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 / 04.06.2019

The "noise, like a strong driving wind" reminds us of Elijah's experience at the mouth of the cave where he was awaiting the voice and/or presence of God. It was the noise, not the wind which is a comparison, that filled the house. In other words, the noise was the voice of God. The "noise" translates the word for "roar". Such is the voice of God! To say "roar" might scare people still sitting in 19th century pietism. Luke emphasizes that "all" were gathered together and "all" received the tongues like fire. The stress on "all" and the naming of "all" the nations and their languages points to the extent of the mission of the church even today, so that the mighty works of God may be known and praised to the ends of the earth. We have a lot of work yet to do! ...

Homiletics Notes / 03.06.2019

"And, with the divine grace that was at work when the Gospel was first proclaimed, fill now once more the hearts of believers."So prays then Collect of the Mass during the day. There is a very strong connection here between this solemnity and the work of the Church -- evangelization! The church needs that grace From on high to do it. Notice that it is "fill the hearts" not the minds; we can be filled with all sorts of Catechism and Canon law material, but it is about our hearts! The Communion Prayer is similar: "that the gift of the Holy Spirit poured out upon her may retain al its force." In all truth, the church risks losing its heart to the current culture and losing the force of the Spirit's gift for truth. How to recover, or perhaps to say, return? Or to walk into our future in this poured out grace and truth? Why is there resistance to evangelization? Is it the uneasy repute of the North American Evangelical phenomenon?l Has faith become personalized and individualized like everything else? To the Acts reading, the "they" is vague. Preciously the eleven were mentioned, then a gathering in the upper room with the eleven and the women accompanying them, and then a group of one hundred and twenty. Mary was among them. When the day arrives, "they were all in one room together". Perhaps we can assume that this just wasn't the male apostles, that the author means to suggest "they all", including and meaning a larger egalitarian group, therefore, meaning the whole church just the the strong wind filled the whole house, meaning the whole church. There an unfortunate debate today that some are more filled than others. ...

Homiletics Notes / 31.05.2019

Luke's Gospel ends on a very upbeat note. The apostle return to the city filled with joy. Yes, their beloved friend has departed, but promises to return. "Great joy" is very difficult to hide; people can see it and hear it. "They were in the Temple praising God continuously." At the very outset, these Christians were causing problems for the Roman occupation and for the Jewish religious leaders. They are doing exactly what Jesus did. Their "impact on society", to quote from Pope Francis' exhortation "Evangelii Guadium" is to restore joy and praising God. These remain the tasks of the Church today. Too often, religion and faith are considered serious and glum things with a long and sad face filled with holy fear. Imagine a Catholic Church ringing with "great joy." Now there's a thought! ...