patmarrin's blog

Crossing Over

"Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?" (Matt 8:25).

Stories of crossing the lake during a storm are frequent enough in the Gospels to suggest that the evangelists intend more than just exciting sea tales. Matthew's account in particular has a theological purpose signaled by the fact that he uses the same Greek word for earthquake to describe the watery storms. Connecting the sea crossings to the earthquake that occurs in Jerusalem when Jesus dies suggests that these perilous crossings are about the church defying the power of death.

Letting Go

“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head” (Matt 8:20).

Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem where he will be rejected, abandoned and crucified. He is following the pattern of all previous prophets who were sent to turn the hearts of the nation back to the covenant. As he approaches the holy city, Jesus weeps because the people and their leaders have failed to know the hour of their visitation.

Come, Follow Me

"He resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51).

Christian writer Agnes Sanford (1898 -1982) titled her autobiography “Sealed Orders” to describe the way self-knowledge gradually unfolds in our life experience and understanding. Discipleship is rarely a single mystical breakthrough, but rather a slow process of self-discovery. But there comes a time when know what we must do to be true to ourselves and to our journey. We must take the next step.

A New World Coming

"What will this child be?"

The birth of John the Baptist is an epoch-changing event, the transition from the old covenant of law to the new covenant of grace. John, called the last prophet of the old, points to Jesus, the pioneer of the new creation, a new way of understanding and encountering God.

Insight and Courage

“He taught them as one having authority” (Matt 7:29).

We live in a sea of words, how our minds explore and propose, imagine and analyze the possibilities for action. Ideas crowd on the verge of reality, but fail to materialize. Motives wait like armies for the signal to advance, then fall back. We pray for two things; insight and courage. Insight without courage leads to paralysis; courage without insight leads to confusion.

A Harvest of Goodness

"By their fruits you will know them" (Matt 7:16).

Jesus speaks often of fruitfulness as the true measure of goodness. People can talk all they want, but in the end, consider what they produce in their lives. The hypocrite wears a mask of virtue, but look at the results of their influence on others. False prophets abound, but how much genuine love and justice comes of their rhetorical cleverness or empty promises.

Enter by the Narrow Gate

“Enter through the narrow gate” (Matt 7:12).

Pray to See

"The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you" (Matt 7:2).

Jesus' Sermon on the Mount is our orientation for becoming disciples. If we listen carefully we begin to realize how important it is to see correctly. The pure of heart see God. The eye is the lamp of the body. Without the light of insight, we stumble in the darkness. If the lens by which we see others is distorted, all our perceptions will be warped. So the first prayer is to be able to see clearly.

Who Am I? Who Are You?

”Who do you say that I am?” (Luke 9:19).

Identity forms purpose. Once we know who we are, then we know what we are to do.

The famous scene in today’s Gospel when Jesus asks his disciples who they think he is, is the hinge of the story, the moment when Jesus’ ministry in Galilee turns south to Jerusalem and to the cross.

What Do You Love?

“Where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Matt 6:21).