Monthly Archives: November 2021

First Sunday of Advent – Cycle C

27 November 2021

Today’s world has a lot of advantages over that of years ago. Take waiting, for example. Before huge cineplexes in every neighborhood we used to actually have to buy tickets in advance, or wait in long lines for seats to movie openings. Remember Star Wars, anyone? Or, in more recent memory, the long wait for the next Harry Potter book?

On the other hand, it’s good to muster the discipline for some kind of delayed gratification in life. Painful as it was, waiting for the bus, or for a favorite tv show to return after the long summer break, formed a certain character in us. I call on that character all the time, when I’m waiting for a medication to work, maybe, or waiting for test results from the doctor.

I’ll bet you have daily challenges to that essential character trait too. Are you waiting for those painful pounds to come off―they will, I promise―or for news from a loved one who is deployed, or hospitalized, or just missing from your life? That kind of waiting is just agonizing.

Or maybe your long wait is to overcome a resentment that’s had you in its grasp for decades. More likely, your wait is for healing for a child who is in the grip of depression, or an addiction, or has problems at school. That’s the most agonizing wait of all.

I have an idea. How about if, this Advent, every reader of this column around the country prayed for someone who is reading these words right now? Talk about waiting. We won’t know until we see Jesus who we were praying for, and who was praying for us. Ready? I can’t wait.

How would you like your unknown prayer partner to pray for you?

Kathy McGovern ©2021

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

20 November 2021

Reflecting on John 8: 33b-37

I love watching people do that for which they were born, that for which they came into the world. You know it when you see it, don’t you? This morning I witnessed twenty ADORABLE young children march into the sanctuary to display the drawings they created from the story time they had just enjoyed.

THIS, I thought! For THIS we were created, to be ever joyous in our sharing of the story of Jesus. Oh, that each of us would have that childlike delight in telling others about Jesus our entire lives. I count it as the greatest blessing that I have been allowed to do this since my early teens.

What a thrill it is to watch a great pianist sit down and play a great work of art. The music lives in the muscle memory of the pianist, who has given up so many other loves in order to have this one. That’s true of all people who bring beauty and grace to the world.

I especially love to watch teachers of the young children who, right about this time of year, are starting to “get it.” These delighted children are sitting in hallways, sitting in tiny chairs with other tiny friends, and they are READING. They are making that most sacred connection between letters and REAL WORDS! And their teachers—blessed be they—are grinning and nodding and saying YES! YES!

For this moment those dear teachers were born. For this they came into the world.

On this great Solemnity, consider that all the baptized are to be teachers. Like children, we carry our own drawings of Jesus into the world. We were born to testify to the Truth.

When do you feel most closely aligned with that which you were born to do?

Kathy McGovern©2021

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

13 November 2021

Reflecting on Mark 13: 24-32

I am a fearful person. I’ve been careful and cautious. The world was certainly ending soon, and I wanted it to hurt as little as possible. Growing up, there were just enough prophets of doom around to keep me in a perpetual state of alarm. Some of their dire predictions have come true over time, but many have not. I confess that I chose fear over faith in every case.

It’s been three spins around the sun since we heard Mark’s terrifying apocalyptic account of the end times, but this time I’m noticing something that was there all along, waiting for me grab hold and reach safety.

It’s this: right after Mark portrays the terrible tribulations—stars falling from the sky, neither the sun nor moon giving any light—Jesus says, “Learn a lesson from the fig tree.” What is the lesson that all fruit-bearing trees have for us?

Check it out, they say. Come in closer. See the leaves that fell last winter? They were stamped down into the earth by rain and snow. The tiny insects came and decomposed the leaves. Some of that was released into the atmosphere, and other parts remained and turned into nourishment for the soil. See those tiny buds? Uh huh. Apples. Peaches. Figs. Just you wait.

Just you wait, friends. Take a lesson from the fig tree. The Divine Plan is never that we should be paralyzed by fear. I get that now. It’s embedded in the DNA of the trees. God intends to give us “a future and a hope” (Jer. 29:11).

Oh, and here’s some other good news. The joy-filled Gospel of Luke is right around the corner.

How has a fearful heart stopped you from embracing a life of faith?

Kathy McGovern ©2021

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

6 November 2021

Put yourself in Jesus’ place here. He’s just spoken out against the big shots, how they love to be recognized in public, and get the best seats in restaurants. He even says they “devour the houses of widows,” and in the very next scene we see this happen in real time.

Seated in the Temple near the Treasury, Jesus has the perfect view of what people are contributing to the upkeep of the Temple and its ministries to the poor.

Can you imagine? Thank God for online giving, huh?

Before we meet her, we need to say a word about widows here. The scholar John Pilch tells us that in Hebrew society, the word for “widow” was “one who keeps silence.” Without a husband or sons to speak up for her, the widow—who was excluded from inheriting from her deceased husband—was at the mercy of the religious officials. That was, after all, the very point of the Treasury collections. The money collected was to be disbursed to those in the community who were poor.

But was it? Jesus seems to be lambasting the scribes, whose use of the monies went to their long robes and fancy banquets, while this poor widow fulfilled her tithing observance by giving everything she had.

Is it possible that there may be another layer underneath the story of the shocking generosity of this woman? Another interpretation might suggest that Jesus, while inspired that she gave everything she had, was outraged that the scribes, whose mandate it was to care for the “widow, the fatherless, the stranger in the land” ((Ps.146:9), sat comfortably in their seats of honor and let her?

Who are  the humble servants who care for those without safety nets in our own world?

Kathy McGovern ©2021