patmarrin's blog

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).


“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.

By the Grace of God

“We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good work” (Eph 2:9).

Today’s commemoration of St. Paul of the Cross, the 18th-century founder of the Passionist Order, offers us a glimpse into the way grace works in long chains of influence. Started in Italy, the Passionists took root in Spain, and its missionaries were sent to Latin America. In El Salvador in the 1970s, two Passionist priests deeply influenced the conversion of Archbishop Oscar Romero, who modeled his episcopacy on the image of the shepherd who lays down his life for his flock.

God and Caesar

“Whose image is this and whose inscription?” Matt 22:20).

Money talks, and when it does, it echoes loudest in the halls of power.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus utters words that have reverberrated down through the long history of the debate over how to balance our obligations to God and the world, church and state, citizenship and discipleship. Is it moral to refuse to pay taxes to support some wars? Is it patriotic to criticize your government or take part in civil disobedience to protest laws you decide are unjust? What belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God?

Ignatius, bishop and martyr

“Beware of the leaven – that is, the hypocrisy – of the Pharisees” (Luke 12:1-7).

Today we commemorate St. Ignatius of Antioch, one of the first generation of bishops succeeding the Apostles themselves at the end of the first century. He was arrested by Roman authorities and died in the Colosseum in the year 107. During his transport to Rome for execution, Ignatius wrote seven letters that might easily have been incorporated into the New Testament for their powerful proclamation of the Gospel and for his personal imitation of the paschal mystery of Jesus.

Where are today's prophets?

“They were plotting to catch him at something he might say” (Luke 11:54).

Today’s gospel from Luke continues Jesus’ scathing criticism of the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of his time. They kill the prophets, then build monuments to their memory; they hold the key of knowledge but do not use it to open the doors, neither entering themselves nor letting others enter. Not surprisingly, the scribes and Pharisees are infuriated with Jesus and plot to destroy him.

St. Teresa of Avila

“If you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Gal 5:18).

Sometimes referred to as “Big Teresa” to distinguish her from “Little” Thèrése of Lisieux, today’s Saint Teresa of Avila, a 16th century Spanish Carmelite reformer, was one of the spiritual giants of the Western church. Coming on the wave of the Reformation and on the cusp of the age of discovery as Spain and Portugal penetrated the New World of the Americas, Teresa helped refocus the mystical heart of religious life on Jesus.

The Law of Love

"Woe to you, scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift a finger to touch them" (Luke 11:46).