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 / 06.06.2019

The Pentecost Vigil liturgy has four readings from the Hebrew Testament, which we've not heard from since The Easter Vigil. This Vigil imitates the great Vigil of the Paschal Mystery in the structure of the Liturgy of the Word. These readings are rich. Who can resist telling the story of the Tower of Babel? While on the surface it seems to be about the racial division and dispersal of the human family, it is more deeply about the contest between the will of God and the human will to power. The key phrase is, "nothing will later stop them from doing whatever they presume to do.." What is it exactly that we human presume to do? It seems that it is about power over the world and other humans and even to think to control God. History teaches us, if anything, that human power has always eventually been "out of control." Most recent examples are the current of nationalistic and popularistic politics, our wealth oriented economy, the denigration of peoples as "less than", and the corruption in the Church, to say nothing of our ravaging of the environment. I'm sure there's a longer list. Babel means according to some "gate of God", and not "babbling", as in incomprehensible sounds. That the scene is Babylon is highly questionable, although its markets were surely a place of much babbling. The presumption is that the tower "with its top in the sky" would allow human access to heaven and paradise without any dependence on God and grace to help us reach so lofty a goal in life. In other words, human power takes the matter into its own hands. This is a major theme for reflection in the modern world, because it means we are not attending to communion, community, and evangelizing, but rather to our own concerns. ...

Homiletics Notes / 05.06.2019

In the "C" cycle for Pentecost there are two options for the second reading; the first is the choice in all three years of the cycles. The options from the core of Paul's theology and anthropology in Romans 6-8. The key concept is conformity to Christ in a summary of "as above, so below" cosmology. dThe contrast is spirit and flesh, which seems to come very much from Plato. What does it mean to say, "if Christ is in you?" And again, "dwells in you?" The vocabulary explaining this is "belonging", "dwelling", "according to," and "by the Spirit." The body is conformed to this world, the spirit conformed to Christ. This conformity issue is intense for our own culture and for us personally. The world is overwhelming and enticing and certainly easier than th work of the spiritual life. This is what the saints get, and I still find very hard. There's an abundance of examples of our conformity to this world, our conflation of our nationalism and the reign of God (it's not), and the wide distance between sets of values. Paul's "sons of God" strikes us insensitive, but he almost seems to correct himself, because in the remainder of the passage he uses the gender free "children" of the Father. He is being as inclusive as we would hope for him. ...

Homiletics Notes / 04.06.2019

The "noise, like a strong driving wind" reminds us of Elijah's experience at the mouth of the cave where he was awaiting the voice and/or presence of God. It was the noise, not the wind which is a comparison, that filled the house. In other words, the noise was the voice of God. The "noise" translates the word for "roar". Such is the voice of God! To say "roar" might scare people still sitting in 19th century pietism. Luke emphasizes that "all" were gathered together and "all" received the tongues like fire. The stress on "all" and the naming of "all" the nations and their languages points to the extent of the mission of the church even today, so that the mighty works of God may be known and praised to the ends of the earth. We have a lot of work yet to do! ...