Monthly Archives: October 2014

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

25 October 2014

Reflecting on Exodus 22: 20-26

Last weekend I ran into Monsignor Ken Leone, a beloved priest in the Denver Archdiocese and one of the city’s experts in the art of giving away most of what passes through his pockets in a day.

I hadn’t seen him since the day, three years earlier, when he invested a mutual friend with the task of tricking us into accepting a twenty dollar bill from him.

“Someone I know dropped this outside your drugstore today. He was too lazy to pick it up so he asked that I just give it to you.”

“Ha! Please give Monsignor Leone our warmest thanks.” We both laughed.

I put the bill in the pocket of my jeans, and forgot all about it until later in the day, when I was delivering prescriptions to an elderly, poor Russian widow living in a small apartment.

“Do you know Monsignor Leone?” she asked, out of the blue.

“That’s so funny you ask that. I just sent a message to him today.”

“Yes. He is very good to me.”  Not surprising.

Our transaction complete, she asked if I had change for the five dollar bill she was using to pay her bill. I had foreseen this, and had put two dollars in my pocket.  But, sure enough, out came the twenty dollar bill.

“Kathy,” I could hear Monsignor’s voice in my ear, “are you REALLY going to switch pockets and give this poor widow two dollars, when the twenty came to you as a gift to begin with?”

The ancient book of Exodus got it right.  The widows, orphans, and aliens in the land are owed what has come to us as gift.

How are you helping to transfer your gifts to those who have less?

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 A

18 October 2014

Reflecting on Isaiah 45:1,4-6

I can think of several warlords operating in the world today who would be forever changed if they allowed themselves to be inspired by the great King Cyrus of Persia, the only non-Jew in scripture whom the Jews themselves called “anointed” (Messiah), and the star of today’s first reading (Isaiah 45:1,4-6).

He’s an extraordinary figure in world history, beloved to the Iranians as their wise ancestor, and to the Jews as the magnanimous victor who, after conquering Babylon, allowed the exiled Jews to return to Jerusalem, taking with them the money which Nebuchadnezzar had stolen when he destroyed their city fifty years before.

“Go home,” King Cyrus said. “Take all that was stolen from you. Rebuild your Temple and your lives. Only, pray for the Royal Family and me.”

Even today, as far as we’ve come as human beings, it’s still astonishing to think that a conquering king looked at all the different ethnic groups who had been brought in chains to Babylon and didn’t think about how he could humiliate them further. Instead, he recognized that the most good they could do him and the world would be to return home.

Yes, the Jews would pay tax to the Persian Empire. But they would be in a position to do so because they would be in their homeland, worshiping their own God and restoring themselves in Israel as the Chosen People.

The sociopaths presenting themselves as ISIS would never get this, of course. Nor would any of the radical groups menacing the world today. But there once was a great king who understood that might did not mean right, and that religious liberty was a God-given right for all.

Do you have a world figure who inspires 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-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

14 October 2014

Reflecting on Philippians 4:12-14,19-20

When our niece Chelsea was eight she made all kinds of beautiful things in Sunday School, but my favorite was a refrigerator magnet on which she had painted, in her darling child’s hand, today’s  famous words from St. Paul:  I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me  (Philippians 4: 12-14, 19-20).

Twelve years have come and gone since we lovingly attached that magnet to our refrigerator, and it blessed us over and over as we faced two cancers, several hospitalizations, the loss of jobs that we loved, and the challenges that our families have overcome.

Chelsea has grown into a brilliant biology student, and will no doubt be a fine veterinarian one day. But the faith that filled her child’s heart as she painted those words has never left her, nor has it left us. We know that we can do all things in Christ who strengthens us.

My friend Joe had a frightening bicycle accident last July as he was riding his bike to see the fireworks.  He was hit by a drunk driver, flew over the hood of the car, and broke his hip and wrist.  Were you terrified? I asked.  Was the pain horrible?  No, he said. I kept reminding myself that I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.

My friend Joni has suffered more than any person I’ve known.  Her rheumatoid arthritis has destroyed most of the joints in her body.  She fell last summer and lay on the cold kitchen floor for several hours waiting for her son, praying over and over I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.

She can. And so can you.

What scripture text do you hold close in times of suffering?

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 Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

4 October 2014

Reflecting on Matthew 21:33-43

We Catholics have faced a lot of hostility through the years. “No Catholics Need Apply” is not just a sign on a store in a 19th century tenement district, but an unspoken condescension on the part of a great number of people in our post-modern age.

Tell the clerk at the bank that you write a weekly scripture column for Catholic churches, for example, and get ready. God didn’t make the world in six twenty-four hour days.  It’s ridiculous that Catholics think they are the only ones going to heaven. Everyone knows that Catholics worship idols. And don’t forget that Catholics want to destroy the planet by clogging it up with unwanted children.

Sometimes you just want to stare at people and say, “Learn something. Read a book.”  Just for the record:

  1. It was the Catholic scripture scholars who led the way in teaching the UNLITERAL way to read the Genesis account of the beginnings of the world.
  2. Catholic teaching holds that God’s mercy exceeds our understanding.
  3. Catholics worship Christ, and revere the saints whose witness brings us closer to him.
  4. The many beautiful documents the Church has written on the environment are blunt and unwavering: it’s the voracious greed of the developed nations (read “us”) that is bringing the planet to the verge of destruction.

This overwhelming misinformation and disdain for the Church (not to mention the inestimable sins of the priestly sexual abuses) has worked to make us embarrassed, apologetic, and silent about where we go on Sundays. But the stone which the culture rejects is still the cornerstone of grace and hope for the world.

Are you embarrassed to reveal that you are Catholic?

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