Scripture Reflections

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

Faithfulness

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 […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Life and the Feast of Faith

From time to time I run across sophisticated people who don’t, of course, believe in God, at least not in the way he’s represented by organized religion.  But they are very happy that the hoi polloi, the vast crowd of ordinary people, do believe in God.  For to them, religion promotes basic morality in society which is, of course, something […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Elijah’s Bread

It’s hard enough to do the right thing.  But when you get blame for it instead of praise, it really takes the wind out of your sails, even if you happen to be a prophet. This is background we need in order to understand this Sunday’s first reading.  Elijah had just brought an end to a two year famine by […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Reflection for the Feast of the Transfiguration

  One of the bible’s names for the God is “El Shaddai” or “God of the Mountains.”  And from the very beginning of salvation history, we see that mountains are a special place to communicate with Heaven.  Abraham ascends Mount Moriah to sacrifice his son (Gen 22).  God reveals his name and to Moses on Mount Sinai (Ex 3).  Moses […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

You Are What You Eat

  A few years back, George Gallup conducted a poll called “Religion in America.”  He studied two groups of Americans—regular churchgoers from various Christian churches on the one hand, and totally unchurched people on the other.  He quizzed both groups on issues ranging from the divinity of Jesus, to cheating on income tax, infidelity in marriage and abortion. His findings […]

"Mulitplication of the Loaves and Fishes" (detail) by Très Riches Heures"Mulitplication of the Loaves and Fishes" (detail) by Très Riches Heures

Jesus Reveals the Real Presence in John’s Gospel

During this Liturgical Year (Year B), the gospel readings at Mass on Sundays are taken primarily from the Gospel of Mark. However, beginning this weekend, we will spend four consecutive Sundays hearing from the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John and the focus will be on the Eucharist. To set the scene, we need to look back to last […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Hidden Meaning in the Loaves & Fishes

Finding the hidden meanings.   Unraveling mysteries.  Deciphering symbols.  The thrill inherent in all this is partly why Dan Brown’s book, the Da Vinci Code, sold so well. But Brown’s secret code, the two thousand year chain of clues supposedly leading to the true identity of Jesus and his holy grail, is simply a parody of the real mystery embedded in […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Truth is Nourishment, Not a Weapon

Lots of perks come with being the boss, whether you are the boss of a church, company, or nation.  You get to call the shots, for starters.  Then there is good food, good drink.  Travel.  Parties.  Expense accounts.  Pomp and circumstance. Bodyguards. Technology has changed a lot, but people haven’t.  In ancient times as in modern, those in authority did […]