patmarrin's blog

The Power of Faith

"I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours" (Mark 11:25).

Mark packs so many themes into this beautiful Gospel passage that it is only at the end that we realize it is one of Jesus' most important teachings about the power of faith.

Now I See

"Take courage; rise up, Jesus is calling you" (Mark 10:50).

Servant Leaders Only

"What do you wish me to do for you?" (Mark 10:30).

James and John, the "Sons of Thunder" live up to their reputation for brashness and ambition when they ask Jesus to make them his key lieutenants when he enters his glory. Jesus' patient response, "What do you wish me to do for you?" is the same thing he asked Bartimaeus the blind man along the road. Only James and John are even more blind than humble Bartimaeus.

Do We Trust God?

"We have given up everything and followed you" (Mark 10:28).

It is not surprising that after the departure of the rich man who decided not to follow Jesus, the other disciples had questions about their own welfare. Peter, their spokesman, asked Jesus, "What about us? We have given up everything to follow you."

Rich Man, Poor Man

"What must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Mark 10:17).

The word "enthusiasm" literally means "to be in God." There is evident enthusiasm in the man who runs up to Jesus to ask how he can inherit, that is, be in line to receive, the treasure of eternal life from God. He is already a rich man, at that time considered a sign of God's favor, but he wants to be assured that he will also possess the ultimate wealth of everlasting life.

Trinity is the Image and Likeness of God

“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now” (John 16:12).

Any summary of international, national and even local news will show that the central issue facing human beings is whether we can get along. Conflict arises wherever there are differences or competing interests. Communities divide along racial, religious, economic and class lines. Nations dispute over trade rules, access to water and mineral rights, borders and ethnic purity. Wars and poverty produce refugees and immigrants no one wants, and politics is reduced to fear-mongering and demagoguery.

May They Be One as We Are One

"The two become one flesh" (10:8).

Jesus quotes Genesis to defend the mystery of marital indissolubility, laying down an ideal that became the model for God's covenantal fidelity to Israel. A true sacramental marriage, fully and freely contracted before the community, then consummated, forms a bond so complete and sacred that it must not be broken. Husband and wife in such a union are no longer two separate individuals, but a new creation, one body, the full image and likeness of God. The breaking of that bond is the death of that blessed creation and sign.

You Are the Salt of the Earth

"Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another" (Mark 9:50).


"Whoever is not against us is for us" (Mark 9:40).

John, one of the rambunctious "Sons of Thunder" among the disciples, complained to Jesus that some rival preachers were driving out demons in his name. He and his brother James distinguished themselves in another incident when they asked Jesus to call down fire on a town that had refused to let them enter. Or when they sent their mother promote their intersts to Jesus.

Children First

"Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, 'Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me...' " (Mark 9:36).

Today's Gospel brings together two very different themes that Jesus deliberately connects to teach his status-seeking followers the meaning of his impending suffering and death.