patmarrin's blog


Sunset

"At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him" (Luke 4:40).

Sunset is typically an anxious time for the sick, who may be facing a sleepless night of unabated pain and loneliness as darkness overtakes the world. Nursing homes even have a name for this zone of heightened confusion for the elderly. "Sundown syndrome" means that nightfall and bedtime signal an increased blending of memories and projected fears, a time of distorted reality induced by medication and age-related foreboding for many.

Stand in the Source

"They were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority" ( Luke 4:31).

Years ago, after a talk I had given, a woman in the audience shared something I have never forgotten. She first said the talk was good, but that it was evident that some of my ideas were from books and others were from my own experience, and these were the most compelling.

At the Edge

“They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong” (Luke 4:30).

The reaction to Jesus by family and neighbors in Nazareth moves swiftly from awe at his gracious words in the synagogue to attempted murder.

The Odor of Sanctity Is Justice

This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Mark 7:6, quoting Isaiah 29:13).

I cannot get from my mind the photo on the front page of this morning’s paper of asylum-seeking refugees from the Middle East packed into a train car carrying them from the Balkans to Hungary and the European Union. They and hundreds of thousands of refugees from Africa and Asia are fleeing violence and economic breakdown in their own nations.

RSVP Today

"Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him" (Matt 25:6).

St. Augustine (354-430) is famously known for two quotations: "Lord, make me good, but not now." and "Late have I loved thee." The first was from the young Augustine, struggling to find chastity, and the second is the voice of Augustine following his conversion, during his time as bishop of Hippo in North Africa and his emergence as one of the great theologians and spiritual writers of the early church.

A Mother's Tears

"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart" (Psalm 90:12).

Today's feast of St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine, invites us to consider the multi-generational power of the faith. Our beliefs are handed on and modeled by those who go before us. Pope Francis attributes his deep piety to his beloved grandmother, Rosa. Many Catholics can recount childhood memories of devotions like the family rosary or prayers at meals and at bedtime as sustaining them in their adult faith.

Strong Words

“You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth” (Matt 23:28).

Paul, Model Bishop and Pastor

"With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the Gospel of God, but our very selves as well ..." (1 Thess 2:8).

Today's Gospel from Matthew 23 is part of Jesus' scathing take down of the religious leaders of his time for their hypocrisy, arrogance and failure to give good example to the people they were supposed to be guiding and serving. These passages stand as a permanent indictment of contemporary leaders in either politics or church who use their power to enrich themselves and abuse their offices.

I See You

“I saw you under the fig tree” (John 1:48).

The call of the Apostle Nathaniel (sometimes matched to Bartholomew, whose feast we celebrate today), repeats a pattern found in the calls of other Apostles. Jesus first sees them. This act of seeing someone is about much more than physical sight. When Jesus sees someone, he sees not only who they are but who they are becoming.

To Whom Shall We Go?

“Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:69).

I have quoted the lyrics from a song from the musical "Cotton Patch Gospels" in this blog before, and I quote them again because they capture the moment described in today’s Gospel. Jesus has finished his discourse on the Bread of Life, ending with the incredible invitation to his disciples to eat his body and drink his blood if they want to have life. Many of the disciples shake their heads and turn to leave. Jesus looks at his apostles and asks, “Do you also want to leave?”