Monthly Archives: July 2011

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

30 July 2011

Reflecting on Romans 8:35, 37-39

Have you ever felt the absence of the love of Christ?  Because Paul promises us in that beautiful second reading today (Romans 8:35-39) that nothing can take us from his love.

Let’s see.  Not chronic migraines or sciatic pain.  Not rheumatoid arthritis.  Not bald heads and nausea.  Not even the recurrence of cancers we had prayed were gone.

Not the loss of our house. Not the loss of our retirement fund. Not the loss of our health, our strength, our vigor, even our memory.

Not sadness for our children who don’t go to church.  Not the loss of our sense of safety for ourselves and the world.  Not our horror as we read about atrocities towards children.  Not the loss of those we love.  Not the loss of love itself.  Nothing can take us from his love.

I like to think about Paul.  By the time he wrote this letter to the Romans (probably the spring of 57 AD) he himself had already endured danger from rivers, danger from bandits, …danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea… sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, cold and naked (2 Corinthians 11: 26-27).

It sounds like Paul was remembering his own suffering throughout his courageous missionary journeys.  It comforts me that the author of these words―For I am convinced that neither death nor life…neither present things nor future things…will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord—suffered so deeply himself.

Nero executed him for this faith.  And now he, and his words of comfort, lives forever.

In what ways have you been sustained by the love of Christ?

My dear friends, this might be a good time for us to remember all whom we love who are struggling to feel the power of God’s love.    Where do we begin?  Where do we end?  Let’s do something different this week.  Let’s use the collective power of the hundreds of prayerful people who visit this site to pray for those who are suffering.  Maybe we could just place their names here and we can all pray for them this week.  I’ll start: please pray with me for the lioness of  faith and solidarity with those who are poor, Dorothy Leonard.  Dorothy has had a recurrence of an early stage ovarian cancer from 9 years ago.  Lord, the one you love is sick.  We ask you to hold her and heal her in your way.  And touch all whom we love who struggle to find your love today.  We trust your Word.  Nothing can take us from your love.  AMEN.

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 in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

23 July 2011

Reflecting on Matthew 13:44-52

It’s easy to spot the pearl of great price in people’s lives.  Each of us signals, just by getting up in the morning (or not), what we are willing to give up in order to have what we have.

Parents are the perfect examples of grace-filled people willing to give up much in order to have children.  I watch them in fascination.  The intense love they have for their kids, and their lifelong presence and support of them, provides a daily meditation for me on the depth and breadth of love, and of course its Author.

I’m also fascinated with what professions require of people.  Think back on the days when you were a student.  Can you remember your desk, filled with textbooks, and all those fun novels shoved to the side while you pursued your pearl of great price? And that sacrifice was worth it, wasn’t it?

Good health is another pearl that requires immense sacrifice in order to attain.  There are hundreds of delicious foods that must be ignored every day in order to feel and look better.  And there go those novels again, determinedly shut, and the gym shoes come on for another lovely walk in the park.

Could we take a minute to reflect on those who have chosen priesthood or Religious life?  Think for a moment of the sacrifices made every step of the way towards that goal, and then the daily sacrifices to live those vows.  They had to walk away from so much in order walk into the grace of ordination or Religious life.  Today might be a good day to thank them.

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 in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

16 July 2011

Reflecting on Matthew 13:24-43

The most inspiring experience in my life is the Greenwood Gallery.  My friend Dr. Dan Feiten and his partners at Greenwood Pediatrics began this beautiful gallery in the lobbies of their medical offices decades ago.  Each season they choose several children who have experienced some childhood disease and have them photographed in a beautiful studio.  Their pictures are then hung in the lobbies of the offices, and I write the story about the child and that particular illness.  It’s a way of educating the parents who are in the waiting room about various childhood illnesses, and also to show the resilience and courage of the young patients.

But it’s the conversation with the parents that always gets me.  Here is the mom, exhausted but utterly in love with her autistic child who also has a sleep abnormality that gets him (and her) up several times every night.  Here is the dad, the great champion of his little daughter who has a congenital heart defect.  And here is the child, utterly unaware that he is smaller or slower or sicker than his classmates, laughing and running and loving his life, every, every minute.

When you think about it, the wheat in our lives will always be growing right next to the weeds.  Our talents will be honed through the sting of competition.  Our health will lose its battle with time.  Our perfect children will have to face a world that may not love them as much as we do.  But we all soldier on towards the sun.  Such is our painful, joyful journey back to the Garden.

What tensions of wheat and weeds do you sense in 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

Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Cycle A

9 July 2011

Reflecting on Matthew 13: 1-23

Don’t ask us what we were thinking.  In this challenging economic climate, and with big chains just blocks from us, my pharmacist-husband Ben and I bought a beautiful retail space and opened up an old-time drugstore/coffee shop.

Ben Lager & Kathy McGovern

I’m not sure I could really articulate why we needed to do this until the other day.  I looked around and saw neighbors who live just houses away from each other finally meeting and enjoying their children together out on the front sidewalk.

Some generous and kind new friends from the neighborhood sat outside, talking to another friend and me about the bitterness they feel when religion is forced on them, when people carry Scripture signs to football games, when businesses put religious quotes on their billboards.  Now, I actually like these things, and was getting ready to say so.

But a dear and wise friend of mine happened to be in the store right then.  She moved closer to them and said, “Tell me more about your pain.  Tell me why you resist faith.  Let me help you touch your wounds.”

And then the floodwaters opened, and all their frustration, and feelings of isolation, and confusion and resentment poured out.

A few days later they returned to the store for a prescription.  Jane (not her real name) hugged me and said No one has ever asked me about my loss of faith before.  That conversation was more healing than three years in the religious setting of my childhood.

And it happened just because some faithful sower took the time to plant a seed in fertile ground, to listen, and then to be brave enough to invite strangers into the intimacy of their own struggles.

And I’ll bet that seed bears fruit and yields a hundredfold.

In what ways have you seen the fruits of the seeds sown in 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

Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Cycle A

5 July 2011

Reflecting on Matthew 11:25-30

Have you ever had the blissful experience of having a burden lifted from your shoulders?  Maybe you’ve been worrying something to death, and a friend finds the perfect words to set your soul at rest.  Or maybe it’s a physical comfort, like having someone stronger take your heavy grocery bags, or grab your snow shovel and say, “Let me clear your walk for you.”

That’s grace.  That’s Jesus, lifting away your sad spirit and replacing it with His yoke, which is always peace, consolation, perfect rest.

So here’s your summer assignment.  Ride your bike to the park.  Find a spot under a big, leafy tree.  Lie down on your back and look up.  Now, here’s the blissful part.  Just stay there.

Ah.  Can you feel it?  That is the rest that Jesus invites you to today.  Do you labor under the stress of family problems?  Just lie there.  Let the sun warm you.  Look in awe at the thousands of astonishing things going on in that tree as it stretches to the sky.

Are you heavily burdened with illness, or unemployment, or bitter disappointment?  Don’t move.  Let Jesus give your soul a perfect rest as you soak in all the grace that exists in a single tree.

Let your eyes take in just a fraction of the breathless beauty that is summer, our Creator’s gift of grace.  Can you hear that bird, singing in the branches?  Here are the words she is singing:

Come to Him.  Find rest in Him.  He has already left your burdens under the Tree.

What experience have you had of a burden lifted?

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