Monthly Archives: March 2014

Third Sunday in Lent – Cycle A

24 March 2014

Reflecting on John 4: 5-42

Give me a drink.  Seriously, Jesus.  I’m asking.

I’m thirsty, and I know that’s the very thing you want to hear.  My emptiness is the password that unlocks your grace, and oh how I need it.

I suppose that, like your great Samaritan disciple, I’ve had five husbands too.  Hers were the five religions practiced by the slaves the Assyrians brought in to populate Samaria seven hundred years earlier.  The inhabitants of Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hammath, and Sepharvaim knew nothing about Jacob or Moses, or the great prophets Amos and Hosea.

Well, to be honest, even Amos and Hosea couldn’t pierce the deafness of the inhabitants of Samaria all those years ago.  They had the very well that their ancestor Jacob dug, and they gave lip service to the laws of Moses, but still they burned their children alive on altars dedicated to the Canaanite gods.  So there were definitely wide open spaces in their hearts for the allure of the gods of the foreigners who came in with the Assyrians.

I left myself wide open for five husbands too, and they enslaved me.  Their names are Comfort, and Food, and Safety, and People who Look Like Me, and, my most powerful master, The Positive Regard of Everyone I Meet.

I’ve drunk deeply from those wells, but they only made me thirsty again.  Comfort and Food and Safety left me listless and useless.  And the truth is, the faces of your poor look nothing like me, and those who care for them care only about YOUR positive regard.  Give me a sip from the well from which THEY drink and are so satisfied.

Fill my cup, Lord.  I’m finally lifting it up.

What “husbands” have left you unsatisfied?

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 Lent – Cycle A

19 March 2014

Reflecting on Matt. 17: 1-9

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “daddy hunger”, the term for whole generations of young men and women who grew up without their fathers in the home.  Prisons are full of them―men who had no father to love them and so seek that “daddy love” from participation in gangs, and women who buy guns for felons and take enormous risks for dangerous men who give them the attention they crave.

I know hundreds of fabulous fathers, but incarcerated people often know the detached, violent, or demeaning father whose unloving presence serves as the backdrop for their lives.  Dad can’t say “Good job, I’m proud of you” because he never heard it from his dad, who in turn never heard it from his.  Scratch the surface of the life of a chronically depressed male of any age, and often (but certainly not always) you’ll find his emotionally unavailable father at the center of his wounds.

But not Jesus.  From the moment of his baptism at the Jordan to this transfiguring moment of identity revelation on Mount Tabor, the Father tells Jesus who he is:  My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Wouldn’t this world be a different place if children, boys in particular, heard this from their fathers on a regular basis?  Yes, this is my beloved son.  He makes me proud every day.

That’s the piece of heaven we learn about first in the gospels:  Jesus is the beloved Son of a heavenly Father who claims him, and names him, and is well pleased with him.  It’s that deep knowledge of being eternally loved that strengthens Jesus to go back down Tabor and face Jerusalem and his destiny.

In what ways do you witness “daddy hunger” in the world?

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

First Sunday in Lent – Cycle A

10 March 2014

Reflecting on Gen. 2:7-9; 3:1-7

What is it about a lie that is so much more comfortable than the truth?  I think any lie that corroborates our own secret desires―which eventually kill us, by the way―will always find a welcome home with us.

The Enemy starts with a lie by suggesting to Eve that God has forbidden her all the trees in the garden.  Oh no, she says, just the one in the middle. 

Seriously? (says the Prince of Liars), I can’t believe that.  I’m outraged for you.  Why SHOULDN’T you have it all?

And you know what?  There is some part of us that thinks that we should.  Just give me a reason, any reason, why I should get to consume far more than my share of the world’s resources and I’ll breathe a huge sigh of relief.  No opposing viewpoints will find such an attentive ear.

Or suggest, as the serpent did, that I should be suspicious of others, that I’m being purposely left out of things, or that my experience is more exquisitely painful than all the rest of humanity, and I’ll lovingly nurture that lie for the rest of my life.

That Original Lie, that we are being secretly excluded by a conniving God―insert parent, or teacher, or coworkers, or friends―is our Original Wound.  And we willfully break that wound open, over and over again.

A million years later the Tempter tried the same lies on Jesus.  But the new Adam rejected Satan, and all his works, and all his empty promises.  And at the end of these forty days we will gather at the Easter Font, renew our baptismal promises, and reject the Liar once again.

What lies do you resolve to reject this Lent?

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

Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

3 March 2014

There is a moment in the long-ago television show Thirtysomething that has stayed with me all these years.  One of the main characters was an avid environmentalist who didn’t drive a car.  He rode his bike in all seasons, and his friends worried that he would be hit by a car, or slide on the ice and fall into traffic, or hit a pothole and break his ribs, or get stung on the tongue by a bee and go crashing off his bike and then skid ten yards into traffic.

No, wait.  That’s my bicyclist-husband Ben’s resumé.  The bicyclist on the show was suddenly killed off in one episode, and yes, it was a car accident, but the unexpected twist was that he happened that night to be a passenger in a car that was hit by a drunk driver.

Isn’t that always the way?  We decide on the things we’ll worry about, and devote our sleepless nights and years to them, and sometimes the things we’ve worried about happen right on schedule, but more often it’s the things we never saw coming that take us to our knees. That’s what Jesus meant by sufficient for a day is its own evil. Every day brings its own challenges, and then blessed sleep repairs our psyches and prepares us for the next day.  Or, as the Genesis author wrote so beautifully about God’s work in the six days of creation, evening came, and morning followed.

There was, of course, that anguished, sleepless night in Gethsemane, and the terrible events of the next day. But Good Friday came, and Easter followed.  Jesus has won the right to tell us to cease worrying.

Over which worries have you lost way too much sleep?

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