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 / 25.01.2020

First reading: "a great light", "abundant joy", "great rejoicing". Psalm: "the Lord is my light", "to dwell in the house of the Lord", and "the loveliness the Lord". Second reading: "agree in what you say", "to preach the gospel", and "not with the wisdom of human eloquence". Gospel: "the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light", "repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand", and "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men". Stringing these phrases from the readings together points the homilist in the diction of evangelization. They contrast our former state with our new call through baptism to witness to the Gospel. One cannot actually say too much about evangelization for the contemporary North American church. The falling away of members, often into the uniquely American phenomenon of evangelism, and final removing religion altogether from one's life, is the cultural situation most needing attention in our time. Evangelization, which some have created workbooks and processes for (!), is practically unknown to the Catholic Church. All w do is within structures and roles formed since the 1970's, none of it creating an environment fixed on evangelization. These 1970's methods ar already beginning to show the cracks of failure. The readings cry out for the light of the gospel to be shed upon our lives. ...

Homiletics Notes / 24.01.2020

The Isaiah passage has a history of use in the social justice and peace movement within the Catholic Church. The liberation from oppression is poetically described as the smashing of yoke, pole, and rod. I'm going to risk a slightly different interpretation: the yoke is the way we allow ourselves to be bound to a white, capitalistic and narcissistic culture, the pole signifies all the burdens we carry because of our attachment, and the rod is the cultural compromises we make and the risk of moving toward a police state to keep us in line. Indeed we live in Aland of gloom. Often I hear talk of the end of civilization if not the whole world. Our tribalization tricks us into a false security of thinking we can take care of ourselves, everyone else be damned. Psalm 27 this Sunday is a good antidote to all that foolish talk. Here is an opportunity to lift up the hearts of the congregation, and not contribute to their fears and gloom. ...

Homiletics Notes / 23.01.2020

Capernaum, a small fishing village on the northern shores of Galilee, becomes the central location for Jesus' ministry before his journey to Jerusalem. Far from the the temple, and all its theological and social politics, Jesus works among the people. Capernaum is close to the Decapolis, the Hellenized north east. Religious politics are different in this northern region; for one thing the exposure to Hellenzation is a daily feature of life. This proximity allows Jesus' ministry to take on a broader scope than mere attention to his own Jewish people. The opening verse serves as a grand notice of this ministry, supported by the quote from Isaiah, validating Jesus' approach. d His preaching is reduced here to a single word with its rationalization. "Repent." "Μετανοιετε." One ought to do this because the kingdom of heaven is at hand, although "drawn neat" is more precise. The kingdom of heaven is a time when the fullness of God's dominion manifests itself in reality; that it "draws near" indicates that it is perceptible to those tuned in and has a characteristic of immediacy. Metanoia is more in the linguistic range of conversion that repentance, both a part of a larger and longer process toward full discipleship. This miniature an dcondensed proclamation, the calling of the disciples, the location in Galilee are all a set up for the gathering of crowds for the great Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5. ...