Peter the Rock — Get Behind me Satan?

"Christ Gives the Keys to St. Peter" (detail) | Pietro Perugino / Public domain

No sooner does Jesus praise Peter’s confession at Caesarea Philippi and dub him “the Rock” than he rebukes him as the devil or Satan. Peter had confessed Jesus to be the Messiah. But his idea of what it meant to be the Christ left no room for suffering, sacrifice or the way of the cross as the cost of discipleship. […]

Walking on Water — Fear, Faith, & Trials

François Boucher / Public domain

The gospel story of Jesus walking on the water and Peter sinking has much to teach us about the difference between fear, little faith, and the kind of trust that endures waves and storms, trials and crisis.  This post is a reflection on the Mass readings for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A): First Kings 19:9, 11-13; Psalms 85:9, […]

The Miracle of the Loaves

Photography © by Andy Coan

One of the most famous miracles of Jesus is the only one recorded in all four gospels–the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. LOAVES & FISH – SHARING? I once heard a homily that claimed what really happened is that bystanders took out food they were hiding under their cloaks and shared it. Jesus’ preaching inspired the melting of selfishness, […]

The Gifts and Charisms of the Holy Spirit

Photography © by Andy Coan

Without Pentecost, the Gospel is not truly Good News.  For the seven gifts and Pentecostal charisms given by the Holy Spirit on this birthday celebration of the Church Catholic are essential for the success of our mission and indispensable for a joyful, victorious Christian life. This essay on the seven gifts and Pentecostal charisms of the Holy Spirit is a reflection […]

COVID-19 at the Start of Holy Week

Just a few short months ago, the great powers of the world were confident.  America, the #1 economy in the world, was in the midst of one of the longest “bull markets” in recent history.  China, the #2 economic power, was flexing its military and economic muscle.  Europe was getting ready for another high tourist season in Spring and Summer.  […]

Jesus in the Desert

The Temptation of Jesus in the Desert is the gospel of the first Sunday of Lent.  The purple color of Lent symbolizes penance, but also royalty.   As we remember how the first Adam was tempted and failed his test, we rejoice that Christ the King, the New Adam, triumphed over the tempter.  We celebrate that we, sons and daughters […]

Surpass the Pharisees

We so often condemn the Pharisees that we totally miss a sneaky way that we are often like them.  The hard saying of Jesus “if you hand causes you to sin, cut it off” is a kind of shock therapy to wake us up to the way we are hard on other’s faults yet quite soft on our own.  It’s […]

Salt of the Earth, Light of the World

You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world, proclaims Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.  This seems to indicate that there is an essential role for passion, excitement and fire in the Christian life. The Mass readings for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) are Isaiah 58:7-10; Psalms 112:4-5, 6-7, 8-9; First […]

Candlemas—A Light to the Nations

February 2 is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord Jesus in the Temple.  It  commemorates Simeon’s famous prophecy that Jesus would be a “light of revelation to the Gentiles.”  It is also known as Candlemas since it is the day that candles are blessed for use throughout the Church year. The Mass readings for the Feast of the […]

Church—Are you called?

Since Christians are members of Christ’s Church and the term Church means those who are called, that must mean that every single believer without exception has a call or a vocation. The Mass readings for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) are Isaiah 8:23–9:3; Psalms 27:1, 4, 13-14; First Corinthians 1:10-13, 17; Matthew 4:12-23 or 4:12-17. DEATH AND […]