Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Weekday Readings




Ninth Week of the Year, June 1 - 6, 2020

Monday: Memorial of The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the  Church

(The following meditation is on the weekday Gospel.)

Mark 12.1-12
My prayer must flow with the Church’s movement to recapitulate all things in Christ.  My prayer, though silent, receptive, open without willed mental activity, is still work; it is the work of God.  “This is the work of God to believe in Him and in Him whom he has sent.”  The pain in human relations, personal, national or global, comes from the refusal of individuals and societies to give back to God that which is God's, which is the totality of creation.  The Son re-gains the vineyard for the Father through His death and resurrection and in the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Our prayer, often rejected as a waste by the world, is part of God’s work of redeeming and restoring creation.  Our prayer is one with Christ seated at the right hand of the Father in glory.  It is the Christ who holds the cosmos—his vineyard— in the palms of His wounded hands and pours out life and love from His wounded side, water and blood, the constituent sacramental elements of the Church, re-born in the water of Baptism; fed with the Body and Blood of the Lord.
Mark 12.13-17
This short selection from the Gospel outlines three aspects of the Pharisees’ and Herodians’ approach to Christ.  First, they seek to entrap him in his talk.  Second, they wish to put him to “the test."  Third, the Lord knows their hypocrisy.  In this Gospel reading, the Word of God is becoming “talk.”  The groups in their opposition seek to entrap the Lord in this very talk that falls from the mouth of God!  But it is they who entrap themselves.  I entrap myself in my prayer when I sink into my own egotism and cease to listen to the Word.  "Oh, that today you would hear my voice.  Harden not your hearts….  They are a people of erring hearts; they know not my ways.  Therefore, I swore that they shall not enter into my rest” (Psalm 95).  Give over the coins of secular life for their honest purposes ; give to each one what is required out of love and justice.  Let it be part of the more basic and absolute gift of self to God in Christ.  “But harden not your heart.”
Mark 12.18-27
The Sadducees did not accept that there would be the general resurrection of the dead on the last day.  Two times Jesus responds to their dissent to doctrine of resurrection by saying: "You are wrong.”  Christ’s simple magisterial response affirms the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead.  Jesus tells them to return to the center: God's power shown clearly in the Scriptures.  Receive the Word without a torturous reworking of Scripture to fit your own viewpoint.  Plunge yourself into the burning bush of God's theophany.  Jesus brings us into that fire in his response.  Return to the passage about the burning bush in which God reveals Himself.  Yahweh is a God living in the fire of His existence and love.  In that love and fire God holds all people in the power of Christ's resurrection.  My prayer needs to abandon the taste of theological speculations and embrace the fullness of the Revelation as it is given in the Teaching Tradition of the Church.  Then through that door I enter into the fire of love and life.  I will be like the angels, that is, I will be immersed in the Presence and life of God along with all creation in the Kingdom to be perfected on the last day.  My prayer puts me there already.  Thy Kingdom come!  Thy Kingdom is!
Mark 12.28-34
The posture in which I should receive these words of Jesus is to be prostrate on the ground with my arms outstretched in the deepest surrender of gratitude.  Let me open the ears of my heart so that the Holy Spirit can enter and implant within me the reality of these words of Jesus.  Jesus repeats God’s commandment on Sinai to Moses:  “Hear, Oh Israel!”  In my silent prayer I am here alone, in the power of Christ's grace, a member of the Israel of God.  I am the microcosm of God's people, of all the generations of peoples, of all the cosmos.  I hear, O Lord, I hear.  Heal the hardness of my heart that still rejects the totality of your invitation to love with Your love.  “Heart, mind, soul, strength” sum up the totality of who I am.  All is yours because all is from You.  Mary, be my mediatrix.  Through you may I come to Jesus who leads me in the Spirit into the depths of the Father.  Let me look into the face of every person I meet and approach with a relationship of kindness and service.  Here is totality.  With this attitude deep in my heart and behavior, I may not be far from the Kingdom of God.
Mark 12.35-37
The Gospel’s account of Jesus usually reflected faith in Jesus as Messiah.  The promised Messiah would come from the ancestral line of David.  The Messiah would be a great king in the model of David.  Our prayer is based on our faith in Jesus as One much more than a descendent of David; a faith in One who infinitely more would fulfill Israel's messianic hopes.  In fact, Jesus is at the very core of my being because it is in Jesus, the eternal Word of the Father, that I have all my being.  It is in Jesus that I have the Holy Spirit who brings me into a filial relationship with the Father and makes me a member of his mystical body.  Jesus enables me to breathe the very life of God through his Holy Spirit and enables me to grow in love for all people in service and kindness.  It takes more than a son of David to divinize believers with the life of the Trinity.  It will take all eternity to fathom the riches of my salvation from death and sin through Jesus, Son of David according to his humanity, but the Lord of Glory in the power of his Sonship in God.
Mark 12.38-44
It's wonderful that all these chapters of Mark's Gospel should end by Jesus calling all his disciples together to admire a poor widow who gives all that she has into the Temple treasury.  Jesus has taken his place in the Temple to watch worshippers putting money into the treasury.  Jesus observes the quality of religious actions like giving away money in alms.  Here prayer and the realities of creation come together.  What is in our heart and what we do with created things all come together into the single fabric of love for God.  He warns us about how we pollute our prayer and religious life with this thirst for our own glory and satisfaction.  This phrase, "The pretense of long prayers," cuts into our heart.  We ares poor, miserable person, really, because our intentions are so often wrapped up in our satisfaction and glory, and in the pretenses of hypocrisy.  We are completely dependent on the Holy Spirit to purify us through trials, especially the trials of dryness in prayer, so that we give all into the treasury of Christ's Mystical Body, the good works and words that flow from his grace.

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


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