Monthly Archives: May 2012

Pentecost Sunday – Cycle B

26 May 2012

A PENTECOST SEQUENCE

Come, oh Holy Spirit, come!

Concerns have made our spirits numb.

With fruits of joy and love and peace

Give our anxious hearts release.

When we are sick of sin and Law

Stop us cold with grace and awe.

Hold us dumbstruck, draw us near.

Stay with us this coming year.

Help us see the world anew

And do the things that He would do.

The gentle word, the warm embrace,

Let those who see us see His face.

And help us work for justice, too,

And speak up when You ask us to.

With your sevenfold gifts descend

And help us fall in Love again.

Melt us, mold us, make us new.

Veni, Sancte Spiritu!

What gifts of the Holy Spirit do you most appreciate 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

Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord – Cycle B

19 May 2012

Reflecting on Acts 1:1-11

 

Remain in me. How many times have we heard Jesus tell us this throughout this Easter season?  Remain in me as I remain in you.

And now, like tender branches clinging to the vine, the eyewitnesses are instructed to remain in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit comes upon them.

How they must have longed to say to Jesus, “No!  Take us with you.  Don’t leave us.  We are powerless and terrified without you.”

But Jesus knew what they didn’t.  The Advocate, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit was about to come, like a mighty wind, and change their hearts and all history.

I love thinking about the people in that upper room who remained in prayer for those nine days from Ascension Thursday until Pentecost.  We know from Acts 1: 12-14 that the eleven apostles were there, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his “brothers”.

Wow.  That’s quite a minyan (a Jewish prayer group).  Think of the things they had seen with their own eyes, including the resurrected Christ.  I’ll bet a huge part of their time together was in telling each other the stories, over and over again.  And I’ll bet that Mary had the best stories of all.

Like a mighty wind the Spirit came, and clothed them in so much power that they went out into the four corners of the Roman world, preaching a Jewish Savior.  With Paul and Barnabas and Silas and Lydia and Phoebe and Chloe and hundreds of other disciples (see Romans 16 for a few) they built the church in every settled and unsettled province of the world.

Remain in me, says Jesus. Even today.  Especially today.

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

Sixth Sunday of Easter – Cycle B

13 May 2012

Reflecting on Acts 10: 25-26, 34-35, 44-48

Icon of St. Peter

Perhaps the most challenging statement ever uttered in the history of the world appears in today’s first reading, taken from The Acts of the Apostles.  Peter himself says it:  In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.

Two millennia later, it still takes your breath away.  Peter, the Orthodox Jew, is telling the “God-fearers,” those believing Gentiles in the home of Cornelius, that God loves them exactly as much as God loves the Jewish people!  And, as if on cue, the Holy Spirit rushes upon those Gentiles even before they are baptized in water!  It’s as if the Spirit is saying, “Do you think I have to wait to send my gifts of comfort, and strength, and wisdom upon these people just because you haven’t baptized them with water yet?”

What a scary God that would be—a God who isn’t huge enough to love every single one of us, who plays favorites, who withholds comfort and grace based on our correctly-articulated dogma.  It’s thrilling to read the Acts of the Apostles and watch the Holy Spirit, in the first decades after the Resurrection, gather people of every race, language, and way of life into the one eternal banquet.

In fact, Peter’s realization is so important that it is told originally in chapter 10, and then re-told in chapters 11 and 15.  It’s as if St. Luke was afraid we’d forget it in time.

And so our annual novena to the Holy Spirit begins this Ascension Thursday, as we wait with Mary and all the Church for another Pentecost to take our breath away once more.  Come, Holy Spirit, come.

What are you asking of the Spirit this year?

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

Fifth Sunday of Easter – Cycle B

5 May 2012

Reflecting on John 15: 1-8

The branches of the vine should be especially full and beautiful these days.  Over forty-three thousand adults entered into full communion with us this Easter.  Think of that.

Perhaps it’s because they are getting married and want to share the faith of their spouse.  Or maybe a childhood friend introduced them to Catholicism decades ago, and they finally gave in to a lifelong curiosity.  Or maybe they, like so many people, long for a deep and beautiful connection with God, and they choose us as their conduits to Jesus the Resurrected One.  That’s scary, isn’t it?

But here’s the thing: if the branches are overflowing with new Catholics, and recently-new Catholics, and cradle Catholics, why don’t things seem to change? When the Denver Nuggets are in town, with the capacity crowd of 19,000 roaring the roof off the Pepsi Center, the city knows it.  There is an energy that changes the atmosphere of downtown.

Ah, we say.  The Nuggets must be here.

More than double that number joined the Catholic Church this Easter, and the Easter before that, and Easters for the last two thousand years.

Where is the pulsing, world-changing tidal wave of joy, and peace-making, and justice-seeking, and outreach to those who are estranged?  There are 1.19 billion of us on this planet.  Let’s continue to work for the day when people say, “Ah.  The grieving are comforted, the hungry are fed, families are happier and safer, and the poor have the good news preached to them.  The Catholics must be here.”

In what ways do you work to heal the world?

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