Monthly Archives: January 2012

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

28 January 2012

Reflecting on I Corinthians 7:32-35

St. Paul’s remarks today about the differences between those who are married and unmarried calls to mind the beautiful death last November of Sr.  Antonia Anthony, OSF.  She was killed by a young driver who ran a red light four blocks from her home.

In her last moments Sr. Antonia prayed Come, Lord Jesus. And he did.

Sister Patty Podhaisky gave this account: Within minutes Sr. Antonia relaxed, and her breathing slowed down until she peacefully breathed her last, surrounded by her Franciscan sisters and her family.  We felt deep communion in the Heart of God with all of you, her/our sisters, families, friends, companions, as we journeyed with her into the heart of Great Love.  It seemed as though Antonia was running home, and the breeze of her passing brushed each of us with tender grace.

I think St. Paul would especially take note of the “deep communion” that the Sisters,  and her  family, all felt with the Body of Christ throughout the world who had known and loved and been loved by Sr. Antonia, whose passion for justice had propelled her to the poorest places on the globe.

Sister Macrina Scott, Sr. Antonia’s great friend who was in the car with her and sustained serious injuries, appeared in court two months later to appeal for mercy for the young man. She and other members of her community gave him a picture of Sr. Antonia, and a prayer card from her funeral.  Instead of prison he will perform five hundred hours of community service.  Sr. Antonia’s spirit remains.

We, all of us, are one Body.  And we do not live or die alone.  Married and unmarried, ordained and vowed Religious, we journey together, praying Come, Lord Jesus. And there he is, in the midst of us.

Have you experienced the friendships of those in vowed religious communities?

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 © 2013

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

21 January 2012

Reflecting on Jonah 3:1-5,10

Much of the humor in the Bible is lost on us today because it so culturally-conditioned.  But the passive, hypocritical Jonah in today’s first reading makes a great comic foil in any time.

Have you read the Old Testament book of Jonah lately? Try it.  You’ll laugh at the guy who tells God he ABSOLUTELY will go east, then books passage on the fastest boat going west.  Of course, he ends up being thrown overboard by the prayerful, (non-Jewish) sailors who recognize that God wants Jonah out of the boat and into the belly of the “big fish”.

After three days Jonah is spit up onto the shore and finally heads towards Nineveh.  There the inhabitants (including the cattle!) of the capital city of the most violent empire in the ancient world “believe God” immediately, and fast and pray.  When God has compassion on them and forgives them Jonah is FURIOUS, and at the end of the book we find him pouting under a tree that is quickly shriveling, taking away his shade and his last place to hide from the God who so maddeningly forgives the people Jonah hates.

But Jonah isn’t alone in his jealousy.  I admit I’m jealous too, because it appears that the Ninevites were able to truly change with just a short encounter with God’s word.   Real change— a change we can believe ineludes us most of the time, and yet we long for it.  Change our hearts this time, oh GodPut us anywhere, even in sackcloth and ashes in Nineveh—anywhere but with Jonah, spending eternity with an unconverted heart and a blazing, unrelenting sun.

What change do you long to make 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 © 2013

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time – Cycle B

15 January 2012

Reflecting on John 1:35-42

St. Andrew, the First-Called

It was about four in the afternoon.  Isn’t that interesting? The author of John’s Gospel thought it was important to notice the time of day that the two disciples left their community with John the Baptist and followed Jesus, to “see where he stayed”.

And speaking of times of day, it must have been night time when little Samuel heard God calling him.  He rose from his sleep three times to respond to the specific voice that he heard calling his name.  And what was Eli’s instruction to him?  Go back to sleep. Go back to the place where you felt God’s presence and wait for God to find you there.

Do you have a “time of day” that you recall as a time of rendezvous with Jesus?  Do you have a memory of a time or place where you felt the touch of Jesus?  Faith builds on the memories of the times when we have been touched by God’s great mercy.  Take a moment to remember one or two times when you experienced the comforting presence of God.  You know that feeling of strength and peace that comes upon you?  That’s grace, and there is grace sufficient to carry you every time you savor that memory.

In this new year, marked by a specific time (2012), perhaps we could each choose a time of day where we will stop for just a moment to listen for Jesus, or to recall God’s nearness.  I choose four in the afternoon.  How about you?

What is your time or place of “rendezvous with 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 © 2013

Solemnity of the Epiphany – Cycle B

8 January 2012

Reflecting on Matthew 2:1-12

Andrea Mantegna c. 1497

And so we come back to the beautiful story of those wise men from the East.  And our questions arise as surely as the Star.

How is it that they observed the Star at its rising?  Why did they, Gentiles who knew nothing of the promised Messiah, leave everything to seek a newborn King of Judea? And, the harder question: if the Star hovered over the house where the Holy Family stayed in Bethlehem, with none of the Jews in the City of David noticing it, how did the Gentiles see it clearly from afar and find the Messiah through its Light?

St. Matthew (the only one of the four Gospel writers who knows this Epiphany story) is telling his Jewish/Christian community something beautiful: those who seek Jesus will surely find Him, whether born into the right bloodlines or not.

And there’s something else here too: are we ready to follow the Stars that arise in our lives, to be utterly open to the Surprising Love of the One who meets us in our comings and goings, our dreaming and our rising, our instinctive drawing near to him who drew so near to us?  In this new year let’s resolve again to keep our eyes wide open for the Christ who comes to us in a thousand different ways, bidden and unbidden,  searching for us as earnestly as we are searching for him.

Many thanks to young Kathleen Sullivan, who encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and seek broader and wider for the true meaning of the  Epiphany.  Just like the Wise Men.

 

 

In what ways do you sense that God is seeking 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 © 2013

The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God – Cycle B

1 January 2012

Reflecting on Luke 2:16-21

One Christmas Eve, while on pilgrimage to Israel, my husband and I took a memorable walk to Bethlehem from Shepherd’s Field.  This is the field that remembers the sacred place where the shepherds—that group who were considered so unclean that their testimony was not honored in court—saw the angel, who entrusted to them the greatest news in the history of the world.  Then the heavens opened and they saw “a multitude of the heavenly host” praising God.

Ben and I decided to follow their footsteps from Shepherd’s Field that Christmas Eve afternoon.  We “went in haste” those three miles, which gradually got steeper as they led to the Church of the Nativity.  Breathless and with hearts bursting, we entered the church which, at Midnight Mass in ten hours, would be packed with pilgrims from around the world.  But at this moment we were alone.  We climbed down the dark stairs that led to the ancient cave where the shepherds found “Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.”  Then those shepherds, those “outlaws”, testified to them what they had been told about Jesus.

What peace we felt there in that cave on that Christmas Eve.  As we walked out into the December chill we promised to increase our own testimony of Jesus, and to work harder for peace on earth, and goodwill towards all.

Are there places in your heart that can’t embrace a God who has love for all people?

This column is dedicated to our dearest friend in Jerusalem, Rev. Goran Larsson, who is friend to Christians, Jews and Muslims in the Holy City.  He has walked from Shepherd’s Field to Bethlehem many times, but his life and his extraordinary spirit  brings believers to the place where they can find 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 © 2013