Monthly Archives: July 2013

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

21 July 2013

Reflecting on Genesis 18” 1-10a, Luke 10: 38-42

This is funny.  Here come three visitors out of the blue, showing up in the desert, and Abraham begs them to come into his tent for “a little food”.  Then he sets Sarah to work kneading enough dough to fill a large bakery.  I wonder how long it took the servants to kill the steer (surely enough meat to feed the entire population of Beersheba for several years), cook it up and serve it.  I hope the three “strangers” weren’t too hungry when they arrived.

The point of such extravagant Bedouin hospitality is to feed and comfort the traveler in the desert, for the day may come when we too may find ourselves in the wilderness and may need the support of strangers.  Bottom line: the most important honor one can show a guest is to slave away in the kitchen in order to provide food.

So here is Jesus, eighteen hundred years later, in the home of Martha and Mary.  They must have been special friends of Jesus.  In other stories featuring them they also have a brother, Lazarus, whom John’s gospel tells us was raised from the dead.  But in Luke’s story today it is their home alone, and Jesus has come to spend time with them.

They both must love him and want to honor him.  Martha expresses this by preparing the roasted garlic hummus in the kitchen.  Mary sits at his feet.  And guess what: in the discipleship of equals that is the kingdom of God, she chooses the better part.  Once again, Jesus is obsessed with one thing: making sure the proclamation of the kingdom is heard by all.

Are you sometimes too “anxious about many things”?

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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

15 July 2013

Reflecting on Luke 10: 25-37

The astonishing thing about scripture is that it keeps smacking us in the face.  Every year I notice hidden gems in stories that have been hiding in plain sight my entire life.  The iconic parable of the Good Samaritan is a good example.

Recall that at the beginning of the story a lawyer asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life.  We know that he is well versed in the Law because he then quotes sections of both Deuteronomy (6:5) and Leviticus (19:18).  These crucial sections of the Law require that we love God with all our strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves.  But, asks the lawyer, who is my neighbor? At the time of Jesus some groups began suggesting that kindness should be extended not only to those who were in covenant with God (the Jews) but to those outside the covenant as well.  So when the  young man asks Jesus to weigh in on this important social justice issues, Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan.

But here’s where we get one of those great surprise endings that Jesus loves.  All these years I’ve been thinking that Jesus is telling the scholar of the Law that even the poor guy who gets assaulted and robbed should be considered his neighbor.  The loathsome Samaritan, well outside the accepted gene pool, understands that and helps the victim with heartwarming kindness.

Am I the only one who thought the neighbor in the story is the robbery victim, and the Samaritan is the one who acknowledges that and helps him?  How have I never realized that the neighbor is the Samaritan himself?  Jesus asks the lawyer which of the passers-by was the neighbor to the robber’s victim.  If we are the love our neighbor as ourselves, it appears that Jesus wants us to love the Samaritan (the neighbor in the story,) as we love ourselves. The one who acts with compassion is to be loved as much as we love ourselves.

Our neighbors, then, are the members of Project Hopeful, who adopt orphans from Ethiopia suffering from HIV.  Our neighbors are also those who move to Ethiopia in order to care for children whose mothers must work outside the home all day, but who desperately want to keep their children with them.

Our neighbor is four-year-old Hannah Turner, who, in 2004, gave her pink socks to a homeless man whose feet looked cold.  Today, Hannah’s Socks provides clothing and shelter to hundreds of needy people in Toledo every winter.

Who’s my neighbor? In this story it’s not the victim.  It’s the one who works for justice for the victim.  And that makes it, indeed, a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Have you ever encountered an unexpected “neighbor”?

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

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

6 July 2013

Reflecting on Luke 10: 1-9

It’s been a beautiful summer holiday in Colorado.  Sometimes it takes two or three days to just wind down enough to notice you’re on vacation. We’ve spent every possible moment up in the mountains, or swimming at the neighborhood pool, or biking through any of Colorado’s refreshing bike paths.

America the Beautiful was written here.  I look to the west and see the purple mountain majesties that have brought me to prayer every morning of my life.

It’s hard to live in a constant state of gratitude and awe.  My sister is the best you’ve ever seen.  We’ll be driving along the San Diego harbor―she lives in that spectacular city――and she’ll stop the car to make sure we are all thanking God for the water, and the ships, and the seagulls.  And it turns out we are.

This land is our land, from the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters. How blessed we are.  How grateful we are.

Our back yard, blessedly taken over by Farmyard, CSA. several years ago, is already bursting with onions.  The tomatoes will be ready for spaghetti sauce in about five weeks.  I may have to escape sometime in September if the three rows of zucchini get organized enough to break down our back door.

I notice that the volunteers who garden the twenty yards that produce the food that feeds over one hundred people a week are growing older, slower, a bit more tired.  The harvest is astonishing, overwhelming, more than enough to feed the world.  The laborers are few.  I guess it’s time for me to go pull some weeds.

I hope everyone had a blessed Independence Day.

How did you celebrating the holiday?

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