Monthly Archives: April 2013

Fifth Sunday of Easter – Cycle C

28 April 2013

Reflecting on John 13: 31-33a, 34-35

Did you see the recent National Geographic special about identical twins? These are people who will never be mistaken for cousins, or even siblings a year apart.  No, identical twins are unmistakable.  By their looks and mannerisms the world knows they belong to each other.

Those of us who belong to Christ should be just as easily identifiable.  Love one another as I have loved you, says Jesus. By this the world will know you are my own.

By this, then, are those who belong to Christ known: by the thousands of charities and schools and hospitals and orphanages founded by people called by that Name (Mt. 25:35,36).  By the forgiveness extended every day to co-workers, family members, and friends by those who remember Christ’s mandate to forgive seventy times seven (Mt. 18:22).  By the day-to-day honesty in the workplace by those who recall that it is better to be poor and walk in integrity than to be rich, yet crooked in your ways (Proverbs 28:6).

It’s a scandal to find a person who was once taken to the baptismal font and baptized into the name of Jesus, and then lives the opposite of Jesus.  The person who is mean, or violent, or unforgiving, or dishonest, or ungenerous had better not be pretending to be living for Christ, for Christ has told us exactly how to live.  In fact, said Gandhi, All the world would be Christian if you Christians were more like your Christ.

I want to live Christ. It’s for that mission that we were baptized.  It’s that simple.  It’s that impossible.  Come, oh Holy Spirit, and show us how to live.

Is there someone you admire for the way they “live 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

Fourth Sunday of Easter – Cycle C

21 April 2013

Reflecting on Revelation 7, 9, 14b-17

It’s only during the seven weeks of the Easter season that we read from the book of Revelation, certainly the least understood book in the bible.  The book is not a secret code, to be cracked by those up on their conspiracy theories and watchings of the moon, to tell only the spiritual elite when the end of days will occur.

It is, however, a book written to comfort those who lived in Ephesus at the time Emperor Domitian introduced the cult of imperial Rome.  This was enforced participation in sacrifices and festivals that honored Domitian and his ancestors; yes, the very ones who had destroyed Jerusalem and its temple.  The Christians in Ephesus were horrified that they were expected to celebrate the murderers of their grandparents and parents.  Revelation is written to comfort those who would stand up, even to the point of death, to this imperative.

Vatican reporter John Allen has done much to educate us on the greatest era of brutal religious martyrdom, which is our own.  Every year, one hundred and fifty thousand people are martyred as a direct result of their faith, or the works of charity inspired by their faith.  Eighty percent of these martyrs are Christians. There were well over one million Christian martyrs in the twentieth century, and of course the Nazis murdered six million Jews on the pretext that “Christ killers” were not part of the Master Race.

We don’t hear of these martyrdoms much because we hope that we live in more enlightened times, where religion isn’t used as an excuse to take land and lives.  But the blood of the martyrs of El Salvador and Nigeria and Kenya and Turkey and Iraq and Korea says otherwise.  We must not forget them.

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 C

13 April 2013

Reflecting on John 21: 1-19

Do you have a place in your life where you and Jesus rendezvous?  Is there a chair in your house, or a park in your neighborhood, or a conversation with a friend, where Jesus always shows up?  It’s interesting that Peter, after the horrors of his denial of Jesus, and the mysteries of that Easter empty tomb, didn’t know what to do next but to go fishing.  I think he just longed for Jesus so much that he set out to find him where he himself was found.  We know from the other gospels that it was while Peter was fishing that Jesus first called him.

Vocation, says St. Francis de Sales, is nothing more than just doing what you were doing when God found entry into your heart.  Were you, at some point in your life, supple and open to God’s voice?  Whatever you were doing then, keep doing that.  That’s vocation.

Peter, burdened with guilt yet filled with hope, set out that day in his boat.  I don’t think he was looking for fish.  He was looking for Jesus.  And oh, how he, exhausted from the night’s fruitless work, leapt into the water to meet him when the Beloved Disciple cried, “It’s the Lord!”  And he found Jesus right there, near the charcoal fire, a fire that perhaps reminded him of that other charcoal fire, the one in Caiaphas’ courtyard, where he  had denied him just days before.

No matter.  He had the grace to go fishing, and Jesus fished him right out of the water.  He was released from the nets of guilt and shame that strangled him, and set free to be the slave of Christ.

Where do you go to meet Jesus?

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 C

11 April 2013

Reflecting on John 20: 19-31

I love the word mercy. I love its musical sound when spoken, and the heart’s warm release when it is received and lodged there.  I love the feeling of extending mercy, especially because I have had so much mercy extended to me.

This Lent has been an immersion in mercy.  Just like me, that barren fig tree got still another year to shape up and start bearing fruit.  The lost son was welcomed home so ecstatically that I’ll bet the resentful neighbors were scandalized.  The woman caught in adultery found only mercy when she waited for Jesus to acknowledge her.  I think we could all feel his heart break for her as he scribbled in the sand.  I wonder if he was so mortified by the behavior of her accusers that he was embarrassed to look at her.

Mercy just feels good, and I’ll bet that’s God way of getting us to give it more often.  I’ll bet it was even more exciting for Jesus to let Thomas feel his wounds than it was for Thomas to touch them and realize that this was truly his crucified Lord, the one who lives.  Oh, the mercy in that upper room that first Easter night!  Thomas was so transformed by the experience that tradition tells us he traveled all the way to India to tell of that mercy over and over again.

Do you long for a closer connection with Christ this Easter?  Here’s the surefire answer: extend mercy to everyone you meet.  I can hear the Risen One laughing and clapping and sending more and more mercy your way.  That’s Easter.  Thanks be to God, Alleluia!  Alleluia.

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