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 / 01.02.2020

Notice how the gospel narrative of the Presentation begins and ends with the law of Moses. Joseph and Mary are shown as faithful and devout. Yet, there in the Temple, during the rituals and encounters, something changes for them. The only word the entire Gospel uses to describe the reaction of Mary and Joseph is amazement. It is awe and wonder that lead us to faith. The amazement comes because of their encounter with the two prophets, and this creates a subtle shift from the Law to the Prophets, a rich Old Testament theme. It is not that they are contrary to one another, but that they supplement one another. It is the psalm then that proclaims Jesus as the King. So here in these readings we have the structure and system visible for us; it was the working together of priest, prophet, and king that created harmony and peace in ancient Israel. It is in our baptismal rites that the child, too, is called to be priest, prophet and king as was Jesus. This is not some pretty or empty comparison, but meant to bestow on the child being baptized what is to be his/her role in the company of the Church. ...

Homiletics Notes / 31.01.2020

The Gospel story of the presentation and its cast of char actions is imbued with a profound joy underlying each encounter in the story. Mary and Joseph were obviously filled with joy at presenting their son just as much as any parents today coming for baptism. The Church greets them with finger pointing admonitions and tests of their worthiness. Simeon takes the child in his arms and blesses God in thanksgiving. His prayer at the end of his life is infused with joy; he sees that God answered his prayers. He speaks and light and glory -- things of joy! The parents were amazed, not frightened. Mary is possibly so filled with this joy and excitement that she does not respond to the prophecy of the Messianic infant about her heart being pierced. \ Anna thanks God, again in an expession of joy. Even in their return to Nazareth, the gospel tells of the joy of Mary and Joseph, seeing their son grow in wisdom and the favor (grace) of God. The homilist, having shared the joy of the readings and the Gospel, then turns the homily toward the local joy within the parish and our own causes for joy which then leads to the Eucharist. ...

Homiletics Notes / 30.01.2020

Someone recently observed in a conversation about religious life, that the only qualification for leaders is that they have suffered. The did not mean that sort of American whining about how hard one's life is. He meant deep and scaring human suffering. A day in a Sudanese refugee camp might clarify this for an American. In light of this the second reading this Sunday makes a lot of sense as part of God's plan by sending his Son, like ourselves, in order that as this unique high priest, Jesus might expiate through a perfect sacrifice, sins and restore at the same time and act, the original relationship between God and the human person. Notice that sin is just not compared to death, but in this passage is death itself. Sin kills us, and the Lord of Death is the Lord of the Flies -- the Devil. Notice that the action doing this is named: expiation. Expiation if a freely offered sacrifice expecting nothing in return as an act of reparation and adoration. It is as far on the spectrum from "do ut des" religion that you can get; it is not any kind of offering aimed at obtaining the divine gaze in one's favor. This is an extremely important point tied very closed to the kenotic self emptying of Jesus. In this sense then, his presentation sets his life on the way to the cross where the expiation is made complete. That's why this second reading was chosen. ...