Monthly Archives: January 2014

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

26 January 2014

Reflecting on Matthew 4: 12-23

The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew, from the Church of Sant’ Apollinare, Ravenna, Italy

And so it begins.  The Spirit hovers over Jesus, and announces his identity as God’s own Son. Soon afterwards, John is arrested and shut up in prison.  It is time, the time marked out from the beginning of time.  Jesus the Christ moves away from the comfortable Jewish neighborhoods of Nazareth and launches the Age of Grace in the Galilee of the Gentiles.

The people who walked in darkness now see a great Light.  His name is Jesus, and he is living, and preaching, and healing among them.  And he is calling them out of their boats into the greatest fishing adventure of all time.

Sometimes you just know that it’s time.  Time to grow up.  Time to move away.  Time to put away childish behaviors, petty resentments, unhealthy habits, and immature ideas about God that keep you at a safe (but so unsafe) distance from the One who is God with us.

The distance between Nazareth and Capernaum was only 48 miles.  Sometimes the greatest journeys we take are the shortest in distance, but in looking back we say, “Yes, that’s when my life changed forever.”  Jesus knew it was time to stretch out his arms to every person, Gentile and Jew, to heal and console, to catch all creation in his safe embrace, and let anguish take wing.

In time, those healing arms would be stretched out on a cross.  Did he know that when he left tiny Nazareth to catch Peter and Andrew and James and John in the net of eternity?  He caught us too, of course.  We live in gratitude for that, and hope to be his best catch ever.

What has been a significant time of transition 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

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

19 January 2014

Reflecting on John 1: 29-34

I did not know him. That’s quite a confession, especially coming from John the Baptist, the very one sent to herald his coming.  Even John did not know him, but the day that Jesus appeared in Bethany across the Jordan all the mysteries of John’s life finally came into focus for him.

Ah.  It was for this that I cried out in the wilderness.  It was for this that I lived a celibate, ascetic life.  It was for this that I stood in the river and baptized.  It was for this, to proclaim him and know him, that I was born. (And it was for this that John, shortly afterwards, would speak truth to Herod, and be martyred.)

Maybe you feel like John.  You are working hard.  You are volunteering.  You are raising a family, coaching the volleyball team, teaching the kids their prayers, and praying them yourself with all your heart.

Or maybe you’re retired now.  Or widowed.  Or never married.  And you still make your Morning Offering as you always have:  Here am I, Lord.  I come to do your will.

Like John, you keep showing up for the life God has given.  Sometimes you wonder if your prayers will ever be answered.  Sometimes you wonder why a life of faithfulness to Him seems to mean so little to anyone else.  But every once in a while you experience that spine-tingling grace of recognition: Christ, the One for whom your heart longs, is right here with you.

And the Spirit hovers.

In what ways do you “show up” for your life in 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

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord – Cycle A

12 January 2014

Reflecting on Mt. 3: 13-17

Sometimes I find a word that seems to follow me around until I pay attention to it.  For many years now that word for me has been “yield”.

Yield.  It’s a word so full of grace that we need to just lean into it, just rest with it and let its mysterious comfort seep into us.  What would it be like if we allowed ourselves to yield in our family relationships and, mercifully, allowed each of our flawed siblings and parents and children to just be themselves?  The truth is, in a thousand ways unknown to us they have yielded in their desire to change us over the years too.

Jesus began his public ministry not by teaching or healing, but by yielding.  He yielded to the chilly waters of the Jordan, though before the beginning of time he shaped the mountains whose snows would feed that river.  He yielded to time and place and asked John to baptize him, though John was astonished that the sinless One would allow such an irony.

John had to yield too.  He would have much preferred to be baptized by Jesus, but he “allowed” it, he yielded to it, because Jesus asked him to.  He immediately received the graces from yielding, because then he witnessed the heavens opening and the announcement of Jesus as the Beloved Son of God.

Is there a chronic sadness or dis-ease in your life because you keep going over and over the mistakes you’ve made, or the injustices you’ve experienced, long ago?  Aren’t you tired yet? Try giving up the struggle.  Yield.  And then watch peace flow like a river.

Have you experienced a recent grace from “yielding”?

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

Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord – Cycle A

4 January 2014

Reflecting on Mt. 2: 1-12

Lately, I’ve been playing some brain games from Lumosity.com. I like the one that challenges me to look at things differently in order to solve a puzzle.  When I try to solve it from my narrow perspective I lose.  But when I open my eyes to a new direction, suddenly the solution appears, and is so easy that I wonder how I didn’t see it before.

The Magi were great at that.  They were probably Persians, searching the skies for astrological signs, when they saw this compelling Star, and were so drawn to it that they left everything to follow it for two years.  And where did it lead them? Far away, into the heart of Jerusalem.  That must be why they surmised that the star was announcing the newborn king of the Jews.

Talk about openness.  They weren’t Hebrews, but were willing to change the direction of their lives in order to find this Jewish King and pay him homage.  Then, overjoyed at finding him in Bethlehem, they paid attention to their dreams and changed directions again, going back home another way in order to give the Holy Family a head start in their flight away from Herod and into Egypt.

Thirty-three years later, the orthodox, Law-abiding Saul of Tarsus encountered that same Jesus, now risen and ascended, as a Light whose blinding brilliance stopped him in his tracks.  He left the road to Damascus and changed the direction of his life, and thus the direction of the history of the world.

Are you looking for a new path for your life?  Ask him whose birth was heralded by a Star to shine the Light in your direction.

What dead-ends do you want to stop following this year?

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