Scripture Reflections

Photography © by Andy Coan

Generous Giver

Everybody likes free gifts.  Advertisers know that a campaign will have much better results if there are free samples or a free gift with every purchase.  A friend of mine lived by this motto: when it’s free, take two. But when we receive a favor, we’re wise enough to know there has got to be a catch somewhere.  The giver […]

"Ezekiel" (detail) by Michelangelo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Blessed Are You

The scripture readings during Holy Mass for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Tine (Year B) are Ezekiel 2:2-5; Psalms 123:1-2, 2, 3-4; Second Corinthians 12:7-10; Mark 6:1-6. Use the player to listen to the homily or download the mp3 audio file. Jesus said, “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

Miracles Jesus Could Not Do

The story about Jesus’ disappointing reception in his hometown of Nazareth addresses a question asked by many—if God is omnipotent, can it be said that there are some miracles that he cannot perform?  The surprising answer tells us a lot about unbelief, faith, and the nature of God. This post offers a reflection upon the readings for the Fourteenth Sunday […]

"The Raising of Jairus' Daughter" (detail) by Repin

Do not be Afraid to Touch Jesus

The Gospel for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) comes from Mark 5:21-43 and consists of the accounts of two miracles Jesus performed. Jairus, a synagogue official desperate to save the life of his daughter, seeks out Jesus. On His way with Jairus to restore his daughter, Jesus encounters the woman with a hemorrhage. Mark frequently interrupts one story to […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

Miracles and the Enlightenment

Did Jesus really raise the daughter of Jairus and perform other miracles? The Deists, including several American founding fathers like Thomas Jefferson, said no, and their Enlightenment skepticism still influences us today. This post focuses on the raising of the daughter of Jairus, miracles, expectant faith and the Enlightenment religion of Thomas Jefferson and many American founding fathers.  It serves […]

"St. John the Baptist Preaching in the Wilderness" (detail) by Anton Raphael Mengs

John the Baptist’s Birthday!

On June 24, the Church observes a solemn feast in honor of the birth or nativity of John the Baptist.  No other saint’s birthday is celebrated with such solemnity.  The unique role of the Forerunner, the Voice crying out in the Wilderness, in the history of salvation is part of the reason.  But also the Church wants to draw our […]

The Mustard Seed and the Kingdom of God

One of the Parables of the Kingdom of God is that of the tiny mustard seed that grows into the largest of shrubs.  What can this parable mean for life in our church today which appears to be contracting, not growing, at least in the Western World?  This article on the comparison of the mustard seed to the Kingdom of […]

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

Recognizing the Lord when He Comes

Today’s first reading might be a familiar one. This week we’ve been following glimpses of the story of Elijah, and today we find him having fled the murderous designs of Jezebel. He is taking shelter in a cave when the Lord passes by. There is wind, there is an earthquake and there is fire – but the Lord is not […]

"The Last Supper" (detail) by Duccio

Eucharist — The Body of Christ

Holy Thursday, the night of the Last Supper aka the Lord’s Supper, the institution of the Holy Eucharist — why did Jesus do what he did and say what he said? What did he mean when he said “This is my body and this is my blood” and “Do this in Memory of Me”?  And what does the Catholic Church […]

Photography © by Andy Coan

The Doctrine of the Trinity Matters

“The force be with you.”  No, God is far from an impersonal force.  The doctrine of the Trinity shows us just how personal and interpersonal, God really is. This post on the personal and interpersonal mystery of the triune God is offered as a reflection on the readings for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, (Year B) — Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40; […]