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 / 18.06.2019

The second reading this coming Sunday from I Corinthians 11 is in the middle of a passage wherein Paul is criticizing the Corinthians community for their practices when they gather for the Lord's Supper, which is the earliest title of this event, τον του κυριου δειπνον. He takes on their divisions (we are still filled with divisions), the lack of attention to the hungry (there are still the poor among us not adequately fed), and that everyone eats worthily (we're still gawking to see who goes and who doesn't). . This last note is pointed. The approval comes from the individual, not the community. In other words conscience here holds first place for worthiness to receive. There's horror stories out there of priests who deny communion right there in front of everyone! Secondly to eat the bread, properly recognizing both the reality of Jesus present precisely in his dying, his self-emptying, and his sharing. The actual reading is quite matter of fact for what is called the institution of the Eucharist itself. Here it is the context that is worth exploring. The eating and drinking is a proclamation of the death of the Lord. Here the Eucharist is given as a core part of the whole kergyma, which is the evangelizing mission of the Church. We proclaim dying, so that we can profess resurrection. ...

Homiletics Notes / 17.06.2019

The coming weekend solemnity is the Body and Blood of Christ, year C. We are first presented with the mysterious figure, King Melchizedek, who also seems to be a priest out of nowhere. The historical events of Genesis 14 are shrouded in the mists of legend. After a successful recovery of his relative Lot and his property, The offering of bread and wine was done to celebrate the defeat of bad rulers and a restoration of concord to the Valley. It is a blessing for Abraham, who response with a tithe of the spoils from the battle. The contrast is King Bera of Sodom who offers Abraham a share of the material goods and persons captured, which Abraham rejects. The blessing of Melchizedek appears to be more valuable and important to him. The contrast is between the things of earth and the things of heaven; Abraham chooses the better part. As for Melchizedek, he become a type for King David, who both governs and blesses, and for Jesus, again both ruling and sanctifying. Psalm 110 reinforces this thematic connection; it is used in the ordination rite. The priests of the new covenant do not sacrifice animals, but offer bread and wine, as simple and rudimentary staples, yet also pointing to a feast and celebration. It is hard to imagine, for many, that the Mass is a feast, because it has been put to the them as an obligation, which means a burden. It is a victory over evil (the bad kings) and a celebration of the restoration of family (reuniting Abraham and Lot. This is a good place to begin a theology of the Mass and the Eucharist. ...

Homiletics Notes / 14.06.2019

The second reading this Sunday is all about relationship. After all this is the purpose of the human person we are made for relationship, finally for a relationship with God. Many people today are confused about this, thinking that our purpose is our work. We were not made for our work, which is not our careers, and even before given care for the garden of this earth, by God. The relationship came first and is the last. I'm remembering a quote from Winston Churchill, "A living is what you get, but a life is what you give." It's the famous John F. Kennedy question, 'Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Both examples of the fine art of rhetoric. As the Psalm has it, we are given "rule" over the earth, or in Genesis the awful translation of "dominion" is used, all the while the language points toward being in an orderly relationship with the "garden", this earth. The Trinity is a relationship of love. All this is problematic for the American male, rugged individualistic, self-made, whose model is Natty Bumpo of James Fennimore Cooper's Leatherstockinng Tales, as in the Last of the Mohicans, and later the Lone Ranger. these images, besides being unattainable myths, are contrary to the true end of the person -- a relationship of love in the Trinity. ...