Monthly Archives: April 2020

Third Sunday of Easter – Cycle A

25 April 2020

Reflecting on Luke 24: 13-35

It takes about two months to form a new habit, but I’ll bet collective trauma bakes in a new habit a lot faster. I suspect that because, after just eight weeks or so of maintaining a six-foot distance from everyone, I’m shocked that the “Stranger” just walked right up to the two disciples (Cleopas and Mrs. Cleopas) and started talking to them.

Was he wearing a mask? Were they? More disturbingly, when he broke the Bread with them, did they all share it from a common plate? Probably. There would be hundreds of devastating plagues in the two millennia to come. There is no evidence there was one in that room that night.

These disciples of Jesus had been in Jerusalem for Passover, and had (perhaps) even witnessed his horrifying crucifixion. And yet, they didn’t recognize him until his Risen Body broke through time and space, met them on the road, revealed the scriptures to them, and then revealed himself to them (and us) in the breaking of the bread.

Do you feel like your eyes have been opened during this strangest of all seasons? Mine are opened wide. The healed air quality is breaking through a century of brown cloud. I stand outside at night and see the STARS! Then, our young neighbor comes outside and plays a beautiful piece on his flute. All the neighbors applaud. Our hearts burn within us.

My eyes are opened wide about who the essential workers are, too. From now on, every teacher of any grade gets a 100% raise. Grocery store workers get our warmest respect. And health care workers? They own our hearts. And our hearts burn within us with gratitude.

How have your eyes opened since this experience?

Kathy McGovern ©2020

Divine Mercy Sunday – Cycle A

18 April 2020

Reflecting on John 20: 19-31

Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”

And there you have it. The doors were locked, but Jesus came in anyway. Apparently they had been social-distancing all week, ever since Easter night when Jesus appeared to them while Thomas was away. They were quarantining—which means “forty days,” of all sublime things—from the Jewish leaders. They were terrified of the highly contagious virus of Fear and Power that was apparently driving a search for them in the city.

Mary Magdalene had come tearing through town on Easter morning, crying out that the stone was rolled away and Jesus was not in the grave. After the footrace to the tomb, the two male disciples entered. Jesus had left his face mask behind. (When One is bursting from death to life, the old restrictions are superfluous.) They saw, and believed.

The female disciple, however, remained at the tomb, and her great love was rewarded. She raced back to that locked room, weeping and laughing and shouting, “I have seen the Lord!”

So, the quarantined disciples first heard the news from Peter and the Beloved Disciple, then from Mary Magdalene, and then from Jesus himself! And Thomas wasn’t there for any of it. No wonder he needed to place his hands in the Wounds. His own dark doubts had taken him to a terrible place.

Are your doors locked and your windows closed, sheltering while the Surge races through your city? No worries. The Divine Mercy has already come through the door and is with you, comforting your wounds and placing your trembling hands in his.

Jesus, we trust in You.

In what mysterious ways have you felt that resurrection is afoot?

Kathy McGovern  © 2020

The Resurrection of the Lord

11 April 2020

After the apex, when it was deemed safe to come out, we rushed to the tombs to see if there was any life left. The shelves at the grocery store started to fill up again, and those who had thoughtlessly hoarded goods that others needed just as much stood at the entrances and begged forgiveness.

So too, those who had disregarded ordinances for social distancing began their sentences. They worked twelve-hour shifts in hot, crowded factories in parts of the world where the virus was exploding, sewing masks and gloves and gowns for all those who, while serving the sick, would become sick themselves because the numbers of sick were too great, because they were infected by those who wouldn’t step away from the beach or the bars when it mattered the most.

We counted our dead, and finally cried for our elderly neighbors, our grandparents, our friends, ourselves. We checked in with our jobs, those that still answered the phone and had the lights on. We checked in with our stock portfolios and our bank accounts. Okay, that might take a while.

Finally, our hearts heavy, we went to our churches. And behold, the ground outside that was cold and hard in mid-Lent was bursting with flowers! Inside, the purples were gone, and glorious Easter whites and golds filled every corner of the sanctuary. And the lilies! That sweet Easter fragrance soaked into our dry bones, and we began to revive. And we heard the voice of the Lord say, “My people, I am going to open your graves and have you rise from them.”

And the trumpets began to blast, and the Alleluias burst forth. And the voice of the turtledove was heard in the land.

What are you most looking forward to when the church doors finally open again?

Kathy McGovern ©2020

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

6 April 2020

Reflecting on Matthew 26: 14-27:66

What an odd Palm/Passion Sunday. There will be no elegant processions through the neighborhood, no communal reading of the Passion. But we are experiencing parts of his passion right now.

Do you miss your family? The meal with loved ones is the cornerstone of our connections. Jesus didn’t eat alone before his arrest. He ate a meal of memory, the Passover meal, with the Twelve. It was his will that every time we eat that Bread and drink that Cup, we remember him.

Do you feel deep sorrow for the actions of your life that have wounded others deeply? Imagine Peter, after his betrayal of Jesus, going out and weeping bitterly.

Are you isolated and lonely? Think of Jesus, chained in Caiaphas’ dungeon the night before his death.

Do you feel intimidated by bureaucracy right now? Imagine Jesus standing before Pilate, who had the power to release him, or to crucify him.

Do you feel shame over any bullying you took part in when you were young? Imagine the shame of those chief priests, scribes and elders who mocked the Crucified One and mocked God, saying He trusted in God. Let God deliver him.

Are you worried about your investments and retirement funds? The soldiers entertained themselves at the foot of the Cross, playing a gambling game with his garment, his sole possession.

Finally, do you love someone who is fighting fever and shortness of breath? Jesus is with them, intimately. Crucifixion is really death by asphyxiation.

The Passion of Jesus holds every suffering of this world. God did not abandon Jesus, but allowed him to be with us in every way. Crowd the cross. It holds all the comfort you need.

What part of the Passion of Jesus resonates the most with you today?

Kathy McGovern ©2020