Vineyards of En-Gedi | Homiletic Explorations into Communion, community, and evangelization
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  • The practical spirituality and ministry implied in the I Corinthians 5 reading is too much to pass up; the gospel story of the prodigal son provides a concrete example of what Paul is talking about for the Church. Reconciliation shows itself in the qualities of justice, joy, thanksgiving, humility, and wisdom. The joy in this Laeta...

  • Lent means to transform us into conformity with Christ in the flesh and in the resurrection. So the Lenten sojourner witnesses the transfiguration of Christ, and thus is enabled to enter into a deeper understanding of th Paschal Mystery for one’s self. Thus, a significant milestone in the Lenten walk with Jesus is attained. Lent ...

  • Human life is frail, given to the distractions of the world and subject to the whim of bad luck and needing to be set free from the oppression of the world’s domination. God appears to Moses and in the person of Jesus Christ to save us from slavery to sin and to accompany us in mercy on our own journey to Jerusalem. The readings ...

  • The gospel story is so well known and so many readers get fixated on whatever Jesus mysteriously wrote in the dust of the Temple pavement. Sometimes the main message of the personal encounter with Jesus is missed, but perhaps this is the binding link for the readings. If anything, the highlights of the Philippians reading are key t...

  • The readings challenge us to think about the dynamics and psychology of sin from the view of these ancient texts. Recognition of the truth of the human condition and authentic honesty about ourselves will result in an increase of yearning for Jesus. Sin is never comfortable to discuss, and yet it should not be in a “hell fire and...

  • The Ash Wednesday proclamation focused on prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, each the opposite of money, power, and fame. The gospel makes us consider the ways of the world as opposed to the ways of God. All God’s blessings belong to God; we return our money, power, fame and we praise God alone. How do these readings mature us in o...

  • Lectionary CatechesisFr. Alan Hartway, CPPS Guardian Angels Parish in Mead, CO Thus Lent begins. God desires conversion of heart; our Lenten practices are directed to that goal or end. At the same time, the three penances commended by Jesus are done for others who have less than we have ourselves; at any angle, penance has som...

  • The anointed one, foretold in Cyrus according to Isaiah, and fulfilled in Jesus Christ comes to save us through the trial of baptism, death to sin and an assent to God’s grace in the resurrection. The readings are about lamentation for the effects of sin; this is what Pope Francis means by a renewal of compunction, the gift of te...

Homiletics Notes / 17.10.2019

Consider, if you will, that the nine lepers who did not return to Jesus have gotten a bad rap. So, on the way to the Tempe and the priests for their cure, they are healed. I can easily imagine that they were not silent about this miracle in their lives. They without doubt talked among themselves and were arguably quite loud about it to anyone who would listen. They very probably mentioned that Jesus of Nazareth had done this for them. At that point they become evangelists. The internal talk of the judge is also some sort of recognition of God at work in his life, as crude as he seems to be presented in the parable. He sees that some higher force is at work in the persistent widow. God is not only at work in the widow, often our homiletic focus, but also in the judge. Note also that the widow is among the chosen ones. Through the law of Moses and the prophets, widows are among the chosen ones as most frequently mentioned because God hears their cries and we have a religious obligation to help them. Jesus concludes this parable, returning to his earlier apocalyptic teachings; here he explicitly connects faith (in the religious sense) with the works of mercy. It is a good Sunday to review the corporal works of mercy. ...

Homiletics Notes / 16.10.2019

On the other hand, "the logos (word) of God" also means just as well in Greek, "the account of God" in other words the retelling of a narrative or description. So that in the II Timothy reading, it is a reference to the kerygma narrative. In the first part of the reading, Paul calls it sacred scripture. So already we can point to the formation of the canon of scripture as it is coming about. The notion of judging or selecting certain texts of all the texts around as having the quality of sacredness and that they are inspired by God is not a new concept for Paul, as the idea has a long history in Greek and Latin literature in the secular world. Some folks today are all astir that some texts, eg. gnostic literature, was not incorporated and considered unworthy. They ask, "Why?" This is typically a media question thrown up against the apostolic and patristic church to find a weakness in them so as to discredit them. Actually it is more complicated than that. In any event Paul's advice here holds true: "remain faithful to what you have learned and believed." ...

Homiletics Notes / 15.10.2019

2 Timothy 3, 14 - 4, 2 is a classic of the Bible speaking about itself; it's rare in scripture. The curious thing is that Paul is speaking of the Hebrew Scriptures, because the Greek New Testament Scriptures have neither been written yet and certainly not organized in a canon. In other words, Paul is writing that the prophets and all the histories and wisdom writings assuredly point to Jesus. Because of this and other passages, Justin Martyr had an argument to preserve the Hebrew writings in the canon. This important point is coupled with the injunction to then proclaim the word. The word "proclaim" is neither sermonize or homilies the word of God. The verb is κηρυξον, or "kerygma". It is the rooster's crow that wakes us up. This rarely happens on Sundays as some internet print out messages is read by a droning voice, so that the homilist is safe from any attacks of certain wings of the church. American Catholic do not know the kergyma nor do they have a taste for the proclamation. The imperatives of verse 2 flesh out what proclamation might look like: convince, reprimand, encourage. ...