Scripture Reflections

Amen, Amen: James, Peter and Rock-Solid Faith

Photography © by Andy Coan

The word amen is familiar to all.  But few know its origins and its true meaning, which actually strikes at the very essence of what it means to believe and have rock-solid faith. The readings for the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) are — Isaiah 50:4-9; Psalms 116:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9; James 2:14-18; Mark 8:27-35. Pentecostal preachers shout it. Monks chant it. Most […]

The Motivation for the Miracles

Photography © by Andy Coan

“Ephphatha!” The miracles of Jesus, particularly the story of Jesus’ healing of the deaf – mute in the Gospel of Mark, raise a big questions — did Jesus Christ truly work miracles and if so, was his motivation compassion or glory? The readings for the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) are — Isaiah 35:4-7; Psalms 146:7, 8-9, 9-10; James 2:1-5; Mark […]

Religion that is True, Good and Beautiful

“The School of Athens” (detail showing Aristotle with the elder Plato) by Raphael

A number of years ago, Sister Regina Marie OCD, spoke here at the Atlanta Catholic Business Conference. It was one of the most profound, yet accessible and relevant, talks I have ever heard. She asked, “What is the greatest of truths?” The answer she gave after a time of discussion with the audience was simply this, “God is.” “God is […]

Does Scripture Bash Tradition?

Photography © by Andy Coan

What does the term Tradition really mean? Is it opposed to the Bible? The sola scriptura principle of the Protestant Reformation assumed it was — here we examine this assumption in the light of a few key scriptures. The readings for the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) are — Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8; Psalms 15:2-3, 3-4, 4-5; James 1:17-18, 21-22, 27; Mark […]

John 6 and Your Eucharistic Faith

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

Four Sundays ago, I mentioned here that the liturgical calendar of the Church was taking a short break from the Gospel of Mark, which we had been hearing this year at Sunday Mass. Next Sunday, we will return to Mark’s Gospel. Counting today, we have spent five consecutive Sundays hearing from the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. Its content has been […]

Intentional Discipleship Renewed Daily

Photography © by Andy Coan

Christians are called to be not just believers, but intentional disciples who make a conscious decision to follow Jesus and him alone.  But discipleship can’t be a one-time decision.  As in a marriage, the commitment must be renewed daily. This post is on Christian discipleship as an intentional exclusive commitment similar to marriage which disciples renew every day.  It  reflects […]

Come to the Banquet Table

Photography © by Andy Coan

Some do the minimum in order to survive.  But we are called to seize every opportunity so we can truly thrive.  Proverbs says Wisdom has set a table for us.  Christ, Divine Wisdom incarnate, actually feeds us with two abundant tables – the feast of the Word and the Sacrament. This post centers on the abundant life brought by the […]

Elijah and the Lord—Lessons for Living!

"The Prophet Elias" (detail) by Daniele da Volterra

Here’s a quick test for you!  You didn’t know there was going to be a pop quiz, did you?  I thought one might be in order to celebrate the start of the coming school year. Yes?  No? Seriously!  Here’s the question… “Who was the famous prophet in today’s first reading?” The prophet is none other than Elijah!  In his ministry, he […]

Elijah’s Bread

Photography © by Andy Coan

Somehow, we can all relate to the discouragement and exhaustion of Elijah.  So we need to learn from the solution proposed by God to revitalize and energize him for the long journey he needed to make and the important work he was going to do.  The bread God provided is a figure of a more wondrous bread that is available […]

Food That Endures For Eternal Life

Photograph Copyright © by Deacon Michael Bickerstaff

Today’s Gospel is taken from St. John and continues our short five-week break from Mark’s Gospel that we’ve been hearing during this liturgical year. The focus of the passages during these five weeks is the Eucharist and the Lord’s abundant love for each of us. So much power and promise are contained in the sixth chapter of John’s gospel, that […]