Monthly Archives: October 2013

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

27 October 2013

Reflecting on Luke 18: 9-14

There is something very sacred about this story that Jesus tells today about the Pharisee and the tax collector.  But we must hold it close, and let its grace touch us.  To be able to consider that we might be the Pharisees, the ones who think (secretly, of course) that they are more deserving of God’s mercy than anyone else, is a grace just in itself.  We don’t think in terms of “sin” and “sinner” anymore, so to actually let that concept into our hearts can be healing already.

The surest and quickest passage to God’ mercy is to be profoundly aware of our need of it.  Try to remember a time when you were humbled by sin.  Maybe you were caught in a lie, or stopped while gossiping about someone.  Maybe one of the deadly sins has you in its vise, and the fruit of a lifetime of wrath, for example, finds you banging on the hood of somebody’s stalled car in front of you at rush hour.  Or maybe, like me, you routinely use about a thousand percent of your share of the world’s resources, and a traveling companion asks if that was really you taking that twenty-minute shower.

It is such a precious gift to be humbled, to admit our sin, to bow before God and say, “Lord, I thank you that I’ve finally been found out.  I thank you that the world now knows what you’ve known all along.  Oh God, be merciful to me, a sinner.

It doesn’t feel good, but it changes us.  It nudges us a bit closer to heaven, where sinners are welcomed home every day.

How has the awareness of sin in your life 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

Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

19 October 2013

Reflecting on Luke 18: 1-18

Rembrandt, St. Jacob Praying, 1661

Somewhere, at this moment, someone in the world is praying for you.  I know.  I just saw it with my own eyes.

Recently my husband Ben and I found ourselves on the highest hill in Paris, cozily ensconced in the Sacre Coeur monastery for two days.  There we had the great joy of stepping out of our rooms and into the basilica, the breathtaking church built by the French in atonement for their part in the Franco-Prussian War.

Imagine the roar and rush of Paris.  Then imagine stepping into the basilica, where the Benedictine nuns and priests sing the psalms (in French, of course) by candlelight, at various time of the night and day, world without end.  Heaven.

Five days later we entered another piece of heaven when he got off the train in Lisieux, the home of St. Thérése.  Roses!  Millions of roses greet the pilgrims who have come to pray with the Carmelite community at the hermitage where St. Thérèse lived, and where she wrote Story of a Soul, the best-selling religious book of the twentieth century.

Here we prayed with the Carmelite sisters and postulants at all hours of the day and night.  And oh, the music of those French psalms wafting through the grille where St. Thérése and her cloistered community once prayed.  Heaven.

This is what I love about being Catholic: the sure and certain hope that we are never alone.  At this moment, a friend, a stranger, or a member of some religious community somewhere is praying for us.  Thank God that they never stop praying, for our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Can we pray for you?  Go to the website and let us know.

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 C

13 October 2013

Reflecting on Luke 17: 11-19

James Tissot, Healing of the Lepers at Capernaum, 1886-94

Will you do a spiritual exercise for me?  Be quiet for a moment, and try to recall the last time you were sick.  Maybe you had a bad cold. Think of that pounding headache, or the burning eyes, or the painful blowing of your red, red nose.  Remember the misery of having to go to work, or make dinner, or answer e-mails when your body was screaming for sleep.

And now, remember the morning when your cold was over.  You slept through the night.  Your head was clear.  You felt blessedly strong and full of energy.

Try to remember that delicious moment of delivery from illness.  The migraine gone.  The blood test negative.  The lump dissolved.  Live in that moment of gratitude now.

Imagine that poor Samaritan man who had contracted leprosy.  What huge floods of relief must have coursed through him to hold out his hand and see that he was cured!  Cured!  He could return to his family.  He could make a living for them once again.  He could hold his new baby, or maybe his grandchild.  Death and loneliness had circled ‘round him, but as he was traveling to show himself to the priest he realized that he was healed, and sorrow and sadness fled away.

If we could just live in that moment of gratitude every day we would break open every inch of distance we may feel from God.  Can you remember how it felt to be healed of an illness?  God lives right there, in the place where immense gratitude is stored.  Offer that memory back to God.  That’s where the heart of praise finds its endless source.

What memory do you have of being healed?

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 in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

5 October 2013

Reflecting on Habakkuk 1: 2-3; 2: 2-4

Do things ever really get better if we just wait, and trust God? That’s the promise of the reading from Habakkuk today.  In fact, the prophet wants us to have these words of comfort so much that he demands that the vision be written down on tablets in such large print that a courier can run with it and people can read it as he passes.

As I write this, the world is waiting to see if Syria actually turns over its arsenal of chemical weapons, some of which were used to kill a thousand people.  But of course Assad has already killed one hundred thousand people with the conventional weapons of shelling, gunfire, and torture.  Some of the victims of these atrocities cry out to the world, “We cry for help and you do not listen!  We cry out to you, ‘Violence!’, but you do not intervene.”   Others plead for the world to broker peace for them without firing another shot.

A few weeks ago the worldwide Church kept vigil for peace in Syria, and the fruits of that prayer were immediate.  John Kerry made a “gaffe from God”, and enemies began to speak to one another.

If the vision delays, wait for it. We wait, and never stop praying that Syria, the very cradle of Christianity, may once again be Ground Zero for the dramatic power of God. St. Paul was born there.  St. Matthew and St. Luke both wrote their gospels there.  Paul’s missionary journeys embarked from there.  We were first called “Christians” there.  Pray for peace in Syria.

The vision still has its time, and will not disappoint.

Is there someone you pray for all the 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