Monthly Archives: May 2023

A Pentecost Sequence – Cycle A

27 May 2023

Reflecting on Acts 2: 1-11

They were all gathered that day in one place,

Peter, and Andrew, and She Full of Grace.

Like a mighty wind, just then the Spirit descended,

The Age of LIFE started, the Age of Law ended.

The Age of Grace poured out, in tongues as of fire.

And so filled, whatever their Christ would require

Became their great joy, their mission, their Moment,

With power they named our Despair their Opponent.

Our sadness, our shame, our losses, addictions,

Our too-tiny tremblings of too-small convictions,

They roared with the Spirit, we still hear their voices!

In memory of them the earth still rejoices.

 For God is not tiny, not helpless, not buried.

The Resurrected One was the Christ who they carried

Out to the world, to its remotest parts,

To hold us, to heal us, to DWELL in our hearts.

How do you live in Pentecost strength?         

Kathy McGovern ©2023

Solemnity of the Ascension – Cycle A

20 May 2023

Last week we resolved to begin our Pentecost novena either last Thursday, or today. Imagine that all the readers of this column around the country are praying together, right now. Our prayer is that we would be ready to give a reason for our HOPE.

It’s hard to find HOPE at times, I know. As I read back on last year’s novena, I see heartfelt prayers for a swift end to Russia’s war in Ukraine. We prayed that Vladimir Putin would have a conversion experience. We prayed that those who were trapped in Ukraine would find a safe way out.

We prayed this novena for nine days, right up to Pentecost of last year. I’m going to pray it again this year, and for as long as it takes. But I want to suggest another novena that’s closer to home this year.

It was so inspiring—so HOPEFUL—to see the lines of cars lined up last month in our parish parking lot. They had come to surrender any weapons from their homes. We recovered 58 guns, several of which were assault weapons. It’s a drop in the bucket, of course, but there’s no stopping a moment whose time has come. And so, I offer this Novena Prayer:

O God of peace, we couldn’t have imagined that the Second Amendment would serve as a shield for mass murderers.

But here we are, God, the land of the free and home of the brave, dying every day of terrible mass shootings and mass murders because of our RIGHTS.  This is the reason for our HOPE: hearts can be changed, if not amendments. Change our hearts this day. We pray in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Who will you talk to about how easy it is to surrender a firearm?

Kathy McGovern ©2023

Sixth Sunday of Easter – Cycle A

13 May 2023

Reflecting on 1Peter 3: 15-18

Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.

That line from the second reading today (1 Peter 3: 15) has been trending powerfully the last several years. I think it’s an exhortation from evangelists who are witnessing the sad reality that fewer and fewer Christians can explain what they believe, and why they believe it.

Are you ready to give an explanation for the reason for your hope, or are you, like me, timid and insecure around those who have actively rejected the faith? As we get closer to Pentecost, these two weeks might provide a fruitful time of reflection. What is the reason for your hope?

I’ll start. The reason for my hope is that I see, clearly, that God has been faithful in my past, and is faithful in the present. This lifelong awareness of the nearness of God, and the providential goodness of God in my life, stirs a solid hope in me that God will be faithful in the future as well.

Psalm 71:5 has been, I realize now, the signature scripture of my life: For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth. I think about this often, the many ways my Catholic childhood, nurtured in the Catholic schools, rewarded with glow-in-the-dark medals, submerged in beautiful music and beautiful liturgy, forged a DNA of hope and trust from my youth.

This Thursday our Pentecost novena begins. For nine days before our great FEAST, let’s do a full-court press of prayer. Let’s ask God to stir in us the reasons for our hope. And may that hope renew the face of the earth.

Are you ready to give a reason for your hope?

Kathy McGovern ©2023

Fifth Sunday of Easter – Cycle A

6 May 2023

Reflecting on Acts 6: 1-7

It’s so embarrassing to look back on the behavior of the dominant culture in every age. We know, because we are living it right now, that the day will surely come when children will say to their parents, “You could have saved us from environmental disaster and you did WHAT?”

Looking back at the things we took for granted is so shocking now. We watch TITANIC and say, “WHAT? People lived and people died on that ship depending on how much MONEY they had?” The answer is YES. Financial status seemed the only proper way to decide who had access to the lifeboats.

Every day, it seems, another appalling injustice from generations ago is brought to light. As author Bonnie Garmus wrote, “some things needed to stay in the past because the past was the only place they made sense.”

I think of all this as I read that ultra embarrassing sentence from Acts today: the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.

This is in the earliest days of the Church, when miracles abounded, and huge numbers were added to the Church every day! The eyewitnesses to the Risen Lord were walking and talking in Galilee and Jerusalem, giving witness to the greatest event in all history.

And yet. When the food was distributed to the community of believers, it was understood that the widows of the Greek-speaking Jews would be neglected. They didn’t speak Hebrew, they lived in the Diaspora (outside of Jerusalem), and they didn’t have any husbands to speak for them. They were invisible.

O God, save us from the blindness upon which later generations will judge us.

What behaviors of yours in the past do you particularly regret today?

Kathy McGovern ©2023