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 / 19.08.2019

The Gospel can be thought of a three teachings, again on the way to Jerusalem passing through towns and villages. The narrow gate image first leads to the other two. The supplicant outside the locked door who is not recognized by the householder who sends the person away leads to to a saying of vs. 28 about the patriarchs and prophets surprisingly already seated at the heavenly banquet. The final two verses 29 and 30, cite the Isaian vision of the first reading and end with a second saying which we see elsewhere in the Gospel. In other words there's a lot of material here. Perhaps the rubric is "the few and the many." The lectionary skips three parables, two sets of sayings, and a rare cure on the way to Jerusalem of a woman. For ourselves, we seek the widest, easiest road and gate into heaven. For religion we are not a rigorous culture. Quick, easy, soft. Jesus tells us that it takes strength. But what does this strength entail? What is spiritual strength? Are we the last minute people or late for everything people? God, the householder, has ended the day and the gate is locked. The house master says twice, "I do not know where you are from." In other words where did your journey start and what path di you take to arrive at this locked gate? What detained you? In light of the racism and the sense of elected and chosen privilege rampant today, it is the last of the three that could be taken up in the homily, supplemented by the first reading, to engage the universalism of the vision of God, one might even say the catholicism, in its original sense. ...

Homiletics Notes / 19.08.2019

The entries this week are for the Ordinary Time 21 C. Our first reading is from the end of the prophet Isaiah. It is a rousing and consulate vision from God who announces, "I come to gather nations of every language." For the life of me, I do not understand how the American heresy of evangelicalism can misread this passage and persist in their racism and white supremacy. But too many of us Catholics can be indicted for the same sins. How much more clear do God have to speak? And some shall even be priests! It is pathetic to hear the North American white Catholic complain about a foreign born priest assigned to their lily parish. After all their sons aren't becoming priests, enarmoed by the great god Baal as they are. And God forbid that an American should learn another language! Could be because they don't even know that grammar of their own? I guess it involves too much thinking. This last week the Danish offered to buy the United States! First our government wanted to buy Greenland. Danish ownership would mean free health care, free college education, a four day work week, a $20 minimum wage, unburdening us of any foreign war, leadership by a far better king than what we purport to have, paid parental maternity leave, cheap prescription drugs, and Denmark is the 2nd happinesst country in the world! Of course, whiners that we are, that wouldn't last. The point is that God's universal plan is not our plan. God is for communion and we are for division. The people of Israel, on the verge of collapse will be sent for as fugitives to the nations to proclaim God's glory. Yes, even to Javan, the Hebrew name for the Greeks! dThe whole Isaiah universal vision is held by Jesus in his teaching in the gospel this coming Sunday. It's time to preach about these things. ...

Homiletics Notes / 16.08.2019

Since it is the strongest word among the four texts this weekend, I'm going to start with fire as a multivalent symbol, focussing on its purifying quality and on its symbolism of enthusiasm. The "cloud of witnesses" certainly had both these qualities going on in their lives. The runner purifies focus to have the energy and strength to race and win. And fire gives us joy, as in "for the sake of the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross". We've all known this aspect of fire, perhaps sitting around a campfire or in front of the fire place in the company of good friends; it warms the heart, as they say. Fire causing division is a bit more complicated. Its meaning relates to the passion one has for something and the confusion or resistance who do not have the same passion. Christ is divisive in contemporary American society, because of the heresy of American civil religion, now practiced even by many Catholics, who want only to "fit in" and to varnish over the differences. We experience of the artificial differences in the church between conservatives/tradionalist and liberals, each side painting the other as bad, negative, or off the rails. Note that the very next words of Jesus after this fire saying are about reading the signs of the times, because discernment leads to decision. So Luke arranges this next saying in conjunction with the fire saying. ...