The Doctrine of the Holy Trinity Matters

Photography © by Andy Coan

“The force be with you.”  No, God is far from an impersonal force.  The doctrine of the Trinity shows us just how personal and interpersonal, God really is. This post on the personal and interpersonal mystery of the triune God is offered as a reflection on the readings for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, (Year B) — Deuteronomy 4:32-34, […]

Gifts and Charisms of the Holy Spirit

chair-peter-holy-spiritDetail of Chair of St. Peter Dnalor 01, Rom, Vatikan, Petersdom, Cathedra Petri (Bernini) 4, Detail, CC BY-SA 3.0

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. As a teen, I thought the clergy were supposed to do everything. We laity were […]

The Joy of the Ascension

Photography © by Andy Coan

The celebration of the Ascension used to leave me a bit flat.  It was clear what Good Friday did for me.  And Easter Sunday’s benefits were indisputable.  But as for the Ascension, what’s in it for me? Christianity is about a kind of love we call agape or charity.  It is love that looks away from itself to another and […]

Eucharist — The Body of Christ

"The Last Supper" (detail) by Duccio

Holy Thursday, the night of the Last Supper aka the Lord’s Supper, the institution of the Holy Eucharist — why did Jesus do what he did and say what he said? What did he mean when he said “This is my body and this is my blood” and “Do this in Memory of Me”?  And what does the Catholic Church […]

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, […]