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 / 29.11.2019

The prophet Isaiah's vision of the great ingathering on the holy mountain presents God as the ultimate judge. The terms of the judgment are to turn the weapons of war into the production of food. There will be no more hungry poor. The first to be called up is the house of Jacob, in other words, all the chosen people are called to turn from their economics of war industry to peace making. Our own post-industrial society and economics depends on the manufacture of war that maintains a constant tension among the peoples. The theory goes something like this: you need weaponry to protect yourself against the others because they are different and one never knows what they are up to, but that they are aggressive and wish to expand. We are still living a misinformed Malthusian theory that there's not enough to go around, therefore, we have to protect what we have and take even more from others to ensure that we really have enough so that we hold to the illusion that we are number one, completely disregarding the gospel saying of Jesus that the first shall be last. If we shared in an economics of egalitarian distribution then there would be no need for the economics of war. But we believe in capitalism's values and economics. To say nothing of the fact that we ultimately reject God's providential care. Christmas is about our bounty, and not hardly about God's bounty that he should send His Son. ...

Homiletics Notes / 28.11.2019

Mountains evoked for many ancient cultures a spiritual home for their divinities. Just as deceased human were thought to be in some dark and dank underworld, so in sharp contrast, the gods dwelled on mountain peaks. In classical cosmologies this meant closer to the sun, therefore warmer, and filled with light. Mountain climbing as experienced today was unheard of until modern times. People did not climb mountains, which were viewed as obstacles In the way. They knew the journey up was rigorous and filled with many dangers, including strange encounters with strange creatures, uneven terrain, and weather out of control. At the end of a mountain pilgrimage, often a person will have an experience of "vastation", a original concept of William James, and picked up by Tolkien. That sense of overseeing the whole, and then being one with the whole, is a prerequisite to human health. It certainly evokes humility, the mother of all the virtues. Babylonian zirgurrats, Egyptian pyramids, and Greek Mt. Olympus were homes to the divinities while they were here on earth. These places were pilgrimage destinations to visit the gods. When speaking of mountains, the word "ascent" appears, and very little literary evidence of the descent. The Lord's mountain is Zion in Jerusalem capped by the ancient temple complex. Yet Isaiah's mountain references both the real geography of Jerusalem and the mystical mountain in the prophetic imagination. ...

Homiletics Notes / 25.11.2019

This coming Sunday begins the lectionary cycle A, the Gospel of Matthew with the first Sunday of Advent. The first Sunday is apocalyptic, the next two focus on John and Baptist, and finally the last Sunday is about Joseph and Mary. We are so busy with our lives, mostly our work lives, that we do not live in the present moment of ourselves in relationship, so much as we focus on external things that at the end of the day do not matter and do not prepare us for the coming of the messiah at the end of days. Often it seems that our busy-ness is an excuse for the development of the interior life which we do not want to face, because it is our inmost self, wherein we are only too painfully aware of ourselves as we are. Jesus reminds us of Noah so that we do not fall into the same trap of being asleep to the interior life and unprepared. All the apocalyptic teachings of Matthew 24 and 25 culminate in the judgment of the nations, the parable of the sheep and the goats. Our busy-ness is usually about what is to our advantage, while the attention to the interior life is not about ourselves but rather about the other, and ultimately about Christ. The first reading from Isaiah speaks of all the "others" gathering on Mount Zion, Jerusalem, to be instructed in the ways of the Lord. The central teaching is about the peacemaking mission of the word of the Lord to ingather al the nations. The mountain of the Lord, a place of judgment and peace recalls images of the garden of Eden. The Psalm initiate the Psalms of Ascent, pilgrimages stages on the way to the holy city and the temple. Romans 13 urges us to live in the light of the Day, to be prepared by lively rightly, and by putting on the Lord Jesus. The night is far advanced, Paul's image of...