Scripture Reflections

"Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo"Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo

Mercy and Responsibility

We are less than a month away from the closing of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, so we should make sure that we make the most of our prayer time during this month so that our outward acts of love might be more merciful! Chapter 15 of Luke’s Gospel presents to us three parables of God’s rich mercy: The Lost Sheep, […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

But, St. Peter, I’m a good person!

Each year, at one of our country’s leading Catholic universities, a professor does a survey with his incoming class of students.  He puts to them this question: “If you were to die tonight and appear at the pearly gates, what would be your entry ticket?” Nine out of ten bet their good character and behavior will gain them admission. This […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Take your needs to 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

Thankfulness—It is Right and Just

Leprosy is a dreadful thing anywhere, anytime.  But in the ancient Near East, it was a particularly heavy burden to bear since it meant complete social isolation.  You could, of course, hang out with other lepers.  But you were bound to stay far away from the healthy as possible lest they be contaminated with your disease.  To be a leper […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

A Mustard Seed Faith

We all admire the heroes of faith like St. Francis of Assisi (feast day, October 4).  Absolutely nothing stopped him in his pursuit of God’s glory.  When, during the Crusades, he was captured by the Saracens, St. Francis challenged the imams to a duel to prove which was the true religion.  “Light a bonfire,” Francis reportedly said to the Sultan, […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Protecting Our Addictions

Temperance.  For older American, that word conjures up images of Carrie Nation shattering bottles of gin to usher in Prohibition. But the word temperance does not mean abstinence from alcohol or total abstinence from anything, for that matter.  It means that the desire for pleasures of various sorts is brought into balance with other legitimate needs and obligations.  Also called […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

Responsible Generosity

Our society tolerates religion, as long as it keeps to itself.  After all, America is about the separation of Church and state, right?  Education, entertainment, employment, politics are supposed to be “religion-free.”  The removal of the Ten Commandments from an Alabama courthouse several years ago was just one sign of this misguided divorce between faith and life. Like it or […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

The Prodigal Son and the Golden Calf

Everyone knows the bible stories of the Prodigal Son and the Golden Calf.  But they don’t usually put the two together as this Sunday’s readings do.  So what do the two tales have in common? Answer: they both speak volumes about the nature of sin.  Think about it.  God sees an enslaved people in miserable bondage to the mightiest nation […]

Photography © by Andy CoanPhotography © by Andy Coan

A Gospel to Make You Squirm

When I was a kid, I got the distinct impression there existed a two-track system in Catholicism.  Some really decided to go for it.  They became priests, nuns, and brothers because they “had a vocation.”  They “gave up” lots of things.  Like marriage, family, success in business, and lots of creature-comforts. The rest of us, however, don’t “have a vocation” […]