Monthly Archives: November 2010

First Sunday of Advent – Cycle A

27 November 2010

Reflecting on Romans 13:11-14

I once had an intense experience of darkness on a freezing Colorado night at the Trappist monastery in Snowmass, Colorado.  Retreatans are invited to walk the mile from the retreat house to the chapel for Vigils at 4:30 am.  In that entire, moonless valley, the single light was a humble bulb over the chapel door.  For those who didn’t stray from the path it must have seemed an easy journey towards the light.  But for me― lost, cold, uneasy in the dark mountains―the absence of a light to guide me seemed thoughtless and almost hostile.

I’ve never forgotten that feeling of abandonment and cold.  There were no stars, and no bright moon to illuminate the path.  My feet were numb, and I had lent my gloves to a person I had only met an hour ago.  I walked several miles alone in that valley, lost, searching the sky for the first violet of dawn.

And it came, of course.  Morning stars pulled the violets and rose from the sky.  The night had advanced, the day was at hand.  And as the morning light awakened the valley I could see it finally―that tiny light just off to my left, the light that had been there all the time, beckoning me to the warmth of the chapel.

I think about that light this Advent, and I wonder how many silent souls are out there in the cold, searching for us, but unable to find us because our light is too dim, too distant, too familiar to those who know the way and too far away for those who are lost.

Sharing God’s Word at Home:

How brightly does your light shine in the darkness?

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

Feast of Christ the King – Ordinary Time Cycle C

20 November 2010

Reflecting on Luke 23:35-43

We should have seen it coming from the beginning.  One year ago we rotated into Luke’s Gospel, and if we’d paid attention we would have noticed it then, right there in the second chapter.  But we were distracted by the glorious account of the angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary, and those shepherds running up to Bethlehem to see the things that had come to pass.

Jesus, remember me

We should have seen it coming, this horrible, terrifying death on a hill.  The day he came into Jerusalem on a colt, with his followers singing hosannas, should have jolted our memories.  Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven! They were singing just what the angels sang on the night of his birth!  Something destined from before all things was now unfolding before our eyes.

The King of Kings lies nailed to a cross.  He struggles, he cries, he writhes in agony.  And now we remember the prophet Simeon as he held the baby Jesus in the Temple: And Mary, a sword will pierce your heart too. Ah. We knew this was coming all along.

But now, grace enters into the heart of one crucified next to him.  The torture of the cross opens up a place that has grown hard in his heart.  In his last moments he recognizes the image of the invisible God, Christ himself, who came into the world to deliver us from darkness.  Jesus! he moans.  Remember me when you come into your kingdom!

The crucified King promises paradise to him this very day. And we who, at this distance of two thousand years, know the end of the story, wait in joyful hope at the empty tomb.

Sharing God’s Word at Home:

At what times of your life have you begged Jesus to remember you?

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

Thirty-third Sunday – Ordinary Time Cycle C

13 November 2010

Reflecting on Luke 21: 5-19

My friend Joanie was the first of my friends to have a baby, way back in the early 1970s.  I still remember how shocked I was that she was ignoring all the signs of the times―the recent famine in Biafra, the war in Vietnam, the oil embargo, the Palestinian terror attack at the Munich Olympics, the eruption of Mt. Etna.

In every age, bring life forward

How could she possibly think about having a family when Jesus’ prophecy about the last days was clearly being acted out on the world stage?  Wars, famines, terrorism, volcanos.  Surely things could never get worse.  Also, hadn’t she read the very same reading assignments I had at school?  The world would run out of clean water and air by the time we were in our forties.

But as the years went by, something even more shocking happened.  All of my friends started having families!  I was stunned at their hopefulness, their faith-driven optimism that God is the God of the living, and their vocation was to bring life forward.

And that’s what finally compelled me to learn how to read Scripture.  Of course.  Luke’s Gospel today is timeless, and Jesus was absolutely right.  In every age there will be all those dreadful things.  And in every age, Jesus is Lord of all who hope in him.

Sharing God’s Word at Home:

In what ways do you experience a tension between faith and fear?


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

Thirty-second Sunday – Ordinary Time Cycle C

6 November 2010

Reflecting on 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14

When I was a young Catholic growing up in the warm parish community of St. Vincent de Paul in Denver, our favorite recess activity was to take our Saints Books out on the playground and horrify each other with the stories of their martyrdoms.  I think of that today as we hear that terrifying account of the torture and execution of the seven pious brothers (and their mother) by Antiochus Epiphanes IV around 170 B.C.

I used to know a lot more about how the saints died than how they lived.  Their deaths were so dramatic that I forgot to notice the faith statements of their lives.

Lately I’ve been thinking about Canada’s first canonized saint, André Bessette.  What a disappointing story.  He wasn’t devoured by Roman lions or skinned alive by Syrian emperors.  For forty years he just held the door open for people coming into Notre Dame College in Quebec.   And after his totally unremarkable death over one million people filed by his casket, weeping for this simple Holy Cross brother who lived his ordinary life with extraordinary love.

I guess that’s who  all the saints are: door openers.  Something about their lives, and sometimes their deaths, opens a door for us so we can see Jesus more clearly.  And on the day of our own deaths Jesus himself will open the door for us, for as today’s Gospel tells us, “he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”

Sharing God’s Word at Home:

What saint, living or dead, opens the door for you to see Jesus?

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