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 / 11.06.2019

In the Trinity Sunday second reading, Romans 5, 1-5, the first sentence is long and gnarly in English. The subject and verb are hard to pin down, but it is at the very end. Because of grace, faith, and peace, we boast of the glory of God. It follows from the theme of the responsorial; in other words it is not about us humans, but rather about the glory of God. This a kind of praise of God, focusing on God and not on us. This seems so counter to current thinking of the modern narcissistic person. The second thing we do boast about, not our glory, but about our afflictions. This is an interesting aspect of a theology of suffering. Suffering, long endured, actually effects something in the human person. Suffering changes us. Suffering conforms us to Christ, in the hope of the resurrection, for that is the completion of the story of the kerygma. There is no other way. I know for sure that in the midst of physical pain, it is difficult to know this. My doctor needs to reach for his prescription pad. The process of childbirth, the trajectory of aging, and stretching of the athlete, the endurance of the artist learning violin, are all examples of this suffering with the result of effecting change. So all this leads to hope that what helps us is the love of God poured out into our hearts. This pouring out is not merely pouring of a glass of milk or cup of coffee, but rather a very strong word in the original, more like the tremendous waterfall of Niagara pouring out into the lower basin. Can you imagine such a rush of the love of God? The mystics know this well, but we too can experience this rush of love, when we are present to ourselves, to others, and to the divine and holy presence of God with and in us. ...

Homiletics Notes / 10.06.2019

Trinity Sunday coming this next weekend make me think -- doctrine. The first reading fro Proverbs connects the Spirit with a figure named Wisdom. oAlthough the passage does not say so specifically in the English translation, the grammatical gender of the Hebrew word, הוכמה, is feminine for wisdom. Here in this passage, she speaks to us. She is 'the beginning of His ways." (vs. 12) She describes herself as "poured forth" and "brought forth", two unusual expressions for beginnings. This implies a "from" origination and pre-existence of and from God. Her origination is "before all else". In the passage, Wisdom's presence is essential to the creation of all that is, because Wisdom is orderly, which in turn is a comforting thing to know about the created world -- it is orderly! And that it coheres, meaning all of one piece. There are obvious environment themes here about the shattering of this environmental cohesion which we humans have created in our disorderliness. Note the three qualities she ascribes to herself: God's craftsman, taking delight, and playing (repeated twice). These are themes buried in the encyclical "Laudato 'Si." We all have experiences of craftsmanship, delight, and playfulness. It is hard for us Americans to get that Wisdom is playful! Hence the abundance of all the critters which delight God by their very being. ...

Homiletics Notes / 07.06.2019

There is an alternative gospel for Pentecost C. The settings the last supper while the first option is a resurrection appearance. They have completely different focuses. The first option distributes the Holy Spirit as the fabric of peace in the community of the apostles to preserve the forgiveness and healing of which Jesus spoke so often as necessary for their success in the mission. The North American Church is in pieces, not just the clergy scandals, horrible enough, but the theological and liturgical bickering that goes goes on. These are the wounds in the body of Christ today. Jesus shows us these wounds to remind them that it is really himself, but also to confront them again with the consequences of the violence of sin. While we may tend to hide from the wounds of others and even our own, in order to get to the healing, we must confront the wounds. There's no turning aside. This confrontation, an acknowledgment of the presence of the consequences of sin and violence, is absolutely necessary for the healing to take place. In terms of reconciliation it means to listen to what has happened to the other. This is first. The listener must remain silent, yet with the active engagement of hearkening to the other person. One can't sit there and be thinking of what to say nexts or in response. There is no response. The response is the Spirit and Jesus Christ, that's the next words, not some personal story to top the story of the other person. The forgiveness does not come from the self, but from Jesus whose spirit we share. ...