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 / 25.06.2019

As the 4th of July approaches, we find ourselves attempting to wrestle with what freedom means. No one agrees; there are as many definitions as their are people. It seems that to many, of course, it means freedom in which they say, "I'm an American. Nobody tells me what to do," a line I heard from a neighbor once who sat in his pick up that had no mufflers at midnight smoking which literally shook my house. Freedom means I can do whatsoever I please. This is not what St. Paul is talking about. For him, it is a two sided coin: freedom from the yoke of slavery to sin (and aren't addictions a yoke of slavery?) and freedom "for service to one another through love." This is at the core of the life lived in the Spirit. Now, let me say from the outset that this is not easy to let go of all the things that bind me to this earth and this flesh because of desires and pleasures. While these things satisfy, briefly, they are not durable in the long run, and result in a human person, "incorvata in se," to quote St. Augustine. In a heavily materialistic and consumeristic world of excess and abundance, it is hard to see beyond these mortal things to consider that the spiritual is more satisfying. We are fed, clothed, and sheltered over the top, and children on our borders are captives in concentration camps of unspeakable conditions and want of human basics for simple dignity. And the so-called, alleged, evangelical Christian (many Catholics included) have little conscience about it. This will be Jesus' point in the Gospel this coming Sunday. We take care of ourselves first, then afterwards and our own business satisfied, then we just might think about following Jesus, but in our own interpretation and enculturation of the Gospel suited and cloth cut to bourgeoisie America. That gospel is not The Gospel. Oh, and I'm a guilty as the...

Homiletics Notes / 24.06.2019

This coming Sunday we return to Ordinary Time 13 C, and more than that we start with the outset of Jesus' journey to Jerusalem. In Luke's Gospel, up until chapter 9, Jesus has been ministering in Galilee and beyond traditional boundaries of Israel. His ministry has largely involved miracle stories, the gathering of his apostles and disciples, and rudimentary teachings about the reign of God. Now he turns his full attention to the coming Paschal Mystery, and "he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem." It's very definitive and shows his strong will. There will be fewer miracles reported on the way, and there will much more teaching, especially now that the inner group has been called and formed. Luke presents us with the two obstacles facing Jesus. First in the rejection of his invitation from the Samaritans over their self-importance, and second in our attachment to the things of this world and not being attached to the reign of God. It is still the same today. We are inhospitable and distracted. The final verse in this passage, the hand to the plow saying, is about our commitments and perseverance. It is a saying still recognizable in our largely urban cultures. There are numerous examples of our initial attention to something and our lack of follow through, including the sacraments. ...

Homiletics Notes / 20.06.2019

The modern American parent calls their children to supper by calling out "Alright, kids, get in the car." They're headed for the drive through! Eating together, so often talked about, yet so often, not the way things are. After all, why is the state banquet for some foreign dignity so important or even doe anymore? First because we need nourishment. In nourishment together we share something more than just the food. A mouth, opened, because a two way street, in that as much goes in and as comes out. People eat and become more voluble. We talk, reveal (open up) ourselves, and share in a common experience of the food and drink. Jesus left us with a meal, the Lord's Supper, in its oldest designation. Luke notes that the bread and fish were satisfying, quenching their hunger, satisfied with the meal's food, but more than that, satisfied with the sharing in a new community that was created. At diplomatic suppers, there's the potential for a new community to be created. People talk, sharing the self that it more than the resume or the intelligence briefing. Their humanity comes out. This happens at the Lord's Supper, when the full divinity and humanity of Jesus are present to us in this new way. We are satisfied. ...