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 / 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. ...