Vineyards of En-Gedi | 2020 February
0
archive,date,ajax_updown_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-title-hidden,qode_grid_1300,qode-content-sidebar-responsive,transparent_content,qode-theme-ver-17.2,qode-theme-bridge,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.6,vc_responsive
Homiletics Notes / 21.02.2020

In the gospel, Jesus begins the saying on revenge by turning it on it head and speaking about the breath and scope of one's giving in terms of offering no resistance to anyone, even those who are evil. Like the law of revenge which will only spiral out of control and go round and round, back and forth, destroying everything and one in its path, so too resistance. Both of these rules of the road in this world make the just person just like the evil person in participating in the revenge and resistance. Love supersedes both of these and are not a part of the reign of God. The same is true with Jesus' fine example of the breath and scope of the disciples' love. Then at the very end of this chapter on the four saying which re=interpret the Law of Moses, the Torah, Jesus coknclues this part of the Sermon on the Mount, with the challenge to the perfection of God. Surely, Jesus knew well the saying of holiness of God in Leviticus, our first reading. His notion of perfection is meant to go even beyond holiness as a next step into perfection. Through holiness and perfection we orient ourselves and lives entirely to the will of God and God's great goal for us, our "final cause" is to be one with God in heaven. We have no more note calling in life than just this. ...

Homiletics Notes / 20.02.2020

The Psalm this coming weekend teaches us what the authentic and only workable response to revenge is -- mercy. The soul comes into this state of mercy by remembering all that the Lord has done for her. Blessing God, which in Hebrew more literally means "to fall on one's knees in front of" accompanies this remembering. Mercy is further given the scope of commission in this text. Because we humans are too easily caught up in the vicious cycle of revenge, we turn to a merciful and gracious God who forgives just when we can neither forgive our selves and someone else. Revenge is the act and mindset of clinging onto things. God's action and mind to unattached from revenge, which of course God would have every right to do, because mercy and compassion are attributes of God. Therefore Psalm 103 was chosen to teach us the depth of mercy, a truth about God, and how to avoid the pitfall of revenge. Of course for the traditionalist Catholic, out of step with the Bible, they cling to Jansenist heresies about the wrathful God. Quick to judge and wallowing in their unworthiness, they include everyone else in their condemnations of just about everything. They exclude mercy for themselves and for others, unless they work really hard to obtain God's attention. This excess of scrupulosity is a horrible state for the soul who seeks the love of God. ...

Homiletics Notes / 19.02.2020

The image of a great temple can powerfully draw our imaginations up into the divine reality. Almost all of us have experienced some major church building, and you don't even have to go to Europe. If you do go, you won't want to miss the Vatican, Notre Dame, St. Vitus in Praha, Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, St. Paul in London, St. Eric in Upsala, and many others, not only Catholic from from every religious tradition. Invite people into the grand images these temple of the Holy Spirit, and bring it quickly back to their bodies as likewise temples. In our internet porn culture, we come to think of ourselves as a bunch of know-it-alls, simply because we can say, "Hey, Siri . . . " But this clutter is what makes the temple impure and even destroys it. St. Paul ends this piece with describing for us, just how this new temple is buit up, what holds it together: the person in Christ, and Christ in the Father. Therefore we might ask ourselves this question: With what am I building up my life? By the way, this is a question that Siri can't answer; so much for the wisdom of this world. ...

Homiletics Notes / 18.02.2020

The Leviticus first reading was deliberately chosen to support very carefully the 'But I say to you . . " response of Jesus in the gospel, both in the last line of the gospel and in commentary about the revenge saying, which is the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. Then the interpretation begins and quickly goes off the rails. Questions arise: Who is my brother and sister? What is meant by "your people? Who is my neighbor? The traditionalist often keep the range of inclusivity here narrow and reads this passage conservative and literally meaning "brother or sister" as members of my nuclear family." "Your people" means only white Americans. And my neighbor means those living in the house on either side of me, and sometimes across the street. ONe would have that the parable of the Good Samaritan would have resolved this matter, but not so. As ever, we live in a culture of revenge. For example, the deportations, the exclusion of Muslims, the fear of the "other", the tribalism, the white supremacy nationalist, and the too frequent language of the president about "getting" people whom he feels have hurt him. This all trickles down to all of us in the cowardly new world we now live in. This reading is chapters before the example story of the "eye for an eye" saying. It is very clear: "Take no revenge." ...

Homiletics Notes / 17.02.2020

Ordinary Time 7 A This Sunday, the Gospel passage of the SERmon on the Mount continues with the last two of the "you have hear it said, . . . But I say to you. . . " sayings, The first is the justice of revenge for which one needs to ack and read in Leviticus 24 where the original eye and tooth saying is recorded, which turns out to be a story of mercy and not revenge. The second is the ancient dilemma of who is my neighbor and how ought I to love them. This is Jesus final saying. All of these six saying from last two Sunday are then summarized by this verse 48. "So be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect." Jesus is speaking to the gathering, the incipient church. This is not a Jansenistic perfection of the self by and for the self to obtain justification to abstract God's mercy. The word here has a interesting linguistic range that includes concepts like "maturity, fulll grown, make complete, perfect, and a bond which unites everything is complete harmony. This is not the overbearing perfection of the person who is self justified. Perfection as an attribute of God is not mentioned in the Old Testament, and so right here Jesus is saying something new. the Bible does say, "Be holy, for I am holy." as a possible parallel. In other words the person who is so aligned after the image of God by fulfilling and completing g the depths of the Law, is brought to perfection by grace, and one's life is fulfilled and completed, There's a great deal to unpack in these Gospel saying, read out the challenges of our lives in this culture of revenge and hate in which we live today. We are far from the Law/Torah, to say nothing of the further interpretation of Jesus. ...

Homiletics Notes / 14.02.2020

The Torah and the Gospel are not in any opposition to one another, but rather complementary and in the sense of completing or fulfilling. The Total and the Gospel are both given as instructions for the covenanted life with God. They show forth God's love, not the legalisms of some kind of angry divinity. They are meant to show us the way to a harmonious society in concord. They re intended to form our will so that it is directed towards God's will and therefor to love. The six counter statements deal with anger, lust, divorce, oaths, revenge, and love, These six are not only legalisms, but social. They remain major ethical concerns to this day. The invitation here is for us to go many steps beyond the mere requirements of the law. This a complete re-orientation of the will towards God. It is one of the great challenges of life. ...

Homiletics Notes / 13.02.2020

It seems that we live in an age devoid of wisdom. First, because it is not a commodity for sale, and second, because we live an extremely shallow culture. It seems internet media has stupefied us, rather that making us more wise. I have often used for myself Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning to think more critically and discover the truth. The wisdom of this age and of this world is not worth working for. Yet speaking of God's wisdom is very challenging and very difficult for most people, which leads me to think that the 1 Corinthians selection for this Sunday will be very obscure for most. This wisdom comes from the Holy Spirit. This wisdom, St. Paul says, is a gift of love. This wisdom brings discernment and clarity. So, one wonders where this wisdom is today and who has received it? It seems to be in those closest to the earth, down with the grit and messiness of life. It is found in the children and in those most seasoned by age and life. There is no wisdom among the lawyers and politicians, and certainly not among groveling and kowtowed Republicans who have been cut off at the knees. There's no wise world leader on the stage right now. The artists are drunk on the nihilistic narcissisms of post-modernism. A lack of trust and truth prevails in the marketplace; an enormous percentage of Amazon products are fakes. Prayer, meditation, and contemplation are the tools in the search of this wisdom of God. It is the wisdom of Jesus in the antithetical sayings in the Gospel this and next weekend. ...

Homiletics Notes / 12.02.2020

"You have heard it said . . ." regarding revenge, "But I say onto you. . . " seems to be the thread that runs through these rabbinic interpretations of the Law in order to develop and promote the richest meanings of the Law. Both Jesus' interpretations of Law about death are based on a new interpretation of Law about reconciliation, In order to halt the stern direction of the Law as it falls out in case after case, Jesus enables his disciples to go in a new direction toward mercy and healing. There are two more of these oppositional clauses given to us next Sunday, and the saying of Jesus regarding revenge based on the story in Leviticus 24, 10-23 will be the focus. The Church still after 2,000 years accepts revenge! So it is right here, that the Church does not give witness to the Gospel Proclamation. Worse, we still think of God, especially the God of the Old Testament as a vengeful deity. ...

Homiletics Notes / 11.02.2020

Love is on everyone's mind this week -- Valentine's Day and St. Josephine Bakhita (Saturday), surely an example of steadfast love as ever. Aquinas wrote that "love means to will the good of the other, purely and simply." This theme of love and the contests of wills runs right though the readings. Behind the words in the father's letter to his son in Sirach, is great love that knows we are chosen, protected, and called to higher life that keeps and builds up God commandments. The father and the Father are concerned for the welfare of their children. Why the choice of fire and water? In the classica world, it was on water that one swore oaths and proved one's innocense. The steady and sure hand held hovering at the water's surface suggests a lack of nervousness and steadiness; when the water is not sure but disturbed by a shaking hand, it was taken to show a lack of truth, fear, and unsteadiness in the words. Too chose fire meant destruction, because the hand would burn, and ban extension the person would be choosing the way of fire, which is the way of destruction/. ...

Homiletics Notes / 10.02.2020

021020 Ordinary Time 6 A The gospel, from the Sermon on the Mount, introduces the Law of Jesus alongside the Law of Moses. They are not counter poised. They are movement on a continuum for the disciples of Jesus into the knowledge of God which is eternal life. Jesus introduces the following sayings with his commentary on the Law: 1. He is fulfilling the law that will endure even in its smallest parts even of a single letter. 2. He speaks of righteousness, not something the individual achieves on their own, but as a pure gift from God. Here the Law is seen as gift which human society works together for the common good to fulfill the Law. Then follows six examples of Jesus' interpretation of the Law and his sayings to advance the Law. Six times he takes a significant Law by introduction and amplification. ?First, "you have heard that was said . . . " followed by "but I say to you . . . "He offers the Law, and its development in the reign of God. Only the first four of this pattern is in the Gospel this Sunday with the last two coming the very next Sunday OT 7 A. These last two are definitely the most challenging and difficult, especially the saying on revenge which is completely and totally misunderstood of all these sayings. Fulfilling the Law remains a huge concern for the Catholic today as we lapse in canonical laws to save or a deviant form of liturgical righteousness. Very few Cathoics would hold the notion of fulfilling the law by going down deeper into the fullest meaning of the Law. For example, the Catechism makes the longest commentary on the 7th Commandment -- "Thou shall not steal ." This includes a living wage for the poor as an act of justice, oetherwise we've stolen from the. The portion of the Catechism has many excellent example of stealing. ...