Sunday Scripture Reflections

Spirit of Truth — Hilary of Poitiers

chair-peter-holy-spiritDetail of Chair of St. Peter Dnalor 01, Rom, Vatikan, Petersdom, Cathedra Petri (Bernini) 4, Detail, CC BY-SA 3.0

Hilary of Poitiers, fourth century champion of the Trinity, here explains the Holy Ghost as gift and Spirit of truth, “the light of our minds and the splendor that irradiates our understanding.” Our Lord commanded us to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. In baptism, then, we profess faith in […]

The Joy of the Ascension

Photography © by Andy Coan

The celebration of the Ascension used to leave me a bit flat.  It was clear what Good Friday did for me.  And Easter Sunday’s benefits were indisputable.  But as for the Ascension, what’s in it for me? Christianity is about a kind of love we call agape or charity.  It is love that looks away from itself to another and […]

The Holy Spirit and the Catholic Church

Photography © by Andy Coan

The Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 brings up a very interesting point.  To discern the proper interpretation of Scripture & the will of God, where should we turn for guidance, the teaching authority (or Magisterium) of the Church, or to the Holy Spirit? Some have painted these two as alternatives. But are they really?   The Mass readings for […]

Trials and Unity

Photography © by Andy Coan

If God provides, then why does Murphy’s Law seem to apply even to devout Christians?  Why do bad things happen to good people?  Why so much resistance, even from fellow Christians, when we try to do God’s will?  This article seeks to show how trials fit into Divine Providence and actually lead to joy, love and unity.   The Mass […]

Christ, Controversy, and Crisis

Photography © by Andy Coan

In John 10, Jesus says that his sheep hear his voice.  But clearly, his words provoked controversy and crisis.  Some hung on his every word, others rejected them.  His words raise many questions about the role of predestination, grace, freedom, confidence and perseverance.   The Mass readings for the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year C) — Acts 13:14, 43-52; Psalms […]

The Origins of the Papacy

Photography © by Andy Coan

The origins of the Papacy can be found in the dialogue between Jesus and Simon Peter in John 21, a gospel traditionally read during Eastertide.   The question,”Peter, do you love me?” is followed by the command  “Feed my sheep.”  The pope, shepherd and successor of Peter, has a role that has not to do with privilege but with sacrifice. […]

The Sacrament of Mercy

Photography © by Andy Coan

Divine Mercy Sunday or the Octave of Easter presents us with one of the most famous of gospel stories — the story of Doubting Thomas. But it shows us how and when the sacrament of penance and reconciliation, aka “confession,” was instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ — and why. The Mass readings for the Second Sunday of Easter (Year […]

Joy and Sorrow

"Christ's Entry into Jerusalem" by Hippolyte Flandrin

The Cross is the great paradox of Christianity. More than a few people have asked me over the years why the Catholic Church focuses so prominently and persistently on the Crucifix. One inquirer even suggested that the Crucifix hanging above the Altar is too intense a reminder of the sorrow in the world and that she would never join a […]

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 […]