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 / 31.12.2019

The biblical account of the magi became the fertile material for many legends about the event that grew up especially during the middle ages. The account only appears in Matthew’s gospel chapter 2          No number of them is mentioned in the narrative; the number three arose in consistency with the three visitors to Abraham and Sarah to announce the birth of Isaac          They were magi, not kings; magi were a priestly caste in the religion of ancient Persia who worked in astrology and oneirology          They are not named; the name are a medieval addition Two of the lands of origin in the prophecy are very obscure, and only one of them was “east” from Micah          The gospel states that they came from one country, not three The phrase “in the east” is Anatolia, which is modern day Turkey, far to the northwest          They certainly did not come on camels, it’s not in the text, and camels are not indigenous to Israel's geography because their padded feet, not hooved, are suited for the desert sands, not the rocky land of Israel, Jerusalem, or Bethlehem Scientists are still debating over which possible star/comet they could have seen, and the closest one chronologically would have been 5 or 6 years before the year AD 1 (there’s no such thing as the year 0); the text has "star" not "comet" The star is called “rising” in the text, in other words not straight up overhead, but rather likely meaning on the eastern horizon          The third gift, myrrh, is not mentioned in the prophecies; two of the gifts, frankincense and myrrh, come from the Arabian south, not Persia or Babylon That's just the first two verses! Obviously the story is constructed on a fulfillment narrative built up from far older...

Homiletics Notes / 27.12.2019

Reflections on the family: God's providential care and presence: the journey down to Egypt is the model for Israel's trust and dependence on God to care for them in their need. In other words, so too the modern family in all its ups and downs depends on God to care for the family, and without God there is nothing.Practicing the virtues: the list could be a constant conversation in the family as members share how they did with a particular virtue that day.Intergenerational love and honor: we ought to recover the model of family that goes way beyond the merely nuclear family. We need grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles in the family circle.Service: in the family everyone has a job to do, a talent to share, and a service to render. In this family, a child learns service to others as a fundamental way of contributing to the world around them. Vision: As Joseph has dreams, a family needs a vision of who they re, a high water mark to live up to, and since the modern world does not offer a template for family beside the nuclear family, then the biblical model stills work for us. These points would be offered to encourage god healthy and holy family life, without ever having to mentions all the ills of the modern world in the homily. ...

Homiletics Notes / 26.12.2019

The cultural-political discourse today includes a conversation about values, as if somehow they had disappeared or are being called into question. One has to wonder why this is, of course, but it certainly is a very important conversation for our times. There's a sense or feeling out there that either anything goes, or I just talk myself into justifying myself, or values are somehow old fashioned. They're not. Not everyone can agree to any one list, but what Paul offers us in Colossians this Sunday is as good as any to guide our behavior and commit ourselves to a vision and ideal. The lists in the reading could well be said of any religion that is worth the name. Learning, practicing, and living the lists creates a good life that leads to holiness -- sainthood. Teaching these to the children is esteemed, as the father Ben Sirach does in the first reading. One can only teach these by actually living them. Therefore, parents can never say, "Do what I say, not what I do", but rather ought to be able to say, "Do what I do, because I do it." These things create harmony, concord, and order in the family home. Perhaps one remembers some particular person (parent, grandparent, any elder) and tell the story of their impact on you because they knew these values and actually lived them out. Encourage this sharing in their families, telling the story, and keeping alive the memory and life of the good and just among us. ...