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 / 12.03.2020

Water will probably be one of the great issues of this coming century and beyond as we ravage the resources of the earth. There will be a great thirst for water; this is already beginning to happen. We humans are great at denial, which is probably some mechanism of survival as a way of dealing with fear. The people in the desert are thirsty, and God hears their prayers in the leadership of Moses. We are not so blessed today. In fact most of the 7 billion humans on the planet lack potable water resources and a lack of water for their crops. So far in the US we have been fortunate, and so we are in denial. The first reading story is as much about the water and thirst, now read through the lens of the woman at the well, as it is also about the complaining of the people. Today, we live in a culture of complaint. ln the second reading, we read about hope. This is exactly what leads to faith in the woman at the well. Why does St. Paul stress that "hope does not dissappoint." Remember the story of Pandora and the vessel given to her by Zeus as a wedding present for Prometheus? In the vessel, to punish Prometheus, Zeus put all the evils in the world. Pandora's curiosity got the best of her, and she looked into the sealed vessel, Immediately all the evils ion the world ruched out into the world, except she was able to slam the lid shut and one evil did not escape -- hope! The ancient world was suspicious of hope and viewed hope as a dangerous thing. Thus, Paul has to stress just the opposite, because he was changing their world view, and stresses that this hope leads to faith. Then the two together lead us to love, the love of God who sends His Son to die for us. This is the story of the woman at...

Homiletics Notes / 09.03.2020

Lent III A: The Encounter with the woman of Samaria. This is Jesus' longest conversation with a woman in the gospel. There is nothing explicit or implicit in the text that Jesus considers her unworthy, a person less than deserving his attention, and someone incapable os being an evangelist, which in fact she becomes for the people of her own town. Indeed, while it is a sharp exchange, reflecting much humor which we don't get today in our dour culture of whining and discontent. For today, let's begin with the first reading. The people are grumbling. When aren't people grumbling. We are the people, that had we been and the multiplication of fish and loaves, would have whined to Jesus because hje didn't make tartar sauce. The grumbling, groaning, and grousing of the people is a persistent Biblical theme. Our question is this: Is God in our midst or not? In American we have willfully conjured a God whom we think has made us special among all the nations. Nothing could be further from the truth. The civil religion of the day is evangelical, more a social and political identity metric that religious or spiritual. We have invented the God of prosperity religion, that appears nowhere in the Bible. There's not a single Catholic priest who will homiletically take this on. ...

Homiletics Notes / 06.03.2020

Modeled after the life of Jesus Christ himself, the disciple is called to a holy life and to "bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that come from God." For the vast majority of USA catholics this is frequently overlooked in our "anything goes" and relativity culture, which perhaps explains the merely few American saints. All this St. Paul writes because Jesus came and destroyed death and brought life. The death destroyed is or culture in which we misplaced our hope for life only to live in a culture of death, enamored as we are of abortion, wars, violence, a lack of gun controls, racism, and the plunder of the environment. This is a culture of death. It is also an unholy culture as well. The homilist is called on to cry out in the modern wilderness to restore a culture of life. We glimpse this life in the gospel Transfiguration example. ...