Monthly Archives: January 2020

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

20 January 2020

Reflecting on John 1: 29-34

I think it’s easy to see the people on whom the Spirit of God rests. John the Baptist said that even though he did not know who Jesus was initially, when he baptized Jesus he saw the Spirit descend upon him, and that’s when he knew he was the Son of God. By the way, if you’re confused about why John the Baptist didn’t know Jesus, remember that today’s gospel is according to St. John, not St. Luke, the only gospel writer who knows that Jesus and John the Baptist were cousins.

But I digress. Don’t you think it’s easy to recognize those people around us who are guided by and shot through with the Holy Spirit? I love being around those people. They are warm, and kind, and they notice things. For example, they notice when people are telling racist or sexist jokes, and they step in and stop it. (Okay, in those situations they tend to be HOT more than just warm.)

People infused with the Holy Spirit notice everyone in the room, and they somehow find their way to the ones most overlooked. You know, the folks who talk too much, or eat too much, or stay quiet too much. Here is the thing I find so inspiring, since I’m always drowning in clutter. People in submission to the Spirit actually read the charitable pleas crowding their inboxes, and carefully investigate those groups, and even make changes to their usual list of charities in order to include them. Only the Spirit could inspire such patience.

It’s even easier to identify those whose hearts are hardened to the Spirit, but why would you even associate with such a person?

Who do you know who seems filled with the Holy Spirit?

Kathy McGovern©2020

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord – Cycle A

11 January 2020

Reflecting on Acts 10: 34-38

Idling at a red light around Christmastime, I glanced over at the car in the next lane. The driver was male and kind of scary looking—you know, a different race from mine, dressed differently from the guys I know, and a bit out of place in our neighborhood. He was listening to loud music (which is probably what brought him to my attention). And he was driving a really cute red car.

I hit the button and the window rolled down. I motioned to him that I wanted to say something to him. Immediately on the defensive, he looked a little uncertain, but he turned down his music and waited for me to speak.

“What a darling car!” I said, smiling. “I just love the color.” Everything changed at that moment. He gave me a smile that revealed the delighted young man he was, thrilled that a stranger had noticed his great treasure.

His smile, so pure, so gentle, could have melted the ice on the street. “Oh, thank you! That’s so nice! I really like it.” The light changed, we both set off, and he was still waving and smiling at me when I turned off half a block later.

Don’t you love those encounters with people who don’t look like you do? That little exchange changed everything for me the rest of the day, and weeks later I’m writing about it now.

I begin to see, said the Orthodox Jew Peter to the Gentile centurion Cornelius, that God shows no partiality. That was a huge moment in the history of the Church. Gentiles and Jews, once so estranged, started recognizing and waving to each other.

How will you embrace those who don’t look like you this year?

Kathy McGovern ©2020

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord – Cycle A

4 January 2020

Reflecting on Matthew 2:1-12

Star dust. It turns out we are all made of it. Almost every element on Earth was formed at the heart of a star. How? When a massive star explodes, carbon, oxygen and nitrogen are released into the universe, providing the building blocks for planets, and plants, and human life. Everything in us is formed from residual stardust, and here’s the best part: you have stuff in you as old as the universe.

So consider this: when those passionate astrologers saw that Star, might it have been the stardust in them, routed into them through eons, from the day God spoke the world into being, that shouted out, “We recognize You! We are made from You! We have literally longed for You, in every cell of our being, from the beginning of time!”

Each of us carries those Wise Men in our own DNA. We too are made of the stuff that sees the Star and says, “Yes, I was made to seek You and find You. Nothing in my life will ever satisfy me until I do.”

And so I ask you, Star gazers: where do you feel the most completely yourself, the most utterly at home? Allow yourself this epiphany: only by knowing what you know for sure will you ever truly find the peace that comes from God, who formed the world from the beginning of the beginning. If you are breathing, then you are stardust, and you won’t feel at home until you find the Star.

Joni Mitchell had it right: We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon. And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the Garden.

In what ways do you sense that you belong to God?

Kathy McGovern ©2019

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015