patmarrin's blog

Do You Want To Be Well?


“Rise up, take up your mat, and walk” (John 5:6).
Jesus heals the man who has been waiting for many years by the pool of Bethsaida. There he has competed to get into the water first when an angel was believed to stir the pool. Someone else always gets in first.
Jesus asks him pointedly, “Do you want to be well?” The question touches a theme relevant to other miracles involving people who are sick and disabled and living on alms. Their entire lives and identities have been built on their illness and dependence on others.

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Lord, Increase My Faith


"Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe" (John 4:48).

The royal official from Capernaum gains Jesus' ear as much as the blind man on the road or the lepers.  Desperation reduces us all the threshold of faith. A sick child moves the official to seek out a Galilean preacher already touched by suspicion and controversy, certainly for King Herod Antipas, who had beheaded John the Baptist.  So there was risk for the royal official when he consorted with Jesus, but he loved his son more than any risk to his career. 

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Lord, I Want to See


“Not as people see does God see, because people see appearances but the Lord looks into the heart” (1 Sam 16:7).
Creation begins with God’s word, “Let there be light.” Light is what enables us to see, but only God can give deeper sight, beyond surface appearance.
In today's first reading, the Prophet Samuel passes by all of the impressive looking sons of Jesse to find David, the youngest son who is out watching the sheep. As soon as he is anointed, the Spirit “rushes” upon David.

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Dear Pencil Preaching readers


I posted a short reflection for Sunday, March 12, and at the end of that indicated that I would be traveling from March 13-23, and so would bot be able to post during that time.  The little graphic with this message will tell you where I will be. I have been doing a cartoon strip on Pope Francis for the past three and half years, published in the National Catholic Reporter and featured on their Website: under the "Francis Chronicles" header.

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The Road to Glory


“Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid” (Matt17:7).
The Transfiguration, described in all the gospels, was the linchpin revelation of who Jesus is and why his paradoxical death on the cross was his glory.
Matthew shares Mark’s theme of the “Messianic Secret,” the way the early church explained how Jesus, who was rejected and crucified, was in fact God’s message to the world that, despite sin and indifference, divine Mercy will redeem the universe, transform humanity and share its own inner life with us.

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Do It Now


"Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven" (Matt 5:20).
If our righteousness only keeps the letter of law -- neither more nor less -- we will miss the deep conversion of the heart that Jesus invites us to enter to know the Mercy of God

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The Process is the Prize


“You built up strength within me” (Psalm 135:7).

Jesus teaches that prayer is not a quid pro quo moment in which we ask God for something, and God either gives it to us or not. No, prayer is a process that takes us deeper into our relationship with God.

When a person seeks, he or she begins a process of discerning what it is they are looking for. “What is it that I really want?” “Am I looking in the right places?” “Is there a deeper gift behind the surface thing I first thought would satisfy me?”  

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Repent and Hear Good News


“There is something greater than Jonah here” (Luke 11:32).
Just what is the sign of Jonah?  Because the imagery is so compelling in the story, we think of Jonah going down into the belly of the whale, which then becomes a sign of Jesus going down into death and then rising up again.
But it seems fairly obvious from the context of Jesus’ response to the crowds that the sign of Jonah was simply his preaching, at which the Ninevites suddenly and dramatically repented.

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Teach Us to Pray


“This is how you are to pray” (Matt 6:9).
We cannot emphasize enough that when his disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he did not just give them a formula of words, he invited them to share his own relationship with his Abba.
They had seen him in prayer, knew that when he went apart, raised his face to the sky, held his arms up, he was experiencing an intimate encounter with God.
Jesus invites them to stand with him, lift up their minds, hearts, souls and bodies with the same intimate assurance that they were in the loving gaze of God.

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Be Perfect


“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul” (Ps 19).
It might have been enough for Jesus to get his disciples to keep the law. A world in which everyone observed the commandments would be just.
Today’s first reading from Leviticus 19 was probably well known to his followers. Moses’ teaching was called the “Code of Holiness,” and it was the goal of every Jew to fulfill it.

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