Obsessed with the Passion of Christ?

Photography © by Andy Coan

This post on the passion of Jesus was originally written as a commentary on the scripture readings for Palm Sunday but makes for a great read anytime during the Lenten Season, especially Holy Week.   The suffering and death of  Christ reveals the depths of sin and the intensity of divine love. The Mass readings for Passion (Pal) Sunday (Year […]

Costly Grace and the Woman Caught in Adultery

Photography © by Andy Coan

The adulterous woman to whom Jesus said “neither do I condemn you” was the recipient of the free gift of a grace that was costly, not cheap.  She was called to leave behind the sin of adultery.  And the pardon of the adulteress cost Jesus his life. The Mass readings for the Fifth Sunday of Lent (Year C) — Isaiah […]

Atonement and the Prodigal Son

Photography © by Andy Coan

The parable of the Prodigal or wasteful Son is more about the loving Father.  God is not a raging tyrant who must be appeased through the suffering of his Son.  Rather it’s the extravagant love of Jesus, son of the extravagant Father, that makes atonement for our sins – the sacrifice of a spotless Passover Lamb. The Mass readings for […]

Lenten Fasting and the Barren Fig Tree

Photography © by Andy Coan

Is Lent about fasting or feasting? Maybe the two are related, says this commentary on the story of the barren fig tree from the gospel of Luke chapter 13. Prayer. Fasting. Almsgiving. Three inter-related fertilizers which help barren fig trees bear fruit. The Mass readings for the Third Sunday of Lent (Year C) — Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15; Psalms 103:1-2, 3-4, […]

St. Leo the Great on the Transfiguration

Photography © by Andy Coan

Commenting on the Transfiguration of the Lord on Mt. Tabor, Leo contrasts the law, symbolized by Moses, with the grace of the gospel brought by Jesus Christ.  He notes how this glimpse of the glory of his divinity and risen humanity was given to Peter, James & John to prepare them for the shock and scandal of the cross. The Mass […]

Forty Days of Lent and the Temptation of Christ

Photography © by Andy Coan

Why Lent has forty days, the meaning of the number 40 in the Old and New Testaments, and the meaning of the fasting and temptation of Jesus Christ in the Desert… The Mass readings for the First Sunday of Lent (Year C) — Deuteronomy 26:4-10; Psalms 91:1-2, 10-11, 12-13, 14-; Romans 10:8-13; Luke 4:1-13. In the English language, the special […]

Turn the Other Cheek

Photography © by Andy Coan

The Sermon on the includes such tough commands as love your enemies, turn the other cheek, and judge not.  How are we to understand such things and put them into practice?  The examples of Jesus & St. Thomas More provide us with insight here. The Mass readings for the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) — First Samuel 26:2, […]

Is it Wrong to be Happy?

Photography © by Andy Coan

The Beatitudes appear in the gospels of Matthew and Luke as part of the Sermon on the Mount. But what actually is the nature of true happiness?  Must we be miserable in this world to be happy in the next?  Faith and hope bring the lasting joy that is the essence of true blessedness. The Mass readings for the Sixth […]

High Adventure or Cautious Mediocrity

Photography © by Andy Coan

Discipleship is about a call to embark upon an epic adventure, not about preserving the safe, comfortable and predictable mediocrity of business as usual.  The disciples left behind everything to follow Jesus, embarking upon a road that would lead them through danger to glory. The Mass readings for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) — Isaiah 6:1-2, 3-8; Psalms […]

Why We Stone Prophets

Photography © by Andy Coan

The prophets of the Old and New Testaments show us that sometimes love demand that we speak truth that people don’t want to hear.  Jeremiah was thrown into a cistern; Jesus was run out of Nazareth. This shows us that God’s messengers shouldn’t expect honor, respect, and popularity. The Mass readings for the fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) […]