Scripture Reflections

The Way of the CrossThe Way of the Cross

Five Discipleship Lessons for Following Jesus

There is a section of Luke’s Gospel known as the Travel Narrative. In this section, Jesus and his disciples journey together to Jerusalem for the last time where redemption will be won and the Church will be born. St. Luke takes nearly ten chapters (9:51-19:27) to record this journey to Jerusalem. Along the way, Jesus prepares his disciples for the work to […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

The Flesh is not the Body for St. Paul

Spirituality is really about the soul and the things of the soul.  The body and its needs do not matter.  In fact, the body is the soul’s prison.  Salvation is really the liberation of the soul from the dead weight of the body.  So in this life, physical desires are to be resisted, even extinguished, if possible.  That’s what Catholic […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

The Secret Messiah

Jesus asks a simple question, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” (Luke 9:18). All volunteer an answer, because describing other people’s opinions requires no personal commitment whatsoever.   But then Jesus asks them a tougher question: “Who do YOU say that I am?”  Answering this one entails sticking your neck out a bit. The impetuous Peter blurts out […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Paul, the Pharisee, and the Alabaster Jar

Protestants say we’re justified by faith.  Some Catholics say we’re saved by good works. But what does the Bible say? The Bible—it’s neither.    And it’s both.   At the very same time. First, let’s define our terms.   When St. Paul says “works” don’t justify us (Gal. 2:16-22), he is really referring to two things.  First of all, he […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

The Eucharistic Body and Blood of Christ

The Catholic Church teaches that in the Eucharist, the communion wafer and the altar wine are transformed and really become the body and blood of Jesus Christ.  Have you ever met anyone who has found this Catholic doctrine to be a bit hard to take? If so, you shouldn’t be surprised.  When Jesus spoke about eating his flesh and drinking […]

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Why you need to know and love the Mystery of the Blessed Trinity

We are able to know certain eternal truths without the light of faith. According the Church for example, the greatest truth of all—God exists—is knowable from the light of human reason and the works of creation alone. But there exist truths that we cannot discover until God reveals them to us. The doctrine of God as a Trinity of Divine Persons is […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Why the Dogma of the Trinity Matters

Many are ready to give a polite nod of some sort to Jesus of Nazareth.  Most honor him as a great moral teacher.  Many even confess him as Savior.  But the Incarnation of the Eternal God?  Second person of the Holy Trinity?  God can’t be one and three at the same time.  Such a notion is at worst illogical, at […]

"La Pentecôte" (The Pentecost - detail) by Jean II Restout"La Pentecôte" (The Pentecost - detail) by Jean II Restout

Pentecost—You can Set the World on Fire

“Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3). “Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

The Difference that the Spirit Makes

As a teenager, I thought the clergy were supposed to do everything.  We laity were just called to pray, pay, and obey.  Oh yes, and keep the commandments, of course. The original 10 seemed overwhelming enough. Then I discovered the Sermon on the Mount and nearly passed out. Perhaps this is why many inactive Catholics are so resentful of their […]

"Ascension of Christ" (detail) by Garofalo"Ascension of Christ" (detail) by Garofalo

All Glory and Praise Be to Jesus

Years before the first Ascension Thursday, Almighty God had entered into His own creation as the God-man, Jesus. He came as a humble babe, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. His birth took place in a stable that housed livestock. Little is recorded of His early years; He was a thirty-year-old when He began His public […]