Monthly Archives: June 2015

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

30 June 2015

Reflecting on Mark 5: 21-43

Ah. Here it is again. Every time it shocks me to the core. St. Mark gives us a fascinating account, loaded with hidden meanings, of the healing of two females within a few moments of each other.

Find yourself somewhere in this story. I believe that is exactly what Mark intended.

Jesus meant to stay by the sea. But the synagogue official, terrified of his daughter’s sudden illness, begged him to change his plans. You’ve been there too, haven’t you? You’ve allowed your time and your plans to be changed on a dime when someone has needed you.

And perhaps you’ve also been the frantic relative, begging Jesus to heal your loved one. There is no terror like that of a parent whose child is desperately ill. Have you been there?

And I’ll bet you’ve also been that hemorrhaging woman, exhausted from chronic illness, worn out from endless doctor’s visits, still in pain, still a burden to your loved ones. Maybe it’s that nagging back pain, or arthritis, or the old football injury that makes your mornings so painful. You know what it’s like to long for healing.

And haven’t you also been the suffering child? Was there a time when you were miserable with illness, and your parents dropped everything to get you to the doctor? I will never forget the earache that came on during fourth-grade long division. (Both memories can still give me a stomachache.) Whoosh came my mom into class. Whoosh came the doctor, and the blessed shot, and blessed relief.

I think that Jesus, the Healer, has changed his plans today, and is heading your way. Go out to meet him.

How do you position yourself in order to be healed?

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

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

21 June 2015

Reflecting on Mk. 4:35-41

Some of my happiest moments in recent memory have been during the extravagant rains and thunderstorms in Colorado these past many weeks.  Is there anything as heavenly as being snug in bed when the skies open, and thunder roars, and lightning turns the dark sky to mid-day, then back again?

It’s thrilling to stand out on the porch and watch gallons of water pour down on our green, green lawn.  The neighbors all wave and point to the skies. Nature is so cool, isn’t it?

Except when it isn’t. Except when floods roar through narrow mountain canyons, or hurricanes break levees, or tropical storms cause biblical mudslides, or earthquakes trigger tsunamis that drown tens of thousands of people.

The ancients had it right. The sea isn’t that charmingly domesticated lake where we take the family vacation. The sea is chaos, and rage, and is stunningly indifferent to the terrors one might feel, say, on a boat on the Galilee when a violent squall sends waves crashing over the side.

We can stand in the safety of our covered porches and glory in the wildness of creation, but one day our own sufferings will send the raging sea straight at us. When the tsunamis of uncontrolled pain, or heartbreaking  loss, or the indignities of lonely old age sweep over us like a bitter wave over the sides of our boats, we’ll  do what the disciples did.

We’ll call out to the One who knows our pain. He who participated in our suffering by experiencing the chaos of the cross, and through it became our safe port in the storm, is the reason we know for sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love.

In what ways do you sense the nearness of God in the midst of fear?

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

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

15 June 2015

Reflecting on Mark 4:26-34

This is how it is with the kingdom of God. When morning dawns, with birdsong and gracious light, we say “Thank you.”  At mid-day, looking over the tasks ahead (and the health we have to perform them) we bow and say “Thank you.” At night, when the cool air and the evening rains restore us and the earth, we lift up our hearts and say “Thank you.”

And so the years unfold.  In childhood, we exult in wonder at the chick breaking open the egg, at the blade that pulls out of the earth and into the sun, at the deliciousness of swimming pools, and wet grass, and fluffy white clouds telling stories in the sky.

As we age, we partner with God in the re-creation of these gifts. We take careful watch over our food sources, always grateful, always conservative. We revel in the beauty of the earth.  We bring children into this radiant world, and plant our grateful hearts into theirs.

And when we come to die, when we rush through that tunnel towards the Light, we remember every delicious ear of corn, every velvet summer night, every sweet baby’s kiss, every beautiful song we ever heard. We remember the faces of all of our funny and kind friends, and, if we were so blessed in this life―for we will all surely be blessed in the next―the inexpressible bliss of our beloved’s arms around ours.

As we are embraced by the Light we melt into the warmth of the endless ocean of love that surrounds us. The fruit of our lives is an eternity of wonder.

How? We do not know. But it begins and ends with “Thank you.”

What is the most wonder-full thing in your life right now?

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

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – Cycle B

7 June 2015

Is it wrong that what I most remember about my First Communion is what we had to eat afterwards? I have lots of pictures of my beautiful dress, but I wish someone had taken a picture of the great food at the party after Mass. Unforgettable!

After Mass, Sister Vivian led our huge First Communion class into the school cafeteria, magically transformed with balloons and beautiful tablecloths. There were little paper cups of mints and nuts at each place, pancakes and scrambled eggs, tiny glasses of orange juice, and even little cups of hot chocolate. Heaven.

The truth is, I remember the food at all the sacraments of my youth. At my baby brother’s baptism party, held in our garage, we had platters of sloppy joes and chips, and that most blessed of childhood memories, chocolate cake and homemade ice cream. Confirmation was spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, brownies and ice cream, and Shirley Temples for the new soldiers in Christ.

Don’t you just love sacraments? Just thinking about them makes me hungry.

I hope you feel hungry today on this great feast day of the Body and Blood of Jesus. The Eucharist is the Mother of all sacraments. And guess what? It relies on food―real Bread, real Wine―to make Jesus Really Present.  For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink (John 6:55).

I knew it at age six, walking into that lovely cafeteria with beaming parents and sweet pancakes. I’ve known it at every sacramental party of my life.

It’s all about food―real food that sustains real people, hungry for a relationship with the Real Jesus.

Sacraments make me hungry. They’re supposed to. Happy Feast Day, Church.

What is your favorite memory of food at a sacramental celebration?

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