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 / 15.07.2019

In the Gospel reading for this coming Sunday, note the first sentence, "Martha welcomed him." This implies that Martha was the home owner and an independent woman, not subject to a man. Attention to women is part of Luke's interest in his Gospel. The word "διακονειν" appears in verse 40 twice, once as a noun and another as a verb. Surely by the time Luke was writing and being a student of St. Paul, he was aware of how that word had become a specific ministry of service in the apostolic church. Luke perhaps is pointing to the specific role of Martha, among the wealthy women who served the Lord out of their wealth as a believer and close friend. Martha, indeed, is portrayed as giving the orders around the house. She is relatively blunt about telling Jeus to have Mary assist her. The two words that are translated as "anxious and worried" are not the strongest words for these feelings. "Worried" does suggest a bit of "an uproar" about something. The point, however is about the hospitality of listening and making space for the guest, hence in Luke's Gospel it follows the story of the Good Samaritan. ...

Homiletics Notes / 15.07.2019

The master storyteller, Luke, moves swiftly from the parable of the Good Samaritan and the final command of Jesus to another story of hospitality on his journey to Jerusalem: the encounter in the house of Mary and Martha. Both of these women show their own kind of hospitality, which is the bridge connecting the two gospel incidents. The lectionary chooses to provide the encounter of Abraham and the three divine beings at Mamre as an exemplar of this hospitality. The Colossians passage in the second reading alludes to this in the phrase, "it is Christ in you," his indwelling presence, bringing the church to perfection. For our summer travelers and family visitors, hospitality is a fine theme, but more so the current question of our national hospitality at the borders is surely on our minds and stinging our consciences. A little note here: the universal calendar has a memorial for St. Martha, but none for St. Mary, the sister who chose the "better part". It is coming up on July 29th. ...

Homiletics Notes / 12.07.2019

All the bloodshed of the world today, and there is a staggering amount (yet we don't reel from this), has not solved a single problem of the modern world. There are some people who seem to think that if we only find the right scapegoat and sacrifice that population (it's no longer an individual thing) then our problems will be solved. The children at the border crisis is an example. People blame the refugees for their problems so they conclude it is right that they should suffer. Whereas nothing could be further from the truth. Our national problems are not the refugees at the border, and only a difficulty in the lack of ethical fiber now laid bare in our culture. Only the blood of Jesus, in the free deliberateness of his sacrifice, effects the peace that we all dream about and fail to attain, because we are persisting in the wrong approach -- kill the scapegoat! The blood of Jesus is not death, but life in that the renewal of the human and divine relationship is reconciled. ...