Daily Archives: November 24, 2014

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe – Cycle A

24 November 2014

Reflecting on Mark 13: 33-37

Advent begins next week, and with it comes a new gospel. This is the last we will hear from Matthew―except, always, on Epiphany, since he is the only evangelist who knows the story of the Magi―until we return to him in December of 2016.

Before we turn the page to Mark’s gospel, then, it’s good to remember what Jesus tells us, over and over again, in Matthew’s brilliant gospel. It’s really just one word: mercy.

Go and learn the meaning of this: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. This is what he tells the learned Pharisees, shocked that Jesus has called a tax collector (Matthew)to be one of the Twelve, and is even now having dinner at his house (9:13)!

This is a bit like a professor telling a veterinarian student, “Go and learn the meaning of the word cat”. It’s deeply insulting to the scripture-quoting Pharisees, because Jesus is quoting the famous passage from Hosea 6:6.They have known that text from their youth, yet here is Jesus telling them to go learn it again.

Pope Francis has said about his papacy, “I think this is a time of mercy.”  And about the gospels: “The Lord’s most powerful message is mercy.”  In fact, his first major book as Pope has just been published, with this beautiful title: The Church of Mercy.

But if it’s all about mercy, what, then, are we to make of the God who rescues and heals the lost and scattered, but destroys the “sleek and strong”? We hope that we will be the sheep who inherit the kingdom of heaven, but where is the mercy for those goats that God will cast into eternal fire?

Maybe Matthew’s final message to us this year is this: Christ the King will be the judge. And he will judge us on how merciful we were.

In what ways have you shown mercy 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

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

24 November 2014

Reflecting on Proverbs 31:10-13,19-20,30-31

It’s fun to consider the utter Jewishness of that reading from Proverbs today. We chuckle at the ancient Jewish male’s celebration of the perfect Jewish wife, but really, isn’t that the spouse we all want? She’s kind, industrious, an astonishing multi-tasker, brilliant in business and in keeping all the home projects on schedule, great with the kids, generous to those who are poor, and, best of all, everyone in town knows her smart her husband was to have married her.  Mazel tov!

I love to imagine Jesus, the Bridegroom, extolling us, his Bride, in a similar fashion:

The value of my Bride is far beyond pearls. I have entrusted my Sacred Heart to her.

She brings the planet good, and not evil, all her days.

 

Through her kindness and lack of ego, enemies begin to speak to one another

And those who were estranged join hands in friendship.

 

She reaches out her hands to those who are poor,

And extends her arms to those who are needy.

 

She yields to the movement of the Holy Spirit.

She is the first to say, “Forgive me”.

 

She believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Even in persecution, Her love never fails.

 

Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting,

But those who hear the Word of God and do it

Will live in joy with Me forever.

 

How do you think the Church is doing as the Bride of 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