Scripture Reflections

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The Lord Draws Near… Don’t Let Him Pass By

All across the parish I am encountering people who give witness to the nearness of the Lord. The consolations received, the passion expressed, the apostolic zeal displayed, all give evidence to the Lord’s grace in the life of the parish family. This is not unusual for our parish, but this Advent and the weeks that led up to the season […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

The Spiritual Joy of John the Baptist

On the third Sunday of Advent, penitential purple gives way to pink and we celebrate “Gaudete” or “Rejoice!” Sunday. “Rejoice heartily in the Lord, says Isaiah” (61:10). “My Spirit finds joy in God my Savior,” says the Virgin Mary (Luke 1: 47). “Rejoice in the Lord always,” says St. Paul (I Thes. 5:16). “Make straight the way of the Lord”, […]

"The Beheading of St. John the Baptist" by Caravaggio"The Beheading of St. John the Baptist" by Caravaggio

Lessons from St. John the Baptist that will change your life…

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight’” (Mark 1:2-3). St. John the Baptist is proclaimed by Jesus as the greatest of the Old Testament Prophets sent to prepare […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Straightening What is Bent

Advent is a time of joyful anticipation. For someone even bigger than Santa Claus is coming to town. The human race has been waiting a long time for his next and final visit. Actually, it waited a long time for the first visit. Things had gone awry quite early in the history of the human race. We went from Paradise […]

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A Practical Plan for this Advent

“But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Don’t Sleep Through the Lord’s Visitation!

Have you ever had one of those days when you just wish God would show up, snap his figures and work miracles? The people of Israel had about 500 years’ worth of days like that, groaning under the oppression of one tyrant after another. The book of Isaiah gives voice to these sentiments: “O that you would rip open the […]

“Christ at 33” (detail) by Hofmann“Christ at 33” (detail) by Hofmann

Do People See Jesus When They Look At You?

“As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” (John 13:34). In John 14:15, Jesus tells his apostles, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  In this passage, Jesus is preparing His Apostles for His departure and the coming of the Holy Spirit. After three long years with them, these are among His final words […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Christ the King and the Final Judgment

On the final Sunday in the liturgical year, it is time to remember things that we’d prefer to forget.  For starters, we recall that there is an infinite qualitative difference between us and God.  He is immortal and infinite.  We are not.  Each one of us will come to our individual end.  But so will our society, our world, even […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

The Parable of the Talents

I’ve seen it time and time again.  Someone decides to seek a better paying job, or pursue and investment strategy, or launch a new business.  Invariably some pious person in the parish objects that maybe this is too worldly, that it will be a distraction from Church and family priorities, that one should be satisfied with what one has. You’d […]

Archbasilica of St. John Lateran
Arcibasilica Papale di San Giovanni in LateranoArchbasilica of St. John Lateran Arcibasilica Papale di San Giovanni in Laterano

Who Needs Church Buildings?

Editor’s Note: November 9th is the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome. As a rebellious teenager, I thought that Catholics should stop wasting their money on expensive churches.  We ought to sell them all and buy food for the poor, I argued. Funny thing.  Jesus, who cared much for the poor, did not have this attitude.  […]