Monthly Archives: July 2010

Eighteenth Sunday – Ordinary Time Cycle C

31 July 2010

Reflecting on Ecclesiastes 1:2, 2:21-23

Of all the Old Testament writers, I think I feel sorriest for the guy who wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes.  He has a symbolic name―Qoheleth, “ Preacher”―because his actual name and position in the 3rd century B.C. community is unknown.  He’s lived a long life, tried on every one of the theologies available to him from the Scriptures, and has come to this conclusion: life’s a drag, and then you die.

Poor Qoheleth

My heart breaks for Qoheleth because if he had only been born just 250 years later he might have known Jesus.  I’ll bet he would have been a disciple, or maybe even one of the Twelve.  He was a seeker, a true lover of the Word in his youth, but as he aged he experienced that most radical challenge to Hebrew theology:  bad things happen to really good people.  And because he never knew Jesus he didn’t have any place to put that in his head.  He had no understanding of an afterlife, no theology of meaning in suffering.  Hence his conclusion: Vanity of vanities, life is just a chase against the wind.

The foolish landowner in today’s Gospel thinks to himself: I can’t take it with me, so I might as well eat, drink and be merry. But Jesus says we do take it with us ―every bin of grain that is opened up and poured out for those who are poor goes with us when we go to God.  And, by the way, we have no idea when that day may come.

Sharing God’s Word at Home

What is the hardest part of your wealth for you to share?


What would YOU like to say about this question, or today’s readings, or any of the columns from the past year? The sacred conversations are setting a Pentecost fire! Register here today and join the conversation.

I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Seventeenth Sunday – Ordinary Times Cycle C

24 July 2010

Reflecting on Luke 11:1-13

 

There is an elephant in the room, and maybe we should acknowledge it and bring it out into the light.  Here it is:  we have asked and not received, sought and not found, knocked and heard the door locking from the inside.  Haven’t we?  And so today we hear Jesus commanding us to keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking, and we find hope again.  We believe again.  We ask again.

We try to bargain with God like Abraham did.  But Jesus has promised us that God wants to give us more than we even know how to ask for.  And sometimes it turns out that we were actually asking for a stone, and God gave us fish instead.

Suffering.  It’s probably the greatest barrier for us in our search for God.  Where was God when my dad died last year?  We prayed so hard for my sister to be cured, but God didn’t listen. God could have saved all those kids from that car accident, but just didn’t.

The search for meaning in our suffering is the elephant in the room.  But the Holy Spirit is in the room too, the great and lasting Comforter whom Jesus promises is the reward for all who pray.  Keep praying, and watch the Holy Spirit work.  Keep seeking, and find the Holy Spirit waiting for you in those dark corners.

I will keep knocking until the day the Holy Spirit opens the door to eternity, where every tear will be undone and Jesus,  my all-loving Savior, returns to me a hundredfold all the loves I thought I’d lost.

 

Sharing God’s Word at Home

 

Do you feel the Holy Spirit helping you to overcome disappointment and grief?


What would YOU like to say about this question, or today’s readings, or any of the columns from the past year? The sacred conversations are setting a Pentecost fire! Register here today and join the conversation.

I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Sixteenth Sunday – Ordinary Time Cycle C

17 July 2010

Reflecting on Genesis 18:1-10, Luke 10:38-42

 

Christ in the house of Martha and Mary by Jan Vermeer

 There is so much to notice in this story, but my eye keeps going back to Abraham, sitting in the entrance of that hot tent in the heat of the day.  And here is what keeps catching my eye:  Looking up, Abraham saw three men standing nearby.

He was sitting, looking out at the endless, silent desert.  He must have been able to see miles ahead, and the approach of three strangers could have been observed for hours before they arrived outside his tent.  But, no, he looked up and saw them. No camels kicking up telltale dust three hours earlier.  No neighboring Bedouins calling out that strangers were coming.  He looked up, and there they were.

Is it possible that those three “men”―the angels posted with God to announce the birth of Isaac―had been standing at the entrance to Abraham’s tent from the beginning of time? What great cloud of witnesses surrounds us, waiting for us to look up and see?  What miracles hover near us, waiting for us to notice?

Which brings us back to the Gospel today.  Mary looked up and saw Jesus in her home, and she never took her eyes off of him. She showed the greatest hospitality by making room for him in her soul and spirit― by truly seeing who it was who was sent to her, and never leaving his side.  She teaches us the meaning of the mystic’s sense of prayer:

Prayer is gazing at God, who is gazing at you.

Sharing God’s Word at Home

Do you think you have ever encountered an angel?


 What would YOU like to say about this question, or today’s readings, or any of the columns from the past year? The sacred conversations are setting a Pentecost fire! Register here today and join the conversation.

I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Fifteenth Sunday – Ordinary Time Cycle C

10 July 2010

Reflecting on Luke 10:25-37

The trouble with Luke’s magnificent story of love of neighbor is that you can’t take it too literally.  After all, serial killers like Ted Bundy have found their victims by pretending to be crippled and in need of help to their car.  Roadside warnings near detention centers send a chill up the spine: do not pick up hitchhikers.

Vincent van Gogh, The Good Samaritan --- May 1890

But one scorching summer day in the Utah desert 30 years ago, some travelers driving by spotted a very thin young man resting on the ground next to his bike.  Something wasn’t right.  He looked gaunt and weak.  They circled back and asked out the window Are you okay?  But he was too weak to answer.  And this dad and mom, with their two children in tow, leapt from their car, wiped his face with cool  water, placed him and his bike in the car, carefully gave him food and water, and drove him to the rectory of the first Catholic Church they found.

The Spanish-speaking housekeeper cried Oh Dios! and directed them to take him into the cool back bedroom.  She cared for him for several days until he recovered from his extreme heat stroke and dehydration.

Where are they now, that observant family that noticed that something didn’t seem quite right and took the time to circle back?  Where are the tender housekeeper and kind priest who gave him shelter and comfort?

Because, as my 22nd wedding anniversary approaches, I want to be able to thank them for saving the life of the young man who, years later, would save mine.

Have you ever experienced life-saving help from a stranger?


What would YOU like to say about this question, or today’s readings, or any of the columns from the past year? The sacred conversations are setting a Pentecost fire! Register here today and join the conversation.

I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Fourteenth Sunday – Ordinary Times Cycle C

3 July 2010

Reflecting on Galatians 6:14-18

It’s a beautiful summer holiday weekend in Colorado, and we have friends visiting from Iowa. They’ve spent every possible moment up in the mountains, hiking, rafting, and gawking at the bicyclists riding up Mount Evans.

Amber waves of Nebraska grain

I brag that America the Beautiful was written here.  I look to the west and see the purple mountain majesties that have brought me to prayer every morning of my life.

It’s hard to live in a constant state of gratitude and awe.  My sister is the best you’ve ever seen.  We’ll be driving along the San Diego harbor―she lives in that spectacular city―and she’ll stop the car to make sure we are all thanking God for the water, and the ships, and the seagulls.  And it turns out we are.

This land is our land, from the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters. Oh, God, forgive us our trespasses against Your Gulf Stream waters.

Paul bore the marks of Jesus on his body. America bears scars on her body too.  Our rivers, our forests, our seas and our skies bear the wounds of our selfish decisions, our appalling deficit of dreams.  We know better now, and we’ll do better.

It’s nice that the holiday lands right on Sunday this year.  It gives us the collective opportunity to ask forgiveness for what we have done, and what we have failed to do.  And then, in our Sunday sanctuary of time, we will bless and thank our Creator for the endless gifts of America the Beautiful.

Sharing God’s Word at Home:

Where is your favorite place to pray in your home state?

What would YOU like to say about this question, or today’s readings, or any of the columns from the past year? The sacred conversations are setting a Pentecost fire! Register here today and join the conversation.

I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015