Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Sunday Readings



Third Sunday in Ordinary Time; Cycle B 
January 24, 2021

The Prophet Jonah 3.1-5,10;  1st Corinthians 7.29-31;  Mark 1.14-20
We long for God.  Our hearts are filled with the desire to enter into that great Mystery of the Divine Presence.  Every atom of a created human being has been made for eternal union with the One Who sustains us in conscious being.
We long for God only because God first longs for us.  God’s great ecstasy of love results in our creation.  The work of our redemption, of our being reclaimed for union, is the mission of God.  God in the divine Missionary is search of us.
A dimension of that mission is God’s Revelation.  We are not absorbed into God in violence to our created nature.  Our minds to know, our ears to hear and our eyes to read, can deepen our understanding and enlighten our mind;  all this is from God.  And so, the Words of Sacred Scripture uttered at every age and place within the Church, are paths of coming to God and God’s coming to us.  God is the Divine Missionary;  God is in mission to us.
Looking at the work of our redemption in Jesus with the eyes of faith is the great opening into the  inner life of God.  God is Missionary; God is God sent-out because in God all is in relationship of mission.  The Father speaks the Word eternally so that the Word is always with God and is God.  There was not a simple moment in which God was without the Word as there are no moments in God.  And from the Father and the Son the Holy Spirit proceeds as the love that is God.  Read this quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, #258:
“However, each divine person performs the common work according to his unique personal property.  Thus, the Church confesses, following the New Testament, ‘one God and Father from whom all things are, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and one Holy Spirit in whom all things are’ [Council of Constantinople II].  It is above all the divine missions of the Son’s Incarnation and [of] the gift of the Holy Spirit that show forth the properties of the divine person.”
Now in the Revelation within the Church we can grasp in faith, and experience in love, the Mission that is the Divine Life of the Trinity.  Within God there is the sending forth; within time now there is the sending forth.  The Son is sent in the incarnation of Jesus as Son of God and the Holy Spirit is sent in the mystery of the Church. 
The Gospel Reading shows in the Incarnational drama of the God among us, Jesus, calling into mission the first apostles of the Church, so that Mission is the very nature of the Church and of every member of the Church. 
Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men. 
“Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me even so do I send you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,  “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained”  (John 20.21-23).  One flows from the other:  the Mission within the Trinity; the Mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit in redemption and sanctification; the Mission of the Church of which we participate primarily by baptism and confirmation and by Holy Orders in the hierarchical charism of the Church.
The First Reading narrates the mission of Jonah in the Old Testament.  His word uttered in mission brings salvation to the people who listen and repent.  The people of Nineveh believed God.
Our life in Christ is a constant response to the call of mission.  Our living deep within the Mystery of the Divine Triune Life of Mission in prayer bears fruit in our response to the mission of the Church to live the life of Christ among others in faithful witness to Christ’s love.  Then they abandoned their nets and followed him(The Gospel Reading).
It is not easy to be in this state of mission each day of our life.  We need the power of the Holy Spirit who, Himself in mission, enables us to be sent in and with Jesus.  We cannot be distracted by the false allurements of our secular culture that is ignorant of the Mission and is hostile to it.
The Second Reading, therefore, bestirs us with its urgency.  We are in exile here, really.  We are like the resistance fighters in World War II, behind the enemy lines, fighting the good fight.  It is an aspect of our mission. 
I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out.  From now on, let those having wives act as not having them, those weeping as not weeping, those rejoicing not as rejoicing, those buying as not owning, those using as not using it fully, for the world in its present form is passing away.
The lesson we have to learn in our Christian contemplative life is to balance the two dimensions of the Divine Mission. 
One part brings us into the serenity and peace of the Trinitarian life of love; and the other dimension sends us out into the mission of daily life.  Yet these dimensions are one for they proceed from the Father who sends in Mission and who receives back in a redeemed humanity.
The Jesus who walks by the sea shore in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the fish market in the early morning of its activities amidst nets and fishermen, with their banter and haggling over the price of fish is the same Word who lives always in the Father and in the Spirit, eternal God blessed forever. Amen. The indwelling within God and going forth are the two dimensions of the one eternal Mission that is God.
At the end of Mass:  Go in the mission of God.  Mary, pray for us for the grace of fidelity to the mission God has given us.

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


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William Frederickson