patmarrin's blog

Walking on History

Aug
07

"Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid" (Matt 14:28).

Matthew's account of the storm at sea and Peter walking on water was addressed to an early church launched on the rough seas of history. The barque of Peter would face many squalls, and those in leadership would have to keep the ship focused on the risen Jesus, even when it meant stepping beyond the institutional structures into an uncertain future.

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Shared Load

Aug
06

"I cannot carry all this people by myself, for they are too heavy for me" (Num 11).

There must have been days when even the human Jesus felt overwhelmed. In today's Gospel, he has just received word of the beheading of John the Baptist. His ministry has just taken a deadly turn, and Jesus knew that resistance to his message could have mortal consequences. So he and his disciples withdraw in the boat to grieve and consider how to proceed. 

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Our Transfiguration

Aug
05

“Lord, it is good that we are here” (Matt 17:3).
 
Our hope for the personal and collective transformation that defies death is focused on Jesus. What happened to him is the promise we believe will also happen for us. Death will occur, even as it did for Jesus, but it will not claim us or separate us from the love of God. The question is how this will happen.
 
Today’s commemoration of the Transfiguration is a glimpse into the process that is the central theme of the New Testament and the heart of Christian formation.
 

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Who Do You Think You Are?

Aug
03

"And they took offense at him" (Matt 13:54)

A priest friend who ministered as a counselor in a small city said he knew it was time to move on when he knew too much about everyone. He couldn't go to a restaurant without running into couples who were stepping out on their spouses. He had had several generations in counseling from the same family and knew all the dark secrets.

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Cloud of Faith

Aug
02

"Only when the cloud lifted did they go forward" (Exodus 46:37).

During the long journey through the Sinai desert, and in particular after Moses receives the tablets of the commandments from God, he makes a kind of traveling structure called the "Dwelling" in the meeting tent. There he places the the Ark of the Covenant, which contains the tablets, and surrounds it with a curtain. 

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The Veiled Face of Glory

Aug
01

"Holy is the Lord our God" (Psalm 99).

God's presence in the Bible is manifested as light. Creation occurs when God says, "Let there be light." The brooding, shapeless waters of the void suddenly reflect the image of God mirrored on the face of the trackless wastes, and in that moment the divine image is imprinted on Creation. God, Source and Creator of all that is, continues to sustain the world  as the life-giving light within all things.

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The Scandal of Mercy

Jul
31

"The Lord is kind and merciful" (Psalm 103).

Whenever we find an interpretation of one of Jesus' parables, most scripture scholars believe that it is a later addition to address some issue in the faith community the gospel was written for.  Today's parable of the wheat and weeds is a good example.

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Parables of Growth

Jul
30

The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed ,,, like yeast" (Matt 13:31). 

The history of the church holds examples of every kind of growth and decline, failure, reform and renewal. When wealth and power threatened to corrupt the church, St. Francis of Assisi appeared and by his radical example was able to draw the institution back to Gospel ideals. In times of laxity and division, St. Ignatius of Loyola inspired a disciplined cadre of scholars and missionaries to bring fresh purpose and direction to the church. 

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The First Gift

Jul
29

"Do you understand all these things?" (Matt 13:51).

King Solomon was praised as the wisest man on earth because, when he was offered anything he wanted, he asked for wisdom. Proof of his wisdom was that because he asked for wisdom instead of a long life or riches or power over his enemies, he received all of those things as well.

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Word of Life

Jul
27

"Lord, you have the words of everlasting life" (Psalm 19). 

The strength of any culture or society can be seen in the way it uses language.  For the Jews, creation itself was the result of God's Word. Sacred language was the basis for reality and the right relationships that flowed from respecting the underlying structure of the world as an expression of God's design.

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