Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Sunday Readings




The Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time; Cycle A
September 27, 2020

Readings: Ezekiel 18.25-28;  Philippians 2.1-11;  Matthew 21.28-32
The Crucial Decision: Yes or No to God’s Call
The Gospel Reading presents the parable of the two sons: the elder son says yes to his father’s request that he work in the vineyard, but then does not do what he was asked; the second son says he won’t work to his father, but then does what is asked.  Jesus asks: Which of the two did the father’s will. The last sentence of the parable is directed to us for our meditation:  Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people: “What do you think?”
This parable can enlighten  us to the quality of our relationship with God. We are both the elder and younger brother.  We fulfill both identities in cycles. 
The Elder Brother
First, we are like the elder brother.  We answer the call of the Gospel and enter into the path of Christ.  We say: 
I am on my way, Lord.
 But we really never stay on the path.  We keep the outward appearances of our commitment, but our heart slowly moves away from obedience to the love of God. 
But he never went.
We never really go because we remain at a superficial level of outward observance.  We keep territory in our heart guarded and restricted wherein God’s light and love may not enter.
The Second Brother
The second part of the cycle begins when we wake up like the younger brother does.  We realize that we have been really saying to the Father:
 No, I will not. 
Perhaps our superficial observance has led us into sin and therefore real separation from God through serious disobedience.  In this state we come to our senses.  We see ourselves as we truly are.  We say that we will arise and go to the Father in repentance. 
But afterward he regretted it and went.
 Based on the solid rock of humility and the sense of our own innate powerlessness we begin to live the life of Christ.  A deep relationship with the Divine Physician begins to take place: under his loving care we begin to be healed.
The First Reading: The Continuing Cycle of Repentance and Growth
The cycle begins over again.  We need further growth in the Holy Spirit.  We must begin over again, but never at the same level.  In the cycle, a spiraling cycle, we begin at a new level, deeper in God’s mercy; God is deeper into the levels of our consciousness.
According to the First Reading we should expect a cycle of repentance and then growth under the purifying hand of God. 
But if a wicked man, turning from the wickedness he has committed, does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life, since he has turned away from all the sins which he committed, he surely lives, he shall not die.
  That is, the elder brother becomes like to the younger; the first becomes last;  the last becomes first.
The Second Reading: Christ Lives Out the Cycle of Death to Sin and Resurrection into New Life
Our Savior becoming like us in all things, is not removed from the cycle.  Jesus, the Son of God, has entered into this cycle of painful purification and rebirth in the Spirit. 
Though he was in the form of God, he did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at, rather, he emptied himself and took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men  (Second Reading). 
The image of the Crucified One is the lasting image now of the cycle of dying to sin and rising to new life; it is simple and clear.  He takes on himself  our guilt.
 He was known to be of human estate and it was thus that he humbled himself, obediently accepting death, death on a cross.
In the First Reading, Ezekiel spoke of the punishment of death as a consequence of sin.  Jesus as Savior took this death upon himself in our place so that He can break the cycle of sin and death and move us into the divine life in His power. 
So that at Jesus’ name, every knee must bend in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, and every tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father, Jesus Christ is Lord!
Baptism Centers into the Divine Life of the Son and Contemplative Union Deepens the Union
Jesus is Lord at the very center of our souls in the grace of our Baptism.  To Jesus in the Holy Spirit we surrender in the glory of Sonship that brings us into the Father.  Men and women baptized into Christ and renewed in the sacrament of Reconciliation share in that Sonship. 
At the center of our contemplative prayer is that surrender.  It is simple, quiet, in silence, beyond words and imagination, in pure faith and naked hope, resting in the divine Triune life of love.  It is a love that gives knowledge, holy Wisdom, the lasting taste that
Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of His Father.
Renewal in community begins with personal and individual renewal, repentance and transformation.
 Never act out of rivalry or conceit, rather let all parties think humbly of others as superior to themselves, each you looking to others’ interests rather than his own.  Your attitude must be Christ’s (Second Reading).
Let our Eucharist, at the center of our Church—it is the heart of the Church—be the consecrated moment of this cycle at the soul-spirit point where we are obedient to the Father in the Holy Spirit.  Our Communion will be the food and strength of this life.  Mary, our Mother, the Mother of God, is our great intercessor in union with all the saints in the communion of the Church.  Heaven and earth are united: 
Let every tongue proclaim to the glory of the Father, Jesus Christ is Lord.  Amen, Amen, Amen.


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


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William Frederickson