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 / 29.06.2019

Decision and commitment tie the readings together for this 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time. These two steps are but the beginning steps of the longer process of discipleship. Elisha is just beginning. Paul encourages the Corinthians at the outset of their life in the Spirit not to turn back, despite the hard road ahead. The three who enthusiastically approach Jesus in the gospel just make their first declaration; it is a commitment compromised by their former commitment, and while they are not turned away by Jesus but invited to begin discipleship. The concluding plow image and saying perhaps still works even in our largely urban culture; people can still relate. If only we were as committed to our discipleship as we are to our economics and politics wouldn't this be a different church! Where is our baptism? Where is our "body" in Christ in the Eucharist? Whatever happened to that Holy Spirit in confirmation? And as for the two sacraments of service (yes, that's the Catechism rubric) how am I doing? Actually all the sacraments, but perhaps for the anointing of the sick, are commitments. The idea and word of "sacramentum" originates in the Roman imperial army; it was the most sacred vow a soldier took to serve the emperor and fight until death for Rome. The Church picked up this rather secular word for its own purposes. ...

Homiletics Notes / 27.06.2019

The Elijah and Elisha story are hyperbolic in that the slaughter of the 12 oxen seems unnecessary; it would have produced close to 8,000 pounds of meat to eat or four tons! In the day before refrigeration this meant eating it within days, or corning, smoking, or jerking it, which itself are all labor intensive. So it seems like the story has a bit of hype. The twelve clearly refers to Israel's twelve tribes, the nostalgic form of government in Elijah's time of wicked kings and queens, eg. Ahaz and Jezebel! Israel becomes a sacrifice for the Lord, an offering of the whole self, none left for the royal consciousness (cf. Brueggemann) but only for the prophetic work of ensuring the divine and holy presence of the Lord among the people. At this point, Elisha offers himself to Elijah to be trained in the school of the prophets. Psalm 16 this weekend is a fine followup to this motif. Which leads me to the question: are we being schooled in the Gospels? are we willing to turn aside from our own "plowing of the field" to the Lord's work? Where does God rank in the activities of my life? ...

Homiletics Notes / 26.06.2019

The thematic thread woven in the readings this Sunday could be taken from the responsorial Psalm 16, "O Lord, my allotted portion nd my cup, you it is who hold fast my lot." Elijah and Elisha received their lot from God, Paul boasts of his life's lot in the Holy Spirit, and Jesus accepts his Father's will in freely going up to Jerusalem. Many think to choose and create their own life (finding one's self) while finding it obscure or hard to ask God, "Why did you make me?" Connected to this issue of one's lot in life, is acceptance and also at once a freedom. The human person has a higher calling than the mere making of money, and we are more than we realize. This is a theme running through all of Tolkien's stories: acceptance of one's destiny, that never comes from within one's self, but always from some higher source. These stories are compelling for that reason as we watch and see the character accept the lot given to them, whether they like it or not, and their reluctance. Just start with Frodo for example, and any of the Hobbits. The one who rejected his lot and choose himself, of course, is Sauron, the epitome of evil. ...