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 / 29.07.2019

As my generation of baby boomers, those born after World War II, begins to die, I read in the Wall Street Journal that there will be the greatest transfer of wealth in our country's history. The recipients will be the baby bust generation, born after 1965; they are now in their 50's. I'm already seeing at funerals families torn apart by the remainders of the estate and the reading of the will. It's a painful example of greed. This is the issue of the Gospel this coming Sunday. The lectionary skips the rest of Luke 11 and the first part of Luke 12. Beginning in Luke 11, 20, Jesus is at the home of a leading Pharisee for dinner. It is here that Luke arranges this question and teaching about greed and the reign of God. Jesus has already critiqued the "leaven of the Pharisees" parallel with teachings about the cost of discipleship. He will return to the thematic material of this Gospel's question at the end of the dinner. Here we have the parable of the rich man'd harvest, the opening of Qoheleth (Ecclesiates), and St. Paul's contrast between the earthly and heavenly in Colossians. The reading work well together, and are all a part of the question of wealth, greed, and inheritance. ...

Homiletics Notes / 25.07.2019

In the minds of most if not all Catholics, Baptism is thought of only as the washing away of original sin. This has led to the thought and practice that it is some sort of a magical ceremony and rite of passage. People come to have their babies baptized because grandparents are scared to death that the baby will go to hell, without considering that it is the parents they should be worried about. We are still living with a limbo mentality and a 19th century Jansenistic devotionalism. First of all there is no official church statement on limbo; please reference Denziger's Enchiridion Symbolorum. The point is that Catholics miss the whole concept of being born again. When asked by an evangelical friend if they are, the Catholic gets the deer in headlights look. Dying with Christ and rising with Christ is the whole fulfillment of the Exodus template, the central thematic material governing the whole Bible. Sin and transgressions (Our Father language) is death, spiritual death, dead to the reign of God. Sin breaks the fundamental relationship with God, and turns one in on one's self. "Incorvata in se", St. Augustine says. Note the corporate nature of Christ's actions. Everything is in the plural; there's nothing individualistic about it. Christ does three things: forgives, obliterates, and removes. Here Paul is calling the inscription on the cross an indictment, a serving notice that Christ rules. ...

Homiletics Notes / 24.07.2019

"Persistence" in the Gospel translates "αναιδειαν" which is more accurately to say "shamelessness". Abraham bargains with God in the first reading, shamelessly. This quality Jesus says goes over and above any friendship, and Abraham was certainly a friend of God because of his faith. It might be even called presumptuous. This sort of petition and debate stretches the limits of friendship; it has a quality of outrageousness to it, and Abraham is not bargaining for himself, but for people (besides Lot's family) whom he does not even know or like, given the battles in Gn. 14. We've all probably bargained with God, typically when we are sick. We couple the bargaining with promises to be good, often that we know we're not necessarily going to be able to keep. Abraham does not do this. His arguing with God has a certain kind of purity, simplicity, and directness about that is a likable quality. The incident is told with a bit of tongue in cheek humor which our cultural language does not grasp. The prayer that Jesus teaches has these qualities, and we repeat this prayer often and everywhere. Most people memorized it as children. "When you pray, say . . . " are both in the ongoing and continuously repeated action of these verbs. There is no doubt that Jesus intended his disciples to use this prayer often and together. Note that there is no "you" singular; it is "our", "us", and "we" throughout. It is a communal prayer. ...