Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Sunday Readings

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 Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time; Cycle A, October 15, 2017

Readings: Isaiah 25.6-10;  Philippians 4.12-14,19-20;  Matthew 22.1-14


Two Analogies for the Contemplative Life: Ascent of the Mountain and Presence at the Wedding Feast


Today’s Readings present two analogies that relate to the contemplative dimension of our communion in the Church.


In the first analogy, our spiritual transformation is likened to the ascent of God’s mountain.  Dwelling within the Most High’s resting place we enjoy a deep union with the One Who Holds All in Himself.  It is a place of fullness, a place of vision and peace; it is a place of delight.


On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure choice wines.  On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples.  The web that is woven over all nations, he will destroy death forever.  For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain (First Reading).


The second analogy used in this Sunday’s Readings is the wedding feast.  The feast celebrates love and union, the fruitfulness of the marriage bond between the groom and the bride, a celebration full of the hopeful future, realized now.  Christ is the bridegroom; and  the Church, the people of God baptized into Him, is the bride.  The feast is the eternal celebration of eternal union with the Trinity, sharing in the eternal union.


Union with Christ in the Church


Our union with God in Christ is a fruit of the perfect union between Christ and the Church.  The deepest point of union and identification with Christ participates in the mystical union that is the Body of Christ, the Church.  We are joined to Christ within the greater context of the wedding feast of Christ and the Church.


Jesus began to address the chief priests and elders of the people, once more using parables.  “The reign of God may be likened to a king who gave wedding banquet for his son” (Gospel Reading).


The host provides the wedding garment along with the invitation.  We are clothed with the wedding garment of grace.  The grace of God is a sharing in the divine nature through Christ’s work of redemption.  The invitation, the wedding feast, and the wedding garment are given as gifts. 


To be without the wedding garment, to be without the life given in grace; to be without the wedding garment is result of our refusal and obstinacy.  It is not my poverty that keeps me from the feast; only my obstinacy of not accepting the wedding garment of grace.


My friend, he said, how is it you came in here not properly dressed?  The man had nothing to say.  The king then said to the attendants, Bind him hand and foot, and throw him out into the night to wail and grind his teeth.  The invited are many, the elect are few.


The Basic Unity of Contemplative Life and the Fact of Salvation


We are committed to live in Christ by His grace.  The fruit of that grace is eternal life and union: the contemplative life. The decision not to belong to Christ is at the other end of life’s continuum.  The will not to belong results in the eternal separation from the wedding feast of God’s Kingdom. 


It is before us, the stark reality: At some point the refusal is so definitive that one is eternally separated.  That judgment is possible; in what cases does it apply?   We don’t know for sure in the individual case.  We must keep the possibility of being thrown into the night before us as a possible reality, as a weapon of self-discipline in the face of temptations. Eternal condemnation is never the chief motivation for our clinging to life in Christ; and it is never the justification of rashly judging another’s state of salvation.  But its possibility is part of the message of the Gospel’s call to repentance and seriousness of life.


The Variables of Daily Life and the Constancy of Grace


The Second Reading provides us with practical advice.  The circumstances of my life with Christ will vary and change like the weather; I will never know what to expect from the variables of life.  One thing is sure and built upon a rock.  In Christ I can do all things.


I have learned to cope with every circumstance—how to eat well or go hungry, to be well provided or do without.  In him who is the source of my strength I have strength for everything.  My God in turn will supply your needs fully, in a way worthy of his magnificent riches in Christ Jesus.  All glory to our God and Father for unending ages!  Amen (Second Reading).


The Holy Eucharist: The Ascent of the Mountain and the Reality of the Wedding Feast


All that is given in the Readings are fulfilled in the action of the Eucharist.  We ascend the mountain of the Lord, moving upward through His proclaimed Word.  We rejoice in the wedding feast of Christ and His Church in the intimacy and life-giving sustenance of Holy Communion.  Mary our Mother is present as our guide and model; she is the first dawning of this perfect redemption in Christ.


--William Fredrickson, Oblate(secular) of St. Mary's Benedictine Monastery, Petersham, MA and Doctor of Ministry, Drew University, NJ



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