patmarrin's blog

To Whom Do I Belong?

Oct
21

"Whose image is this and whose inscription?" (Matt 22:20).

The Pharisees set the perfect trap to undermine Jesus, but Jesus turned it into a teachable moment that exposed and entrapped them in their own malice. 

The question was whether Jews should pay taxes to their Roman occupiers. If Jesus said yes, he would lose popular support and anger the zealots, who saw any compliance with the empire as treasonous. If Jesus said no, the Pharisees could prove to the Romans that he was a dangerous subversive.

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Be Not Afraid

Oct
19

"Even the hairs on your head hav been counted" (Luke 12:6).

Jesus was at the height of his popularity, The crowds were surging in around him wherever he went. His enemies were doing everything within their power to undermine and discredit him. We get a sense of this in Jesus' warning to his disciples to "beware of the leaven of the pharisees,"  In other words, their opposition was not direct and out in the open, but in subtle efforts to sow doubt nd confusion, to slander him and distort his message.

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Martyrs

Oct
18

"They were plotting to catch him in something he might say" (Luke 11:54).

Institutions survive only when they evolve by reform and renewal. It takes courage to change institutional practices and directions because so many people want predictability and stability. So reformers are resisted, even punished for their new ideas.

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Luke the Evangelist

Oct
17

"The Kingdom of God is at hand" (Luke 10:9). 

It is appropriate for this feast of St. Luke that today's Gospel describes Jesus sending out evangelists.  The 72 disciples were sent to prepare the way for Jesus' own coming. They were to travel light, enter the homes of those who received them, share their food and hospitality, dispensing peace and preaching the good news. 

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Real Purity

Oct
16

" Did not the maker of the outside also makes the inside?" (Luke 11:40).

We understand why the name "Pharisee" has become synonymous with "hypocrite" when we realize that this group of religious leaders often invited Jesus to dine so they could observe him to find fault. 

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The Sign of Jonah

Oct
15

"There is something greater than Solomon here" (Luke 11:31).

Jesus reaches back to history to compare his contemporaries to two previous generations in their response to a prophetic call to repentance.  Candace, the queen of Ethiopia, came all the way to Jerusalem to seek the wisdom of Solomon. The people of Nineveh repented  when Jonah preached to them. But this generation rejected Jesus, who is greater than either Solomon or Jonah, and it will be condemned for it.  

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Come to the Wedding

Oct
14

"Behold, I have prepared my banquet ...come to the feast" (Matt 22:3). 

The parables toward the end of Matthew's Gospel all show how the evangelist took an original story from Jesus and applied it to the contemporary situation of his church. It seems likely that Jesus described the Kingdom of God as a wedding feast. His message was about the love story between God and his people, and Jesus often drew on the rich imagery from the Hebrew scriptures to show that his mission was to fulfill the covenant of love and the nuptial feast of heaven coming to earth. 

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Binding the Strong Man

Oct
12

"Whoever does not gather with me scatters" (Luke 11:26).

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Persistence

Oct
11

"Suppose you have a friend who comes at midnight to ask for bread" (Luke 11:5, paraphrase).

Jesus tells a parable about the importance of persistence in prayer. It has been called "A Knock at Midnight' to dramatize the urgency of need in the face of resistance. The householder is in bed and does not want to get up to answer the door, but because his neighbor persists, he finally rises to respond. 

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At the Crossroads

Oct
10

"Lord, teach us to pray" (Luke 11:2).

Learning to pray as Jesus did is the heart of Christian formation. When we pray as he did, we articulate our baptismal unity with him, and the Christ within us, our true self before God, emerges within our unfolding human maturity to reveal our divine destiny.

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