patmarrin's blog

We Are Sent

May
11

"If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it" (John 13:17).

One of the key dramas in the Gospels is the moment of transfer from Jesus to his followers. Disciples--those who learn-- must become apostles--those who are sent. Like the millions of young people graduating from high school and college this month, the real test of education is if it has prepared us to act. 

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We Children of God

May
09

“Whoever sees me sees the one who sent me” (John 12:45).
 
We commemorate today St. Damian of Molakai (1844-1889), who gave his life to serve a leper colony on a remote island among the Hawaiian islands. When he discovered that he had contracted the disease, he began his sermon with the words, “We lepers…”
 

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Listen

May
09

"My sheep hear my voice: I know them and they follow me" (John 10:27).

Spiritual hearing is one of the keys to discipleship. The most important commandment for Jews is "Hear, O Israel..." Many of the psalms are about listening, being fully attuned to the whispering voice of God. The prophets rail against those "who have ears but do not hear."  Jesus heals the deaf, restoring them to the community of hearing as a sign of this deeper necessity of spiritual listening.

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May They All Be One

May
08

"There will be one flock, one shepherd" (John 10:16).

As the Easter season continues, the focus is now on Jesus as present in his church and the effect this is to have on us.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd, the fulfillment of a rich biblical theme going all the way back to Abel, Abraham, Jacob, Moses and David. The Prophet Ezekiel provided a profile of shepherd leadership that underlies the passages in John's Gospel. Bad shepherds have harmed the flock over the centuries, but God provides the faithful leader who will lay down his life to protect and save the sheep. 

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We Are All Called To Be Good Shepherds

May
06

“The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want” (Psalm 23).
 
Pope Francis’ choice of an ordinary metal cross instead of an impressive papal pectoral cross tells us much about his simplicity and the goals of his papacy. Instead of a traditional crucifix, his cross features Jesus as the Good Shepherd.
 
From his first days as pope, when Francis famously remarked that bishops should “smell like their sheep,” we have seen a leader determined to shift the emphasis from a ruling church to a serving church, from  law and obedience to pastoral care and mercy.

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The Body of Christ

May
05

"Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you" (John 6:53).

Today's two readings -- the story of Paul's conversion from Acts and Jesus' words in John-- are both about the mystery of the body of Christ. 

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Drawn to Jesus

May
03

"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him" (John 6:44). 

The moving story of the eunuch and the Apostle Philip on the road to Gaza is a perfect example of the way faith is inspired and develops. 

The eunuch, a  trusted official in the court of Candace, Queen of Ethiopia, is riding in his chariot while he reads from the book of Isaiah. When he gets to the part about the suffering servant who went like a sheep to the slaughter and a lamb silent  before its shearer, the injustice and humiliation of his own castration lights up the text. 

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See the Father

May
02

“Show us the Father” (John 14:8).
 
On this feast of the Apostles Philip and James, we pause to consider the very human qualities of these first companions of Jesus during his ministry and as witnesses to his death and resurrection.
 
Philip seems to have been quite practical. In the scene when Jesus is besieged by hungry crowds in the wilderness, it is Philip who calculates the cost of feeding everyone. What seemed an impossible situation becomes an astonishing miracle of communal sharing.
 

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Threshing the Wheat

May
01

"I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger ..." (John 6:35).

On his way to Rome and martyrdom, St. Ignatius of Antioch spoke of his death in the teeth of lions as having his bones crushed like wheat threshed to make bread. HIs was eager to offer his life a Eucharist, his share in the Body of Christ.

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St. Joseph, Protector and Provider

Apr
30

"This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent" (John 6:29). 

Pope Francis writes letters to St. Joseph and places them under a small statue he keeps in his room in the Vatican. As the responsibilities for caring for the church weigh on him, Francis turns to Joseph, who was the protector and provider for the Holy Family.

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