Forty Ideas for Your Lent

Lent is supposed to be a season of a successful journey through the desert of penance to a new land and a new, deeper, intimacy with God. But often, we find ourselves going back to the same old Lenten pathways of past years and end up getting nowhere. My aim here is to put into your hands some new Lenten […]

Advent Reminds Us to Wake Up

Photography © by Andy Coan

During a time when parties and endless carols dull our spiritual senses, the message of Advent urges to wake up and be alert and vigilant.  Our society is asleep spiritually.  Here are some ideas to rouse ourselves, our famlies and our neighbors to a preparation for the Christmas holidays that is more life-giving and meaningful. Have you ever had one […]

All Souls Day and Prayers for the Dead

"The Madonna of Carmel and the Souls of the Purgatory" (detail) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

I’ll never forget that bleak January day when my father died.  It was very hard to believe in the resurrection as I watched the undertakers carry away his lifeless corpse in a body bag. But imagine this scene.  You are an unborn child who has lived in cozy but cramped quarters with your twin for nine months.  But now you […]

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 […]