Monthly Archives: August 2011

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

27 August 2011

Reflecting on Mt 16: 21-27

Today, on this feast of St. Augustine, it’s good to read some of the things he had to say about today’s difficult Gospel:

We know what great things love can accomplish, even though it is often base and sensualWe know what hardships people have endured, what intolerable indignities they have borne to attain the object of their love.  What we love indicates the sort of people we are, and therefore making a decision about this should be our one concern in choosing a way of life.

How absolutely brilliant, and yet so simple.  Figure out what (and whom) you love, and then choose your way of life.  Any career, any lifestyle will have its struggles, but if you choose a life in Christ you can be sure that it will come with a cross fit just for you.

My mind goes to images of Jesuits tied to rafts and sent over waterfalls in South America.  I can also conjure up stories of the great suffering of Catholic missionaries imprisoned in China for decades, or Franciscan Father Maximilian Kolbe offering to die in place of a stranger at Auschwitz.

But of course the real crosses are the daily ones, the aggravating ones, the ones that form us and give clarity to our decisions about whether we will make eye contact with that guy holding the sign on the corner, or pick up the phone when the lonely neighbor calls again.

What cross do you pick up and carry with love because of WHOM you love?  Let’s talk about it together here on the website.

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 in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

20 August 2011

We’re never gonna figure it out. That was actress Meryl Streep, talking with an interviewer a few years back about her own quest to know God.  And she’s right.  We’re never gonna figure it out.  But the search fills our lives with beauty and meaning.

We catch a glimmer of the divine, and the electricity from that encounter keeps us going for the rest of our lives.  St. Paul’s encounter with Jesus on that fateful Damascus road lasts just a few seconds; the remaining thirty years of his life are spent looking forward to the day when he will meet Jesus again in eternity.

Fourth of July fireworks interfere with migratory patterns and thousands of birds fall from the sky, birds we never noticed, birds we never knew were there.  And they are just the tiniest fraction of the birds of the air―one hundred billion— that our Heavenly Father feeds every day.  Oh, the depth of the riches of God.

The human heart is restless, yet deeply touched and comforted by a random call from a friend, a rainbow over the highway at rush hour, a persistent intuition that we are never alone. Oh, the depth of the knowledge of God.

Who do you say I am? Jesus asks.  Search your heart for your answer.  It’s the only thing you ever really need to figure out.

In what ways do you experience the depth of the riches of God?


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

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

13 August 2011

I like to get into the mind of that mother in today’s Gospel and notice how her love for her daughter gives her the adrenaline to kneel in front of Jesus, address him as Son of David and her Lord, and match wits with him until he unleashes his mercy and power.

O Woman, great is your faith!

And there isn’t a mother out there who isn’t doing this every day.  Lord, my son is bipolar and can’t hold down a job.  Lord, my daughter is chronically depressed.  Lord, my children don’t go to church and haven’t baptized my grandchildren.  Lord, I’ll do anything, say anything, be anything you want me to be.  Please just heal my child.

And I think the story is a set-up, of course.  Jesus ignores her at first.  Finally, after she has done everything she can to flatter and honor him, he throws out the ultimate challenge: why should he heal her Canaanite daughter ―a “dog” in his racist Middle Eastern culture—when his mission is to the Jews alone?

And she returns his volley like no one else in Matthew’s gospel: Lord, even the dogs get the scraps from the table. Now, what happened next didn’t get recorded, but can’t you imagine the two of them just roaring with laughter?  Jesus, delighted that she saw through his little test of her faith, congratulates her on the faith he is trying to instill in his own Hebrew race.  And I’ll bet she took him aside and said We felt your love before you ever reached the city gates.  Blessed are you for seeking us out and bringing us into your kingdom.

In what ways have you persevered in prayer throughout 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

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

6 August 2011

Reflecting on Matthew 14:22-33

When you find a Scripture text that touches you deeply at one time in your life, pay attention.  You have made an intimate connection with God, and now that that Scripture has taken root in you it will grow and surprise you with new insights throughout your life.

I was on a boat on Lake Galilee with 30 pilgrims from the Denver Catholic Biblical School when today’s Gospel befriended me. The priest with us offered this beautiful insight: You can say that Peter was overly impetuous. You can say that when it really mattered he denied Jesus, and then left him as he endured the cross. But it was Peter’s profession of faith that was the Rock (Petra) on which the Church was built.  Peter’s faith compelled him out of that boat because Jesus commanded him out, and then, when the darkness and wind terrified him, he reached out toward Jesus instead of back to the safety of the boat.

Isn’t that beautiful?  The boat, the most valuable possession for his family’s fishing business and the only place of stability on that huge lake, was just behind him.  But in his moment of panic Peter still trusted Jesus more than the safety of the boat.  He reached out for him, and was caught by the Master of the Sea.

In the years that followed that moment on the lake I’ve experienced some difficult health challenges.  But the power of this story has sustained me, and every day I reach out to him who is my only true safety.

Have you ever felt the loving arms of Jesus catch 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