Scripture Reflections

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

The Radical Rabbi and the Great Commandment

They are at it again. In this Sunday’s gospel Jesus’ opponents enlist a lawyer to do what lawyers do best—ask a question that puts a person on the hot seat. “Which commandment of the law is the greatest?” (Matthew 22:34-40). If the law consisted in only the Ten Commandments, this would be tough enough. But the written “Torah” included many [...]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Render to Caesar

Despite their flattering words, they were trying to trap him, to force him into a no win situation. Consider the circumstances. They are living under the iron boot of a brutal empire which filled the earth with its idolatry. Patriotic Jews longed to throw off the tyrants’ yoke. They prayed for an anointed king who would free them from the [...]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Don’t let this Sneaky Sin Keep You from the Party

At age 16, life was about rock ‘n roll. If my own band was not performing on Saturday night, I was out in the audience watching another band. It would have never occurred to me to spend my Saturday nights at a Catholic conference or retreat. True, no matter how late I was out, I’d never miss Sunday Mass. But [...]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

True Peace and Security

A few years ago, I toured northern England. There, stretching 73 miles from coast to coast, the Roman Emperor Hadrian built a massive wall. Constructed of stone, it was built to last, since it marked the northernmost boundary of the greatest empire the world had ever known. Soldiers from every corner of the world were garrisoned there, and excavations tell [...]

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

Five Keys to Living an Integrated Life

Have you ever played a part, taking on a role of someone else? Some might think back to an occasion when they participated in a school play. Others might think about their roles in business or sales, or even within the home as parents when they might have employed the “good cop / bad cop” approach to resolve a problem. [...]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Keeping Promises

There will never be a shortage of words. Words are plentiful because talk is cheap. It’s easy to make a promise. Keeping a promise is an entirely different matter, as this Sunday’s gospel makes abundantly clear. There are over a billion people on the planet who have solemnly promised to live a life of loving service to God. For that [...]

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

It’s not about what we have… It’s Who We Are that Matters

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 CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

God’s Justice is Always Fair

“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 rights that need to be respected. But it also means that we each have duties. If others have the right to be paid for their work, [...]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Terrorism is nothing new.  It’s probably as old as the human race. In fact the cradle of civilization, now Iraq, was the home of the most infamous terrorists of antiquity, the Assyrians.  Their goal was to conquer their neighbors in a way that would minimize  initial resistance and subsequent rebellion.  To do this, they knew fear would be their greatest [...]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Motivated by Love

I used to think that God’s law was like those dumb rules we had to put up with in grammar school, for example, “Thou shalt not chew gum in class.” They are arbitrary laws that bureaucrats came up with to keep them happy and the rest of us miserable. The goal of students is to break such rules whenever they [...]