Monthly Archives: April 2022

Third Sunday of Easter – Cycle C

30 April 2022

Reflecting on John 21: 1-19

It’s all about extravagant love. Abundant, embarrassingly lavish love. We are the dumbstruck recipients. No wonder we feel like jumping out of the boat, fully clad, and rushing to the shore, because somehow we sense that we’ll find Jesus there.

This beautiful love song from the last chapter of John’s gospel—the epilogue, as it is called—is just packed with stories of Jesus’ tender love for us, but it’s that ginormous catch of fish that gets me every time.

Here’s what my life was like, right up until the day of my mom’s death, and then in all the years since, while she has been with God, interceding for me.

When I was holding the empty package of gum, and I SO wanted a piece of gum, she somehow had gum, and there it was. An unexpected catch of fish.

As I was leaving my parents’ home, loaded up with gifts after a warm Christmas dinner, my mom stopped me at the door. “Oh, wait, “ she said, “I think I forgot one of your presents.” She opened up the cloak closet and brought out a beautiful winter coat, waiting there for me all along. A HUGE and shockingly unexpected catch of fish.

When she was dying, out of the blue arrived this wonderful, kind, talented guy to be my beloved spouse. How do you say thank-you for that? You spend your life in awe of the wondrous love of your mom, who is, of course, your in-the-flesh encounter with Jesus, who knows where all the fish are, and greets you, ravishingly hungry at dawn, with warm and delicious food.

Watch for God’s abundance. And get your nets ready.

In what ways do you experience the abundant love of Christ?

Kathy McGovern ©2022

Divine Mercy Sunday – Cycle C

23 April 2022

Reflecting on John 20:19-31

Three years ago, I found a new favorite author and a new book, Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans. In some ways it made me sad, because this formerly evangelical young woman was just now discovering Catholic approaches to reading scripture.

It’s understandable that it took  her awhile, growing up as she did in Dayton, Tennessee, made famous by the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. The trial, which drew famous prosecutor William Jennings Bryan, and defense attorney Clarence Darrow, publicized the tension between science (evolution) and the fundamentalist reading of the book of Genesis which was so popular in the south.

Rachel was courageous in her own growth as a Christian. As she famously said in Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions: “Doubt…requires that we learn the difference between doubting God and doubting what we believe about God. The former has the potential to destroy faith; the latter has the power to enrich and refine it.”

What astounding joy Thomas must have felt when the Divine Mercy greeted him that night. I don’t think he ever doubted God. He doubted what he believed about God, that there could be no intersection between his lived experience—he had, after all, seen his Lord, crucified and buried that terrible Friday—and his faith. Touch my wounds, said Jesus.

One week after I discovered her, Rachel died of the flu at age 38. She left an infant, a toddler, and a devastated husband. Where is God in the tragedy of her death? Touch my wounds, says Jesus. I am here.

Jesus, I trust in you.

How does your faith inform your experiences every day?

Kathy McGovern ©2022

Easter Sunday: the Resurrection of the Lord

16 April 2022

Reflecting on John 20:1-9

It’s so interesting to be up early in the morning and see the difference that light makes in a dark sky. At first it’s not so certain that the dim light coming up will actually overcome the darkness. This might be the first day in the history of the world—that dreaded day—-when dawn will never break, and the sun will never appear on the horizon. But, in the next breath, violets and pinks and blues splash across the skies, the heralds of the moment when light will overtake the darkness once again.

When Mary Magdalene went to the tomb that Easter morning it was so dark that all she saw was the stone removed from the tomb. She raced back to tell the others. By the time Peter and the other disciple got to the tomb, more light was in the sky.

We know this because the faster runner, the “disciple Jesus loved,” got there first, bent down, and looked into the tomb, and saw the burial cloths. Mary would not have seen them inside the tomb because she arrived “while it was still dark.”

By the time Peter arrived there was enough light for him to see, from inside the open tomb, the burial cloths, and the head cloth, rolled up in a separate place.

But keep reading. In the verses immediately following today’s passage, in the full Easter light, Mary Magdalene, weeping outside the tomb, saw two angels, and the Gardener, whom she soon realized was Jesus himself.

A stone rolled way. Burial cloths. The head covering. Two angels. A Gardener. Jesus.

We come to faith in stages, given our access to the Light. And the darkness shall never overcome it.

What truths about Jesus do you see more clearly today than in years past?

Kathy McGovern ©2022

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

9 April 2022

Reflecting on Luke 22:14-23;56

It’s only in Luke’s gospel that Jesus lifts his heart up to the Lord In the Garden, and is in such agony that that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground (22:44).

I notice that Jesus keeps going back to his sleeping friends, begging them to pray that they would not be put to the test.

I never thought of it before this year, but I think the reason they could sleep while their Rabbi was in agony was that they didn’t realize what was soon going to happen. They may have had some intuition about something happening at Passover, but even as late as this event they still didn’t realize what his “kingdom” meant. They were waiting for him to bring the kingdom of God, which, in spite of all the ways he tried to dissuade them, they still thought meant finally calling down fire from heaven and bringing the Romans to their knees.

He knew, of course, that it was not for this that he came into the world. Earthly kingdoms come and go. He was establishing the kingdom in our hearts, and thus in all history. But our dear Jesus begged God that the cup of suffering would pass over him. He was so terrified—and who wouldn’t be?—that his sweat became blood. Oh, Jesus, we weep with you.

The Ukrainians are in the hearts of all of us on this Palm/Passion Sunday. We wept with them as we watched them saying goodbye at train stations. We’ve prayed fervently, begging God to take the cup of war away from them.

How will it all end? We lift our hearts up to the Lord

At what times in  your life have you begged God to take the cup away from you?

Kathy McGovern ©2022

Fifth Sunday of Lent – Cycle C

2 April 2022

Reflecting on John 8:1-11

Wouldn’t you love to know what Jesus was writing in the sand while the Pharisees were trying to get him all worked up? I love that he was so detached from their hysteria, so utterly uninterested in the drama they were fomenting. If I were to guess, I’d vote for the very scripture from Isaiah 43 that is the first reading today. Remember not the events of the past; the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new! Do you not perceive it?

I’ll bet that’s what Jesus wanted to say to that poor woman: Try to forget this trauma and humiliation. These Pharisees are just using you to get at me. God is doing something new in your life! Do you not perceive it?

Those are timely words for us today, traumatized as we are by this terrible war, the photos of millions of desperate people fleeing from war zones around the world, and our own horrors of school shootings, grocery store shootings, and fires that wipe out a thousand residential homes. We pray to “remember not” every single dreadful thing.

We don’t know what happened next to that “woman caught in adultery.”  I’ll bet she never forgot the moment when she met the Mercy of God. We just have to feel so sad for the guy she was with. Had he somehow found a way to become invisible in the crowd, and then joined in getting the stones ready? Either way, his “privilege” as the man in this episode kept him from the only real privilege there is, which is a one-on-one encounter with Jesus. I hope he found his way to Jesus too.

How have you found peace in letting go of some of the events of the past?

Kathy McGovern ©2022