patmarrin's blog

I Myself Will Shepherd Them

“Thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will look after and tend my sheep” (Ezek 34:11).

We celebrate Christ the King this Sunday, a paradoxical king who turns upside down all our presumptions about privilege and power. Both the first reading from Ezekiel and the famous parable from Matthew 25 use the image of a shepherd to describe God’s love for his people, especially the poor and those in any kind of need. Jesus described himself as a good shepherd who was willing to lay down his life for his flock.

Presenting Mary

“How sweet to my taste is your promise!” (Ps 119).

A birth to one of our staff members here at NCR renews us all. New life blesses a small company celebrating 50 years of delivering needed journalism to an aging audience living on promises. Hazel Mary gives us joy and hope for the next 50 years.

Isn’t this true of every birth, that most wonderful sign and urgent challenge -- that the world be transformed to welcome this child. Who knows what gifts she bears to our world?

Jesus Wept

“If this day you only knew what makes for peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:41).

There are two instances in the Gospel where Jesus weeps. One is at the tomb of his friend Lazarus and the other is in today’s Gospel. “As Jesus drew near Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it.”

Time to Play Your Cards

"You have been faithful in small matters; I will give you greater responsibilities" (Matt 25:21).

Come Down Quickly

“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner” (Luke 19:5).

Randy Newman, the incomparable singer/songwriter, has a song called “Lonely at the Top,” about a man who has succeeded at everything except human maturity. The first verse says it all: “I've been around the world / Had my pick of any girl / You'd think I'd be happy / But I'm not / Ev'rybody knows my name / But it's just a crazy game / Oh, it's lonely at the top.” Wealth and fame have brought him all the pleasures easy virtue has to offer, but his conscience is numb and his soul is dying of loneliness “at the top.”

Be Careful What You Pray For

"What do you want me to do for you?" (Luke 18:37).

There is wisdom in the familiar saying “Be careful what you pray for; you just might get it.” The trick is in knowing what to pray for. In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks the blind beggar, “What do you want me to do for you?” The man could have asked for anything, but he goes to the heart of his need: “Lord, let me see.” With sight, he is instantly freed from a life of begging on the side of the road. He rises up and follows Jesus. All his prayers are answered with the gift of sight.

Use It or Lose It

“Well done, good and faithful servant. Come share your master’s joy” (Matt 25:20).

The Parable of the Talents continues the theme of accountability prominent in the Lectionary as the liturgy approaches the end of the church year. Three servants are given sums of money to invest. Two of them multiply their master’s money and trust. One buries his portion rather than risk losing it. He earns only a reprimand. We receive a life lesson: Use it or lose it.

Two-Minute Warning

"Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather" (Luke 17:37).

With a gruesome image, Jesus indicates the death of one world and the start of another. His disciples must be alert, so that when the time comes they can make the leap of faith that will preserve their lives for what will happen next.

Welcome the Seasons

“Behold, the kingdom of God is among you” (Luke 17:22)

The polar breath has arrived. catching the city still in autumn, its trees in full but fading colors.

The Tenth Leper

“Go show yourselves to the priests” (Luke 17:13).