Monthly Archives: August 2010

Twenty-second Sunday – Ordinary Time Cycle C

29 August 2010

Reflecting on Luke 14:1,7-14

Several summers ago I was recovering from surgery on my vocal cords and couldn’t speak for a week.  I was out walking one very hot Sunday afternoon and began to panic because I had run out of water and was still a mile from home.  One of the churches on the corner of a busy intersection was having a “Getting to know you” picnic on their grounds as an outreach to all those speeding by.  Ah, thank you, God.  Here I can get a refill for my water bottle and make it home.

The last shall be first

There were lots of warm, friendly congregants out on the front lawn, pouring lemonade and passing out cookies and information about times of their services.  Because I couldn’t speak, I smiled and indicated my empty water bottle.  All these years later, I’m still hurt by the detached indifference I experienced.  The smiling hospitality members took a few steps back and walked away.  No one would make eye contact with me.  I was, I guess, the odd, sweaty interloper who wasn’t speaking and kept pointing to her water bottle.  For some reason that made me scary, or at least not the person they were hoping their picnic would attract.

But I’m a SOMEBODY!  I’m a SINGER!  I’m just TEMPORARILY DISABLED! I’ll be at the top of my game again in a DAY OR TWO!

And you know what?  That day never came.

How glad I am now for that tiny peek into the world of those who come into our churches without resumes, without connections, but with a sliver of hope that someone will notice them and reach out.  The “last” are actually SOMEBODIES, as those of us who have been “first” a lot will surely one day find out.

Sharing God’s Word at Home

What experiences of “first” and “last” have shaped your life?

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

Twenty-first Sunday – Ordinary Time Cycle C

21 August 2010

Reflecting on Luke 13:22-30

It turns out that the question of who gets into heaven and who doesn’t gets settled on the bus.  Well, not just any bus.  It’s that primordial bus that C.S. Lewis creates for us in his masterpiece, The Great Divorce. There we see ourselves as the fearful, suspicious, whiny, gossipy passengers who have boarded the bus between heaven and hell.  And guess what?  We can’t get into heaven because we won’t get off the bus.

And why should we?   We can see from our stuffy, boarded-up windows that SHE made it in, and we CERTAINLY aren’t interested in getting out if they let HER in, for heaven’s sake.  We’ll just sit right here, thank you just the same.

The grass in heaven is so strong it’s like walking on sharp knives when you’ve been such a cheat and such a fake your whole life that you’ve never built up any real integrity to give you strength.   And who can stand up to the rain in heaven?  It’s like getting hit with bullets when you’ve spent your whole life dodging responsibilities, or the outstretched hands of those who are poor.

But watch!  There are angels to help us step off the bus and take those first courageous steps towards humility, and forgiveness, and healing from addictions, and reunions with family members we’ve cheated or ignored or abused.  All it takes is the grace to give God permission to make us fit for heaven.

Lord, will only a few be saved? Perhaps the better question is Lord, will only a few WANT to be saved? Because heaven isn’t for sissies.  But heaven IS for those grateful souls who, in fear and trembling, take God’s hand and step off the bus.

Sharing God’s Word at Home

What are you working on changing so that you’ll be comfortable in heaven?

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

Solemnity of the Assumption – Ordinary Time Cycle C

14 August 2010

Reflecting on Luke 1: 39-56

Today’s Gospel, the visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, tells us that Mary, a woman alone and with child, made a fifty-mile journey from Galilee to Ein Karem, in the hill country of Judea.  Today a Catholic church stands at that site. Its many paintings depict Elizabeth and Mary, and other women of their time, as they went about the sacred business of keeping alive their religious traditions.  It is surely the most “feminine” church in Christendom.

Church of the Visitation in Ein Karem, Israel

When Mary, now the ark of the covenant, the carrier of the Savior, arrives at her cousin’s home, she sings her Magnificat.  What seems to be most on her mind, curiously, is not the news of her astonishing pregnancy, or even that of her old cousin.  Instead, she wants to talk about God’s power to lift up the lowly and to fill the hungry with good things.

It makes you wonder what she saw on that road as she traveled.  Did she see widows and orphans crying for food, cast far away from the safety nets of husbands and fathers?  Did she see the executed Jews, whom the Romans crucified along well-traveled paths as reminders of the “Pax Romana”?    When she arrived at her cousin’s, the unborn John sensed the presence of the true and only Prince of Peace.  That six-month-old fetus was the first to recognize the Incarnation, traveling in the womb of his mother Mary.  That should end any question of when life begins.

As the lovely Medical Missionaries’ hymn, The Visit, sings, There leaped a little child in the ancient womb.  And there leaped a little hope in every ancient tomb.

Sharing God’s Word at Home

What do you think the young Mary was thinking about as she traveled to see her cousin?

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

Nineteenth Sunday – Ordinary Time Cycle C

7 August 2010

Reflecting on Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19

Imagine this: Abraham and Sarah had no idea where they were going when God sent them out to a land they’d never seen.  In a dangerous world they set out to travel hundreds of miles in order to take possession of a land about which they’d never heard.

Abraham went out, not knowing where he was supposed to go

Why?  Because they were convinced that God had instructed them to do that.  After they completed that huge marathon of trust it must have become easier to believe all the other promises God had given them, even though it was impossible to imagine how any of them could ever be fulfilled.

Faith is like a muscle.  You have to work at it to make it strong enough to lift you up.  The author of the letter to the Hebrews was flexing the muscles of the early Christian believers by reminding them that the same God who was faithful to Abraham and Sarah will be faithful to them too.

My great friend Sr. Macrina Scott, O.S.F. reminds me that, in times of anxiety or fear, I should just remember that the same God who was faithful in the past will of course be faithful in the future.  That’s easy to recall during these long, luscious summer days of peaches and corn on the cob.  When the November winds blow a few months from now we’ll need to remember, once again, that faith is the evidence of things not seen.

Sharing God’s Word at Home

In what ways does remembering God’s faithfulness give you strength?

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