patmarrin's blog

I am Gabriel

“I am Gabriel, who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news” (Luke 1:19).

The parallel stories of the unusual conceptions of Samson and of John the Baptist prepare us for the miraculous conception of Jesus. Children are given to barren women as prelude to the virginal motherhood of Mary. Each story lifts further the events of salvation history from human causality to divine intervention. The promised savior will be more than an amazing figure; he will be the Son of God.

Joseph the Dreamer

“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about” (Matt 18:1).

The Genealogy of God

“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matt 1:1).

Many religions speak of divine intervention, heavenly figures visiting earth. When the Gospels assert that in Jesus God became flesh, they mean real flesh and blood, a human being emerging within the family tree that began with Adam, and more specifically within the line, or house, of Abraham. He is called the “father of the faith” because it was to him and his wife Sarah that the promise was made by God that the whole of human history would come to fulfillment through their descendants.

A Man Had Two Sons

"Which son did the father's will?" (Matt 21:30).

Today's short parable is one of a number of stories Jesus told to contrast those who responded to the invitation to the kingdom with those who did not. Two sons of a vineyard owner are told to go work in the vineyard. The first said no, but later went; the second said yes, but did not go. Addressed to the chief priests and elders, this story describes well their outward show of piety masking inner disobedience, compared to sinners who were leaping at the invitation to God's mercy.

By What Authority Do We Live?

"A star shall advance from Jacob, and a staff shall rise from Israel" (Numbers 24:17).

Dec. 14, 2014: Third Sunday of Advent

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice. Indeed the Lord is near” (Phil 4:4).

Last Sunday we got Mark’s portrait of John the Baptist. Today we get the evangelist John’s image, basically Mark’s again but with more details layered on. John the messenger is now John the witness to the light. He is not the light, only one who will introduce the light. John the Baptist is like a figure walking toward us as the sun rises behind him. He is so backlit we can barely recognize his features, for he is less important than the brilliant source approaching us behind him.

Grace in Motion

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

The amazing story of Our Lady of Guadalupe is prophetic in ways yet to be understood and accepted in the Americas. Beyond its religious and cultural importance in Mexico or its spiritual power to subvert the history of conquest of the New World, the image of a pregnant mestiza siding with the indigenous people already here when Europe arrived to enslave and loot contains the promise of an even greater reversal to come over the global designs of neoconservative money and power.

May I Have Your Attention, Please

"The violent bear it away" (Matt 11:13).

The late Southern Gothic writer Flannery O'Connor once said that her stories were shocking because she was like a cartoonist drawing large for blind people.

Let's Go Together

"Come to me all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matt 11:28).

A recent news story reported that a major corporation known for its research and development prowess used a management experiment to increase innovation, telling its employees that those who came up with new ideas would get bonuses while those who did not would be fired. The result was a company-wide contraction of sharing ideas as employees competed to survive. A company known for its open collaboration was paralyzed. Over all innovation slowed, production fell and company morale plummeted.

The Good Shepherd

"What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray?" (Matt 18:12).

Today a picture is worth a thousand words. Here is what Pope Francis wears around his neck, a pectoral cross depicting the good shepherd carrying the lost sheep. Does this not define his papacy and its goals?