St. Peter

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. […]

The Holy Bible and Sacred Tradition Comprise the Word of God

"St. Jerome Writing" (detail) by Caravaggio

“Deacon Mike, why do we believe that it belongs to the Church to interpret the bible? Can’t we just read the bible for ourselves? The guys I do bible study with say that we (Catholics) add things that are not there.” A young man who participates in a “non-denominational” bible study asked me this question. This question comes up from time to […]

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, […]

Stepping out of the boat… and sinking

“But when it counts, Peter knows his Savior.” I stared into the water which was gently lapping up against the boat. No one spoke, and all we could hear was the rhythm of the ripples – hardly even waves. The sunlight sparkled as the water lightly danced, and I continued to stare into the water, trying to imagine this little […]

Joy and Hope During A Pandemic

"The Baptism of the Eunich" (detail) by Rembrandt / Public domain

The world has been on lockdown and edge for nearly two months as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Lives have been disrupted in significant ways. Although this is not unheard of in a human history that is marked with war, disease and natural disasters, it is new to many people alive today. And such disruptions are a severe blow […]

New Life in Christ

"The Resurrection of Christ" (detail) by Bloch

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen! What more fitting conclusion to a week of drama wrought by sin could there be than the triumph of Life over death! There is so much about Easter to help us live our lives in our day. Surely we can more fully embrace all that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ means for us today if we go […]

The Clarity of Simon Peter’s Example

Sea of Galilee

And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4). Not long ago, one of our priests gave an excellent homily based on chapter five of Luke’s Gospel and the Call of Simon the Fisherman (before he became St. Peter). Although Father Steve never described […]

Christ, Controversy, and Crisis

Photography © by Andy Coan

In John 10, Jesus says that his sheep hear his voice.  But clearly, his words provoked controversy and crisis.  Some hung on his every word, others rejected them.  His words raise many questions about the role of predestination, grace, freedom, confidence and perseverance.   The Mass readings for the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year C) — Acts 13:14, 43-52; Psalms […]

The Origins of the Papacy

Photography © by Andy Coan

The origins of the Papacy can be found in the dialogue between Jesus and Simon Peter in John 21, a gospel traditionally read during Eastertide.   The question,”Peter, do you love me?” is followed by the command  “Feed my sheep.”  The pope, shepherd and successor of Peter, has a role that has not to do with privilege but with sacrifice. […]

Daily Bible Verse — Acts 2:37-39

Photography © by Andy Coan

Encountering the Word — Your Daily Bible Verse “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brethren, what shall we do?’ And Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you […]