Monthly Archives: March 2018

Easter Sunday – Cycle B

31 March 2018

Reflecting on John 20: 1-9

This might be the most uneasy Easter I’ve ever experienced. The weather is so weird. School shootings now occur at the rate of one a week. Worse, it seems like we, like the frog in the water, are adapting, adapting, adapting, until all of a sudden we are trapped in a boiling cauldron out of which there is no escape.

If there is an image that lifts me up right now it’s this: Mary Magdalene RAN to tell the others that Jesus was not in the tomb. Picture that. We don’t know how old she was. She could have been a teenager. I’ll bet she was.

We’ve all seen the images of teenagers running, running for their lives out of schools that are under siege. We’ve seen them filing out of hiding places, arms on the shoulders of the student ahead of them, with watchful, armed police searching for the shooter in their midst.

And, God help us, we’ve seen their terrified, grateful parents running towards them, arms outstretched to receive their babies, overjoyed that they were spared, overcome with grief for the parents who were not.

Those are our Good Friday images. But let this Easter image work in you. Mary Magdalene RAN from the tomb. She RAN to find Peter. She is still RUNNING.

This young woman, who stood bravely at the cross and was the first witness to the resurrection, is RUNNING as hard as she can in your direction, crying The tomb is empty! RUN with me! RUN to change the hearts of those who will not see Him! RUN to change the minds of those who will not speak for Him!

RUN, ye faithful ones. RUN.

Are you willing to RUN to proclaim the resurrection?

Kathy McGovern ©2018

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion – Cycle B

25 March 2018

Reflecting on Mark 14: 1-15:47

What did Jesus know, and when did he know it? That question can haunt us as we hear the Passion read, and as we meditate throughout this Holy Week. Did he always know that he would die?

He must have known by the time of the transfiguration at Tabor. When Moses and Elijah appeared in the cloud, they spoke with him. He must have known then that his life was coming to an end.

I’m sure he must have known by the night of the Last Supper. Judas must have been behaving oddly. Even some people in Jerusalem could have been whispering, loud enough for him to hear, that someone had betrayed him. When Jesus told the Twelve that the hour of his death was upon him, their behavior must have confirmed what his heart already knew.

The arrest followed, and the night spent in Caiaphas’ dungeon.  There was the sentence of death, the terrible scourging, and, finally, the cross. Mark records that his last were, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This is the very worst part. Nothing is as terrible as our Jesus crying out in despair, asking why God has abandoned him.

And then it is complete. The ultimate passion―to have his Father’s face turned from him—is finally finished. If he had had the comfort and intimacy of the Father with him on the cross, it would not have been the cross.

There may be a time this year that in your greatest hour of darkness you cannot find Jesus. Remember, then, that Jesus knows what that loneliness is. You have been given a share in his cross.

So, likewise, in his resurrection.

What parts of the Passion resonate with an experience in your own life?

Kathy McGovern©2018

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Fifth Sunday of Lent – Cycle B

25 March 2018

Reflecting on John 12: 20-33

Everybody clings to stuff. We cling to our mothers on the first day of kindergarten. We mark off our sacred chair, or crayon box, or the line of demarcation in our shared bedrooms. This is mine. You’re not allowed to touch this, or borrow that, or go beyond this point.

Winter makes its mark on us. We pull our coats tighter, and tie our scarves close to our necks. The wind howls, the bare trees stand as silent witness to death. The earth, cold as iron, closes up and offers no hint of the miracle going on just underneath.

The grain of wheat tries to cling too. Hidden in darkness and cold, it tries to hold on to its color and shape. The baby, safe and warm, clings to the womb. But oh, what wondrous life the Master Designer has encoded in us. The grain breaks open—painful death! The baby pushes out of the womb―terrifying! And then comes the Great Reveal: we were never meant to stay a grain of wheat, or a child in the womb.

Staying where we are just doesn’t fit the pattern that God set up in order for us to thrive. That grain of wheat won’t feed the world if it’s allowed to cling. If seeds don’t die, then birds and insects and animals and humans can’t live. If a baby remains in the womb, mother and child will die. The DNA God imprinted in us requires that we not hold on forever. God has greater plans.

We cling to this life because it’s all we know. And yet, season after season, God tells a different story. Keep your spring clothes handy. Resurrection is afoot.

What things in me have to die in order for me to live more fully?

Kathy McGovern ©2018

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Fourth Sunday of Lent – Cycle B

10 March 2018

Reflecting on John 3: 14-21

It’s hard to read those powerful words, those iconic words, those life-changing words of Jesus found early in John’s gospel, and not wonder how many tens of thousands of times the great Billy Graham led people down for an altar call after reading those very words to them.

We can imagine him, in his youth and in his graceful old age, proclaiming to the thousands gathered in the arena and another million watching on television, that God so loved the world that he gave us his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth unto Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

I find myself slipping into the King James language for this famous text, partly because I’m imagining how it sounded coming from his eloquent tongue.

There are some theories as to why Catholics loved him so much and felt so comfortable with him. Certainly there was closeness there because of the urgency of the Gospel. He never wavered in his absolute love for Christ, and him crucified. Catholics understand the long view of history. We have been with Christ from the beginning of the Church, on that terrible Good Friday when, from the Cross, he gave his Mother to us, and us to his Mother. We understand about holding fast.

In season and out, Billy Graham held fast to Christ. He lived in the exact same culture that we do, but he never took his eyes off the prize, which he has now achieved through God’s grace: life on high with Christ Jesus.

In this era of the New Evangelization, this great lion of Christ showed us how to draw souls to heaven. What a welcome he must have received there last week.

In what ways are you helping to draw souls to heaven?

Kathy McGovern ©2018

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Third Sunday of Lent – Cycle B

6 March 2018

Reflecting on Ex. 20: 1-17

Those commandments Moses brought down from the mountain have served the world well. There are some cultural commandments that are making us kinder and gentler too. What do you think of this list?

THOU SHALT RECYCLE: We’re doing better, but it’s so strange that a culture so enamored with the Nature Channel is still filling the oceans with plastic at a rate of 8 million tons a year.

THOU SHALT NOT LITTER: We HAVE done better here! Lady Bird Johnson initiated the Keep America Beautiful movement over fifty years ago, and it caught on. Those of us alive in those days remember that it used to be acceptable to throw receptacles out of cars, or leave picnic trash on the ground. Gross.

THOU SHALT MAKE PUBLIC PLACES ACCESSIBLE: This is huge. Dedicated parking spaces for those with disabilities give a daily kindness to those who need a little help. Thank you!

THOU SHALT BE TOLERANT OF BALD WOMEN: I bless every brave person―woman or man― who forged this frontier. I live in a city that is filled with merchants who didn’t bat an eye when I walked in their store, bald from chemo. I hope that your city is as gracious as mine.

THOU SHALT CARE ABOUT THOSE WHO ARE POOR: Twenty years ago my brother asked us to help a family living in low-income housing. There were four little kids―tragically, the baby drowned after being abducted by her father―and a traumatized mom who didn’t speak English well. Today, thanks to financial aid and brilliant programs set up for children just like them, they (and many of their friends) have all graduated from college and are thriving, contributing members of society.

What “cultural commandments” are creating a kinder environment in your town?

Kathy McGovern ©2018

 

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015