patmarrin's blog

Lady Wisdom at the Family Synod

"Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her" (Luke 10:42).

What is remarkable about the story of Jesus' visit to the home of Martha and Mary is that it defies social convention by both Jesus and Mary. Sister Martha accepts her assigned role in the kitchen while Mary boldly joins the group of disciples in conversation with Rabbi Jesus.

The First Rule is Mercy

"Go and do likewise" (Luke 10:37).

God's Word comes to us in context. The Synod on the Family in Rome is perhaps the most important context for the whole church as the pope, bishops and experts meet this month to debate about family issues. Today's readings-- the story of Jonah and the parable of the Good Samaritan-- become the presence and voice of Jesus to that gathering as it grapples with fundamental questions about God's will for human relationships.

The Best Interests of the Child

“What God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Mark 10:6).

Today’s Gospel passage has always been difficult for preachers who feel the impact of Jesus’ words on couples in their assemblies who are part of a growing number of second marriages after a divorce and their complicated blended families. This is not to speak of same-sex partners, young couples who are cohabitating, and the hidden reality of dead marriages and others that are publicly praised but private disasters of abuse and infidelity. Saints and sinners fill the pews.

Guardian Angels

"See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly father" (Matt 18:10).

In a beautiful 1987 Franco-German film titled "Wings of Desire," angels are depicted as "pure observers, visible only to children, and incapable of any physical interaction with our world" (see Wikipedia plot summary). They watch over people in post-World War II Berlin, listening in on their thoughts, and when they find individuals in extreme distress and loneliness, they silently comfort them.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux

”Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves” (Luke 10:3).

It is both paradoxical and appropriate that the Gospel for today matches Jesus’ instructions to his missionary disciples with the feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897), a French contemplative nun who lived out her short life in a cloister.

Open to Life, Open to God

“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” (Luke 9: 58).

Discipleship is about being open each day to the surprises God has in store for us. The closed mind is always on the defensive. An open mind always has room for questions, new discoveries, A learned person is finished, but we are a learning person if we are curious, ready to dialogue, adjust our perspective as new information and experiences affect us.

Angels Watching Over Me

“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:51).

Today’s Gospel from John depicts angels as the connection between heaven and earth, the divine and human realms. Jesus is choosing his first disciples, and a man named Nathaniel approaches Jesus because other disciples have told him about this remarkable teacher from Nazareth. While Nathaniel is skeptical, and even questions how “anything good can come from Nazareth,” a reference to the hill country of Galilee, he must see for himself.

Receive This Child

“Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me" (Luke 9:46).

Pope Francis is back in Rome after completing his 10-day pastoral visit to Cuba and the United Stages. News media are airing selective montages of key moments in the pope's visit to Washington, New York and Philadelphia.

A New Pentecost

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:45).

A television reporter covering Pope Francis’ ride through New York’s Central Park remarked about how calm and respectful the huge crowds had been while standing in line all day to enter the park. “I’ve lived in New York for years, and I’ve seen people get angry while waiting five minutes in line for a cup of coffee, but not these 80,000 people today,” she said.

Who Are We?

“But who do you say that I am?” (Luke 9:19).

When all is said and done and Pope Francis is back in Rome, we will be left with the question of what his main message was to us. Perhaps it was the person himself, the pope's simple manner and openness. In his many speeches he emphasized the necessity of listening, encounter and dialogue as the respectful way to address our problems. He demonstrated this personally and gave us a model for true leadership.