Monthly Archives: April 2023

Fourth Sunday of Easter – Cycle A

29 April 2023

Reflecting on John 10: 1-10

We have, in Denver, two communities of the most radiant, joy-filled young people you ever saw. The Colorado Vincentian Volunteers have graced our city with energy, goodness, and a rock-hard commitment to companioning those who are marginalized, for 28 years.

Our newcomers, the Christ in the City missionaries, have served those living on the streets of Denver for 13 years. Both of these groups, shot through with the love of Jesus, come to mind so easily today, on Good Shepherd Sunday.

In a new documentary about the work of Christ in the City, Homeless but Human, It’s so obvious that those who suffer on our streets hear two voices (and those with mental illness, other voices too).

Imagine the first voice as the one you’ve heard for decades. It’s the voice that recalls all the ways you’ve been betrayed, abused, terrorized. It’s the voice that tells you to NEVER trust anyone, to hide your terrible loneliness, and to pull back into the isolation that has been your only friend.

Enter the voice of the Good Shepherd, in the delightful disguise of funny, love-filled young people who are CALLING YOU BY NAME. They are visiting you at your tent. They are ready to play cards. They are ready to sing songs with you. And not just for a day or a week. Both the CVV and Christ in the City kids are IN IT. They will listen to your heart, and touch your wounds, and remember your birthdays, until you trust them enough to apply for housing, or visit the clinic, or call home.

It’s the rod and staff of these beautiful young Believers that give comfort on our cold streets.

Have you ever heard the Voice of the Shepherd through the love of others?

Kathy McGovern ©2023

Third Sunday of Easter – Cycle A

22 April 2023

Reflecting on Luke 24: 13-35

My husband Cleopas and I decided to leave Jerusalem. We were heartbroken. We had hoped that Jesus, our beloved friend, would redeem Israel. But instead, the Romans crucified him. The Romans are beasts.

Our group spent the next hours huddled together, terrified of the soldiers. This morning, three of the disciples went to the tomb with spices to anoint his body. They came running back with the wildest tale! They were screaming that his body is gone, that he has been raised! And even Peter ran to the tomb and found the burial cloths just lying there in the empty tomb.

People are crying and laughing and screaming and singing, “He has been raised!” But we aren’t naïve. We won’t be taken in by wishful thinking. The Jerusalem group can keep their joy. We saw him crucified. He had no power over the Romans. He wasn’t the one we’d hoped for after all.

But here’s the thing. On the road back to Emmaus, a stranger appeared on the road. He asked us why we were weeping. How could he not know? We started from the beginning, from the day three years ago when we heard about Jesus, and came to find him, and fell so in love with him. We told him about the friends we had made, friends we thought we’d have forever. It felt good to tell the story. In fact, our hearts were burning within us, just remembering him.

That Stranger was a good listener. Ha! How did we not recognize him? It was Jesus! As usual, we thought we were running away from him, but he was running towards us the whole time.

How does remembering the Story bring Jesus nearer?

Kathy McGovern ©2023

Divine Mercy Sunday – Cycle A

15 April 2023

Reflecting on John 20: 19-31

It’s the wounds that draw me. Show me your wounds so I can trust you. No perfect people need apply.

Most of the time a person’s wounds are pretty evident. We tend to wear our wounds as nametags, like  Hi, I’m Kathy. I don’t walk so great. But other wounds are less visible, and often those wounds are the worst.

I resonate with Thomas, who became the great Apostle to India after touching the wounds of Christ. I imagine him, reaching to actually touch the speared side, to put his finger in the nail marks, and dropping down in awe, crying out My Lord, my God!

I drop down in awe when I am in the presence of the wounded. When I consider what people live with, have lived with, and will live with in the future, it drops me to the floor. My Lord and my God! From whence does a person summon the strength to be generous, to be thoughtful, to continue to raise a child, maybe, when carrying physical or psychological wounds so overwhelming?

Consider Thomas, the recipient of Divine Mercy so great that, after his encounter with the Risen Christ, he traveled all the way to India to tell the inhabitants there, in 52 AD, that he had seen the Risen Lord, and had touched his wounds.

We are the generation about whom Jesus spoke. We have not seen him. We have not heard him. We have not touched his wounds. And yet, we believe. We embrace the faith that Thomas shouted from the rooftops. My Lord and my God! You are risen! You are here! You are living within us!

Oh Jesus, we trust in You.

In what ways have treating the wounds of those in need stirred your faith in Jesus?

Kathy McGovern ©2023

Easter Sunday

8 April 2023

Reflecting on Matthew 28: 1-10

If you attended the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday you heard Matthew’s detailed and fascinating resurrection account.  It’s only here that we learn there was a “great earthquake” when an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and, like swatting a fly, rolled the stone away that had tried to keep Jesus chained in death.

And Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” actually saw this!  This is the only account in the four gospels where eyewitnesses actually saw the stone rolled away!  The big scary Roman guards posted at the tomb were so terrified by that angel that they fell dead asleep.  But not those women!  They stood their ground and watched―not fainting, but full of a faith that only comes from Love.  They loved Jesus.  No angel was keeping them from him. 

And because of their Love they witnessed the greatest event of all history.

On this day, Easter Sunday 2023, I offer you this invitation:  Fall in love with him.  Soften your heart.  Enter the tomb and see that it is empty.  Enter into a life in Christ and see that is full to overflowing with grace and love for you.  I promise.

The guards could have been eyewitnesses too.  Instead, they helped start the rumor that Jesus’ disciples stole the body so that there would be an explanation for that empty tomb when people came to see for themselves.

The world is like that these days.  There are lots of explanations for that empty tomb.  Except for this: the earliest Christians gladly accepted martyrdom because they had seen, and utterly believed, that their BELOVED was waiting for them just on the other side of the grave.

What might be keeping you from accepting the WITNESS of the earliest Christians?

Kathy McGovern ©2023

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

1 April 2023

Reflecting on Matthew 27:11-54

The sadness descends on us like a cloak from the very first words, “One of the Twelve, Judas Iscariot…” We know what’s coming, and still we hope that, this time, Judas will NOT approach the chief priests, or that they will NOT offer the thirty pieces of silver.

Judas still had a chance to stop it. When Jesus let it be known, at the Supper, that it was he who would betray him, Judas could have warned Jesus from going into the Mount of Olives that night. He could have flung the Blood Money into the temple BEFORE the guards ever came looking for Jesus.

So many had the opportunity to stop it. I’ll bet there were some secret BELIEVERS among that large crowd, armed with swords and torches, who came into Gethsemane that night. They could have stopped it before the Romans ever got involved. The chief priests didn’t even know what Jesus looked like! That’s why Judas was there, to point him out, to betray him with a kiss. There were so many moments when it all could have just stopped.

Pilate’s wife did what she could to stop it. She warned her husband to have nothing to do with that righteous man. But the crowd—full of envy, no doubt, at the love Jesus engendered in his followers— knew best.

Pilate himself could have stopped it, but the mob intimidated him. Sure, it’s unfortunate that an innocent man has to die, he thought. But better him than me. You can’t trust these Jews to keep their little religious quibbles away from Rome.

The sadness today, of course, is our own collusion with things we still could stop.

Have you ever “fallen on your sword” to stop an evil? Were you successful?

Kathy McGovern ©2023