Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Weekday Readings



Holy Week, 2020

John 12.1-11
Jesus dwells in the house of my soul, in the deep interiors and in the outer rooms of my daily life and contacts.  All the parts of this Gospel story's drama are mine.  I perform each of them as in a cycle.  I am Martha who serves and who is engaged in all the necessities of life and in relationships.  I am Mary who pours upon the feet of Jesus the perfume of loving prayer and the longings of the heart for God.  I am Lazarus who has been reborn out of the tomb of my mortal sins and of the sin of Adam, at table with Jesus in the banquet of the Kingdom.  Then there is Judas….Purge me, Jesus, of all the tendencies of Judas.  Let me not betray you with a kiss of false spirituality that masks self-seeking.  The poor are always with me; and you, Lord, are in the poor.  Let my prayer free me to love the poor and others in practical service.  I am back to the beginning of the cycle; I am Martha serving others, especially the poor and spiritually wounded, as they come to me.
John 13.21-33, 36-38
Jesus is troubled in spirit.  How have I caused the Lord trouble?  I receive my morsel and then flee into the shadows.  And behold,” it was night.”  It is not the night of union.  It is the night of sin, deliberate separation from the life of Christ.  In one manner, the figure of “night” is used to convey the secret presence of resting in the Beloved beyond knowing.  In an opposite way, the term “night” describes the condition of sin, hiding from the presence, and fleeing from the presence and embracing the slavery of disobedience; it is the night that that is pure negativity that comes from separation from God.  Lord, in your mercy let me always abide in the blessed night of divine union which issues forth into perpetual light.
Matthew 26.14-25
Who understands how our choices of free will which determine moral judgment in our choices?  How can I, the creature, betray the Creator?  How can I tear from my heart the Presence of the One who is the ground of all my being and life?  However, I can do it and I have done it, all too often through my sins.  Although I can never negate the reality of my being yet I can sin when I turn my will away from God in grievous matters and then willfully remain in that state of separation.  And I have done it.  Even more shocking to me, I can be maintaining a discipline of regular prayer and yet, still, follow a course of sin, of habitual sin, that exists as a hidden cancer amid all the other seemingly healthy functions.  Judas calls Jesus merely Rabbi as he responds to Christ's statement to him that he is the one who would betray him.  The apostles, however, each in turn, call Jesus, Lord, in their own responses.  Sin can more easily occur when I allow my comprehension of who and what Jesus is to be deliberately narrow.  Do I tolerate a limited prayer that only goes so far in surrender to the Person of Jesus, like Judas who can see only Jesus as a rabbi?  So my prayer fails me in the proportion to failure in surrendering to the fullness of Christ in the mystery of his Person and power.  Only the Spirit can reveal the fullness of Jesus.  That is why the Spirit can teach us how to pray in the name of Jesus.  Judas goes forth into the night; let us live in the true light of the eternal day who is Jesus in his fullness.

 --William Fredrickson, Obl. Sec. OSB, D.Min.


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William Fredrickson