patmarrin's blog

July 27, 2014: Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“The kingdom of heaven is like…” (Matt 13:44).

July has been a month for parables. Matthew, like the scribe at the end of today’s Gospel passage, has poured out his store of sayings from Jesus about the mysterious Kingdom of God. Seeds, pearls, treasures, yeast, fishing nets — they all offer glimpses into what God is offering and how important it is for us to respond and act. Each little story unfolds its secrets, confronts us with choices, calls us to come closer and go deeper than ever before. Those who have eyes to see, let them see; ears to hear, let them hear.

Feast of St. James

“Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your Kingdom” (Matt 20:22).

Ears to Hear, Eyes to See

“To anyone who has, more will be given” (Matt 13:12).

In any relationship, full revelation must be balanced with preserving the freedom of the other to approach or withdraw at his or her own pace. We remain hidden, inviting rather than pressing acceptance. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “Little Prince” and the fox explore their friendship this way. In the tantalizing “Song of Songs,” lovers glimpse through lattice work, elusive as their ardor builds. Alfred Hitchcock appears furtively in all his films, the creator hidden in plain sight in his creation, but with the lightest touch.

The Secret Garden

“The word of God came to me” (Jer 1:1).

Mary Magdalene

“I have seen the Lord” (John 20:18).

The post resurrection appearance stories in John’s Gospel are both beautiful and theological. Moving from the first recorded accounts in Mark, which originally ended with the women saying nothing after meeting an angel, to John’s detailed encounters between Mary and Jesus in the garden and Peter and Jesus by the Sea of Tiberias, we glimpse the developing faith of the community over a period of perhaps 40 years or more.

The Sign of Jonah

“There is something greater than Jonah here” (Matt 12:40).

The story of Jonah was a fantastic, popular story (think Pinocchio) with a powerful religious message. It was addressed to Jews confident of their exclusive status as God’s chosen people and eager to see their enemies punished. Jonah is a reluctant prophet sent to Nineveh (Assyria) to preach repentance. He does not want to go, does not want to make this offer to Israel's worst enemy, fearful they might accept it and be saved.

A Work in Progress

“Let them grow together until harvest” (Matt 13:30).

Mercy First

“The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” (Matt 12:8).

Just for Today

“My yoke is easy, my burden light” (Matt 11:30).

Parables await me on my morning drive into work. The city is awake. Delivery trucks rumble past, cars, busses and bicycles deliver people to their respective jobs. Street crews take advantage of the morning cool, surrounded by orange cones and signs that slow and divert traffic. Dog walkers and joggers are out in the leafy neighborhoods, and in Midtown a man sits on the front steps of an apartment building smoking a cigarette.

Like Father, Like Son

“No one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him” (Matt 11:27).