patmarrin's blog


"Do not be troubled, It is I."

“Why are your troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself” (Luke 24:39).

The narrative simplicity of American Sign Language used by the hearing-impaired community is beautifully illustrated in the sign for Jesus. The signer presents his or her palms outward, then with the middle finger of each hand touches the center of the palm of the opposite hand. Perhaps second only to the sign of cross, this gesture tells us the whole story of who Jesus is. He is the crucified one.

The Bread of Life

“Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” (John 6:4).

Today’s story about the miraculous multiplication of loaves and fishes in the wilderness connects Jesus to Moses who called down manna from heaven. But for the early church, this story was also seen as a foreshadowing of the Eucharist, Jesus’ gift of himself as the Bread of Life.

The Joy of the Gospel

“The one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit” (John 3:34).

Before telephones, email and text messages, even before post offices, official messages were memorized by the messenger and delivered orally to the recipient. Exact wording was essential, so the messenger had to know his sender’s message “by heart,” so to speak. The messenger represented the sender and had his or her full authority.

A Tithe Upon Our Hearts

“The Lord hears the cry of the poor” (Psalm 34).

It is probably just a coincidence that today, Tax Day in the United States, the responsorial is Psalm 34, “The Lord hears the cry of the poor.” Today is the day the IRS, the intake engine for our enormous government system will formally replenish its coffers from our likewise enormous economic system. Top wage-earners and corporations, with the help of an army of accountants and lawyers, and perhaps a few Congressmen, will have found ways to pay no taxes, while millions of ordinary working people will ante up.

The Common Good

“The community of believers was of one heart and mind” (Acts 4:32).

Fabled NCR correspondent Gary MacEoin was born in Ireland and his long life nearly spanned the entire 20th century. Having witnessed all of its events, he had stories about everything. One of them described an Irish socialist candidate holding forth to a crowd of farmers about the benefits of socialism.

Our Rebirth in Water and the Spirit

"Nicodemus came to Jesus at night" (John 3:1).

Nicodemus the Pharisee is on the threshold of faith in Jesus. But the Gospel adds one small detail that tells us he is still in a state of indecision and skepticism. Nicodemus comes at night so no one will see him. It is simply too soon and too risky for him, a brilliant scholar of the Law, to be thought a disciple of this new, hill country preacher, Jesus of Nazareth.

Are You Filled with Easter?

“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).

The story of Doubting Thomas was added to John’s Gospel to reassure believers two generations after the fact that the resurrection was real, but also that it was part of a larger mystery of salvation that was just as accessible to them as it was to the first witnesses. Therefore this story is for us. It also encourages us to bring our doubts and questions into our faith formation process.

Let's Go Fishing!

“I am going fishing” (John 21:2).

Today’s Gospel tells one of the most beautiful reconciliation stories in the Bible. After the disastrous and mysterious events in Jerusalem at Passover, Peter and the other Apostles have retreated to Galilee. Peter’s abject failure to stand by Jesus must have weighed heavily on his heart. Lost and at odds over what to do next, Peter decides to take up his old trade and go fishing.

With Us Now

“Why are your troubled? Why do these questions arise in your minds?" (Luke 24:37).

Do you believe in the resurrection? How do you imagine it? If you had been one of the first disciples, what would you have seen and experienced?

Easter Surprise

"While they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him" (Luke 24:15).