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Lectionary & Catechesis, Lent, Year B / 17.03.2019

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 tears....

Lectionary & Catechesis / 01.03.2019

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 some communal character connected with it, cf. the prophet Joel. We live in a culture that privatizes religion. God is a separate if not remote part of our lives; God is spiritual and therefore not tangible, immanent, or incarnate. Lent is our drawing close to God, to suffering, and to transformation.  FIRST READING: Joel 2, 12-18 Joel worked at some time after the return from Exile in the late 5thcentury BC, and in the context of a drought and famine in the countryside. While there is a temple and its priests and liturgy, there is no mention of a king. The text consists basically of two speeches, using the agricultural crisis as an image of the Day of Lord, a time for a wake up call, and foreshadowing a great, divine harvest. The prophet calls to conversion and repentance in order to renew the covenant. All the people are convened from greatest to smallest.  Vss. 12-13: CCC 1430 Jesus calls us to conversion and penance; the interior or spiritual work must precede the exterior work of fasting, mortification, self-denial and the like. Without the interior work of the Spirit, any external activity is “sterile.” Only the presence of interior conversion and penance can lead to exterior work or visible signs.  KNOW YOURFAITHWhat is the spiritual gift of compunction, and why have we lost this in the modern world? What happens typically when  exterior or visible work is not grounded in interior conversion?  LIVE YOURFAITHWhat does it mean for you to “rend your heart”? The prophet mentions some of the forms of penance. What would you add to his list?  SHARE YOUR FAITHWhat role do you play in gathering the assembly of the church?  In evangelizing, what is the stage of conversion?  WORSHIPWhat...

Lectionary & Catechesis / 25.02.2019

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 our faith in Jesus Christ and help us get out into the desert with Jesus away from earthly business?...

Lectionary & Catechesis / 25.02.2019

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 brimstone” sermon context. It is viewed In the Catechism always in relation to the salvation we have encountered in the Lord Jesus and his obedience of will. In order to begin to grasp the theology of sin in these readings, CCC 396- 412 beg serious study and reflection. While no one is asking for a “hell fire and brimstone” homily, the dynamics of our relationship with one another and God includes the problem and condition of sin. All this is in the part on the Creed, so it is fundamental to our beliefs. The wide mercy of the Psalm is in between the bookends of the Genesis and Romans reading. Listen to Allegri’s magnificent Miserere. It was forbidden under pain of excommunication to take copies out of the Vatican; Mozart as a teenager heard it once, left the concert, and wrote it out accurately from memory for his own use in 1771. He was disciplined by Pope Clement XIV at the time with an award for cleverness....

Lectionary & Catechesis / 24.02.2019

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 to our Lenten journey of faith. Lent moves us from repentance to the joy of forgiveness....

Lectionary & Catechesis / 18.02.2019

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 give us graphic examples as exemplars of divine intervention in our history. Our response is one of blessing and praising God who appears to us....

Lectionary & Catechesis / 18.02.2019

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 calls us to change, or rather let the Spirit be at work in us to change us. The conformity is not an oppression, but a lifting up of the self into what God has called us to be. ...

Lectionary & Catechesis / 24.07.2017

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 Laetare Sunday is the joy of coming home, as in the first reading, the joy of finally being heard and answered, the joy of reunion with God, and the joy of family at peace....