Lent

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Lord, Enter Into the Mess

“No other religion has a god who created and also entered into time and space, entered into that creation. No other religion has a god that enters into the mess.”  I like to try to pretend I’m not an adult, but it’s getting harder and harder to deny that I’m growing up. And with all the perks of being adult, […]

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, […]

The Proposal of God — To Serve

— “We are called to serve.  In fact, we were created to serve. It’s radically counter-cultural.”  In many parishes this weekend, we will hear the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. On the third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of Lent, parishes have the option to read from the readings for Year A, particularly if they have people preparing […]

Suffering Transfigured

"The Transfiguration (detail)" by Raphael

The love in which God embraces each of us is one of the great truths revealed to us throughout salvation history, but especially through and in Jesus Christ. To come to a better and deeper understanding of this love, we are continually invited by God into a deeper communion of prayer with Him… to come to know Him as He […]

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 […]

Walking the Way of the Cross

When I was growing up, praying the Stations of the Cross was a staple of every Friday in Lent. We often prayed them in school on Friday afternoons. My family would go to the church on Friday evenings to pray them with the parish. In many places, Fridays in Lent are synonymous with parish Fish Fries. This is a great […]

Struggling with a Restless Heart

“Thou movest us to delight in praising Thee; for Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee” (St. Augustine, Confessions). I think most writers are naturally introspective and reflective.  While praying in preparation for Lent not long ago, I prayed for strength and courage to stay focused on the path Christ […]