patmarrin's blog

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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What Is God Asking of Us?

Aug
14

"What does the Lord, your God, ask of you?" (Exodus 10:12).

One sign of our covenant with God is a willingness to share our time, treasure and talent in the service of others. The idea of tithing, giving a portion of our income, is a standard measure.

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It Is The Lord!

Aug
12

“When Elijah heard the tiny whispering sound, he hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave” (1 Kings 19:13).
 
Today’s Lectionary presents us with two of the most dramatic yet nuanced theophanies in the Bible. Elijah the prophet and Jesus teach us how to know to find God in our lives.
 

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What Matters Most?

Aug
10

"What profit is there to gain the whole world but forfeit your life?" (Matt 16:25).

In a scene from Robert Bolt's play about Thomas More, "A Man for All Seasons," Thomas, imprisoned by the king for treason, tries to explain to his daughter why he cannot sign a pledge of loyalty to save his life. Thomas cups his hands tight as one might to hold water, then says that if he moved even one finger the water would drain out. So his conscience holds his integrity, and if he compromises it even in secret to save his life, he will lose his very self. 

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Sowing and Reaping

Aug
09

"Where I am, there also will my servant be" (John 12:26).

The imagery of seeds and sowers is found in all the Gospels and was surely part of Jesus' central message. The coming of the Kingdom of God was not so much an announcement as an invitation. We are invited to enter a process of transformation. The first Covenant under the Law could only take us so far. The pursuit of legal and moral perfection produced a life of justice and order, but it could only lead us to the threshold of grace, where everything is gift and holiness is initiated by the life changing encounter with God. 

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Teaching Jesus

Aug
08

"I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt 15:24).

This extraordinary story, preserved in Matthew's Gospel, seems to suggest that even Jesus had to learn the extent of his ministry. If this was the case (and not a teachable moment by Jesus meant for his disciples), then the woman at the border and the Holy Spirit conspired to convince Jesus that his vision was at that moment too small.

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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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