Scripture Reflections

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

The Fast Comes Before the Feast

Christmas cards speak about it.  Christmas carols sing about it.  Even the angels at Bethlehem proclaimed it.  “Peace on earth.”  “The lion shall lie down with the lamb.” (Is 11).  “Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever” (Ps 72). The coming of the Messiah obviously has something to do with the advent of peace. But […]

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Therefore, stay awake!

“Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:42). This verse is part of a larger passage (Matthew 24:1 — 25:30) where Jesus speaks about the time before his second coming—that is the time in which we all live. Of course this is immediately followed with the separation of the sheep and […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

The deeper meaning of Christmas lights

As fall moves onward towards winter we have places to go, things to do, people to meet.  Yet as we go about our business, we notice the days are getting shorter.  Sweaters come out of storage, we close the windows, and turn on the heat. Advent is a season where we stop and remember that the light of this world […]

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

Qualities of Life in the Kingdom

Today is the final Sunday on the Church’s annual liturgical calendar. Not only is Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, not only is he our brother and friend, Jesus Christ is our God and our King. And so we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe—or Christ the King. This celebration is a recent addition to […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Christ the King of the Universe

The Philistines had beaten them, and the Israelites were determined not to let it happen again.  So they demanded from God and from his prophet, Samuel, what all the other nations had—a king to lead them in battle and protect them from their enemies (I Sam 8:19).  So God gave them Saul, who ultimately failed in his task.  Then David […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Apocalypse Now!

Whenever I lead a trip to the Holy Land, the question inevitably comes, “Will we visit Armageddon?”  This refers, of course, to the battlefield surrounding the ancient city of Megiddo where some think the final confrontation will take place before the end of the world (Revelation 16:16).  Catholics and Protestants alike have a fascination with the Scriptural accounts of the […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Will We be Married in the Afterlife?

Given their history, it seems rather strange.  After all, for hundreds of years the Jews lived alongside a race that was totally preoccupied with life after death.  The Egyptians built pyramids that were wonders of the ancient world.  But their sole purpose was to launch their leaders into the next world. Yet the Jews really had no concept of life […]

"All Saints" by Fra Angelico"All Saints" by Fra Angelico

All Saints Day — A Call to Holiness for All

At age sixteen, I thought that aspiring to holiness was out of the question.  If you really wanted to be holy, I thought, you had to be a priest, nun, or brother.  And you had to spend your days doing “religious stuff” like praying, preaching, teaching catechism, or serving the poor.  But I had developed an interest in the opposite […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

What have you got to lose?

Tax collectors have never been popular.  But in Roman Palestine, they were particularly hated.  It was bad enough that they collaborated with the foreign oppressors.  Its understandable that the Jews felt about the same thing for the Romans as the French did for the occupying Nazis in World War II. But the Roman system of “tax farming” made tax collectors […]

"Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo"Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo

Mercy and Responsibility

We are less than a month away from the closing of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, so we should make sure that we make the most of our prayer time during this month so that our outward acts of love might be more merciful! Chapter 15 of Luke’s Gospel presents to us three parables of God’s rich mercy: The Lost Sheep, […]