patmarrin's blog

The Team

After a night in prayer on the mountain, Jesus called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve" (Luke 6:12).

The four Gospels mention a special group of disciples named apostles, who were chosen to be witnesses to Jesus. Etymologically, a disciples is someone who is learning; an apostle is someone who is sent to tell others what he has learned.

Be Gathered or Be Scattered

"Behold, your house will be abandoned" (Luke 13:34).

The Narrow Gate

“Strive to enter through the narrow gate” (Luke 13:23).

One of the hardest messages Jesus had to deliver was to the self-assured people who assumed that because they were observant Jews, members of the Chosen People, that they would automatically find favor with God.

A Revolution Within

"What is the Kingdom of God like?" (Luke 13:18).

Jesus preached a revolution, first in the heart, then in the world until it has transformed everything. To describe it, Jesus told parables, little stories using images that, like the process itself, were simple, subtle, invisible yet potent.

The will of God enters our consciousness, then our motives and actions, like a tiny mustard seed. Once we allow it into the garden of our hearts, it takes root and spreads. Or it is like yeast a woman mixes with flour that rises to make fragrant, delicious loaves of bread for everyone.

Jesus Loves Women

Author’s Note: Beginning today, Sunday, Oct 23, Pencil Preaching will post a day ahead of the calendar to accommodate preachers who have requested this to provide suggestions for their daily homilies. Readers can always find the thought for the day by scrolling down to the previous entry. Thanks to those who find these short reflections helpful. I encourage anyone to make the daily readings their way to enter the prayer of the global church by reading and praying over the Lectionary being proclaimed around the world each day in the liturgy.

Mercy Welcomes Us All

“Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else” (Luke18:9).

Reconcile Now, Free Yourself

"I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny" (Luke 12:59).

Jesus was a preacher and not a therapist, but the imagery he uses in describing the need for reconciliation shows his deep understanding of how forgiveness sets us free.

Baptismal Transformation

"There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished" (Luke 12:50).

Get Up, Show Up, Do Your Best

"To whom much is given, much is expected" (Luke 12:48).

We might apply Luke's parable of the steward in charge of the household to any church organization from diocese to parish. No doubt, Luke was writing for the early church as much as recalling Jesus' instructions to his Apostles 50 years earlier.

The early church had survived the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE, the great diaspora of both Jews and Christians into the Mediterranean world as far away as north Africa and Rome. Expectation of the parousia-- the return of Jesus in glory-- was in the air but slowly subsiding as church leaders realized that Jesus' Holy Spirit was at work in history for the long haul.

Yet, the image of a "thief in the night" still warned church leaders to be vigilant. Jesus could come at any time, and those stewards who were taking their ease and abusing others would be held accountable. We catch glimpses of the culture of household servants (slaves) who were regularly beaten by their masters. It is hardly an antiquated example for today's world, proficient in exploiting workers and trafficking women and children.

For Luke, quoting Jesus, the point was that for those of us blessed by grace to focus our lives on Christ, vigilance is how we stay faithful in every season. Whether in crisis or in the long stretches of ordinary responsibility, do your duty, stay the course, know that God is always watching. The evil of the day is sufficient thereof, as are the blessings. Those who have been entrusted with more will be held to a higher standard. So live each day fully and do your best.

Harvest Time

"The harvest time is abundant but the laborers are few, so ask the master of the harvet to send out laborers for the harvest" (Luke 10:2).

We could not have a better reading than this for the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist. The seed of hope sown by Jesus -- his own body surrendered in death for the life of the world -- was what Luke and the other evangelists also scattered. Luke's Gospel has produced new harvests in every generation. To read and accept his narrative and parables is to imagine in faith God's plan of salvation for the world.