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 / 27.05.2019

Memorial Day and a remembrance of those who died in battle; our society has made it to include all the dead, which has always seemed to me to distract from the specific and deliberate honoring of those who sacrificed for our country. Jesus, once dead and buried, now completes the next aspect of the paschal mystery, the Ascension, returning to the Father so that he should come back again. Like ourselves the apostles grieved the loss of their teacher and friend, but here in this event is both promised and commission. As Luke tells it, the emphasis is on evangelization. The apostles are sent to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Witness to this repentance is given by the new life style of the apostolic community. Herein, reconciliation and "caritas" conforms all actions among them to Christ. The word "μετανοια", usually translated on "conversion" is here given as "repentance." This is a key concept word in the gospels. I signifies a complete reversal (a favorite theme in Luke) of the status quo into something entirely new. This newness was one of the most attractive things about the small apostolic community to many. It is easy for us in parish life to look more like our culture than the reign of God, and we readily accept "business as usual." In this time of major generational shift, moral collapse, and shattered world, parishes cannot afford "business as usual" much longer. ...

Homiletics Notes / 26.05.2019

In most dioceses, next Sunday is Ascension. The first reading in all of the three year cycle is Luke's account in the opening of Acts. The author extends the story of the gospel is continue with the story of the apostolic community. Typical of Luke, it is a speech event, and therefore a teaching as a catechetical event. Set speech events are a typical way of doing Greek history. Jesus' speech ends with the great commission to the community to relate the story of Jesus to the ends of the earth. We've not reached the ends of the earth yet. Indeed we ourselves are in need of hearing this story and receiving it into our lives. Evangelization is about witnessing by actions, not necessarily words. The actual ascension is in one succinct verse. The rest is the "men in white" exhorting them to move on. Immediately they return to Jerusalem to begin the great work. Hence, the Ascension is connected with the Pentecost event and by extension the birth of the Church. "Standing there looking up at the sky" I take to mean a sort of spiritual navel gazing, gobsmacked and frozen, not moved to do the work. Sound familiar like the Church today? ...

Homiletics Notes / 24.05.2019

Reading the letter to the churches in Acts, everyone wants to ask what an unlawful marriage is? Jesus himself had used the expression when speaking about marriage, but in neither case is it spelled out precisely what this means. So, the church took up this expression and over the following centuries began to develop and flesh out just exactly what this means, In any event, if you wish the church to look into the matter regarding your marriage, then make an appointment with your priest, deacon, or annulment person in your parish to initiate an inquiry. Sometimes I think that when I retire I'll just do annulments full time. kIn the first round of the Last Supper discourse of Jesus, the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, in introduced. This Spirit teaches and reminds. The reminder is the fundamental core kerygma. The kerygma is the essential, simple story of Jesus as a statement of what one believes. He descended, he was incarnate, he suffered, he was crucified, he died, he was buried, he rose from the dead, he ascended to the Father, and he will come again. These nine verbs, not that difficult to remember, are also the core of the Nicene Creed. It is a narrative that is about Jesus and about us. The leap of faith comes with the resurrection and return. Because of faith we conform our own lives to the pattern of this same story. ...