Monthly Archives: October 2012

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

29 October 2012

Reflecting on Mark 10: 46-52

I wonder why the disciples of Jesus and the rest of the crowd tried to shush the blind man when he called.  Did they think that Jesus only wanted to be approached by the fit and good-looking?  Did they assume that their own positions as disciples and followers were based on their superior wit, or status, or lovability?  They must have felt quite honored to be in his entourage as he moved from place to place, from crowd to crowd.  Shush, they scolded the blind man.  You’re not one of his chosen.  You stay in your place.

Oh, wait.  Take courage, Bartimaeus!  He’s calling you!  Take heart! And now we feel the compassion of the disciples as they rush to tell this blind beggar that the Son of David has heard his plea and is calling for him.  He throws off his cloak, springs up and comes to Jesus.  He must be trembling.  The Healer has called for him.  What do you want me to do for you? Jesus asks.  Master, I want to see. And then, after a lifetime in the dark, he sees light, and color, and family, and the side of the road where he begged for so many years.  His faith has saved him.  He immediately follows Jesus on The Way.

Do you know people who have recently received a cancer diagnosis, or perhaps are full of anxiety over the illness of a loved one?  Go to them this week.  Step out of your own comfort zone and gather around them.  Hold them tight and say Take courage.  Jesus is calling you.

And then, trembling, help them follow him on The Way.

How can you personally help someone who is sick take courage?

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-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

19 October 2012

Reflecting on Mark 10:35-45

Oh, how tantalizing and frustrating these passages from Mark can be.  If Mark is written in Rome in the late 60s (and tradition says that Peter is the eyewitness behind that earliest gospel), is it possible that word has reached Rome of the martyrdom of James by Herod Agrippa around the year 44 A.D.?  Some scholars think Jesus actually foretold that death when he told the two sons of Zebedee that they would indeed share in the cup of his own suffering (Mark 10:39).

I love to read sections of scripture from Eugene Peterson’s masterful contemporary translation entitled The Message.  Here’s how he relates the story of that martyrdom:

That’s when Herod got it into his head to go after some of the church members.  He murdered James, John’s brother.  When he saw how much it raised his popularity numbers with the Jews he arrested Peter—all this during Passover week, mind you—and had him thrown into jail.  He was planning a public lynching after Passover (Acts 12:1-4).

If only we were given just a little more.  James is the only apostle whose martyrdom is related in scripture.  Tradition tells us of the crucifixion of Peter, and the accounts of the deaths of the other apostles, though not biblical, are precious to the memory of the Church.

But I think that the MOST interesting search is for the martyrdom of John.  Jesus says that both the brothers will drink from that CUP, but what happened to John?  He disappears after the Council of Jerusalem in 50 A.D. (Galatians 2:6-10).  Or does he?

Google “John, the son of Zebedee and jump into one of scriptures most intriguing mysteries.  Then join the conversation here to chat with Catholics around the country about this fascinating topic.

Have you ever felt closer to Jesus during a time of your own suffering?

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-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

13 October 2012

Reflecting on Mark 10:17-27

Every so often I have to read another book about St. Francis of Assisi.  Eight hundred years later his story of utter conversion, utter transformation into the very heart of Christ, still stuns me.  This year’s book is Julien Green’s wondrous God’s Fool: The Life and Times of Francis of Assisi.

Using the oldest documents we have about him, Green brings into startling focus the life of the world’s greatest saint. This charming, devilish “Prince of Youth”, leading his drunken friends through the streets of 13th century Assisi, had a beautiful singing voice and the refined appetite for elegance and fine dining that befit the son of a wealthy clothier.  And then, like St. Paul, God met him on the road one night:

Stuffed to the point of vomiting, the guests went off to defile the public squares with their drunken songs.  And who was that following them, with his fool’s baton in hand, but Francesco, the king of the feast?  All of a sudden he stopped.

What had happened?  In the middle of that sorry feast, Francis had fallen in love.  For years he had been fleeing someone or something, and suddenly that Someone had caught up with him and blasted him with all the power of his tenderness.  Francis was twenty-five years old.

Within weeks of that encounter Francis sold everything and gave it to the poor.  Overjoyed and filled with the utter fullness of God, he found the treasures of heaven.

As I read this book I drew as closely to him as I dared, and caught a glimpse of those treasures.  And now comes today’s gospel, with its warnings against wealth (and I confess I love wealth) because it can distract us from drawing as near as we can to Christ.  Help! The Hound of Heaven is chasing me.

Do the greatest joys of your life have anything to do with money?

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-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

7 October 2012

Reflecting on Genesis 2:18-24

It’s chilly in my office this morning.  What a blessing.  The heat of the summer is finally fading.  Time to check the closet for a sweater or jacket.  Ah, here’s Ben’s coat, my favorite coat, the one he wore on our first date 27 years ago.  I wrap myself in its cozy corduroy warmth and re-member (experience again, “member again”) that young, sweet, smart guy who asked me out on a date for one night, and then asked to love me for a lifetime.  In my astonishment I recall the psalmist who, reflecting on his immense good fortune, asked, “Who am I, oh God, that you should be mindful of me?”

The ancients whom the Holy Spirit inspired to tell the story of the creation of women and men had this  beautiful insight: we are formed of the same flesh, carved of the same bone.  And in a great marriage the spouses may even say, You get me.  My heart calls to your heart.  It is in your arms I want to die.

And of course the raising of children causes spouses to cling to each other, to delight and agonize together, for the rest of their lives, over the children entrusted to them.  That’s a bond like no other, yes?  The suffering that comes from this great love is immense.  There is no holier undertaking.

My heart breaks in half for those who have lost their loves, or weren’t faithful to love, or never found love.  Life isn’t fair.  Thank God the BRIDEGROOM has espoused himself to us forever, to heal those wounds and make all things new.  See how our God has come to meet us.

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