Monthly Archives: August 2018

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

18 August 2018

Reflecting on Ephesians 5: 15-20

One Sunday morning last fall I called my friend Dan Feiten―probably THE busiest person I know―in desperation. I needed to know the psalm number for “If today you hear his voice,” and I needed it fast. “Quick! What is it?” “Well, it’s 95, I’m sure. But let me check.” And get this: he reached across his phone and picked up his bible, just inches away, which he was reading in preparation for going to Mass in a few minutes.

That is exactly the kind of Christian St. Paul was trying to form, a community of intentional disciples, Christians who take the Word so seriously that they give up their time in order to know it.

Imagine this. Just as you awake you are greeted by someone in your family who greets you with, “This is the day the Lord has made!” You smile and respond, “Let us be glad and rejoice in it.”

Imagine a world so alive with people utterly formed by the Word that they greet each other, as St. Paul exhorts, with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.

Imagine knowing the scriptures by heart. Wait. That’s you! You don’t think so? Finish these lines of Catholic hymnody:

*Be not afraid, I go…

*Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord…

*Taste and see…

We Catholics don’t give ourselves nearly enough credit for knowing the scriptures. The Mass is shot through with scripture, from the opening hymn to the final blessing.  You’ve got this, people! You know the scriptures. You’ve been singing them all your lives.

What hymn this weekend is sticking in your heart?

Kathy McGovern ©2018

*Answer key           …before you always (inspired by Isaiah 41)

…I have heard you calling in the night (inspired by I Sam. 3)

…The goodness of the Lord (from Psalm 34)

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

14 August 2018

Reflecting on I Kings 9: 4-8

What happened to Elijah after the angel sustained him with food and drink in the desert? We know that he then walked forty days and nights and arrived at Horeb in the desert.

If you’re thinking this all sounds familiar, good for you. Elijah―the precursor of John the Baptist, for those who have ears to hear―is desperate to escape Queen Jezebel and King Ahab, and all their empty works, and all their empty promises. So where does he wander? Right smack to the very spot where God appeared to Moses and the Israelites four hundred years earlier.

Jesus had the same sense of sacred geography. Immediately after his baptism he went straight to the Judean desert to do battle with the Prince of Lies. Elijah’s battle with the evil monarchy of his day might have been on his mind during his own forty days of struggle and Divine consolation.

So, where is your sacred place? Where is your point of rendezvous? Where is the place your car automatically goes to when you aren’t paying attention? Pay attention. That’s God, speaking to you in that deep center where astonishment and truth reside.

Or maybe you’ve forgotten where to go to connect with God. That is SO easy to do, isn’t it? The internet is so addicting.

Well, consider this: when he was struggling to face his inevitable death in Jerusalem, Jesus led Peter, James and John to another deserted place. And who showed up? Moses and Elijah. The great heroes of the past appeared to Jesus on that mountain. All three of them spent their lives rendezvousing with the Father in quiet places. They knew just where to find each other.

Where is your sacred place of rendezvous with God?

Kathy McGovern ©2018

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

4 August 2018

Reflecting on John 6: 24-35

We interrupt this gospel for a five-week message from our sponsor, the Bread of Life. Yes, it’s that time again. Every three years, while we’re hearing Mark’s gospel for the entire year, we get a jolt in the middle of the summer. Suddenly, the earliest gospel, thought by most scholars― but not all― to have been written in Rome sometime in the mid-seventies, is pre-empted by the latest gospel, John, thought by most scholars― but not all―to have been written in Ephesus toward the end of the first century.

I often joke that if Mark wanted his gospel to get the same uninterrupted reading through the 34 weeks of Ordinary Time that Matthew and Luke are given, he should have written a longer gospel. But its brevity is not the reason for the five-week Johannine commercial. The Church has a “tell,” a weakness, a sure giveaway. Give the Church a moment to talk about the sixth chapter of John’s gospel and it will gleefully grab five weeks.

That’s because the Bread of Life discourse―the long conversation between Jesus and his disciples about the Eucharist―is at the heart of the Catholic belief in Real Presence. And Real Presence, it goes without saying, is at the center of the Catholic heart.

The disciples heard Jesus say this astounding thing: he is the eternal Bread of Life. The Eucharist is not a symbol of Christ’s life in us. That should stand the little hairs on our arms straight up, because that is heresy, and heresy is very scary business.

The consecrated Bread and Cup are the REAL PRESENCE of Christ. They knew this in the first century. We get five weeks to remind us again.

What is your favorite memory of your First Communion?

Kathy McGovern ©2018