Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Sunday Readings




Twenty-sixth Sunday in Pentecost; Cycle C

September 25, 2022

Readings: Amos 6.1, 4-7; First Timothy 6.11-16;  Luke 16.19-31


The Goodness and Beauty of God in Creation

Let’s celebrate the goodness and beauty of God in His Creation, in His presence in people, and in the gift that makes us aware of living in God’s Triune life.  The Responsorial Psalm expresses that hymn of celebration:

Praise the Lord, my soul!  The Lord shall reign forever; Your God, O Zion, through all generations.  Alleluia.

As we praise God, however, we are made aware of terrible conditions in the world. This Sunday’s Readings are grim; the Readings describe the condition of the human family. 

The First Reading (Amos 6:1,4-7): The Chaos in Creation

The First Reading paints the picture of impending war and exile as a result of God’s people’s selfishness and their being unmindful of the poor. 

Woe to the complacent in Zion!  Lying upon beds of ivory, stretched comfortable on their couches….Yet they are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph [that is, they are not bothered by the poor state of Israel].

The Gospel Reading (Luke 16:19-31) Dire Poverty of the Marginal People

The Gospel parable is that of the poor man, Lazarus,  homeless, ill, hungry, lying at the door of a rich, affluent, high-living man who is totally unmindful of the poor man’s condition.  The judgment is laid against those who shut their hearts to the poor and thus to the Word of God.  What are the facts in this judgment?   To Lazarus: “You had a hard life and were unattended by those around you.  Enter into the joy of Abraham’s bosom.”  To the Rich Man: “You lived so high and mighty and were oblivious to the poor man you met every day.  Enter into eternal fire in punishment.”

What must we do?  The rich man in hell asks that his brothers be advised of their coming doom.  In the parable Abraham tells the rich man that his brothers have the Word of God: 
They have Moses and the prophets.  Let them hear them. 

The rich man replies that the Word is not enough.  Let them see someone coming from the dead, like Marley in Dickens’ Christmas Carol who comes from the dead and visits Scrooge to persuade him to change his ways. 

Christ, risen from the dead in the power of the Holy Spirit,  is present in the sacred Scriptures to convict us of our sins and lead us to new life.  But do we hear?  Does the Word of God change us?

Further, we are inclined not to see Christ in the face of the poor and desolate.  Yet Christ Jesus tells us that he has identified himself with the hungry, the naked, the imprisoned, and the sick.

The Condition of the World: The Savior’s Presence in the Midst of Chaos

It’s a nihilistic world we live in now.  It’s a world of great poverty amid luxuriant wealth.  That’s one glaring painful reality.  It’s a nihilistic culture we live in where the highest paid university professor is a man of literature who doesn’t believe words have any value in themselves; words do not convey absolutes or place us into reality. Words, they claim,  only have  validity in the intention of the speaker.  We talk ourselves out of God’s reality.  This self-centered monologue brings us into the chaos that is so evident in the world situation.

It is into this world of chaos that the Word of God is proclaimed so that the primary word of God, the Creation, can again take on light and meaning.  And the Word of God is made manifest in the man Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior, the unique mediator between us and God.  The light, life and love of Jesus are given to us in the gift of the Father, the Holy Spirit. 

Alleluia.  Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord; Peace on earth and glory in heaven.  Alleluia (Alleluia verse before the Gospel).

The Second Reading (1st Timothy 6:11-16): Profession of Faith

The Second Reading tells us.  “Be faithful to your noble profession.”

   Take firm hold on the everlasting life to which you were called, when, in the presence of many witnesses, you made your noble profession of faith (Second Reading).  

Our call is to be faithful to the living Word within us, our contemplative life.  It is a noble profession! 

In our society we use the word, “professional”, to mean a position that requires credentials, has stature, and contributes to the common good.  Like its other cognate, “confession”, the word, profession, means basically to stand in front of others and state who and what we are. 

We stand then among our fellow creatures professing that we live in the divine life of God implanted by grace.  We live according to the model of Jesus as given in His word and in His Church.  Our profession is to eternal life and to the deeds of love—practical, healing love, love that is balm to the sores of Lazarus.  Our profession is among many witnesses in the Church.  It is noble.  It is of divine origin and power.  Its purpose is the  coming of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus as God saves us from sin but leads us into the divine life of the Triune God because He is God of God, Light of Light. 

This appearance God will bring to pass at his chosen time.  He is the blessed and only ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords who alone has immortality and who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no human being has ever seen or can see.  To him be honor and everlasting rule. Amen (The Second Reading).

The Contemplative Life: Witness in the Chaos

Contemplative life in Christ in the bosom of the Church brings us into union with the One who dwells in unapproachable light (2nd Reading).  Thus, our love is in unknowing, not that God is Emptiness, but because God is the fullness of light and love.  That same love brings us into humble service of the poor and the needy.  We touch and care for Lazarus, who was covered with sores.  The contemplative state simplifies life, using less so that more can be shared with the poor.  The contemplative life opens the heart to compassion.  If these signs of practical compassion are not in our life then our prayer is not bearing fruit in the Christ-life.

Let us find in the sacrifice of the Eucharist, our sharing in the sacrifice of the Cross, the light and power of loving others, especially the poor.

--William Fredrickson, (OblSB; D.Min.)



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