Monthly Archives: April 2017

Divine Mercy Sunday – Cycle A

22 April 2017

Reflecting on Acts 2: 42-47

I know what you’re thinking. They held all things in common? Boy, you just couldn’t do that.

Of course you could. You did it in your childhood. Was it so terrible?

A while back my husband Ben renovated our basement. Our friend Karen asked if she could live there for a short time. We weighed the pros of sharing our tiny house with her―laughter every day, and the introduction of the 6pm Happy Hour―and the cons. Funny, I can’t remember any of them now.

At first we were all desperately polite. Her life was her own. We pretended not to notice when she came in. We cooked our separate suppers and assigned her a small corner of the refrigerator and a single shelf in the cupboard. This was a formal, temporary arrangement. In time her fortunes would change and she would go off to her lovely, lonely condo. Isn’t that the American Dream?

Nine years came and went. All of our fortunes changed. We remembered the way we used to live when we were kids, sharing closets and clothes and clotheslines. I still suspect her of making off with the mates of two of my socks. None of us knows whose turn it is to buy the milk. None of us can remember how we used to live.

Today, on Divine Mercy Sunday, she’s marrying her adorable Mountain Mike and moving up to Coal Creek Canyon to help build their new home. We are bereft.

Now comes the separation of goods. Coffee pot? Hers. Blender? Mine. Dog? Ours. Bitter custody battle to ensue.

Hearts? Overflowing with gratitude that this beloved friend was willing to share all things in common with us. Such is the kingdom of the Risen One.

What happy memories do you have of sharing things in common?

Kathy McGovern ©2017

 

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

The Resurrection of the Lord – Cycle A

19 April 2017

Reflecting on Acts 10: 34A, 37-43

My Lenten resolution this year was to use less water―to take shorter showers, and to be more mindful of the water I waste.  A thousand miles away, and without our talking about it, my sister chose the same fast, but each day as she ended her too-short shower she added a prayer for someone, known or unknown to her, who needed an extra-loving boost of grace that day.

God, who is not confined by time and space, answered her prayers and those of billions before and after her. On that Easter morning, God gave all creation, for all time, an “extra-loving boost of grace.”

Easter, not Good Friday, is the center of God’s heart.

God did not make death. God made life, and gave it to us, pressed down and overflowing, exactly as our Easter altars express it today. Gorgeous colors, heavenly fragrances, new life bursting from the cold winter graves―this is our God, singing our souls out of their hard shells and saying, “Partner with me, love and protect my stunning world, and I will show you the Risen One in the fruit of the earth and the work of human hands.”

Jesus did not need an empty tomb in order to break the chains of death. He who calmed the sea and cast out demons did not need a rolled-away stone in order to be in glory. His resurrected body was for the sake of those who, confined by time and space, needed a bodily Jesus, raised from the dead and eating and drinking with them.

Those of us who were not the eyewitnesses need not feel left out; we know where to find our Risen Lord.

In what radiant parts of your life do you find our Risen Jesus?

Kathy McGovern ©2017

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion – Cycle A

8 April 2017

Reflecting on Matthew 26: 14-27:66

He must have done a thousand righteous things in his life. He was chosen by Jesus himself to be one of the Twelve. He was trusted to be the treasurer, and to hold the group’s money bag. Yet, his eternal title will be Judas, the Betrayer.

We’ll never know why on earth he did it. For thirty pieces of silver?  The cynic says, “Of course. People will do anything for money.” But is there any one of us who would hand a loved one over to be tortured and killed because we could make money by doing so? Never.  Judas was up to something, and even today scholars can’t quite discern what it was.

I’m intrigued by what the author of Matthew’s gospel says: “Then Judas, his Betrayer, seeing that he had been condemned, greatly regretted what he had done.” Did Judas try to step into history and force God’s hand? Did he think that once the soldiers took hold of Jesus in Gethsemane he would call upon his legion of angels, who would slay anyone laying a hand on God’s Anointed?

It followed that Jesus would then gather an army who would roust the Romans from Israel, and the Jews would once again control their homeland. Judas (before he was “the Betrayer”) was no doubt named after Judas Maccabeus, the great warrior who liberated Jerusalem from the Seleucids. Judas―perhaps thinking of his great ancestor― was willing to temporarily “betray” Jesus in order to finally get him to harness his heavenly powers.

But it didn’t happen that way. Jesus was condemned to death. His Betrayer hanged himself. And Jesus set out on the way of the liberation of the Cross.

For what betrayals in your own life have you been forgiven and set free to be happy again?

Kathy McGovern ©2017

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Fifth Sunday in Lent – Cycle A

1 April 2017

Reflecting on Ezekiel 37: 12-14

One summer I found myself sitting with many pilgrims atop Masada, the isolated fortress Herod the Great built in the Judean desert.  Our guide told us the grisly history of the 960 Jewish rebels who committed suicide there after holding off the Roman army for three years at the end of the First Roman-Jewish War (66-73 AD). They knew they would die there, and that the Jews would be driven from their homeland once again.

Hillel spoke of his own journey. He had come to Israel in the 1960s, just for a few weeks.  Before returning to the U.S. he visited Masada. He noted an inscription left on the rocks by one of those ancient warriors, perhaps in the last hours of his life. It was this inscription, written in 73 AD, that touched Hillel’s heart so much that he resolved to return to Israel and spend his life aiding the survivors of the holocaust in building a Jewish homeland.

He invited us to sit quietly on those rocks, letting the desert sun seep into our bones, and ponder which scripture they may have inscribed for an unseen generation―Hillel’s generation― to someday find. Of course, it was Ezekiel 37, today’s first reading:

Oh my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel.

For Christians, the fullness of the meaning of Ezekiel’s prophecy is the resurrection of Jesus from his own rock-hewn tomb.  For Jews, that resurrection is the modern state of Israel.  But the dry bones of exile will never come fully to life until all can live in peace in the land God gave.

What promise of resurrection are you giving your life to help fulfill?

Kathy McGovern ©2017

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015