Monthly Archives: June 2014

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

30 June 2014

Those early Christians living in Rome were an ingenious group.  They lived in the shadow of the coliseum, that horror chamber where slaves, gladiators, prisoners, wild animals, and, depending on the whim of the emperor, Christians themselves were massacred in numbers too astonishing to even grasp.  And all of this for the “entertainment” of the public, who appear to have had no end to their appetite for gore.

Imagine living in a world where the emperor thought he was the son of the gods, and celebrated his birthday on December 25th, the feast of the Invincible Sun, a big party around the winter solstice that rejoiced in the sun gradually “coming back” to earth.  What’s a Christian to do in such a world?  That’s easy.  Decide that December 25th will henceforth be celebrated as the birthday of Christ, the true Son of God, the only Invincible Son.

What about the mythical founders of Rome, the twins Romulus and Remus?  Abandoned at birth by their human mother and their father Mars, the god of war, they were nursed by a she-wolf until adopted by a shepherd.  They went on to found Rome, but, alas, they quarreled, and Romulus killed Remus.  So the great city of Rome sprouted from the seeds of war and fratricide.  But a big party in honor of them was held in Rome every June 29th.

What’s a Christian to do?  That’s easy too.  Proclaim June 29th as the feast day of the twin leaders of the Church, Peter and Paul.  That’s how you lift up a culture.  You place Jesus in the hearts of those who want to rejoice, but need an actual reason.

What ingenious ways do you use to bring Jesus into the conversation?

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

Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus – Cycle A

23 June 2014

Reflecting on John 6: 51-58

My friend Noblet barely notices sports teams, even when her home team goes to the Super Bowl.  “What did you and your brothers and sisters DO when you were growing up if you didn’t play sports?” I ask.  “We planted wheat,” she says, and that’s when the dots connect for me.

Of course.  They planted wheat.  They and all the farmers of the world who produce 650 million tons of it every year.  And, in the planting, and cultivating, and praying over, and harvesting of this wheat they partnered with God in bringing bread to the tables of most people on this planet.  That’s at least as satisfying as hitting a fly ball to left field.

Jesus could have said I am the rice of life too, since that metaphor resonates more deeply for the billions for whom rice is the more familiar staple.  When the Hebrew children escaped Egypt (the bread basket of the world) and lived in the barren desert for forty years, God became for them the manna of life.  And, just like every farmer who watches the skies for rain, those ex-slaves watched the skies for God’s daily gift of food. 

They would have to wait for the glorious fields of the Galilee.  For now, the strange, sticky dew would sustain them.

It’s a holy thing, this planting of wheat.  We plant the seeds, and God sends the rains and the sun.  Morning comes, and evening follows, and one day, voilà.  Wheat.

And just as the lovely stalks lift up in the fields, we lift our hearts up to the Lord.  Happy Feast Day, Church, and may we ever see him in the breaking of the Bread.

How are you partnering with God to feed and nourish?

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 Most Holy Trinity

17 June 2014

If you’ve never been to Niagara Falls―the Canadian side, especially―you’ve missed a great lesson on the Trinity.  The confluence of the waters of the Upper Great Lakes roars over the three great waterfalls, the Horseshoe, American, and Bridal Veil, over which pour twenty percent of the world’s fresh water every year.

To stand next to a waterfall so thunderous, so eternal, so life-giving (and so deadly for those crazy enough to hurl themselves over it) is to sense the power of God.  And God is never alone, but always a relationship of Three.

Three waterfalls, pouring six million cubic feet of water over the crest line every minute, can speak powerfully about the life and strength and grace that comes from connecting our lives to other lives, and the lives that come from that.

There is nothing that exists alone.  The great gift of growing older, it seems to me, is to be more and more astonished at how interconnected we all are.  The earliest Christians got it right when they named God as Three, eternally in relationship with each other and with us.

During Holy Week, the memory of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus holds me, breaks my heart, and lifts me up.  In these weeks after Pentecost I am especially aware of the endless ways in which the Holy Spirit finds me, whispers to me, inspires me.

And when I’m standing in the mist of the Great Falls, my heart soars to the Creator of it all, who uses water―the source of all life―roaring over three waterfalls to teach the mystery of God.

In what ways do you sense God in all things?

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

A Pentecost Sequence

11 June 2014

Send your fire, oh Spirit.
Not the fire of guns.  We’ve heard them to death.
Change us.  Do whatever it takes.  We won’t do it ourselves.

Not the fires of forests, dying.
Send the rains of new life, and heal the world.
Create in us a clean heart.  We can’t renew the face of the earth until you do.

Not the terror of medieval minds
Unleashed on hope-filled girls.
Fast-forward their abductors, and all who think like them,
Into a new way of being in the world.

Like a mighty wind, oh God,
Blow away our gods of stuff, and our religion of more.
Make our hearts hungry to find you in the beautiful faces of those
In parts of the world we’ve never sought.

Come, oh Holy Spirit, come!  And give us wider eyes, and humbler hearts.
Let us see the world as you see it, if we can bear it.
Bend our stubborn hearts, and will.
Change us, Spirit, now until He comes again.
 AMEN. AMEN.

How are you cooperating with the Holy Spirit?

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 Ascension of the Lord – Cycle A

1 June 2014

Reflecting on Mt. 28: 16-20

Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel? Even at the moment of his ascension the apostles still didn’t get it. They still hoped that Jesus was getting ready to get an army together to expel the Romans from Palestine.  And these are the eyewitnesses!  They had seen him crucified, had seen the empty tomb, had seen him during the days after his resurrection, and still thought that the great work of his life was going to be to gather an army and rid Israel of the hated Roman occupiers.

That would take a lot of power, a lot of armies. But nothing like the power they were soon to experience. From heaven Jesus was about to send them the Holy Spirit, whose fire would burn—still burns—to the ends of the earth.  And yes, the day came when the Romans left Israel, only to be replaced by other foreigners, and today the wars still rage over the very land that Jesus loved. 

But the gifts of the Spirit which poured out on the infant Church just nine (novena) days after the Ascension are as powerful now as they were then.  May those gifts set the world aflame once again, and may those who terrorize, and abduct, and torture, and make their fortune selling weapons, and live their lives as if God can be domesticated and made to see things our way, be utterly converted by the radical love that only comes from the Spirit of God.

How is the Holy Spirit urging me to dream bigger dreams, to build a new heaven and earth?

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