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 / 02.04.2019

The first reading is from Second Isaiah, The Book of Consolation. The consolation is God's presence among the people and in their history. God announces, "See, I am doing something new!" The same proclamation appears in Revelations 21, 5. The very next verse is cautionary for us, that we should have to look carefully and patiently to "perceive it" The work of discerning the presence through an accurate reading of the signs of the times is always a risky thing. In other words how do we know it is God, and how do we know that it is true. The new thing is water in the desert! For the Judeans returning from Babylonian exile, water would have been a crucial issue for the journey. It's like having the 10 necessary things to have in the care when traveling out West. God is also making a way, a clearly marked path for the people to return home. The note about the "honor" of the wild animals suggest something like Eden. The water is potable; God has taken care of everything. More than the natural elements of the new creation, is that the people themselves are formed anew. The people are recreated to give God praise. This is the ultimate good of the human life -- praise of God! The accompanying responsorial Psalm 126, a psalm of ascent to Jerusalem, praises God for the new thing that is happening to the people. ...

Homiletics Notes / 01.04.2019

People of my age group, septuagenarians, frequently talk of down-sizing. This describes a time in life after the first steps in retirement and before the assisted living and mortuary, when we realize we no longer need all the stuff, large house, and property we thought we needed during our working and generative years. We look at patio homes, condos, a more modest ranch, perhaps an apartment, or an independent living community. Hoarder that I am, I've even taken three large boxes of books to the used book store and other things to the Re-store, run by Habitat. Yet there's so much more. Paul speaks of all this possessions as rubbish in light of his possession by Christ. He says it is all "loss" and "rubbish." The work of his mission is all he has. He seems to speak of his life in developmental stages to "attain perfect maturity." This maturity means to be completely "to know Christ," "to gain Christ," to "be found in him," and to be "conformed to his death." For Paul this is righteousness through possession by Christ. Yet this is Christ's work in him, not his own work. This is his "upward calling," sort of like that book by Richard Rohr about aging well. Paul speaks of "a goal" and "a prize." ...

Homiletics Notes / 29.03.2019

In some way, as Jesus addresses the parable of the Lost Son to the Pharisees, it seems almost as if to the older brother, and by extension to us. I have known more than one time when I've been the older brother, holding back, full of resentment, proud, and feeling better than that other person, a Eucharist crasher. Our own claim to some kind of holiness is seriously invalidated when we lord it over others with our own self-righteousness. Reconciliation, in other words, involved everyone. The background Hebrew word שןבה "shuvah" has more than one step to it. It means to come to an awareness of when you are sitting, to arise, to turn in the other direction, and then move. The younger son does just this in the parable; the older brother does not. Yet, I think this movement is also the work of the parish. Lincoln was once asked how he would treat the rebellious South once the Civil War was over. His answer, "As if they had never been away." ...