Monthly Archives: September 2011

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Times – Cycle A

24 September 2011

Reflecting on Matthew 21:28-32

Remember your mercies, Oh Lord

Wedding rehearsals are always filled with nervous questions:  What if I trip on my veil?  What if I forget my vows?  What if the photographer is late?

There is an antidote to all that anxiety:  make a mistake right off the bat and then enjoy the rest of the wedding.  Yes!  The flower girl had to be dragged down the aisle kicking and screaming!  Whew.  Now that the pressure for perfection is blown we can all relax.

At some point in our lives we finally see what everyone else has always known about us: we make mistakes.  It’s easy to be distracted from our own faults by observing the huge flaws of all of our friends, and when we run out of excuses watching them we can always turn to movie stars, international banking corporations and all those crooks in Washington.  Finally, we can depend on terrorists, serial killers and drug cartels to delay that inevitable, shocking moment of truth: we too have disappointed people and failed to love.  We too have promised to go into the vineyard, but never actually gone.

And it’s in that moment of discovery of our own sin that grace begins to settle in.  How great is the forgiveness others have offered to us more times than we knew!  Remember your mercies, oh Lord, and start with us.  Because we suddenly see how gracious you have been in overlooking and forgiving and lifting us up, over and over again.

And so, our cover blown, we can relax into God’s love, with the tax collectors and prostitutes who are speeding into the kingdom, full of sin, full of grace.

Are there people in your life with whom you can be totally yourself and still know that your are loved?


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-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

17 September 2011

Reflecting on Isaiah 55:6-9, Matthew 20:1-16a

I’m quitting. We’re all quitting. You’d quit too if you worked all day in that blazing sun, pulling those weeds and trying to plant crops in that hard ground. All day long I worked! I was one of the first ones there this morning. I got on the truck and ate the tortilla Maria made for me while they drove us out to the fields. I didn’t stop until lunch. And you know how hot it’s been. But I worked in that heat all day, and all day long the laborers kept coming.

Are you envious because I am generous?

And they got paid first! When I saw what they got I thought he must have upped the pay scale, but no, he paid me just what he promised.

But it’s not fair that the workers who came late, all the way up until 5 in the afternoon, got paid the very same thing I did! If that’s the way it works then from now on I’m showing up at the end of the day too.

“Are you envious because I’m generous?” he asked us when we complained. Well, I can tell you that his ways are not the ways of doing business! And his thoughts are not the thoughts of somebody who wants to keep his workers working hard for him!

I’m mad. I’m frustrated. But I’ve been thinking about all the things God has given me in my life that I didn’t earn. I want to get to know this guy better, whose ways are not my ways and whose thoughts are not my thoughts.

Name some of the things you have received from God that you didn’t earn.

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-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

10 September 2011

September 11, 2011

Reflecting on Sirach 27:30-28:7

Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12

Matthew 18: 21-35

Let me add my astonished voice to the millions of voices who must have said today, after hearing today’s Gospel, “Of all the days in history for these readings to come around!  God is clearly in our midst.”

Think about it.  Forty-two years of Sunday Masses have gone by since the new lectionary was received by the Church on the First Sunday of Advent, 1969.  That’s 2,184 Sundays.  Jesus’ great parable about the necessity of forgiveness has only appeared on fourteen of those Sundays, and one of those is today, on the tenth anniversary of the event which challenged our willingness to even speak of forgiveness, much less try to activate it.

September 11, 2001 is the date that will live in infamy for most Americans because more of us living today were of age on that date than were of age on December 7, 1941, and the generation who lived through that awful day in 1941 was equally shocked when those towers came down.

On this tenth anniversary of the temporary triumph of hate, let the memories come.  Let the shock set in again, and the sadness.  And then turns your eyes upon Jesus, and who speaks so intimately to the world today through Matthew’s Gospel account, and whose kindness is new every morning.

And hear old Sirach, reaching out to us in time today: Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight…The vengeful will suffer the LORD’s vengeance, for he remembers their sins in detail.

Who will speak the wisdom of Jesus, the Reconciler, in our age?  If not us, who?  If not now, when?  Let’s let our voices ring.  Let’s seek the way of peace together.  Let’s roll.

How has the event of September 11, 2001 impacted your relationship with 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

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

5 September 2011

Reflecting on Matthew 18:15-20

I friend of mine, the mother of two young adults, once said this:  I think my kids love to watch “Friends” because the characters in that television show openly confront each other (hilariously, of course) and don’t have any hidden resentments.  But in real life nobody really relates that way, and so my kids leave all kinds of things unsaid, even with each other.  They were so much closer when they were kids, before they learned to hide their feelings.

It’s true, isn’t it?  The challenges of social interactions are so great that many conversations never happen, and decades-long resentments are never voiced, which means true intimacy is never approached.

Jesus knows a thing or two about intimacy, and gives us this bold suggestion: just open your mouth and say what’s on your mind.  Now, this is very risky.  Chances are great that the person whom you want to be closer to, but can’t because of whatever it is that’s bothering you, will listen respectfully, thank you for your “feedback”, and then check you off their list of their most intimate friends because they are inwardly seething.

And that’s where God’s words to Cain, sick with jealousy of his brother Abel, come in handy: Why are you angry? If you act rightly, you will be accepted; but if not, sin lies in wait at the door: its urge is for you, yet you can rule over it (Gen. 4:7).

At moments of great grace, sin crouches at the door.  Honesty is agonizing, but no great marriage or community ever thrived without it.

Have you ever had the grace to let a friend know that you have been hurt by 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