patmarrin's blog

Seven Brothers, One Bride

Jun
06

"God is not God of the dead but of the living" (Mark 12:27).

The Sadducees, the wealthy, conservative aristocracy of Israel, rejected resurrection because it was not in the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. Without an afterlife, they put great emphasis being rewarded for their piety in this life and on having progeny as a form of immortality. You lived on in your children. The example of a man who died childless, requiring his brothers to marry his widow to raise up a descendant for him, was the logical extension of their theology.  

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Caesar or God

Jun
05

"Whose image and inscription is this?" (Mark 12:15). 

The famous story of the confrontation between Jesus and the scheming Herodians and Pharisees has a great ending. Jesus turns their trap back on them by getting them to show that they are carrying the Roman coins and the allegiance this implies, and that they have a far greater dilemma than they thought. Do they belong to God or to Caesar?

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The Vineyard of the Lord

Jun
05

"Blessed are they who fear the Lord" (Psalm 112.

Hope is the virtue that enables us to believe in things not seen. Abraham trusted in God's promises though they seemed endlessly delayed. The prophets foretold blessings they would not live to see. Salvation history is a long series of setbacks and disappointments that challenged faith and hope in God's eventual promise of redemption. 

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What Pentecost Does

Jun
03

" Jesus breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit'" (John 20:23).

How will we know if Pentecost has come to us? The readings for today's solemnity describe the followers of Jesus as receiving the power to forgive one another and to reconcile others to God. This is the essence of Pentecost.

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The Holy Spirit of Mercy

Jun
02

"Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you" (John 21:17). 

On the eve of Pentecost, we are reminded that the birth of the church is made possible by mercy. It was not because the followers of Jesus had succeeded and shown themselves worthy of the gift of the Spirit, but because they had failed so completely they could only be restored by mercy.

Peter and Paul are the churches greatest leaders because they model perfectly this process of rehabilitation.

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Choose Life

Jun
01

"You will show me the path to life, fullness of joy in your presence" (Psalm 16).

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My Soul Magnifies the Lord

May
30

"God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid" (Isaiah 12:2).

Mary, it can be said, was the first to experience Pentecost. What happened to the disciples in the upper room first happened to Mary some 30 years earlier in Nazareth, where she was overshadowed by the same Holy Spirit and conceived Jesus in her womb. The Word become flesh. 

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Obey the Holy Spirit

May
30

"Compelled by the Holy Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem" (Acts 17:22).

As we get closer to Pentecost, we are invited to contemplate the many gifts of the Spirit given to the members of the body of Christ. Each Christian ought to consider his or her role in the building up of the body of Christ, for charisms are given to all, not just those in office or those called to formal religious duties.

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Unity in Love

May
29

"In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world" (John 16:33).

Both of today's readings are descriptions of the early church. Paul's outreach through Asia Minor into Greece followed the diaspora of Jews. He found followers of John the Baptist and instructed them that there was another baptism besides one for repentance, and they welcomed the baptism of the Holy Spirit of Jesus. Paul went into the synagogues to make the case that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, the messiah they had been waiting for. 

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Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

May
27

"And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you" (John 17:11).

It has been said that life is like a sentence; we do not know its full meaning until the last word has been said. This gives us some perspective on the central theme of today's scripture readings. Only when Jesus has departed from history do his disciples begin to understand his mission as it is transferred to them.  

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