Monthly Archives: August 2016

Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

22 August 2016

Reflecting on Hebrews 12: 1-4

The sidewalks in our neighborhood are terrible. I’ve tripped on the cracks so many times that every time I kneel I suspect I have some permanently broken bones from falling on them so many times.

That’s probably why that little sentence at the end of the letter to the Hebrews caught my attention: Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed. Oh, for a straight path down our street! Chastened by experience, I walk with my head down, watching out for the gaps that are waiting to send me flying.

There’s a metaphor here, I think. The author has been making a case for suffering, suggesting that pain is God’s gentle correction, a loving parent’s way of setting us back on the straight and narrow. That’s not a theology that necessarily stands the test of time, but his theme is that, wounded― but not fatally―we are now encouraged to make a new path in life, a new way of walking through doubt, boredom, chronic pain, and the many temptations that try to trip us up.

There are many sidewalks. Some of them are sparkling new, but you have to make the effort to find them. Their names are Release from bitterness. Gratitude. Acceptance. Embrace of Jesus. Others are easy to find, in fact you may have been walking them for years. Their names are Inertia. Cynicism. More interest in your iPad than in your children. (And, young readers, more interest in your phone than in your parents!)

Make a new path. Don’t let the old wounds fester. Step away from the habits that have carved the ruts in your life that keep tripping you and hurting you. Today’s a perfect day for a nice walk.

How are you working on a new way of walking?

Kathy McGovern ©2016

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

17 August 2016

Reflecting on Luke 12: 49-53

The school year is starting up again, and the kids in our neighborhood are buzzing.  If they’re lucky enough to have passionate and creative teachers, the kids will have a fruitful, exciting experience. But if the teachers are already dreading the year, we all know how the next nine months will go.

I am aware of one demographic that, given the right community, still finds the grace, year after year, to greet this new season with renewed energy and fascination. I hope that your parish is blessed with a vibrant community of parishioners who carry your Parish Mission into the world. And I pray you have a parish staff who are still on fire with love for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I’ve watched this in wonder for forty years. Get any group of parish staff, exhausted from the rigors of Lent or Holy Week, and set them down at the L.A. Religious Ed Congress for a few days.  It doesn’t take five minutes for the passion that led each person into this work years ago to ignite all over again.

I am part of a three-teacher team who gets to teach thirty weeks of New Testament, starting next month, at Most Precious Blood parish in Denver. Combined, we have 82 years of experience teaching scripture. And here’s our secret: we are literally shaking with excitement to begin again. We will never recover from the profound privilege of getting to open up the beautiful gospels to still another class of passionate students.

I have come to set the earth on fire. That’s the Holy Spirit. I pray that your parish is burning up.

How can you help to fan the flames of the Spirit in your parish?

Kathy McGovern ©2016

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

8 August 2016

Reflecting on Luke 12: 32-48

If you’re one of those people who love to be scared, who love ghost stories and haunted houses and movies about people waiting in corners with hatchets, have I got some great reading for you. It’s called the Business Section.

There you can read, until weak with terror, about the money you were supposed to have saved, the real estate you should have bought, about how you certainly should have several years of “liquidity” built up for the inevitable rainy day when all the bad decisions you’ve made come home to roost.

Recall Fagan, in the movie version of Oliver Twist, sneaking upstairs to his safe, oh-so-quietly taking out his treasures, and lovingly petting his stolen jewels from a lifetime of picking a pocket or two. He’s old now, and this is his security. This is all that stands between him and the beggar’s prison. Charles Dickens, magnificent Christian and the conscience of 19th century England, shone a light on the social injustice of his times.

And when he wrote a book for his children about Jesus he used the gospel of Luke―today’s gospel, in fact― as his template.

Where your treasure is, there will your heart be. I know many wealthy people. They have amassed huge treasures, whose names are Care for those who have no one, Friendship with those most in need of God’s mercy, and Faithfulness to their spouses and their children, in good times and in bad.

This is what I observe about those who have built up “money bags that won’t wear out”: they are all surrounded by people who love them. That’s a treasure not even Fagan can steal.

How are you building an “inexhaustible treasure in heaven”?

Kathy McGovern ©2016

 

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

1 August 2016

Reflecting on Luke 12: 13-21

I want to be rich―scandalously, dazzlingly rich. But here’s what saves me: I long to be rich in the things that matter to God. I want to have friends who are friends with God. I crave friendships with people who pray, who pay close attention to the ways God works in the world, who help me see a bigger picture than my privileged corner of the world. I want to read the newspaper the way God reads it.

On the day―through God’s mercy― when I see Christ face to face, I know that he will be surrounded by his best friends. I want to recognize some of those people. Better yet, I want some of those people to recognize me.

So, let’s see. If the gospels are an indication of WHAT Jesus loves, we know that he loves to eat! You can eat your way through Luke’s gospel as Jesus sits down to dinner, sometimes with the wealthy, sometimes with his closest friends, sometimes with the most loathsome people in the town. I get the feeling that, for Jesus, a dinner party is never about the food.

Something that apparently DOESN’T matter to God is personal comfort. Jesus sends his disciples out to tell the world that the kingdom of God has broken through. That message is so urgent that its messengers must go NOW, taking nothing with them but that heart-shaping good news. Jesus travels the length and breadth of Israel in order to comfort, heal, and draw all people to himself.

An open heart.  A warm embrace of all people. And a hearty appetite. I’ve got the last one covered.

How are you filling your life with the things that matter to God?

Kathy McGovern ©2016

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015