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 / 07.08.2019

Us baby boomers (we're in our 70s now) remember that corporal punishment was a parental option for us when we did something bad or wrong. We we're spanked, in some cases "beaten severely" as Jesus says of the wicked servants in the Gospel. Because of this history and our culture where we would imagine that no child is ever punished with a spanking or any physical punishment, we find these verses in the Gospel to be shocking and unacceptable. Children are without questions most frequently the victims of violence. In our culture of violence, children suffer the most, and the grow us with life-long emotional scars. Does anyone ever think about what the incarcerated children at the border will become as adults? We've sown the seeds of the whirlwind in them. My option this Sunday deletes vss. 47-48. It is unnecessary to the point of the Gospel. But then another option, requiring much skill, would be able to take on the notion of divine punishment for sins -- hell! It seems like most people have come to disbelieve in hell or believe in the apokatastasis heresy. Yes, there is an indictment and a judgment and a punishment; we can't just wish it away. The short version of the Gospel this Sunday sets vss. 40-48 aside. Based on the arrangement of the readings, it doesn't feel like this is the Sunday to launch into a hell fire and brimstone homily. That tack doesn't result in anyone really becoming better stewards nor does it alleviate the fear that Jesus discourages in the opening verse of this Gospel passage. And then, there is the teaching about faith, the great story of Abraham, and the whole thrust of the responsorial psalm. That is the direction to go. ...

Homiletics Notes / 06.08.2019

The Book of Wisdom is one of the last books to be composed in the Bible; it reflects Hellenistic culture, and so, it has its own context there. Overall, the message encourages the practice of the Jewish faith in the diaspora and in Palestine. Much like American culture overwhelms the church today (much of American Christianity is heretical by Gospel standards) and we succumb to and are shaped by the culture rather than the Gospel, we in a similar moment. Courage is the direct object of the first sentence of the first reading this coming weekend. We need courage in this culture to practice our faith. One part of the heresy is the belief that we can save ourselves, surrounded as we are by such advanced technology and abundance of resource wealth. In truth, we're not really waiting for salvation from the Lord, because we have taken matters into our own hands. The divine institution is is the sacramental structure of the Church, governing the path to God's salvation. Yet, we are far as Christians from "one accord", divided as we are into denominations, factions, sects, and even cults of individualism. Another part of the American heresy is the incorporation of the rugged individualist into Christianity. There's no Biblical basis. The one thing is true is "your people awaited . . . the destruction of their foes". This is a highly charged line in our culture today, given the rhetoric of the superiority of "The West" (whatever that means) and the lower status we attribute to brown and black peoples. Some see them as enemies, and this is another part of the heresy of American Christianity -- it's white supremacy threads that run through it. I include Catholicism here. This is not just an unfortunate part of our history, but remains subtly embedded in current practice, until we come clean and admit our racism, without adding any excuses. Then again, I am rather amused myself by the satire and sarcasm of Heinrich...

Homiletics Notes / 05.08.2019

Ordinary Time 19 C: The Gospel sayings are place by Luke among a long string of teachings, loosely held together under the theme of discipleship and the characteristics it requires of a person. The greed mentioned in last Sunday's Gospel, here becomes a opportunity for teaching on money, the ultimate earthly thing and teaching on stewardship as service. The servants are attentive and vigilant. The extreme saying about the Master beating the servants does not sit well in our culture; no more than those in the ancient world, we have had enough violence. For us the saying evokes images of child spankings or the unbearable situation of slavery in the modern world. The lectionary makes this part of the narrative option in the long version. Then next Sunday, Jesus appears to be even more extreme about the nature of his ministry and the coming of the reign of God. The best saying here is arguably this: "For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be." The ancestors, Abraham, and the disciples walking with Jesus to Jerusalem are people whose heart is being formed in this heavenly treasure on the way. The Word of God is at work in us forming this same heart of a disciple, who is no long afraid of the things of this earth. ...