patmarrin's blog


True Fulfillment

“The people were observing him carefully” (Luke 14:1).

The confrontation in today’s Gospel passage between Jesus and the scholars of the Law over what was allowable activity on the Sabbath is a familiar “fulfillment” theme in the Christian scriptures.

Principalities and Powers

“Our struggle is not with flesh and blood, but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens” (Eph 6:12).

Enter Now! Today!

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

Many of the Gospel passages we will hear as we approach the end of the church year will begin with this reminder: Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem. In the light of this, his instructions to his disciples and his encounters with his critics take on a special urgency. Time is running out. Conversion must be decisive and total. If you expect to enter the Kingdom of God, there are no half measures. Enter the grace of the moment, no matter the risk or the cost. Do it now.

A Few Good Apostles

“You are no longer strangers and sojouners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones” (Eph 2:19).

Jesus prays all night on the mountain, communing with his Abba, then in the morning gathers around him his disciples, and from them chooses the Twelve. He is the new Moses;they are the new representatives of the 12 tribes of Israel, the starter leaven for the transformation of the entire human family. Everything Jesus does is about fulfillment. The Law and the Prophets converge on him and on the mystery of his death and resurrection.

Stand up for Justice

"Woman, you are set free of your infirmity" (Luke 13:11).

I will take wild guess in attributing the following story, which I cannot find on Google but which is firmly etched in my memory. I think it was Dr. Tom Dooley, the young doctor who went to Southeast Asia in the late 1950s. He noted that the streets were swept by older women with short-handled brooms, which caused them to be permanently stooped over. He, or someone, introduced long-handled brooms, which allowed the women to work upright but also affected their sense of dignity and lifted their status as important workers.

A Whole New World

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” (Matt 22:36).

If we look at the larger context of today’s Gospel about the Great Commandment in Matthew, we find it positioned right before Jesus launches into his devastating indictment of the religious leaders of his time. Jesus has been in a series of confrontations with his critics, who want to test and trap him into saying something they can use against him.

Parables in the Skies

“Judge for yourselves what is right” (Luke 12:56).

Jesus uses nature’s patterns and the signs of coming weather to illustrate the obvious lessons we ought to apply to the rest of our lives. If we can predict rain by a cloud rising in the west, or a hot day tomorrow by the wind coming up from the south, why not grasp the inevitable implications of our actions. The failure to reconcile with an opponent when the problem is small can lead to much deeper divisions, hardened positions and major consequences.

Baptism of Fire

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

Servanthood

“Much will be required of the person entrusted with much” (Luke 12:48).

Today’s Gospel about Jesus’ instruction to Peter and the other disciples about being good servants seems a perfect text for the first commemoration of St. John Paul II, who was canonized last June together with St. John XXIII.

May they all be one

"Christ Jesus is our peace; he made the two one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity" (Eph 2:14).

The early church saw its share of conflict as its first established communities and emerging leaders hammered out a unified understanding of who Jesus is and what his mission is through his church.