Gospel

Obsessed with the Passion of Christ?

Photography © by Andy Coan

This post on the passion of Jesus was originally written as a commentary on the scripture readings for Palm Sunday but makes for a great read anytime during the Lenten Season, especially Holy Week.   The suffering and death of  Christ reveals the depths of sin and the intensity of divine love. The Mass readings for Passion (Pal) Sunday (Year […]

Death is not the Final Answer

"The Raising of Lazarus" (detail) Carl Bloch

The Final Journey to Jerusalem Begins The account of the raising of Lazarus from the dead by Jesus is the seventh of the seven signs in St. John’s Gospel that announce the fulfillment of the Old Covenant in the New Covenant and the passing away of the old rites, replaced by the grace and sacraments of Jesus Christ. Most of us […]

Costly Grace and the Woman Caught in Adultery

Photography © by Andy Coan

The adulterous woman to whom Jesus said “neither do I condemn you” was the recipient of the free gift of a grace that was costly, not cheap.  She was called to leave behind the sin of adultery.  And the pardon of the adulteress cost Jesus his life. The Mass readings for the Fifth Sunday of Lent (Year C) — Isaiah […]

Learn from the Healing of the Man Born Blind

"Jesus Opens the Eyes of the Man Born Blind" (detail) by Duccio

In St. John’s Gospel, there is the account of the healing of the man born blind (John 9:1-41). It is the sixth of the seven signs recounted by St. John that announce the fulfillment of the Old Covenant in the New Covenant and the passing away of the old rites, replaced by the grace and sacraments of Jesus Christ. It is […]

Atonement and the Prodigal Son

Photography © by Andy Coan

The parable of the Prodigal or wasteful Son is more about the loving Father.  God is not a raging tyrant who must be appeased through the suffering of his Son.  Rather it’s the extravagant love of Jesus, son of the extravagant Father, that makes atonement for our sins – the sacrifice of a spotless Passover Lamb. The Mass readings for […]

The Moment When All Creation Held its Breath

"The Annunciation" (detail) by Van der Weyden

The Moment There is a moment in time which defines all history; a moment to which all that came before, all that has come after, and all that is yet to come points as supremely significant—the Incarnation. On March 25th of each Liturgical Year, we remember the event that took place then—the moment when the Blessed Virgin Mary gave her fiat to God’s request […]

Jesus Offers You Living Water

"Christ and the Woman of Samaria" (detail) by Paolo Veronese

The Gospel from the Third Sunday of Lent (Year A), John 4:5-42, is the story of the encounter of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well.  The Elect (those preparing for Baptism at the Easter Vigil) undergo the First Scrutinies on this Sunday and this gospel passage is central to their journey. This passage is filled with imagery and […]

Lenten Fasting and the Barren Fig Tree

Photography © by Andy Coan

Is Lent about fasting or feasting? Maybe the two are related, says this commentary on the story of the barren fig tree from the gospel of Luke chapter 13. Prayer. Fasting. Almsgiving. Three inter-related fertilizers which help barren fig trees bear fruit. The Mass readings for the Third Sunday of Lent (Year C) — Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15; Psalms 103:1-2, 3-4, […]

St. Leo the Great on the Transfiguration

Photography © by Andy Coan

Commenting on the Transfiguration of the Lord on Mt. Tabor, Leo contrasts the law, symbolized by Moses, with the grace of the gospel brought by Jesus Christ.  He notes how this glimpse of the glory of his divinity and risen humanity was given to Peter, James & John to prepare them for the shock and scandal of the cross. The Mass […]