Monthly Archives: June 2019

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

29 June 2019

Reflecting on Luke 9: 51-62

Sheesh. You teach this section of Luke’s gospel for years, and then you read a great commentary by Daniel Hamm, SJ and see everything differently. Scripture endlessly bubbles up with unexplored nuances and insights.

We should never let a difficult passage go until it blesses us.

The Samaritans in the north and the “Jews” in the south—a strange distinction, since the Samaritans were Jews too—had been estranged for centuries before Jesus, James and John attempted to pass through their land on the way to Jerusalem. The reason is that the Jerusalem Temple was a huge source of revenue for the south, since the book of Deuteronomy required all Jewish men to travel three times a year “to the place where God shall choose” (16:16).

But the Samaritans always read that passage as their own sacred location of Mount Gerizim, and they resented Jews traveling through to Jerusalem. The south benefited spiritually and economically from all those travelers, and the north felt left out of the promises of the Torah that were originally meant for them.

The Eastern Orthodox church in our neighborhood has a sign outside: Teaching the truth for two thousand years. That’s to remind Roman Catholics that they are the original descendants of the faith hijacked during the schism of 1054.

Hard feelings abound everywhere when it comes to who got there first. We only have to look at the street names in our cities—Huron, Cherokee, Osage—to remember the First Peoples. The devastation of that encounter is only now coming to the surface. During next years’ NBA championships you could bring up the Warriors to the fans in Oakland, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

What “rightful ownership” has been hijacked from you in your life?

Kathy McGovern ©2019

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – Cycle C

25 June 2019

It’s our great feast day again. The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ is meaningful for all Christians  who believe the consecrated Bread and Wine is the true body and blood of Jesus. In fact, more and more Christians are now saying out loud what they have come to believe: this is not a symbol. This is the actual Body and Blood of Christ.

You may have known this since the day of your First Communion. You may have only recently recognized its Truth. Or you may still be on the fence about the Real Presence. In any case, let me offer you a little test.

Think back on the Mass you attended today. Remember the stresses you brought with you—kids, jobs, money, texts to answer, aging parents who need care. How did you feel at the beginning of Mass?

Try to recall the hymns sung and the scriptures read. (This may trigger your memory: can you sing some of the responsorial psalm from today? It will have a theme that brings to mind the first reading, the gospel, or both.)

Think about the homily you heard. Think about the things we prayed for in the General Intercessions. Think about the procession up for the Eucharist. Think about how you felt when Mass was ended. I’ll bet you anything you went in peace.

That’s the Real Presence. There is a palpable difference in the way people behave before Mass and after. It’s as if a cool breeze blew through and made all things new. Huh. That’s pretty much what happened at Pentecost.

How did I feel today as we sang the recessional hymn?

Kathy McGovern ©2019

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity – Cycle C

25 June 2019

I’ve always liked this feast. I love thinking of the ways that I am more than just one person in my life, that all of my different titles represent vital pieces of my identity. I am, for example, Ben’s wife, my parents’ daughter, my siblings’ sister, my cousins’ cousin, my nieces and nephews’ aunt. I am all of those titles, and I’m probably a little different with each of my beloved relatives.

I am also a friend, a student, a teacher, a reader, a writer, and a parishioner. I love being all those things. I can’t imagine a happy life without any one of them.

The earliest Christians—as early as Paul himself, whose profound transformation took place sometime in the mid-40s—were just praying and acting on instinct. There was no catechism, no papal decree to instruct them in what to believe. Paul, Silas, and Barnabas traveled thousands of miles, sailing dangerous waters in rickety boats, walking over treacherous terrain (complete with snakes, as Paul found out at Malta) in order to preach one thing: Jesus Christ, and him crucified, and raised, and living in us through the Holy Spirit.

It wasn’t a hard leap for these Jewish men  to move towards the understanding of God as Three. They intimately knew the Father through their lives steeped in the stories of the Old Testament. They had personally experienced the Son (albeit through Saul’s post-resurrection vision on the road to Damascus), and they depended every day on the comfort and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

It just makes sense that the God in whose image we are created would be more than one Person. We all are.

Which Person of the Trinity do you feel closest to at this point in your life?

Kathy McGovern ©2019

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Pentecost Sequence, 2019 – Cycle C

13 June 2019

It’s Pentecost, see, with its reds and its fire.

It’s hearing the story of yearning desire

To reach to the ends of the earth with the news.

And joy set them free to dispense with the Rules.

 

They left all they knew for THE STORY so glorious

But some of their number became quite notorious.

Saul became Paul, the great Gentile ally.

His letters gave Christians this peace to abide by:

 

Not Gentile, not Jew, not servant, not free.

God’s grace is abiding in you and in me.

Now all these years later it’s hard to recall

That unity was the Spirit’s great gift to us all.

 

So, come, Holy Spirit, let’s try this again.

Renew us. Imbue us, in His NAME. AMEN.

For when Spirit dwells there’s this one huge advantage:

When it comes to God’s grace, we all speak the same language.

 

How do you “speak the same language” with friends of other faith traditions?

 

Kathy McGovern ©2019

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Ascension/ Seventh Sunday of Easter – Cycle C

1 June 2019

Reflecting on John 17: 20-26

Warmest thanks to Steve Padilla, President of the Board of Directors of One World Singers, and all the choirs who performed so beautifully at 

One World, Many Songs: A Denver Cultural Festival

 

We went to the most beautiful concert the other day. I’m still meditating on the many ways it touched and expanded my heart. It began with two songs sung beautifully by a “traditional” choir. Then a larger choir stepped up and joined them, and WOW. The sound and richness of their voices seemed to multiply ten times the sound of the original choir.

Applause. They disappear, and the sanctuary fills with the sublime colors of the Korean Choir, a combination of choirs from the Korean churches in the area. Oh, how this choir watches the director. Every note is perfect, every movement choreographed meticulously.

Applause. The colors swirl away, and now the church fills with the delightful dancers from India. The drums gently beat as these gorgeous dancers get everyone up on their feet and we all pretend we’re in the closing dance sequence of some charming movie from “Bollywood.”

Applause. Ha! Here come the Jews. All it takes is a clarinet, violin, two singers playing some kind of fascinating but unidentifiable string instruments, and we are transported to a pre-Holocaust Eastern European shtetl. The sound is haunting, dissonant, challenging, utterly stunning. I release my heart once again. The Jews own it.

And so it goes. One choir after the other commands the room, and then they all come together for the last piece, “Make the circle wider.” I notice, for the first time, that there are four Caucasians mixed in with the Mexicans, and three African-Americans dancing with the Indians. And the words of today’s gospel seem to sound all through the church, the city, the world: Father, may they all be one.

And they were. And we are.

In what ways are you using your life experience to make the circle wider?

Kathy McGovern ©2019

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015