Vineyards of En-Gedi | 2020 May
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Homiletics Notes / 04.05.2020

May 10, Easter 5 A I am struck by the relevance of the readings during this Easter Season in light of our pandemic crisis. It makes sense if we remember that the apostolic was in fact in a state of crisis on a number of fronts at the same, and yet, the Holy Spirit led them through it all. People are always the same! The apostolic church almost immediately began to experience martyrdom and persecution. They had to figure their way out of an ethnic faith experience into a Graeco-Roman cosmopolitan orientation. At the very outset there were disputes about sharing Eucharist, about mission, about structure, about Jesus, and the list goes on and on. They argued and disputed which texts were inspired by the Spirit and which were not essential to salvation. It was in some sense a very exciting and remarkable time to be in the Church. They dealt with these various crises just as we are dealing with our own crises of faith today. First and foremost, they prayed and they listened to the Spirit by testing the Spirit. Second they reached agreement by listening to one another, and especially to the apostles themselves. Thirdly, they continued to grow and develop the core mission of preaching even as things were unsettled. One of things they did not have to deal with were the "stick in the muds" we-always-did-it-this-way crowd of traditonaslists. And they certainly didn't have to deal with the vulgar language, Latin. A crises is presented in each reading this coming Sunday, and we are given how the Church resolved the matter. This is a consolation for ourselves that the Holy Spirit is with us even until today. This does not mean, however, that we can jest rest on our haunches and wait for the Spirit to take care of things in our favor. It does mean that we get up and do the right things about all that is before us. The passive, lisping Catholic of 18th century...

Homiletics Notes / 01.05.2020

Peter proclaims, "And to all those far off." Typically, the expressions "those near" designates the Jewish people in the homeland of Palestine, and "those far off" designates the Diaspora of the Jews throughout the Graeco-Roman world. But here the author adds "all" which quickly came to mean in the apostolic church, the entire rest of the world's inhabitants. This is the story of the Acts of the Apostles. The fundamental mission of the Church, to be superseded by nothing else, is the salvation of ALL souls. Sadly we live in a time when the self-righteous think that the church should now shrink in size, leaving a small elite to renew the church. However what they mean by renewing the church is to go back in time to the 19th century and it lisping pietism. They are no intention of mission. Therefore, we see only Jansenists in 21st century garb, but really no different from the poor people of every age who think they know more than the church. When these white racists (really prosperity religion catholics) think of mission at all, it is approached from a position of looking down their long and arrogant noses at the rest of us who gone astray, on the very brink of falling off the cliff into the pit of fiery hell. They think in terms of the rest of humanity outside their little smug circle as pagans, savages, and heretics. If there's any one thing that will enable the church to turn away from the temptations of legalism (including keeping a ledger of dry indulgences to ensure that I have won my ticket to heaven, will be to recover this deep sense of mission, led by good shepherds, who "have the smell of their sheep." (Pope Francis) ...