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 / 23.08.2019

One of the key theological and anthropological terms running through the readings for this coming weekend is the whole notion of developing and conforming the disciple in the culture of Jesus. As aspect of this is in the first reading, the work of the great ingathering, which is to say that the disciple is a missionary and an evangelist. The letter to the Hebrews passage contributes another aspect -- discipleship is work, in other words it does not come easily. It is the Father's work in us through grace that we achieve full discipleship; we do not do it on our own. An example, is that the master gymnast, skater, violinist only gets there after the discipline of much practice and work. Jesus' saying about striving to enter through the narrow gate again is about discipleship, the formation of self and community into a Catholic culture. By Catholic, the readings mean a universalism that surpasses human divisions and hierarchies. ...

Homiletics Notes / 22.08.2019

The parable of the midnight knocking at the door seems rather harsh, and "grinding and gnashing of teeth" only appears this once in Luke's Gospel. They may've eaten in Jesus' company, but not in the manner of the eschatological banquet with Jesus and his fellow banqueters, the prostitutes and the tax collectors. He does not know where they are from because they are not from that special table, which represents the ingathering of all the peoples. The parable leads to three teachings sayings. First there is the surprise that all the figures of Hebrew history will be at the banquet. Luke's largely gentile audience would have had questions about this, as Christians gradually broke from Jewish roots. The second saying tells of the great eschatological ingathering. Thirdly the repeated saying about the first and the last. Each of these represent fundamental aspects of the teachings of Jesus, that combined are core Christian principles of what it means to be church. It's temporal and geographical scope is larger than we normally imagine. That is an enormous thought, especially in our time of exclusivity and entitlement. ...

Homiletics Notes / 21.08.2019

"Few will be saved! We are all sinners in the hands of an angry God." This religious mentality of the late 18th century found in the heresy of the French priest Jansen is still prevalent in the minds of many Catholics. The heresy is that humans largely are unworthy of the absolute transcendence of God, and only a very few elect will be saved, and then only if they perform many pious and penitential works. Sadly, because of the impossibility of the work, many walk away, feeling unworthy and unaware of grace. Subtle as it is, but the many who attempt to enter are reject precisely because of that attempt, that is on their own, without an authentic encounter and accompaniment with the Master of the House. Jesus calls this sort of self-trumpeting religion evil. These who knock at the door had forgotten grace, that pure gift from God that creates a share in God's life right here and now. No propitiation makes it happen. It is gift. All the prophets, the patriarchs, and indeed all the foreigner know and live this grace. They do not come as beggars, but they recline at the banquet table as guests! The religious snob, who think of themselves as self-justified in their religious comfortableness and lord it over others with judgements, they will be the last in the reign of God. One imagines that this includes white supremacists and that ilk. There is a certain whiff of this superior mentality among Catholics; the sooner we unburden ourselves of this attitude, the better for everyone else and for the church. ...