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 / 19.04.2019

A fine service last evening for the Lord's Supper, we hosted pilgrim Ann Sieben, walking to raise awareness of the cause of the Servant of God Julia Greeley, a saint in progress from the Archdiocese of Denver. In turn, Ann was served by various members of the parish, in a rather impromptu manner, to meet her needs. She walks on pilgrimage with next to nothing. The self-emptying characteristic is very remarkable. Her visit became a gift from God for all of us to reflect on service to other. I was honored and humbled to include her at the last minute in the washing of feet. i also washed the feet of a couple having their 50th wedding anniversary on Easter Sundar itself. A whole family entering the church as catechumens were foot washed. The president of our pastoral council, now retiring, whose life defined service with great humor, was washed for her journey of faith; her birthday is the Easter Vigil. This and the presentation of the Holy Oils went off very well and surely moved the people to faith and hope. I like the presentation of the oils, the accompanying full chants, and those who present them. The procession over to the old church under the serene full moon grabbed me this year for some reason, moving back and forth from old to new and back again. The night was so still, the procession slow and deliberate. The fourth vision of the Suffering Servant describes the messianic servant in raw terms. "No stately bearing to make us look at him, nor appearance that would attract us to him." Yet we've "prettified" Jesus in our art historically. It is interesting how we always want things to be "nice." We're so often unable to take a raw look at our human reality, our disfigurement, physically and spiritually. God does not choose the sleek, and when He rarely does, they are swiftly taught by grace, humility. ...

Homiletics Notes / 18.04.2019

The I Corinthians reading tonight begins the thread of the self-emptying of Jesus. He deliberately connects the Eucharist to his death. His being handed over and the breaking of the break are the parallels here; the two actions are connected and relate to himself, not in some sort of symbolic way as if a thing of the past, but stand in his place in the same way he exists. For both the cup, he commands that this is what we do in order to remember him, in other words to see his presence in our midst. This is what he tells us to do. He doesn't tell us to go stand in a field outdoors and bow our head and put that "prayer" look on our faces. It is rather this specific action of remembrance in bread and wine, transubstantiated, is at the heart of the liturgical orientation of the Church when at communion. In the same way, too, e are to be "broken" and "handed over." It is obvious to say that the washing of feet is a further sign of that self-emptying quality of service. Whose feet have I "washed" in this past year? That's the homily! ...

Homiletics Notes / 17.04.2019

Attended the Chrism Mass, which I always enjoy. Archbishop's homily focused on friendship with Jesus through the imagery of John 15, the vine and the branches, long appropriated by Precious Blood spirituality. It struck me that the thing that is most loving that we do with friends is to suffer with them. This deep friendship seems difficult, not only because of time and distance, to say nothing of culture. In order to accompany Jesus during this Tritium, there must be this deep friendship. The friends, us, learn to give ourselves away back to the Friend, in the same manner as His own self-emptying is given for us. Ultimately all this is about communion. We see from Peter, Judas, Thomas, Simon of Cyrene, all the Marys, Longinus the soldier, and others the challenges, the steep learning curve of this sort of friendship. So full of ourselves, we come to the cross, the horror of death, and in confronting it, we enter into the great mystery of life. Perhaps we just might glimpse the growing ray of light through the clouds, the coming resurrection. There's a very simple American folk hymn called, "Love Will Roll the Clouds Away," that I have found sustaining. ...