Scripture Reflections

"The Parable of the Father and His Two Sons in the Vineyard" by Georg Pencz [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

When More than Words are Needed

A Faith Disconnected from Life All of us who read these pages, I hope and pray, desire to deepen our love of God, improve our prayer life and grow in our relationship with the Lord. But too often we tend to separate our faith from our daily life and this prevents the growth we seek. The Second Vatican Council identified […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

The Parable of the Two Sons

The parable of the two Sons makes clear that saying yes to Jesus Christ is much more a matter of deeds and actions than words and promises.  Talk is cheap but body language never lies. Reflection on the Mass readings for the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) — Ezekiel 18:25-28; Psalms 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9; Philippians 2:1-11 or 2:1-5; […]

"Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard" (detail) by Rembrandt

Who We Are Matters, not What We Have

I believe that one of the great challenges of our time derives from the loss of knowledge of who we are and what we are made for. Actually, we may know these eternal truths, but we tend to suppress them in our consciousness. In this age of consumerism, we tend to define ourselves, not by who we are and for […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

The Generosity of God

Reflection on the Mass readings for the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) — Isaiah 55:6-9; Psalms 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18; Philippians 1:20-24, 27; Matthew 20:1-16. “But that’s not fair!” Most parents have heard this phrase umpteen times.  The notion of fairness, also known as justice, is wired into us.  It makes us aware that each of us has certain […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

Forgiveness — A Decision, Not A Feeling

Reflection on the Mass readings for the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) — Sirach 27:30–28:7; Psalms 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12; Romans 14:7-9; Matthew 18:21-35. Just about everyone can recite the Lord’s Prayer from memory.  That’s precisely the problem, though.  We often rattle it off without really thinking about what we are saying. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

Fraternal Correction — Loving Intervention

The Christian, biblical approach to fraternal correction has nothing to do with the self-righteous attitude of the Pharisees. Rather, it is all about humble & loving intervention.  As Ezekiel was a watchman for the house of Israel, we are all called in love to watch out for each other. Reflection on the Mass readings for the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary […]

"Get Behind Me Satan" by Ilya Repin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Peter, the Rock

No sooner does Jesus praise Peter’s confession at Caesarea Philippi and dub him “the Rock” than he rebukes him as the devil or Satan.  Peter had confessed Jesus to be the Messiah.  But his idea of what it meant to be the Christ left no room for suffering, sacrifice or the way of the cross as the cost of discipleship. […]

Saint Peter

Peter, the Pope and the Keys

When we think about the Pope, we often think of the Vatican.  But the roots of the Papacy are in the Old Testament as well as in the Gospel story of Jesus changing Simon’s name to Peter and giving him the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Reflection on the Mass readings for the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year […]

"The Woman of Canaan at the Feet of Jesus" (detail) Jean Germain Drouais [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Canaanite Woman — Faith to Move Mountains

Jesus heals the daughter of the Canaanite woman because her faith was so great. He rebuked the disciples because their faith was too little. Matthew’s gospel here is teaching us something very important about the nature of the faith needed to move mountains. Reflection on the Mass readings for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) — Isaiah 56:1, 6-7; […]

Inside the Cathedral of the Assumption in Pisa, Photography by Mark Armstrong

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Assumption of the Virgin Mary (called the Dormition in the Christian East) has been celebrated as a solemn feast on August 15 since ancient times.  What is the meaning and basis of the dogma and the Solemnity? Reflection on the Mass readings for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary — Revelation 11:19; 12:1-6, 10; Psalms 45:10, […]