Scripture Reflections

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

The Root of All Evil?

In his space trilogy, C.S. Lewis called him “the Bent one.”  That is really an apt name for the one the Bible is calls “Satan” or “the Accuser.”  The perverse choice he made to serve himself rather than his Creator warped his nature, and ever since his delight has been twisting anything he can get his hands on. Take sexual […]

"King David in Prayer (detail)" by Pieter de Grebber"King David in Prayer (detail)" by Pieter de Grebber

The Qualities of Prayer Taught by the Lord

In my parish ministry and work around the archdiocese, one of the questions I receive most frequently is like the question posed to Our Lord in Luke’s Gospel, “He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’” (Luke 11:1) People simply […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Why you should ask God…

I’ve often heard people say that they don’t want to trouble God with their petty needs and concerns. After all, he has more important things to attend to, like running the universe. Yet the New Testament makes God out to be a glutton for punishment. Not only does Jesus often urge us to ask for what we need, (“Ask and […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

The Distraction of Busyness

I once got a harsh letter from a Baptist lady protesting that she could not find the word “Catholic” anywhere in the Bible. True, the earliest occurrence of the term is in a letter of St. Ignatius of Antioch, written twenty years after the last book of the New Testament.  But the idea that the Church is “catholic” pops up everywhere […]

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The Good Samaritan

To this day, the road from Jericho to Jerusalem is long, winding, and desolate. The two travelers could have been heading back home after weeks on temple duty.  Or they could have been on their way to the Temple for their shift (Luke 1:8).  In either case, the priest and the Levite were in a hurry to get where they […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Under the Master’s Protection

To some, being Italian-American means overindulging in pasta and joking about tough guys.  But being Italian means being heir to a rich tradition stretching back before the Caesars.  Included are philosophers like Seneca, poets like Dante, artists such as Michelangelo, and saints like Francis of Assisi. To some, being Catholic means giving up chocolate for Lent.  But those who explore […]

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]