Scripture Reflections

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

A Tale of Two Men

He was curious.  He had already fulfilled all the elementary requirements.  He was a decent person who hadn’t killed anybody, had honored his parents, and would never think of stealing another man’s goods or another man’s spouse.  But what would it take to advance beyond that to assurance of heaven, to perfection, to true intimacy with God? Curiosity is not […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Marriage & Family

The Beatles wrote a song that was the sensation of 1967, “All you need is love.”  This the same point made a few years earlier by an ecumenical council of the Catholic Church. Gadium et Spes 24, Vatican II’s Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, says this: God is Trinity, a communion of persons who pour themselves out […]

"General Judgment" (detail) by Michelangelo"General Judgment" (detail) by Michelangelo

Practical Steps to Love Jesus More Deeply

We live in difficult times as Catholics. Quite possibly it has always been this way. The culture sends messages to us that are very harmful to our spiritual life. If we have become blind to this truth, it is likely that we are pursuing success as defined by the secular world instead of pursuing the holiness God has called us […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Taking Aggressive Action

Radio talk show hosts make a living on it.  Day after day, they bring before our eyes stupid, unjust and wasteful situations in order to provoke outrage.  We love to listen and get ourselves all worked up.  Our indignation keeps us tuned in, which makes their advertisers happy. It’s easy to focus on the outrageous things done by some government […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

The Anatomy of Envy

Recently a prominent CEO told a mixed group of business leaders that, regardless of their religion, they simply had to read the Bible.  Why?  Because success in business depends not so much upon understanding financial reports as it does upon understanding people.  And when it comes to a book that reveals what makes people tick, there is none better than […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

And All God’s People Say…

Pentecostal preachers shout it.  Monks chant it.  Most Christians end every prayer with it. But what does “Amen” really mean?  Is it just a pious way to “log off” our dialogue with God? Actually, most of us have never heard the origins of this word that we use so glibly.  But we need to examine it now, since its significance […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

The deaf hear and the mute speak — The Meaning of Miracles

There is little doubt, even in the minds of agnostic historians, that Jesus really worked miracles.  After all, the disturbance caused by some of his mighty works was in part responsible for his execution.  He healed on the Sabbath, breaking a rabbinical regulation against medical “work” on the day of rest.  He caused a sensation by raising Lazarus on the […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Tradition is not a four-letter word!

One of the great battle cries of the Protestant Reformation was “sola scriptura!”  Many thought that the Catholic Church had cluttered up the simple Christian faith by adding all sorts of practices, customs and doctrines over the centuries. They thought the Church in their day was guilty of exactly the same Pharisaical obsession with traditions condemned by Jesus in this […]

Mission Dolores Altar (San Francisco)
Photograph © by Andy CoanMission Dolores Altar (San Francisco) Photograph © by Andy Coan

Strengthen Your Eucharistic Faith

  Four Sundays ago, I mentioned here that the liturgical calendar of the Church was taking a short break from the Gospel of Mark, which we had been hearing this year at Sunday Mass. Next Sunday, we will return to Mark’s Gospel. Counting today, we have spent five consecutive Sundays hearing from the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. Its content has […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan


Belief in God is rather widespread, at least in America.  Various surveys show that over 90% of Americans “believe in God.” But belief and faith are not quite the same thing.  When many people say “I believe in God” they mean that they believe that God exists, that “there is a God” somewhere up there.  Nothing wrong with having such […]