patmarrin's blog

Oil of Gladness

"Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial" (John 12:11).

Today's Gospel repeats the story told yesterday at the beginning of Mark's Passion account. John changes the setting -- from the house of Simon the Leper in Bethany to the house of Lazarus, whom Jesus just raised from the dead in the previous Chapter 11. Mark's anonymous woman becomes Mary, sister of Lazarus and Martha. The extravagant show of love with perfumed oil and tears is the same, as is the complaint of the disciples about the waste of money.

Show Time

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Mark11:10).

Come, Follow Me

"In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice" (Psalm 18).

Jeremiah the prophet describes the web of intrigue tightening around him as his enemies look for a way to destroy him (Jer 20). We have only to look at the races heating up a full year and a half ahead of the presidential elections to see how brutal politics is.


“Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, IAM” (John 8:58).

John’s Gospel is the last and most theological of the four Gospels. If Mark, thought to be the first, composed in the early 60s, emphasized Jesus’ humanity, John, composed at the end of the first century, clearly emphasizes his divinity. The whole structure of the Gospel, seven signs and seven discourses and a Passion account, is meant to reveal Jesus as God, the I AM, the Hebrew letters, YHWH, the “One who is.”

Mary's Yes

“Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30).

Every encounter with God in the Bible begins with terror. The floor goes out from underneath a person’s sense of reality. This can’t be happening. But it is, and the time-space continuum is altered to suddenly bring the past to a decisive passage into a different future.

Now We See

"When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM" (John 8:28).

Eye-opening recognition often comes too late. The full meaning of sentence is not known until the last word is said.

John the evangelist packs the full truth about Jesus into the dialogue in today’s Gospel between Jesus and his critics. They want to know who he is, but they are blind to his identity and purpose. The Pharisees, like Nicodemus in John 3, are locked into an old, self-serving understanding of God.

Sinners Step Forward

“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her" (John 8:8).

Years ago, when I was teaching high school religion, I encouraged my students to read the Bible but to avoid certain stories as too racy. This guaranteed that everyone read the wonderful story in Daniel 13 about “Susanna in the Garden.”

A Matter of Life and Death

“Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat, but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (John 12:23).

Whether the preacher is using the regular B cycle of readings or the powerful story of Lazarus in the A cycle for RCIA, a common theme of resurrection is evident.

"Where Are You Coming From?

“You know me and also know where I am from” (John 7:27).

The colloquialisms “Where are you at?” or “Where are you coming from?" break the rule about not putting a preposition at the end of a sentence, but they capture perfectly the deeper question of source. All our ideas and values emerge from our cultural formation and background.

St. Joseph

“Behold, a faithful and prudent steward, whom the Lord set over his household” (Entrance Antiphon).

St. Joseph is patron of workers and protector of the Holy Family. He does not speak in the Gospels, but he acts decisively, even in the midst of profound dilemmas. Angels and dreams are needed to move him beyond human logic and the Law to the freedom of God. In the dramatic scenes of the infancy narratives of Luke and Matthew, we see Joseph as the one constant in a heartbreaking story of a child who stirs wonder and fear, is thrown into sudden flight and alien status.