patmarrin's blog

Above All, Love

Aug
24

"Which commandment in the law is the greatest?" (Matt 22:35).

It is fitting that the Lectionary is beginning the Book of Ruth by matching it with the Gospel passage about Jesus and the greatest commandment. The story of Ruth has been called the most endearing love story in the Bible, and when Jesus is asked by the lawyer to go the heart of the Law, he recites the Sh'ma, the commandment to love God and neighbor.  

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Come and See

Aug
23

"How do you know me?" (John 1:48).

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Fairness and Mercy

Aug
22

"The vineyard workers grumbled against the landowner" (Matt 20:13).

Growing up in a large family brought both trials and benefits. My parents had to deal with all of us one at a time and in different ways.  I remember that one of my brothers got lots of attention for being in trouble a lot, and those of us who were doing our best to please grumbled, "It isn't fair!". My mother said to us, "Your brother needs more love right now, so let me love him the way he needs to be loved.  

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Mary as Disciple

Aug
21

"Who then can be saved?" (Matt 19:25).

One of the key debates at the Second Vatican Council was about whether to give The Blessed Virgin Mary her own document. Marian devotion ran high for those who wanted Mary to be the "Mother" of the church. Some even lobbied to have Mary declared "co-redemptrix" alongside Jesus.

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Are You Saved?

Aug
20

"I have observed all these commandments. What do I still lack?" (Matt 19:21).

The young man who came to Jesus wanted to know if he was going to be saved. When Jesus told him to keep the commandments, he felt reassured because he had kept all of them. Was there something more?  Jesus saw his openness and took him to the next level.  "If you want to be perfect," Jesus told him, "go, sell what you have and give to the poor, Then, come, follow me."

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A Time to Act

Aug
19

Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! My child is tormented by a demon” (Matt 15:22).
 
To grasp the power of today’s story of the Canaanite woman who asked Jesus to heal her daughter we need to know the level of mutual animosity between Israel and its pagan neighbors.  The term “dog” used by Jesus was a common epithet used by Jews to demean pagans. They were not God’s chosen people, outside the blessing and therefore, like so many outsiders in history, less than human and unworthy of respect.
 

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Radical Call

Aug
17

"Whoever can accept this ought to accept it" (Matt 19:12).

Jesus' support for the indissolubility of a true marriage is based on his reading of the Genesis text that says what God joins  no one should separate. The Creator made human beings male and female, and when when they commit to one another in love and to procreate children, this reflects God, for "God created man, male and female he created them, in his own image and likeness." 

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Why We Must Forgive

Aug
17

"Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?" (Matt 18:21 ff).

The call to show mercy -- the heart of Pope Francis' attempt to renew the church from within - is presented in compelling detail and drama in today's Gospel parable from Matthew.  

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Be Reconciled!

Aug
15

"Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am in their midst" (Matt 18:20).

We have the rule at family gatherings, never talk politics or religion.  Jesus must have known that arguments would strain the unity of his disciples, so he speaks often on the importance and power of reconciliation and forgiveness. In today's gospel, Matthew gives us a good example of the not always successful struggle to hold the community together. Tomorrow we will read one of Jesus' most dramatic parables about the necessity of forgiving one another. 

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Mary's Assumption

Aug
14

"Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled" (Luke 1:45).

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