Monthly Archives: March 2022

Fourth Sunday of Lent – Cycle C

26 March 2022

Reflecting on Lk. 15:1-3, 11-32

Grr. You have to feel for that elder son. He’d been working the family farm— ranch?—pretty much by himself because his worthless brat of a little brother staged a big scene and got the old man to give him his inheritance and then ran off to squander it.

Now, truth be told, it wasn’t that much of an inheritance, since, according to Moses, the first-born son got twice as much as the younger brother: But he shall acknowledge the first-born…by giving a double portion of all he has; for he is the first-fruits of his strength, the right of the first-born is his (Dt. 21:17).

So, yeah, there’s that. But he had to work twice as hard for that twice-as-large inheritance! The little brother was supposed to stay and work, and the older brother was supposed to reap the benefits of that set-up. That’s how God wants it.

Here’s a thought: maybe that runaway son was taking a stand against a system that worked two sons the same, but one benefitted twice as much.

Greg Boyle, SJ admits that he won the race, zip code, parents, and siblings lottery when he was born. Me too. I wonder if I make assumptions about the life I get to live, in contrast to the way the family sleeping in their van in the empty parking lot is living theirs right now.

The younger son looked at “the way God wants it” and said, “I don’t think so.” I hope the van-family doesn’t think God set things up so I get to be warm and they have to be cold. Come to think of it, I hope I don’t think that too.

Are there inequities in the economic system that are making you feel like running away?

Kathy McGovern ©2022

Third Sunday of Lent – Cycle C

19 March 2022

Reflecting on Luke 13:1-9

Second chances. What a gift they are. I’m thinking of that kind teacher who said, halfway through the quarter on Algebra II so many years ago, “You know, Kathy, your talents could be used elsewhere. Let’s transfer you out of this class before too much times goes by.”

Ha! From this long distance I can still hear her voice, but of course today I can hear what she was really saying: “You are NEVER going to get this! You are EXASPERATING your teacher and everyone else in the class. We’re transferring you out before EVERYONE DESPAIRS.”

Even now I remember the relief of that undeserved kindness, that grace. That moment became a turning point in my life. Those of us who had kind parents can trace grace in a thousand ways. I pray for those who did not receive that grace, who have had to find kindness from other sources than their families of origin. I pray that grace has found them, and strengthened them throughout their lives.

That barren fig tree got a second chance, because the kind Gardener resolved to give it extra attention, extra effort. Do you have some fig trees hanging around in your life, maybe some bad habits that could be transformed with some discipline and pruning? Are you spinning your wheels on the same old vices, recognizing that they do not satisfy, but too invested in them to step away?

Let this be the Lent you submit to the grace of second chances. Let the Gardener show you the dead branches in your life, the secrets that aren’t keeping you safe, the fruit that’s been waiting to grow from your freshly repaired life.

What dead growth are you resolved to attack and master this season?

Kathy McGovern ©2022

Second Sunday of Lent – Cycle C

12 March 2022

Reflecting on Luke 9: 28b-36

My favorite thing to do is to sit, in good light, with a friend whose love has suffused my life with laughter, and insight, and warmth, and kindness, and, as is often (but not always) the case, beautiful music. I hope you have a few of these friends.

It nearly always happens that, as we talk, I see these friends more clearly. Their goodness seems to shimmer around them. I get a deeper vision of the weight of their lives, their joyful embrace of the health and strength of youth, the intense discipline of study and work, the joy and struggle of being faithful to the children, or the mission, they have brought into the world. Sometimes I can see, almost in a single flash, the faith in the goodness of God that has shaped them into who they are.

A lot of nights, I just lean over and watch my sweet husband sleep. In his soft breathing I can hear the challenges and triumphs of the day. By the soft moonlight I can see the dear contours of his face. His goodness shimmers.

I wonder. Did Peter, James, and John have the same experience of intimacy I often have with those who are dear to me? Up on that high mountain, with the terrors of Jerusalem beckoning below, did they finally see him as he truly was? Did the mysteries they had witnessed—the blind healed, the demons expelled, the five thousand fed—suddenly click into place?

Whenever the truth of a life, whether with a friend or with Jesus in prayer, becomes radiant before us, our response is always the same. It is good for us to be here.

What experience of “transfiguration” have you had while in the presence of a loved one?

Kathy McGovern ©2022

First Sunday of Lent – Cycle C

5 March 2022

Reflecting on Psalm 91: 1-2, 10-11. 12-13, 14-15

We’re living through some significant dis-ease these days, and It’s during these seasons of stress and fear that we want to remind Jesus, as Satan did, of Psalm 91, which we sing today and throughout Lent. Doesn’t it clearly say that God’s angels will surround us, lest we dash our foot against a stone? That tact didn’t work with Jesus, who repelled Satan’s volleying of sacred scripture by returning Satan’s challenge with the ultimate reproof: Thou shalt not put the Lord, your God, to the test.

But still we sing it, not just in Lent, but “On Eagle’s Wings,” the beautiful musical setting of Psalm 91, is now a hymn beloved by people of many faiths throughout the Western world. We sing it, I think, not only because we love the strong and comforting assurance that God will be with us when we are in trouble, but because there are so many times in our lives when we knew, deep in our bones, that it was true.

I admit that I remind Jesus on a daily basis of the promises in this psalm, but my motive is far removed—I hope—from the menace and predation of Satan. I pray these powerful words in gratitude, because they have been true every day of my life. But I also pray for strength and obedience, to surrender to the mystery of suffering and death.

This whole losing battle for Satan was in the desert, of course. Who knows? Deserts were once gardens, millions of years ago. On the cross, Jesus waged his final battle against Satan, who hangs out in deserts, and restored to us the Garden of eternal life.

Cling to him. He will deliver you.

In what ways has “On Eagle’s Wings” been a comfort to you throughout your life?

Kathy McGovern ©2022