Monthly Archives: April 2012

Fourth Sunday of Easter – Cycle B

28 April 2012

Reflecting on John 10: 11-18

I had the most beautiful experience on Holy Thursday.  I was sitting next to a very sweet man who appeared to be a little confused about the rituals of that unique night—the ringing of the bells at the Gloria, the washing of the feet, the transfer of the Holy Eucharist to the altar of repose.

It was then, as the lights dimmed and the congregation began to follow in procession, singing the ancient hymn of adoration Pange Lingua, that he turned to me and said, “I’m sorry.  I don’t know what’s going on.  Am I supposed to be doing something?”

What a thrill to be asked to explain “what’s going on”.  It reminded me of the ritual Passover meal, where the youngest child is prompted to ask, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” And then the rest of the family jumps in to tell the wondrous story of their liberation from slavery in Egypt.

We walked in procession, and I explained that we were remembering Jesus and his night of solitary prayer at Gethsemane before his arrest.  He listened with a heart utterly open to all the beauty that the rituals of Holy Week and Easter reveal.

And he told me, in a reverent whisper, that he was returning to the church on Easter morning.  He had been gone for forty years.

On this Good Shepherd Sunday I think of the millions who have left us, and I grieve for us and for them.  We wait in joyful hope for the day when we are all one again. Because there is so, so much beauty here. “What’s going on?” he asked me.  “Oh,” I grinned.  “I can’t wait to tell you.”

How can you tell the Good News to your own family members?

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

Third Sunday of Easter – Cycle B

21 April 2012

Reflecting on Luke 24: 35-48

I love to read stories about near-death experiences.  I’ve recently read two books about two different young boys who have “died” and returned, with wonderful, thrilling reports about what awaits us.

The first book, The Boy Who Went to Heaven (Kevin Malarkey), tells the story of a terrible car accident, and a boy who will be a quadriplegic the rest of his life. Yet this child (now a teenager) is radiant with joy because of what he saw in heaven when he “died”.

The second is the stunning Messenger: The Legacy of Mattie Stepanek (Stepanek).  You may have seen Mattie on Oprah or many other television shows while he was alive. He was brought back from death several times as he struggled with a rare form of muscular dystrophy that had already taken his three siblings.  “They’ve got it all wrong about the angels on the Christmas trees, “he said in wonder. “They’re so, so much more beautiful than words can describe.”  He was almost fourteen when this Catholic poet/peacemaker went home to God.

We long to believe these near-death accounts, but perhaps we have doubts about exactly what happens when we die, and if our brains play tricks on us as they are shutting down.

But today we get a glimpse of heaven ourselves, as the resurrected Jesus appears to his disciples and says, “Have you anything to eat?”  They are speechless.  Astounded.  And apparently just about to have lunch. Jesus knows just how to give them peace. When in doubt, eat together.  And there he is, in the midst of them.

Have you ever had a “glimpse of heaven”?

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

Divine Mercy Sunday – Cycle B

15 April 2012

Divine Mercy Sunday is a recent gift.  St. Faustina Kowalska (canonized in 2000) promoted devotion to the mercy of God, inspiring Pope John Paul II to set the Second Sunday of Easter apart as a worldwide day of mercy.  And of course no Gospel story is more filled with mercy than that of Jesus inviting a broken-hearted Thomas to touch his wounds, so to be healed of his own great wound of grief.

Mercy probably looks different to each of us.  Two moments come to mind for me.  In the first, I’m presenting my high school report card to my dad, and that D in Algebra just jumps off the page.  This will in fact be the last day of my life.  I brace.  And then, mercy.  He laughs, and love compels him to let me in on a secret I would otherwise never have known.

Listen, Kathy, that’s no big deal.  I got a D in Algebra too.

Did you feel that?  That was mercy.

The second is a story from my husband Ben’s miserable fourth grade school year in El Paso.  His collar bone broken in a fight with the school bully, he struggled to find a seat on the school bus.  When the prettiest and nicest girl in the fourth grade moved over and gave him the seat next to her she said to him, Guess who likes you? And he thought, I’m the loser new kid who just got hurt in a fight.  Nobody likes me. But this most darling, wonderful girl said, Me.  I like you.

And just as the Father sent her on to that school bus that day, so he sends you.

To whom will you extend mercy this week?

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

Easter Sunday – Cycle B

8 April 2012

It’s Easter.  Can you feel it?  It’s been silently making its way to us, through the chill and winds of March.  Birds who have suddenly found their way back to our back yard are greeting us with Easter song.  The single crocus in our front yard, planted by a young friend years ago who is now expecting her first baby, has faithfully pulled up out of the stone-cold ground.  Every spring it’s a delightful surprise.  You again!  We forgot all about you.  How sweet of you to keep popping up in our neglected yard, reminding us that Easter happens, ready or not.

How was your Lent?  Was your fast helpful in pulling you back from the things that are hurting you?  Are you more who you want to be, more determined to “not go back to that place of slavery” that keeps you dependent, or powerless?  That’s always my goal, and once again I didn’t achieve it.

But God brings Easter anyway, whether we had a successful Lent or not.  Our relentlessly loving God keeps sending flowers and rains, lilacs and lilies, baby chicks and baby humans.  An endless Lent is just not in God’s nature.  Easter is God’s nature, with its resurrections and Alleluias, its promise of new life, its memory of an empty tomb, and our Christ, whose triumph over the grave has opened the graves of all believers.

So once again I’ll shake off the ashes of failure, lift my face up to the sun, and hold my hands open wide.  It’s Easter, and the powers of hell cannot prevail against it.  Let the feast of the forgiven begin.

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