Monthly Archives: May 2020

Pentecost 2020 – Cycle A

30 May 2020

Reflecting on Acts 2: 1-11

Come, oh Holy Spirit, come!

We feel You ever more, our own.

It’s You who’ve sent the personnel

Who’ve risked their lives to get us well.

It’s on You scientists alight

To give them wisdom in this fight.

And You, oh Spirit, whose cool breath

Companioned those we won’t forget.

Those loved ones, left alone, it seemed.

But You, sweet Spirit, who redeemed

Those last sad moments, with Your grace,

When they met Jesus, face to face.

It’s You, Oh Spirit, we received

On that day we first believed.

Please dwell in us, Spirit, once again.

We ask, in Jesus’ name, AMEN.

In what ways can you sense the Holy Spirit working in the events of these past months?

Kathy McGovern ©2020

The Ascension of the Lord/ Seventh Sunday – Cycle A

24 May 2020

Reflecting on John 17: 1-11A

I almost never get to talk about today’s gospel reading. I’m so glad I finally have the chance to tell you the greatest news you’ve ever heard. Here it is: YOU ARE ALREADY IN HEAVEN.

Now, at this moment in history that may seem like very bad news indeed, as in Seriously? Heaven is being stuck in the house all day and night, terrified of a horrible virus? If this is heaven, what’s hell?

Well, you make a point. It doesn’t seem like heaven, except for the most important fact about your life: you know Jesus. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ (Jn. 17:3).

If you were an infant on the day of your baptism, your Godparents answered those all-important questions for you: Do you believe in God? Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his Son? They answered YES for you, and your life’s task has been, with all your heart, to answer YES on your own.

It’s in that YES that eternal life begins right here on earth. That YES lifts the believers up into that realm that holds them, through sickness, and loss, and grief, and even pandemics. I can do all things in Christ, who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13),says the one whose YES has taken him or her into eternal life right here on earth.

The one who knows Jesus already has a taste of heaven. That does not mean that we are immune from the terrors of this life. It means that holding fast to Jesus anchors us to Him whose comfort and healing is a foretaste of the next.

How has knowing Jesus throughout your life lifted you up?

Kathy McGovern ©2020

Sixth Sunday of Easter – Cycle A

16 May 2020

Reflecting on 1 Peter 3: 15-18

How often do you cry these days? I admit that I cry nearly every day, always in response to some heroic act I see featured on tv. When I hear the first responders–the ambulance drivers and EMTs, especially–describe desperately trying to get a patient to the hospital before they die, I can barely watch.

But when they interview the exhausted nurses and doctors, and hear their answers to the inevitable questions about how they are getting through their shifts without breaking down, I long to hear just one of them reference that scripture text we have today from I Peter: Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.

In Catholic New York, I Iong to hear at least one baptized and confirmed health care hero say, “Well, I’m Catholic. That means I’m never alone. I bring the whole Body of Christ with me when I put on my protective equipment and enter the ward. And, of course, I have all the angels and saints holding me through my shift every day.”

In my daily prayer I picture those angels and saints holding parents tight, giving them patience and strength as they face another ALL KIDS ALL DAY marathon. I picture angels guiding and holding every kind of First Responder .

The reason for our hope, right in the middle of this terror, is that the Holy Spirit is guiding the researchers and every person placing their precious lives on the line. Where is God in all of this? Right there in the ambulance, right there in the ventilator. God did not make death. That is the reason for our hope.

Do you ever share with anyone the reason for your hope?

Kathy McGovern ©2020

Fifth Sunday of Easter – Cycle A

9 May 2020

Reflecting on Acts 6:1-7

Every time I read that account from Acts that admits that the Greek-speaking widows were being left out of the daily distribution of food by the Hebrew-speaking men, I remember that horrible scene from Titanic. You know the one, where, in the panic for the lifeboats, those in third-class steerage were locked out of the gate that led to the boats so that as many of the wealthier passengers as possible could board.

It turns out that wasn’t actually the case. They weren’t “locked out,” but, in fact, a far higher percentage of those in steerage died that night than those on the upper decks. One explanation posited was that many of them were immigrants who didn’t speak English, and therefore didn’t understand the instructions that came over the loudspeaker.

It’s not hard to imagine that those earliest Christians, forming those communities of believers who “shared all things in common,” simply didn’t see the Greek-speaking widows. They were foreigners, and they didn’t speak the language of the dominant culture. The fact that the leadership assigned Greek-speaking deacons to make sure their widows were being fed betrays a huge crack in the Church from the get-go. If those in the minority were going to be fed, they had to find people who actually saw them so they could feed them.

This quarantine period has exposed the fissures in our own culture, hasn’t it? Today I saw a heartbreaking and inspiring story of an African-American mother who drives her two honor-roll students to the bus stop every morning and sits in the car with them all day so they can keep up with their school work. Why? Because they can get an internet connection there. I see her now.

Whom do you see more clearly now that the isolation period is winding down?

Kathy McGovern ©2020

Fourth Sunday of Easter – Cycle A

7 May 2020

Reflecting on John 10: 1-10

It’s so funny, isn’t it, watching the videos of lions sunbathing in the streets, and goats cavorting through towns as if they owned the joint? The delicious irony is that the humans are locked up, and the animals are running free.

I suspect that they are just as curious as we are about what’s going on these days. It must be surreal for them to have cities all to themselves. Where are all the humans? Is this a thing now, or will they be back tomorrow, shouting at us to get back to our designated habitats?

While they’re looking for us, we’re looking at them, and laughing. We can see firsthand what life was like before humans invaded, and dominated, the spaces once ruled by wildlife.

That will all change, of course, and humans will tame their plazas and streets soon enough. But for this one moment, writing as I am on this cleanest Earth Day ever, we can observe our beautiful planet from the magnificent views of pristine Los Angeles air, clear Venetian rivers, and the gorgeous snow-capped Himalayas.

Oh Jesus, Shepherd of our souls, take loving care of us during this most upsetting time. As we ask You, with every breath, to wipe the scourge of this virus from the earth forever, we also ask You for the wisdom and the will to change our hearts this time.

Good Shepherd, hold us carefully as you guide us through the months and years to come. Our planet cries out for You. Give us wise guidance and global solidarity. In these weeks before Pentecost, give us the wisdom to partner with your Holy Spirit in  renewing the face of the earth.

What will you ask the Good Shepherd for today?

Kathy McGovern ©2020