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.
The Third Sunday of Easter; Cycle A, April 30, 2017
Readings: Acts of the Apostles 2.14,22-28; 1st Peter 1.17-21; Luke 24, 13-35
Meditation on the Second Reading from 1st Peter 1.17-21
(v. 17) In prayer you call upon a Father who judges each one justly, on the basis of his actions. Since this is so, conduct yourselves reverently during your sojourn in a strange land.
What Must We Judge?
It is not ours to judge the quality of our prayer. Our work is to be there in silence in the intentionality of love, in the unknowing of faith and hope. Outside of prayer, however, we must be sensitive to the quality of our words and actions. We must be aware of the internal wanderings of the mind which seek-out fancies and delusions that are the doorway to evil action. The fruit of our life in grace, of being hidden with Christ in God, is our actions that flow from our intentionality. And God our Father will judge us.
There Are Standards for Personal Judgement…At the End,It’s Mercy
The Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount and the Fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians, Chapter 5) must be the benchmarks of our conduct. In addition, the quality of our fidelity to the Church and to our mission among people is measurable by our words, thoughts, in what we do and in what we fail to do. Each moment of life then is greeted with reverence, bowing before the Presence in the present moment. We cultivate sensitivity to our conduct, reverently during our sojourn. In the end we return to God beyond judgment by wrapping ourselves in the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
(vv. 18-19) Realize that you were delivered from the futile way of life your fathers handed on to you, not by an diminishable sum of silver or gold but by Christ’s blood beyond all price: the blood of a spotless, unblemished lamb chosen before the world’s foundation and revealed for your sake in these last days.
At the Center Point of Our Soul: Christ’s Power in Presence
At the center of our souls in grace we find Christ’s power to live the Gospel. It is a gift brought by his sufferings and death and infused within our spiritual faculties by the Holy Spirit. The beginning of our joy is that we realize that we are free of the emptiness of our former lives outside of Christ. Our faith reveals a new reality: We have been transferred into God’s kingdom. Our deeper joy is to bear witness to this life of grace by our life of prayer and works of justice, peace and apostolate in the unity of the Church. Our deepest joy is our abiding with the Triune God in the relationship of love within God. Our life is anchored in Him. We are anchored in God by our created being and infinitely more by our baptism into His Son. It is through him that we are believers in God, the God who raised Jesus from the dead and gave him glory. Our faith and hope, then, must become more and more centered in God. This is the work of grace and prayer.
(vv. 20-21) He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake. Through him you have confidence in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that our faith and hope are in God.
The One Thing Necessary: Resting in God
We always return to “the one thing necessary”, namely that we dwell in the Holy Trinity. And the Son, Jesus the Christ, is within us only because of the Holy Spirit, and together with Them and through Them, we rest in the Father. The essence of our sharing in the divine life is pure gift; it is grace: “It is through him that you are believers in God.” Our prayer is simple: “centered in God, through faith and hope.”
Let us be faithful to the prayer practice, sitting in silence, consenting to the presence and work of the Trinity within us.
Pray the prayer of the heart twice a day, for a generous period of time, conscious of our communion in the Catholic Church, of our unity with the Magisterium in the love-order of Christ’s Church and our union with all Christians, for the salvation of the human family.
--William C.. Fredrickson, Obl.OSB, D.Min.