Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Sunday Readings

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time,  Cycle B
July 25, 2021

Readings: Kings II, 4.42-41;  Ephesians 4.1-6; John 6.1-15

First Reading: Kings II, 4.42-41
People are hungry in the world.  There is no more evidence of the fallen condition of our human race than the fact of this global  hunger.  Governments seem unable to provide conditions for just systems of work and remuneration .  People starve in  countries where the leadership remain corrupt and where factions are engaged in civil wars.  The condition cries out for the justice and compassion  of God.

In contemplative prayer our hearts are open to God, we carry His sorrow that inju
stice prevails against the plan of  His bountiful creation.  “Thy Kingdom Come!”  and  “Give us our daily bread” are parts of the one prayer that arises simply from our silent prayer.

Elisha who inherited the contemplative-prophetic vocation from Elijah is the conduit for the feeding of the hungry, a prophetic sign of the Kingdom’s promise that the hunger will cease at the Lord’s coming. 

Give it to the people to eat.  For thus says the LORD, They shall eat and there shall be some left over.

Second Reading : Ephesians 4.1-6

The cause of physical hunger is spiritual hunger.  Government officials, leaders of commerce and just plain folks all suffer the spiritual hunger of being without God’s light and love within them.  God’s compassionate justice finds no place in their hearts.   The people who have the power but resist right government are hungry, emaciated souls.  And from their hunger they become obsessed with self-interests.

They –we—continue the injustice that causes the pain of many.

St. Paul addresses this spiritual condition.  ¼

live a life worthy of the calling you received, with perfect humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another lovingly.

In contemplative prayer we touch the basic unity of the human family in Christ, the Word by whom all people have their personal dignity and calling and by whom all people are redeemed and raised up into a new creation.
In the visible Church which is the fullness of Christ now in human history, our love and obedience in the deep silent prayer of the heart envelopes all people. 

One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all, and works through all, and is in all.  

Catholic means All.  The Greek derivatives for the word “Catholic” literally mean according to the whole—“kata” and “holos.”   The Catholic Church carries deep within itself the whole Christian family and the whole human race.  To be a contemplative intentionally and consciously within the Church places us deep within the human family and makes us present to the soul of every living person.  That is part of the contemplative vocation, at the heart of the mystery of Christ, the center of every living person.  This is why St. Therese de Lisieux could see herself as a missionary although shewas hidden deep within her cloistered convent.

Gospel:  John 6.1-15

Do we lack confidence, absolute trust, the theological virtue of hope, in the power of Christ to redeem the world?  Are we like Philip and Andrew who cannot see the ability of Jesus to feed the people, to answer their needs?  Jesus is the Bread of Life.  It is Jesus who is fed to the people through his disciples who distribute the Bread.

Jesus flees back to the mountain alone.
As foreshadowed in the First Reading Jesus lives the life of the contemplative.   It is the tradition of Elijah and Elisha dwelling on Carmel.  It is our vocation as contemplatives not to doubt our call to prayer.  In front of the crowds demanding Him, Jesus goes to the silence of prayer upon the mountain.  His sacred humanity is bathed in the Holy Spirit of prayer to the Father.

We will always carry within us the tension of the call to prayer and the call to practical apostolic service.  The synthesis is love.  It is one divine love that animates us.  Prayer purifies our false selves so we can be open to others.  God will always provide the opportunity to be the bread of service to others and at the same time we will know when He is calling us up into the mountain. 

Either way in this rhythm of prayer and service, His will is our food, the bread of et
ernal life in all the aspects of our daily life.  The prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread,” is the same prayer for the eternal bread which is Jesus in Whom we have life— life here and life for eternity, in Him now, in Him then.

The Responsorial Psalm:  The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.




--William C. Fredrickson, (Oblate, OSB; D.Min.)

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