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 / 30.10.2019

The first reading this coming Sunday offers an eco-theology that we are not seriously enough given our current environmental disaster looming clearly caused by us humans and the destructive ways we have chosen to live. However note the larger context. The author is remembering the Exodus, when Hebrews were in the desert forty years. In that extreme environment they experienced God's care for them. The author brings this up to remind us that God is the God of all creation, and everything works together for good. We don't always see the good in the natural world. Vs. 26d is curious. "For your imperishable spirit is in all things." This borders on panentheism. The passage concludes with a praise for God's mercy, displayed in the natural world, that invites the wicked to conversion. Like Zacchaeus in the Gospel, it is never too late or too impossible to turn to the Lord for mercy. Furthermore, like Zacchaeus, reparations and repair must be done to the environment. Zacchaeus makes an effort to restore and repair the social environment of Jericho that he had profited from. We profit from the environment as if we owned it, but we do not. We seem to have forgotten the point of the Wisdom passage, that God will take care of us. Yet, we don't believe this really, and so we have taken matters into our own hands. ...

Homiletics Notes / 29.10.2019

Just as the blind man "seeks" to see who Jesus is, so too Jesus seeks to save what is lost. The verb in both cases is the same, although the translation misses this. The question then is this: Is the Church seeking to save what was lost? Or have we closed our doors and window lest the modern get to us? It seems to me the latter; we're at risk of becoming a group of people merely hoping to protect ourselves from the world, rather than being in the world to seek what was lost. My imagination goes to those in crushing poverty who work the great garbage heaps in some non developed countries in order to find things that may have some "market' value. Or perhaps ourselves and our "lost" children". We've come too quickly to write certain kinds of people off, just as the Pharisees has written off the tax collectors I'm also imagining the crowd following Jesus composed of every sort of person with every sort of motive and intention, much like a modern congregation. One never knows who is out there in the pews! ...

Homiletics Notes / 28.10.2019

Reflections this week for Ordinary Time 31 C. Jesus reaches Jericho. Luke writes that Jesus "intended to pass through" gives a sense of urgency to the narrative as Jesus travels to Jerusalem. From Jericho up to Jerusalem is the last leg of the journey. The encounter with Zacchaeus interrupts Jesus' progress. The incident, as Luke tells it, has the quality of humor. Zacchaeus was big in stature in the sense of his prominence and wealth in the Jericho area, but in sharp contrast he was short physically. This would arguably have amused the ancient listeners. Without any introduction, Jesus already knows the little man's name, which surprises Zacchaeus. Jesus changes his itinerary immediately; he "must stay" at Zacchaeus' house that very day. We are not told about the supper or overnight (?) at all. We are only given a final parable of the ten coins, told before going to Zachaeus' home. Then after that we're suddenly at the gates Jerusalem for the Palm Sunday narrative in Luke 19. For Luke, one wonders if the Zacchaeus incident merely the set up for the final parable of the journey, again one that regards economic justice. Money will be a continuing theme in Luke during Jesus' brief teachings in the Tempe precinct. Coming up are the parables of the widow's mite, the tax to the emperor, the ousting of the moneychangers, and the betrayal of Jesus for silver coins by Judas. ...