Monthly Archives: November 2012

Solemnity of Christ the King – Cycle B

24 November 2012

Reflecting on John 18: 33b-37

Lucas Cranash the Elder, 1510 “Christ Crowned with Thorns”

When Jesus tells Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world” I always squirm a little.  Why isn’t it?  Why isn’t the incarnation—God made flesh and dwelling among us—the kingdom of God?  I squirm because I really, really like this world, and there are many moments every day where I think, “Yes, this is the kingdom, right here.”

Now that we have come to the end of the Year of Mark we can look back and find all kinds of ways in which Jesus created the kingdom while he lived.  Remember those four friends who carried their paralyzed friend across town, then took the roof off and lowered him down so that Jesus could heal him?  That’s the kingdom, right there.

Or remember when Jairus compelled Jesus to go off in a new direction in order to heal his daughter, and in so doing Jesus walked right into the path of the hemorrhaging woman, who reached out and grabbed the hem of the Kingdom as he passed?  A young girl and an aging woman, both brought back to health because they met the Kingdom of God.

There was Peter’s wife’s mother who, overjoyed at being made well, immediately resumed her life of service to the Kingdom.   These are just a few of the stories Mark told us this year, but they all end the same: the encounter with Jesus is the encounter with the Kingdom, and yet the fullness of that kingdom is still to come.  Let’s let Handel, and Revelation 11:15, end the year for us:

The Kingdom of this world is become the Kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ, and of his Christ!

What glimpses of the Kingdom do you have 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

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

17 November 2012

Reflecting on Mark 13: 24-32

I have an image in my mind, a kind of “save page” in my soul, that holds who I am and how I will always see the world.  It’s an actual picture of our backyard, circa 1958.  My sister and I are swinging on the swing-set, and my baby brother is playing in his crib on the porch.  My dad and two older brothers are playing basketball on our driveway basketball court, just outside our yard and just inside the picture. My mother’s fire-red roses climb up the fence and spill out in bushes that encircle the green, green grass.

It rains most afternoons, sending heavenly moisture into the ground and giving the grass that deep green, and the roses that deep red, that explodes in my memory even after all these years.

It seems sometimes that the world is ending.  Winters are too mild. Summers are too hot.  In the new normal of drought and fires, roses and lawns are replaced with xeriscapes.

Do kids still swing on swing-sets in fragrant backyards, and does that even matter?  I guess not.  It looks like the world will keep spinning.  Children will delight their parents, and will grow to be parents themselves.  Generations will pass away, and the moon will still give light, and the stars will stay in the sky.  The heavens will not be shaken.

Yet, the world is ending, and someday we will see the Creator of all this beauty.  Blessed are those who have radiated so much light in their lives that the shock of all that Light won’t slow them down from receiving the joyous welcomes of all who have gone before them, marked with sign of faith.

We are put on earth a little space,
That we may learn to bear the beams of love (William Blake).

In what ways are you “beaming love”?

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

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

11 November 2012

Reflecting on Mark 12: 38-44

Jesus, sitting opposite of the Temple treasury, watched that widow put her whole livelihood into the coffer.  You know what I think happened next?  I think his heart broke.  You’ve experienced it.  It’s that painful arrow to the heart that catches you off guard and makes your chest hurt.

The first time I felt it was while riding a bus one bitter cold January day.  I looked out the window and saw two old men, shivering together on a park bench, gusts of sleet plummeting them.  I looked away, but it was too late.  Compassion broke my heart.

Years later, working as a waitress, I watched a widow, solitary and sad, come into the restaurant and eat alone every Saturday night.  At the end of her meal she would gather the leftovers in a bag, careful to have something to eat for her lonely Sunday.  I tried to hide my heart, but it was too late.  It broke in half.

I’ll bet that’s what happened that day near the Treasury.  Jesus, so steeped in the powerful, ethical laws of Moses, watched a widow, the very person whom Jewish leadership was to most protect from poverty, give from her great need.  He watched her, and then his heart broke. He called to his friends and invited them to have their hearts broken too.

We never know how our lives touch people, but it’s almost never for the reasons we think.  It’s not our wholeness that makes its deepest mark in the hearts of those who watch us.  It’s our brokenness, our vulnerability, that breaks the heart, and of course it’s the crack in the heart that lets the Light shine through.

How has a broken heart changed 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 © 2014-2015

Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

3 November 2012

It’s November, that month in which the saints go marching into our consciousness in all kinds of touching ways.  I suspect that Jim Becker’s beautiful Litany of the Saints is finding its way into the Sunday liturgy. Invoking the saints isn’t just for the Easter Vigil anymore.

What a comfort it is to know that we’ve got friends in high places. From the earliest years of the Christian faith, believers have had a certain surety that those who had gone before them (particularly through the sword of martyrdom) were still in communion with them.

The month begins with the celebration of the saints, and then immediately remembers all the souls who have gone before us to God. Most people have a certain sense that we are not alone in this universe, that we are accompanied, as Hebrews says, by a “vast cloud of witnesses” (12:1,2).  There is something in us that innately reaches out to those whose lives on earth were awash in God, and we call to them when we feel our lives on earth intersecting with theirs.

The patron saints of all of our earthly travails—lost faith, lost health, lost keys—have been so identified because there was something in their lives, on one side or the other side of heaven, that gained some victory over these earthly enemies.

Imagine what that day will be like when we have arrived joyfully in heaven, to be met by the smiles of the martyrs and our own beloved dead, who loved us on both sides of the grave. Until then we live in the mystery of their presence with us here. All you holy men and women, pray for us!

Are you close to your patron saint?

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