene in his icon of the Holy Trinity.  It is in the midst of hospitality that the Promise of salvation is made in the announcement of the birth of Abraham’s heir, the beginning of the line from which Jesus will be born.  God receives us into his life as he fulfills the covenant in the faith of Abraham in the setting of hospitality.

Mutual indwelling is the dynamic of hospitality.  The host receives the guest, but in the guest’s accepting the offer, the guest receives the host into his heart in love, gratitude, attentiveness and respect.

The Second Reading from Colossians brings us into the center of all hospitality:  God in Christ dwells within us in the regeneration of grace.  We are guest and we are host in the centers of our being and consciousness through grace. 

The heart of Christian mysticism is the mutuality of presence: God to me as gift and I to God; in this exchange I give myself to God in accepting Him as gift. 

God has willed to make known to them the glory beyond price which this mystery brings to the gentiles—the mystery of Christ in you, your hope of glory (the Second Reading).
The same Jesus who stays with Mary and Martha in the mystery of sharing the words of God now is our guest within us.
Jesus calls us from our many distractions and anxieties:  Take the better part.  “Abide (abide with is at the heart of mutual hospitality) in my words and you will be truly my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth shall make your free” (John 8.31-32).

The same Jesus is the Promise of Salvation who dwelt with Abraham in the figures of the three angels—“Abraham rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad”  (John 8.56).

This same Jesus is now our hope of glory dwelling within us in grace.  The Glory of God is his own Presence.  God is Presence within us in grace.  It has begun.  It is in hope.
The glory will be manifest in our resurrection from the dead.  In the meantime we live in the Presence through faith, hope and love in this mutual hospitality.

Our contemplative prayer is the act of hospitality.  We welcome God.  God welcomes us.  Our being there in the deepest center, one to the other, in my space and in the Triune God’s space, mutual in a hospitality of love, faith and hope.  In reality it is only one space.  And all we do is consent.  Amen!  Amen!   Amen! To the mystery of Christ in you, your hope of glory.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him and he with me” (Revelation 3.20).

At the heart of our sacrificial Paschal Eucharist which is the center of  the mystery of the Church, is the divine hospitality of Holy Communion; and again it is present in our silent, desert prayer.  Let us welcome and be welcomed.


William Fredrickson, Obl. Secular OSB; D.Min.


For questions, comments or other communication, please contact:
William Frederickson