Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Sunday Readings


Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B (

July 21, 2024

Readings:  Jeremiah 23.1-6; Ephesians. 2.13-18; Mark 6.30-34

The First Reading: Jeremiah 23.1-6

God works in the practice of contemplative prayer to gather us into divine union, concretized in the sacramental realities of the Church:
I myself will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands to which I have driven them and bring them back to their meadow.

At the depths of our prayer is the simple surrender to God’s initiative of healing us and integrating us in the image of the Only Begotten Son. 
Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David; as king he shall reign and govern wisely. … This is the name they give him: “The Lord our justice.”

In the contemplative path, a temptation looms up.  It tries to separate the spiritual from the institutional aspect of Christ’s mystical body, the Church.
In our contemplative prayer of silence and union we are  seeking the grace of healing.  In particular we seek the grace to heal the wounds of intellectual arrogance.  The “righteous shoot to David”  is the Lord Jesus who is present in the fullness of the Church.  It is into the Church that we recognize the face of the Holy Spirit, the gift of the Father, in Whom, i.e. in the Spirit, we are able to see the Face of Jesus, who then in turn reveals the Father.  Ultimately it is in our return to the Inner Anointing and the Ecclesial Affirmation of the full Mystery of Christ that we can be received into the Christ, the source of union.

Second Reading: Ephesians. 2.13-18 

“In Christ Jesus is the recurring refrain proclaimed in this letter to the Ephesians.

It is the Sacred Word into which we surrender in the simplicity of prayer.  
I know how far off  I have been from the center of God.  The memory is constant; the memory of my sins and the state of sin.  Only the Blood of Christ heals me of the sin. 

Now we live in the Presence of the Triune Circumincession: the Father in the Son in the Holy Spirit.  It is in the Blood of Christ that we have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Reconciliation: One mystic describes it this way.  In our reconciliation with God through Jesus, we kiss his feet in begging forgiveness; we kiss his hand as we give ourselves into discipleship; we kiss his mouth in divine love as we become one with him in the Spirit:  Reconciliation.

To create in himself one new man.  In our prayer we sense the Presence of the Word Who is the image and the likeness of our true self-becoming.  In Jesus we constantly experience newness, re-birth.  Especially newness is present when we experience in a vivid way or over a period of time the full depths of our wretchedness, a transforming  light comes up from our depths.  The spring flowing within us begins to bubble with refreshing water.  It’s all morning brightness, a new day, a new creation.  We were so far off.  Now he is in us and we in him. 
One of the prayers before Holy Communion says: “Never permit us from being separated from You, Who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit

The Gospel: Mark 6.30-34

The needs of our brethren call us from prayer time and place to real ministering to others in here and now situations.  The call to go apart and to rest in God, to make Sabbath is a constant call from God.  Since it is His call, it is His gift too.  A delicate balancing is required for rest in God and serving God in others.
Jesus said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”

Each time we seek out the time and place where we practice the exercise of contemplative prayer, we answer this intimate invitation of the Lord; and ultimately and inevitably find the rest in his presence.
In the power of true love in prayer we minister to the needs of all people.  True contemplative prayer is one with the prayer of Jesus:  “If I be lifted up, I will draw all things to me.”  In the silence and solitude of contemplative living we are never separated from “the maddening crowd.”  We are constantly aware of the needful human condition which all the members of the human family bear.  The clamor and heart of our inner self reflects the state of all creation groaning for deliverance.

The simple intention of consenting to the Presence and Work of the Father bears in itself the intention of sharing in the redemption of the human family and all creation.
Our prayer makes us disposed to go anywhere, do anything for the Kingdom.

The Responsorial Psalm         Psalm 23. 1-3, 3-,5,6
               “In verdant pastures he gives me repose.”:  That is the expectation of pure contemplative prayer:  Repose in God.

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