Monthly Archives: June 2012

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

30 June 2012

Reflecting on Mark 5: 21-43

Mark’s story of the healing of two females in today’s Gospel might be my favorite of all the miracle stories.  It’s so packed with “Aha Moments” that I hardly know where to begin.

At the beginning of the story Mark says that Jesus’ original plan is to “stay by the sea” with his disciples.  But Jairus appears and begs him to come to his house because his twelve-year-old daughter is “at the point of death”.

And so his plans change on a dime.  He leaves immediately in a new direction.

And who should be living in that new direction? A woman who has had a “chronic flow of blood” for twelve (!) years.  Look at the beautiful connection here.  For the twelve years that Jairus’ daughter has been alive this woman has been bleeding.  And what is perhaps the cause of the illness of the twelve-year-old girl? Might she be beginning her own menstrual period and having extreme pain or even unconsciousness?

This older woman and this young girl, unknown to each other before this day, are mystically connected, and if Jesus hadn’t “changed his plans”—ha!—and gone in a different direction in order to heal the young girl then—yes! −− the older woman may never have had the opportunity to touch him and be healed.

We’re all connected.  On his way to the little girl the older woman is healed.  And that woman knows that this is her moment, her divine appointment, and she reaches out with all her might.

Watch out for changes in plans.  Jesus might just be coming your way.

Have you ever had a surprise encounter with Christ?

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 Birth of John the Baptist – Cycle B

23 June 2012

One of the beautiful things about the liturgical year is the way the mysteries of faith are tied together, especially with  the feasts of  Mary, John the Baptist, and Jesus.  Theirs are the only births celebrated as feasts, since it’s the days of death (and hence new life) of the saints that are generally celebrated.  But so important are their births that even the dates of their conceptions are remembered!

Hence the Immaculate Conception of Mary is December 8th, and her birth (nine months later) is September 8th.  The ancient date of the conception of Jesus (the Annunciation) was set on March 25th, which of course was a perfect nine months before December 25th.

The conception of John the Baptist was once commemorated on September 24th, which brings us to today’s (June 24th) feast of his birth, so treasured that it actually pre-empts today’s 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time.   Think about it:  Luke (1:26,27) says that Elizabeth was six months pregnant the day that Jesus was conceived.  He goes on to tell us that Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months before John’s birth. That means Mary was three months pregnant when John was born.  So if the Nativity of Jesus is December 25th (when the days begin to grow longer), then John’s birth was six months earlier (June 24th) when the days begin to gradually get shorter.

That I may decrease, and He may increase, John said. Just like the days ahead, as they oh-so-gradually decrease and, like the Baptist, point the way to the birth of the Invincible Son, in whom there is no darkness at all.

What graces do you feel during these long summer days?

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

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

16 June 2012

Reflecting on Mark 4: 26-34

Over the past few months I’ve had the great joy of reconnecting with some friends from high school.  As a group we drifted away from each other almost immediately all those years ago, but some one-on-one friendships have held fast through the decades.

It wouldn’t have been impossible to find each other through the years.  But in the magical, expansive time-frame of friendship we have gravitated back, forgiving each other for abandoning our teenaged promises to stay close, to help with the raising of babies and the burying of parents.

Each of us has changed in huge ways.  Illness and loss have forged not-invisible gashes across our souls. But the sweet gifts of time and grace have given us all the chance to become more and more the people we wanted to be way back then.  How?  We do not know.

We are like the farmer who sows the seed and then sleeps and rises, week after week, and is then astounded to see the wheat that has grown high and golden while no one was watching.  How? He does not know.

There are secret seeds growing in us all the time.  How blessed to encounter someone with whom we may once been estranged and realize that those wounds healed long, long ago.  Or maybe it’s bad habits that once plagued us that we one day notice haven’t tempted us in years.

Look around today.  Billions of seeds, secretly buried in the dark and cold, have burst open to create the luscious greens that surround us on the grass and on our tables. Grace abounds.  How? We do not know.  But we live in astonished gratitude.

What secret victories have you achieved through the long gift of time?

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 Body and Blood of Christ – Cycle B

9 June 2012

Mosaic found in church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish, Tabgha, Galilee, Israel

It’s all in the bloodstream. That’s a family joke.  There wasn’t a one of us (including our parents) who had ever understood one minute of Science class.  As we kids cycled through colds and flus and broken bones my mom would read all the directions on the pill bottles, shake her head wisely and say Ah yes.  It’s all in the bloodstream. Which, all these years later, still means in family-speak, The world is just way too confusing and scientific, and I’m admitting defeat.

But of course the ancients knew that it really is all in the bloodstream.  Blood is the carrier of life, and solemn covenants were sealed by splashing blood on the two parties entering into them.  When Moses wanted to show the deadly earnest with which the Israelites promised to keep the Law which they had just received on Mount Sinai, he used the life-force of the sacrificed bulls as a substitute for human blood.  We promise to be faithful, God, and we enter this joyful covenant sprinkled in blood, the life of the world.

When Jesus the Bridegroom entered into his eternal marriage contract with us the night before he died he used the same image of blood, but this time it would be his own.  This is my blood of the covenant. Taken, blessed, broken, shared—This is my Body. This is my Blood.

We Catholics have endured many difficult years recently.  But this this is our Feast.  This is Who we are.  And once again we enter this joyful covenant.  We are one Body, one Body in Christ.  And we do not stand alone.

What memories do you have of your First Communion?

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 Most Holy Trinity – Cycle B

2 June 2012

Have you read The Shack?  The book has its detractors, but oh how it captures this One Truth: we are made in the image and likeness of a God who is Three, and the Persons are in eternal relationship with each other.

An elderly friend said to me the other day, “The truth is, I just want to be left alone.  Leave my Social Security check alone.  Leave my V.A. benefits alone.   Let me sit out on my porch and enjoy the sunset.  Alone.”

He doesn’t really mean it.  I’m sure he also wants to eat, and to do that we all need farmers, and harvesters, and those who drive the food to town.  The magical ways that electricity, and fuel,  and air conditioning, and bicycle tires keep us comfortable all require people—smart people—and millions of smart people before them.

Of course, it’s not just humans or animals or plants or planets that must have each other.  In fact, the God who set the atoms and molecules of the earliest life in motion wasn’t even alone.  Proverbs 8: 22-31 describes a Being who danced with God—who WAS God—at the beginning of creation (the Holy Spirit).  And the first verse of John’s Gospel says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  That’s Jesus.

The Trinity, together and present before anything existed, danced the universe into being.  A liturgical dance of Three.  And since we live and move and have our being in Christ, we too are caught in the endless dance of Love.  Never alone.  Never on our own.  Thank God.

Which member of the Holy Trinity do you feel you understand the best?

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